How Google Is Changing the SEO Algorithm
Not many people have enough time in their day to seek out how updates of Google’s algorithms may affect the ranking of their website. Business and web companies are still catching up from the Panda update, which was released in February…of 2011! Has it been three years already? Although you probably don’t need to aggressively sort through the onslaught of articles that discuss the latest updates to Google, you should be aware that they occur and partner with someone who can help.
What is a Google Algorithm?
Let’s begin with the basics. The goal of any search engine is to provide users with the most relevant information related to their search . . . and they want it done fast. We joke that the best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google. They have become so efficient at providing the right answer every time that if users don’t see it on the first page, they are more likely to refine their search term than visit page two.
The purpose of a search engine’s functionality is to find information and put it in order. To do this, search engines use complex equations, called algorithms, which find specific information among a massive amount of data on the Internet. It’s then sorted in a way that provides the best results for users. So if you are looking for “blue shoes,” you will get results from websites that contain content on “blue shoes.” Because most search engines typically only provide 10 results per page, they need to determine what order the results should be in, starting with number one. It is this element that causes all of the fuss.
What Has Changed?
In late 2013, Google released a first-of-its-kind update called Hummingbird. They had made countless improvements to their code in the past but none like this one, in which Google basically started over. The update’s aim is faster results and better understanding of users’ requests. Google’s Scott Huffman said, “We want to get to a natural conversation” between people and search results. The company has also said it will be able to handle more complex questions and searches to better understand concepts versus words.
How Will this Affect SEO?
There has always been unrest and uncertainty among Internet marketing agencies when Google makes a significant change to its algorithm. The good news is efforts that have been rewarding honest marketers and companies will continue to be solid SEO strategies in 2014, while Google continues to crack down on those who try to cheat the system.
How to Improve Organic Rank in 2014
To improve search engine rankings and website traffic, here’s what we’ve found is working best:
- Website Content: Create descriptions and page content for each of the services you provide. This helps search engines and visitors understand what you do and how you’re different.
- Blogging: Create quality, relevant content. Blog three times a week. Each of the articles you publish should be relevant to your business, and be completely unique – no copying other people’s work, no recycling of old articles, and focus on articles real people want to read
- Local Listings: Websites like Google, Yelp, Manta and Angie’s List have business profiles and you should work hard to keep each of them up to date with an accurate business name, address, phone number, business hours and company description.
- Press Releases: Yes, PR still works! When something you feel is exciting or newsworthy to share, press releases can be a fantastic resource for getting your name in the public, increasing the opportunity that another website may post information about you in a positive way.
There have been significant changes to the way search engines find information for users in 2014. We will see the evolution of search providing better results for users. This will keep them coming back, and the businesses that focus on providing quality information for them will yield incredible benefits from their efforts.
Steve Buck is the president and co-founder of Black Tie Digital Marketing, a boutique agency helping businesses become more effective marketing online. Find out more at BlackTieDigital.com