Google is far and away the most common search engine out there. So, is there any surprise that an adjustment to their search engine algorithm has even the most experienced SEO expert scratching their head right now?
Let’s be realistic, for most people, even the word algorithm makes little to no sense. You leave that to the big brains to figure out, right? But if you run a business that is dependent on how your site ranks in the search results, these are things you really need to pay attention to.
Google’s Hummingbird has rolled some of the biggest changes to the algorithm that the internet has seen in quite a while. And some of these changes are going to come as a complete surprise, while others will seem like common sense.
Did you know that Google updates it’s algorithm as many as 600 times in any given year? Most of the time, as an end user, you won’t even notice. But if you are involved in online marketing in any way, there are things you should know.
Here’s some of what you need to know in a nutshell.
What exactly is SERP and what does it mean for Search Engine Optimization?
SERP stands for search engine results page. This is the list of web pages that come up when you type your search terms into your favorite search engine. When it comes to SEO strategy, where your page lands in terms of the SERP – is going to be critical to how often viewers click and get to your site.
Some Factors for Determining Google SERPs
Outbound Link Quality: It is believed by many in the know that if you are linking out to authority sites, this helps send trust signals to Google.
Grammar and Spelling: If the grammar and spelling are good or bad, this is a quality signal. On the other hand, how this is weighted is uncertain. This does go into your content readability, however.
Affiliate Links: Affiliate links by themselves probably aren’t going to kill your ranking. But you don’t want to have too many. The more you have, the more Google is going to notice them. They will want to make sure you aren’t one of those “thin” sites just trying to push your affiliate links.
Quality Content: Does the content on your site add value? Or have you just thrown up a bunch of content to fill space? The higher the quality of the content, the better your site is going to rank.
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach
And chances are, if something seems too good to be true, chances are it probably is. It’s also entirely possible that what was working well two years ago may not work as well today.
What’s the deal with HTTPS and what does this mean in terms of my SEO Strategy?
The HTTPs domain has received a global overhaul, so this deserves at least a little bit of our attention. Switching to HTTPS has created more security for internet users, and if a sight is highly secured, as displayed by the HTTPS designation, this creates a sense of trust in the user who is visiting that site. Google also uses this as a ranking signal for regarding your website as a trustworthy one.
There also is less chance of fear of losing data because of an unwanted attack due to a lack of security.
Remember Whitelists? You might have known them as “Exceptions.”
Well, they are a thing of the past. Basically, Google’s Safe Search eliminates them.
As you can see there can be a lot of factors that can affect the way a site will rank in terms of SERPs, and a lot of these factors are things you will want to keep in mind when considering your SEO strategy. Remember, the better your site ranks, the better your visibility. If you are an online business, more visibility means more sales.
But this does not have to be overwhelming at all and there are great tutorials out there to help you learn how to maximize your placement. The simplest tip, of course, is to make sure that the content you have up is quality content that people want to read. This is what is going to draw them in. User intent should be the focus for creating and sharing quality content.
In addition to all the above mentioned updates: duplicate, plagiarized or thin content, user-generated spam, and keyword stuffing has always been a core part of every Google algorithm update. These are very important to avoid for better search engine optimization of your website.
You can run regular checks to keep everything up to good quality standing. Another important thing is avoiding spammy links on your website. Google doesn’t take spam links lightly these days. That’s why you need to monitor your site links and back links regularly for better SEO results. Do your research and find an SEO consultant or SEO Company that can guide you on SEO tools for monitoring your website back links.
And then, of course, once you have drawn your users in, that quality and informative content is what is going to keep them wanting to come back. Your website conversion rates will increase accordingly!