As consumer behavior shifted over the years, search engines have changed their search algorithms to match them. Afterall, they are in the business of providing consumers with the most accurate information to help them make a purchasing decision. Has your business’s SEO practices changed as well?
Over the past few years, there have been 4 major updates to Google’s algorithms that have affected website’s SEO strategies. And these updates continue to release new versions to make sure that Google is staying on top of the World Wide Web and continue to deliver the best results to searchers. Here’s a recap of the updates:
- Panda (first released in February 2011): Designed to stop websites with poor quality content from showing up in the top results. Poor quality refers to duplicated, irrelevant, or misleading content.
- Penguin (first released in April 2012): Designed to catch websites that appeared to be practicing spamming behavior, such as buying links or obtaining links through link networks designed to boost Google rankings.
- Hummingbird (first released in September 2013): Designed to focus on the whole search query’s meaning versus the individual words. Pages that match the meaning perform better than pages that match just a few words.
- Pigeon (first released in July 2014): Designed to provide more useful, relevant, and accurate local search results to create a better experience for searchers seeking local results.
All of these updates focused on one thing: quality. Google is in the business of keeping searchers happy by providing them with the answers to their search queries. There is now less emphasis on technical SEO, such as link-building and keywords, and more focus on user experience and engagement. So how can you make sure that your online presence is high quality?
- Content- One way your website can stay relevant with Google is to have engaging, non-duplicating content on your website. Content that keeps the visitors on your website, that causes them to make a conversion, or that turns heads (people start linking to you!) will give you authority with search engines.
- Social- YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine, Twitter has nearly 2.1 billion search queries every day, and Facebook handles an estimated ½ billion on a daily basis. Not only are social platforms their own search engines, but Google SERPs also put a huge emphasis on social presence and will often times show up as one of the top search results.
- Consumer Behavior- Older SEO focused on specific keywords, but now, the focus needs to be on consumer behavior, conversational search and meaning. Instead of focusing content on single words, such as skid-steer or excavator, create content that informs and guides the consumer. An example would be: skid-steer loader safety for landscapers.
Often times as a new update is rolled out, businesses ask “Is SEO dead?” SEO will never die. Instead, it will continue to change and evolve to match the consumer. Be sure your website is evolving with it.
Are you wondering if your website has been affected by any of the updates? Have you seen a decrease in organic search traffic and rankings? Let us know in the comments section below and we will be sure to address your concerns!