Expert marketers are always up-to-date on what’s happening in the news and pop culture. They anticipate and quickly adapt to changes as they occur. Especially when it comes to online search (also called SEO).
But with Google changing its algorithms 500-600 times a year, that’s no easy feat. Hubspot says, “With so many updates happening so often, even the most diligent marketers can miss an important release or two.” They suggest that you use this infographic to catch up on “the latest and greatest in SEO.” You’ll find “…the major changes SEO has undergone in the context of mindset, keywords, content, and link building.”
If you really want to know how search works, Google has a nifty website that explains it beautifully.
Yesterday’s SEO doesn’t work today.
SEO is evolving faster than you can say Google+.
Sure, while some of the core principles will stick around forever (like creating high-quality content on usable sites), the more exacting aspects of search are subject to ongoing change. And as a result, many of the proven (translation: old fashioned) tactics people have used in the past (like keyword stuffing and link schemes) have now gone the way of a dial phone, Walkman, hi-fi, and pocket calculator.
But in the end, adjusting your strategy based on search ranking algorithm updates or changes in the way search results are displayed visually can benefit your business in big ways.
8 big search changes and truths:
- Local SEO matters more now than ever before. With July and October 2014 updates, Google’s Pigeon algorithm made it easier for local business to optimize for local search. Now, it helps local businesses get found by people who are nearby and more likely to buy from them. Additionally, Google+ Local pages even delivers place recommendations based on past reviews and location, reviews and photos of favorite places, among other benefits. If you want to know more, check out Google’s Guidelines for local businesses.
- Google abandoned its Google Authorship program. According to an August post by Google Webmaster Tools’ John Mueller, Google removed its authorship results from search and won’t be tracking the rel=authortag data (It’ll be treated like any other type of markup on your website, and “won’t cause problems,” according to Mueller.) So it’s one less thing to worry about.
- More links are no better than more content. Too often, when businesses hire someone to do link building, they focus on the quantity of links rather than their quality. But linking is not a numbers game anymore (far from it, actually). Instead, you should focus on having great content with relevant and diverse sources that link to relevant pages.
- Having a secure (HTTPS encrypted) link is now important to SEO. In August of 2014, Google announced that it had started using HTTPS as a signal in their ranking algorithms, which means if your website still relies on standard HTTP, your rankings could suffer as a result. However, according to Google, it affects fewer than 1% of global queries. So, don’t freak out just yet.
- Keyword optimization is no longer the key to SEO. Google doesn’t try to match your typed keywords in its search engine to the keywords of a web page. Now, it’s trying to understand the intent of the keywords to relevant, high-quality content. So you will only be punished for overusing keywords, not for underuse of keywords. Your goal should be to inform the reader, not to inform the search engines.
- It doesn’t really matter anymore what header tag you use. For optimization, all that matters is that you present your most important concepts upfront and close to the top of a page. Just make sure your headlines and subheads are clear, so people know what your page is about.
- You can’t fool Google. Their search engines know all and see all…everything, in fact. You simply can’t fool them anymore, especially post-Panda, -Penguin, and -Hummingbird, or you will be penalized. Period.
- SEO has evolved from just getting found to engaging users with content. That means optimizing for usability first, with über-relevant content on a site that’s intuitive and easy to browse for both search engines and people.
These are only a few of the hundreds of SEO changes happening day-in and day-out. So how do you stay current on what’s-what in search? That’s simple! Just ask us to keep you in the loop and let you know how the changes will affect your business and what you need to do.