For some, all the Google algorithms and trying to understand what they all mean can be a huge challenge. Google wants to be able to provide an excellent range of answers to all the searches made so you can maybe understand why they have done what they have. This however, is no comfort for anyone who has had a problem with these algorithms. Many businesses focus on having a high ranking on the search engines so that they can be found. Having a high ranking is one thing but having high volumes of traffic is quite another and is actually what most site owners should be aiming for. Of course there will be those who want it all and want it now and perhaps they will achieve that for a short while but what you need to understand is that using SEO is a marathon rather than a sprint and it takes time to build your website’s rankings.
There’s a joke going around based on Google’s many, many recent changes.
Q: Why are all of Google’s updates—Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird —named for animals?
A: Because managing SEO has become a frickin’ zoo.
How funny you find this joke depends on how badly this stampede of animal-themed algorithm updates—as well as the increase in “Not provided” traffic to your site—has hurt your brand and your business. And I suspect for many of you, it’s not funny at all.
But, does this mean that you’re screwed, done, cooked? That SEO, for you anyway, really is dead?
Of course not.
Instead, to manage in this environment, the real questions worth asking are:
- What connects these Google updates?
- Why do they matter to you?
- And, most important, what do you do about them?
So, What Connects Google’s Recent Updates?
Customers. Your content has to focus on the needs of your customers. Whereas search engines traditionally have looked at various signals about your content to rank pages—inbound links, keyword placement, keyword frequency, etc.—these new algorithms and engine updates look at what customers value and rank your content in the search engine accordingly.
However, this isn’t really new. Google’s been providing this same guidance for years. As Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land notes in his Hummingbird FAQ:
“…Google’s saying there’s nothing new or different SEOs or publishers need to worry about. Guidance remains the same, it says: have original, high-quality content. Signals that have been important in the past remain important” [Emphasis mine.]
Why Does This Matter?
This one’s simple. Your site undoubtedly depends on Google for traffic, because your customers depend on Google for answers to their questions.
Now, here’s the best part. While some of Google’s most recent moves may be less “Do No Evil” than expected from Big G, in this case, you and Google have the same objective. Your customers use search engines to answer questions and uncover solutions to their problems. As such, they don’t want a “search” engine; they want a “find” engine. The better job your content does at answering those questions, the more customers will value your content.