Search engine optimization is not static. It is constantly changing, due in large part to algorithm updates adopted by the various search engines. While all of the search engines have a hand in the changes, no others have the impact Google does. The search engine giant constantly rolls out updates to its algorithms. While these changes have cute names like Panda, Pigeon, and Penguin, they have a big impact on the search engine world. In fact, the changes have made marketing techniques used in the last decade obsolete. Because of that, you are probably curious about what to expect with the future of SEO.
The New Year Brings a New Change
The New Year confetti had barely reached the ground before Google figures Gary Illyes and John Mueller took to Twitter to confirm a major change for 2016. Google updated its core ranking algorithm, and not in a way people expected. People in the search marketing world were anticipating a Google Pigeon update that would impact local searches, but instead, they found out that Google added Panda to its core ranking algorithm. Panda has been fighting spam since 2011 and now it will do so as a part of the core ranking algorithm.
While this came as a surprise, Google has shown an interest in making web searches more user friendly for years. Recent updates have put an emphasis on quality instead of keyword stuffing, which is a big change from the search engine’s early days.
Now that Panda is a part of the core ranking algorithm, don’t expect to hear about Panda updates in the future. Google keeps those updates under wraps, so people will just have to wonder what is going on with Panda.
SEO Techniques for Today and Tomorrow
With all of the algorithm changes, many search engine marketing professionals are left scratching their heads and wondering what they should do next. While that question might seem overwhelming at first, the changes won’t have as big of an impact as you might think. If fact, most content can be saved with a few tweaks. Google has focused on quality and relevancy over the years, so as long as that is at the foundation of your offerings, you can quickly make changes and drive traffic to your site.
Of course, you have to know what those changes should be. Let’s take a look at some strategies that will help you as you go into 2016 and beyond.
Don’t Forget About the Technical Aspect of SEO
A lot of marketers think that the new updates mean that they need to completely forget about the technical aspect of SEO, but no matter how many employees Google has, robots are still at its core. Search engine robots crawl sites to gather information, and if your site isn’t created with those robots in mind, you will have a hard time making headway in the online word. That means you need to use keywords, avoid duplicate data, and have a responsive site.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these points.
It is highly unlikely that keywords will ever stop being important online. While keyword stuffing is frowned upon, you need to use keywords or people will never find you. Robots index your site’s keywords, and that is how they decide what to display in the search results. Find relevant keywords and phrases and include them naturally in the site.
No Duplicate Data
Google’s robots look for duplicate data, and if they find it, your site won’t make it in the top 10 of the results. In fact, you’ll be lucky to make it onto the top few pages. This goes beyond offering unique blog posts and content. You also need to use unique meta data. Use the meta data to optimize each page for what it has to offer instead of copying it from one page to the next.
Ten years ago, people sat at their computers and surfed the web. Now, they sit at computers, carry laptops to coffee shops, and use their phones and tablets. This has changed the way Google looks at websites. Now it expects sites to have fully responsive mobile offerings. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, you can expect to go down in the results. This has been a huge wake-up call for lots of website owners who ranked well in the past and are now going down in the rankings.
The technical aspect of SEO is only part of the equation. You also need to think about the people.
Marketing from the User’s Pont of View
When it comes to marketing for the end user, you need to think about the relative CTR score and the content you provide. If you do both of these things well, you should achieve the desired results.
Let’s take a closer look at both.
The battle between search and paid advertisements is huge on Google. Ads often take a big piece of the pie when it comes to traffic, but that doesn’t mean marketers can’t get great results with their organic listings. They simply need to focus on their sites’ Relative CTR. This refers to the score that Google assigns to sites based on the number of clicks it gets compared to its competitors. Sites need to have a score of higher than 1 in order to reach its CTR goals.
Keep an eye on the competition to determine how to improve your site’s click-through rate. Also, make sure to add clickable value that shows up in the search results. You can also add your brand name to make your site even more clickable.
When search engine marketing first started out, the phrase “content is king” took hold. That is as true today as it was back them. Google’s algorithm updates continue to emphasize the importance of quality content. Make sure your content is unique, bold, and fresh.
Whether you outsource your content or create it in-house, you need to make sure it compels people to click and read. That is a great way to show Google that you can provide people with what they want.
Algorithm updates are always going to come and go, but as long as you focus on the technical aspects of site design and the customer, you will be a winner when it comes to SEO. Some basic rules never go out of style, so you might have to update your playbook, but you’ll never have to throw it out.