Make no mistake: despite Facebook’s tremendous reach, Twitter’s arrival as a major social media player and Bing’s slow-but-steady growth, Google is still the alpha dog in the digital media kennel with nearly 70 percent of the market. If you’re a business owner and you’re now using social media/content marketing to find leads, talk to customers and build your brand, then you are aware of the impact your blog posts, Facebook updates and YouTube videos can have on your Google search result rankings.
That’s why digital marketers focusing on search engine optimization perked up their ears last week when Google search changes were announced. Google is working up some new algorithmic magic to change up the way it presents search page results. And if those SEO experts are saying this could be the biggest search makeover in years, then small/midsize business owners need to pay attention too.
At issue is the way Google’s technologies will hunt down keywords and other relevant information when someone plugs in words or phrases in the search box. The news first got out when Google’s search guru Matt Cutts told audiences at last week’s South by Southwest Interactive Conference that his company would soon target sites that over-optimize – that is, load up too many keywords that can affect the organic, natural aspects of the content.
The Wall Street Journal put some more meat on the bones of this story, interviewing another Google search whiz, Amit Singhal, about the current introduction of semantic technologies that will better understand the true meanings of words used in searches. The changes, which will hit over the next three-to-four months, will end up providing smarter search results and a wider range of more useful information on search results pages. After all, if more and more searches may be prompted by technologies like Siri-powered iPhones, which let you ask for searches in the simplest, direct way possible, then Google needs to find a way to keep up, right?
If all this makes a business owner’s head spin, then it may be the excuse you needed to finally get some outside help for your SEO. But you should know that it all comes back to good, compelling, business-generated content that is more informational than promotional.
“Good SEO should be the same as creating a good user experience,” says Splash Media SEO specialist Cole Field. “Google is working to make their search bots smarter in detecting sites that are ranking based on ‘black-hat tactics’ like link-buying, which create hundreds of links to your site from irrelevant sources. Google’s algorithms will focus more on organic quality links to measure your authority on the Internet.”
Those links, Field explains, should be based on your blog posts, news releases, news stories and social media. “This way Google can rate your authority based on the amount of relevant online conversations happening about your site.”
If there is any group that is cheered by the forthcoming Google search changes, it’s content marketers who have long preached that educating current/prospective customers is better than trying to sell to them. Content that lets your business comment on your industry, examines problems, offers solutions – all with a human touch that’s original and worth reading and sharing – will still mean more to Google’s new pumped-up search bots in the long run.
If you’re an SEO specialist or content marketer, what do you think of the upcoming Google search changes? If you’re a business owner, do you have any questions about this news? Please share with us in the Comments section below.