We have seen this play before, many times. Google makes a change and everyone starts to scramble. The thing is, this is not really new. Google has always had some level of penalty for bad linking practices. Now, you are at least warned about it, though you are more likely to get caught.
With each of these updates, a common theme comes through… Solid SEO practices, though not really sexy, are and always have been the best way to build your natural traffic. There are several advantages to the tried and true, besides just sleeping better.
With a good, holistic SEO approach, you don’t become dependent on one tactic. We all know that SEO is comprised of many tactics, each lends strength to the other. As the algorithms shift, solid SEO programs should already be in place, mitigating any harm, and perhaps leveraging the new direction. Bells and whistles are fun, but the basics drive results.
You have a solid base from which to test new tactics. As Google implements changes, many SEOs are spending their time trying to prevent damage. By maintaining a solid approach, you can use these changes as a time to improve your rankings rather than trying to mitigate damage. If you want Google to blow you off the cliff then focus on one or two hot tactics, but if you want to climb the rankings, stick to solid SEO practices.
I know it is not sexy. Sales folks generally don’t like my “stick to the basics” approach… it doesn’t lend itself to flashing PowerPoint presentations. But, they love the results that good, basic SEO lets them show.