GoogleIt seems every time Google releases a new update, there are thousands of big, profitable websites that get hit hard. Who could forget the brutal fall of Demand Media’s content farms, or the almost complete disappearance of article submission websites like EzineArticles and Hubpages? Let’s not even mention the countless smaller players who used black hat tactics to get ahead thatare now gone.

These incidents do not happen at random, however, and they certainly are not unavoidable. While many suffered with the arrival of Panda and Penguin, there were also others who survived – if not thrived – because of these updates. Their secret? A sustainable business model and strategy.

Forget the gimmicks and the fear mongering. By taking a long term approach with your SEO strategy, it becomes fairly easy to minimize or avoid any potential damage from Google updates. You can let everyone else worry about how to recover their rankings while you do everything right from the start.

1. Know what Google wants

As Search Engine Watch said, you job is to make Google look good. If there is one rule you always need to keep in mind, it’s this. People who use Google expect answers to their questions and a solution to their problems, not a list of irrelevant or spammy websites. If you want the search giant to give you traffic, you have to make sure that you never make it look bad.

2. Customers always come first

When presented with a choice of optimizing your website for the search engines or the people visiting it, always choose the latter. Google will refine their algorithm in ways we can never predict, but their goal remains the same: deliver a better user experience. Make that your goal as well, and updates will only help you.

3. Watch your link portfolio

Do you have any links that are doing much more harm than good? There are few things more damaging to a website than a collection of toxic backlinks. Whether you got these through paying for low quality SEO services or by accident, the results are the same. Make sure to regularly audit your links, and use backlinks removal to clean up your profile.

4. Constantly improve your content

Go ahead and roll your eyes. Yes, it’s a tired cliché that content is king, but it is still true. All else being equal, the website with better, up to date, and more original writing always ranks higher.

5. Follow the guidelines

Lastly, Google themselves have long been telling us what they want to see from our websites. Their comprehensive webmaster guidelines contain everything you really need to keep in mind. It hasn’t changed over the years, and it serves as a strong foundation of any search strategy.

These tips will help your website stay afloat when everyone else is sinking. Don’t fear the algorithm updates, look forward to them as they weed out the competition.