Google. That is a word that brings a lot of joy and some pain to many users. SEO, otherwise known as search engine optimization, has been a hot topic for years. With over 70% month over month market share, one could speculate that Google has cornered the market on SEO and the strategies companies use to gain your attention.
Simply put, when you are searching for something you want to get the best results, right? In the past, some marketing companies employed black hat SEO tactics designed to “trick” search engines into thinking they had the most relevant website. Keyword density and backlinks (though link farms) were given high priority, and people were able to quickly, and unjustly climb the page ranking ladder. Google’s core product is a relevance engine. If the results become or are even perceived as being inaccurate, they will inevitably lose market share.
Google’s latest update, called “Hummingbird”, in conjunction with the previous “Penguin” and “Panda” updates – are all geared towards determining the actual relevance and value of content. One of the coolest things about Hummingbird is that it is designed to understand what it is you are looking for. It can decipher the underlying meaning of a whole sentence and then return results that are entirely relevant to the specific user – mind blowing, I know.
It is no longer acceptable to stuff keywords into a blog post six to ten times, or pay hundreds of website to have links pointing to yours in order to gain Google’s attention. In fact, those types of methods have become counter-productive. Companies who continue to use these old methods now run the risk of being removed entirely from Google’s indexes. For many content farms the gig is up, and spitting out cut and paste content won’t work anymore.
Of course, many companies worried about how to rank well on Google. How could “we” possibly rank higher if “we” don’t know how? And the answer is quite simple; write about what you love, what you know about, and write it well.
The internet has taken off and most people would not know how to live without it. We have also become quite adjusted to the immediate gratification of relevant search results.
That is something that Google understands and has concentrated their efforts on.
I love the internet, and even I was questioning why my search results seemed so miscellaneous! The previous algorithms left a lot to be desired.
Making SEO Work
It is still important to have a target audience and to optimize according to that audience, but don’t let optimizing be the priority. If you actually have a furniture store in or even a certain location, then the term “coffee table town x” is bound to come out in your content.
Having links pointing to your website still has value. What matters today is the quality of the websites those links are coming from. The bottom line is that changes are being made for the benefit of the consumer. And as the old saying goes, “the customer is always right.”