We had the opportunity to attend the Search Marketing Expo a few weeks ago. What a slam-dunk, home run, and overall awesome conference it was! It was chock-full of industry leaders, including Search Engine Optimization celebrities like Google’s Matt Cutts, Bing’s Duane Forrester and Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan. After sitting through hours of panels and conversations, and sending out many, many tweets, we’ve got a new perspective on the world of SEO.

So what was one of the main takeaways from Search Marketing Expo? We should stop worrying about Google algorithm updates. That’s right, STOP. Let it go, no more stressing, take a chill pill and relax.

Phew. Doesn’t that feel better? We thought it would. Now here’s why you can stop stressing about Google updates:

After years of fearing, sometimes bashing, and even groveling on our knees to Google, we’ve come to terms with the fact that they (Google) are the good guys. Their goal is to serve up the best results for searchers. And, when it comes down to it, they’re not out to hurt you or your website. If you don’t buy links, or spin weak content, or attempt to game the system via underhanded tricks known collectively as black hat SEO, then put your mind at ease. If you spend time thinking about how the user will experience your site, you’re on the right and same track as Google. If you have a strong following on different social media channels, it demonstrates that you’re trusted and have more authority. This in turn signals to Google and Bing what their searchers might want to see more of in search results.

Danny Sullivan, from Search Marketing Land, posed this question to a room full of eager SEO pros during one jam-packed session: “Who here worries about Google updates?” Everyone’s hand shot up. Then Sullivan asked, “Who has been hit by a Google penalty?” (This would be a drop in a page’s search engine rank based on changes to Google’s search algorithm.) 99% of the hands in the room dropped.

That got the wheels turning in our heads. If we care about our user’s experience, don’t spam or do other stuff frowned on by Google, then why do we need to worry? It’s like speeding on the freeway. If you don’t do it, you don’t need to worry about the cops pulling you over.

Another reason to set your mind at ease: Google is changing the way they release updates. Matt Cutts announced at SMX that future Google updates will no longer be publicly announced, and they won’t be released all in one day. Instead, Cutts said, they’ll be “baked into the results.” This will essentially end the knockout punch some updates give to sites that have been breaking Google’s rules. Google is also getting much better about how they communicate with their users through Google Webmaster Tools messages.

The days of stressing about when Google is going to release its next update and cripple your site are over. So sit back, relax, and optimize the white hat way!

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