We’ve written a number of posts to help demystify some misconceptions and confusion about online search, search engine optimization (SEO), and Google’s never-ending algorithm changes. It’s no easy feat to keep up with Google changing its algorithms 500-600 times a year. With all those changes, SEO today “ain’t” what it used to be!
SEO is growing, changing, and evolving into something different than even a few years (or just a few months) ago. To understand what’s happening, we have to look at the progression of search and adapt to the new ways to optimize search…while not losing sight of creating valuable content. Easier said than done, I think!
Ah, it was a simpler time
In the past, SEO rules and considerations were broken into three categories:
No doubt, search engine optimization was a fairly technical process (not suited for the minds of mortals like us). In those earlier days, the then-simpler algorithms generated ranking and provided tactics to generate website traffic. To improve ranking in the “old days” (a few short years ago), all we had to do was jam-pack content with keywords and excessive linking.
The times they are a-changin’
For a new perspective on SEO ranking, I cite the prophetic lyrics from a 50-year-old Bob Dylan song:
“The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’ “
Today, there are 7 specific factors that have driven dramatic SEO changes:
- Increased mobile usage
More and more people are searching on mobile phones, and SEO has changed accordingly. If you’ve been asleep at the SEO wheel, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. The number of mobile devices on the planet now outnumbers the world population. People are flocking to mobile devices, and that means more mobile search. If your site isn’t responsive, you could be losing customers right now.
Just a few months ago, our post explained the new Google search feature that incorporated a mobile friendly component to their algorithm to meet this growing need. This new feature basically looks at your site, and tries to determine if it’s mobile friendly or not. If not, then it will drop your site down in the rankings below other mobile-friendly sites.
- App discoverability
The growth of mobile means that SEOs must now focus on getting mobile apps indexed and ranked, as well. At SMX West 2015, Justin Briggs presented on structured data and provided a very insightful glimpse into the future of SEO. He explained that the knowledge that search engines must build to know about your needs and present data or act on your behalf starts with the marriage of structured data and mobile applications. We can see Google’s movement in this direction with its recent announcements of Google Now On Tap and its “micro-moments” messaging.
Still don’t think apps matter? As of July 2015, Android users reportedly had 1.6 million apps to choose from and the Apple App Store reported 1.5 million apps. With so many apps and the fact that in May 2015 at Google I/O, the search giant announced that suggestions for new apps to install will now appear in mobile organic search results for relevant search queries. It’s more important than ever to consider apps in the optimization process.
- More blogging, more content
Your target market is reading blogs…lots of them! That means fresh, relevant content about your business is more important than ever in ranking higher in searches. So keep generating new, engaging content. Remember: don’t get spammy…respect your readers’ intelligence and give them useful information.
Google values great content more than ever. The search engine giant actually considers the time users spend on a page when determining that page’s SEO value. If you give readers engaging, informative content, they’ll stay on your site longer. Your customers win—and you win, too, as Google sees readers staying on your page for longer periods of time. Today, content is often evaluated by its usefulness, relevancy, and educative value—in other words, its ability to genuinely engage searchers, influencers, and social media audiences alike.
- Changing concept of ranking
The coveted No. 1 ranking on the search engine results page (SERP) was once deemed the ultimate recognition of SEO success. However, today we have substituted the concept of “ranking” with “visibility,” and that means capturing as much “non-paid” real estate on the SERP as possible. Plus, it also means having a reach far beyond just the SERP…and reaching out to touch audiences across different content platforms, social media channels, and devices. It’s giving people the chance to find, connect with, and learn from your content in the places they seek it. This evolution cannot be ignored, either.
- Growth of social engagement
According to Marketing Land, “Over the past few years, the influence of social properties (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) on where people search, how they search (i.e., crowd source), and even how the search engines rank content in their search results, have dramatically increased. The influence of social on search will continue to evolve and become more critical over the next few years.” In other words, social media is now considered a marketing channel and your target prospects expect you to engage with them on a personal level.
Google has also modified its algorithms to cater to the rise of social media optimization, says Ventureburn. Those algorithms receive idealistic social signals including: social queries about your website; real time traffic generation including active followers on Twitter and Facebook; search queries when people search your brand name in the search bar or enter questions related to your brand; and correlation of links shared on Google+.
- Increased online security
Your web pages, blogs, and other content are being scrutinized by search engines for the security you provide to your customers. Apart from improving your secure links and using security certificates, you may also use HTTPS links instead of HTTP to improve your search engine ranking. As a part of today’s optimization, you need to make sure that customer information safe and secure.
- Switch to ROI metrics
Today, it’s more important to sell stuff and have a higher return on investment than to have a higher SEO ranking. For example, wouldn’t you rather know that the infographic you posted resulted in earning 72 links and was responsible for 48 conversions and $25,859 in revenue?
Are you up on the new SEO?
In the ever-changing world of SEO, 10 years is like an eternity. Many businesses have adapted to the changes, but they’re happening so fast that it’s hard to keep up. Your prospects and customers are pulling out their mobile and going to an app for Yelp to choose a restaurant and to Uber for a ride. So, it’s critical to keep up with SEO and know how people are finding you, if you want to build your business.
Don’t worry, though! We know the ins and outs of today’s evolving search landscape. Talk to the SEO experts at Solamar.