Your website is one of your business’s most powerful tools for attracting new customers and keeping current customers informed when they make online searches. For this reason, your website needs to rank highly on the results pages of the world’s most popular search engine. Ranking highly on Google, though, is easier said than done. But armed with a little knowledge, you can make smart decisions on how to optimize the content on your site so it ranks highly. Here is some information about how Google is changing the search industry, and what you can expect in the future.
1. Google Updates Their Algorithms More Than You May Realize
It’s Google’s job to deliver reliable search results to people looking for information. Because of this, Google has gotten even better at understanding our search terms and the context surrounding them. In the past, Google was able to recognize certain terms but struggled with understanding conversational phrasing. But because of the way people use search engines changes constantly, Google has to be extremely flexible and adaptable to stay on top of the search engine game.
Google uses specialized algorithms to understand, categorize, and rank every webpage on the internet so that it can quickly return accurate results when someone makes a query. Though Google has made some major changes to their algorithms in the past few years, they’re constantly making smaller updates. For businesses, this means that their page rankings may change, but not to worry. Just as Google’s algorithms evolve, so do online search tactics. Staying ahead of the curve on algorithm changes can really give your business a boost.
2. Google’s Algorithms Are Getting Smarter
Google is at the forefront when it comes to machine learning and natural language processing (NLP). These new technologies help computers understand elements of human conversation and can teach them the meaning of new words and phrases. For example, Google introduced an algorithm update in 2019 called BERT. This update was considered by Google to be its most significant change in the previous five years. This algorithm uses NLP to fully understand the meanings of unknown words by using the words and context that surround them. This update was a huge step up for Google and their ability to understand the intent behind searches.
Users around the globe conduct billions of searches every day, and Google gathers useful data from each one of these searches. Machine learning thrives on high-quality data, and Google has an ample source of relevant data from all the searches conducted. Machine learning algorithms analyze trends, words, and phrases that are often used in conjunction, and how certain words relate to one another and then use this to make predictions about the meaning, context, and user intent of searches. Google is getting better at understanding exactly how humans think and speak.
3. Big Changes Are Coming Next Year for Online Search
Earlier this year, Google announced an algorithm slated for next year that focuses on the usability and user experience of websites. While the content of your site is important to how Google ranks you, so is the experience that users have on your website. If your site isn’t quick, responsive, and easy to use, people might get frustrated and leave before they have a chance to find the information they were looking for. Google doesn’t just want to return the most useful and informative results, they want the information to be easy to access as well.
Google’s new update, called Google Page Experience will analyze how quickly your web pages load, how quickly your site responds to user input, and how visually stable your site is. Google has created an initiative called Web Vitals to detail the metrics that are most important to ranking:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): this metric measures your site’s loading performance. A website with an LCP metric will have the largest piece of content on a page load within 2.5 seconds.
- First Input Delay (FID): this metric measures the interactivity of your site. When a visitor does something on your site (i.e. clicks a button), the site should respond in 100 milliseconds or less.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): this metric measures the visual stability of your site. Do certain elements on your page move (i.e. ads or images)? This can sometimes be distracting, so your pages should have a CLS of less than 0.1.
To prepare for this algorithm change, make sure that your site responds quickly. Pages filled with large, high-quality images can take a long time to load, so it’s important to optimize the images, code, and files on your site.
4. Now Is The Time You Need To Focus On Your SEO Strategy
With big changes on the horizon, it’s important to focus on building a strong SEO strategy now. In fact, using outdated SEO techniques can actually have a negative impact on your overall ranking. Though keywords are still important, focus on a holistic content marketing strategy that includes creating helpful, informative content that your audience is looking for. Following a topic cluster model is an SEO technique that may work for many businesses. It works to let Google know that you’re an expert in your field based on how you structure the links and content on your pages.
Also, make sure that your site is optimized for mobile browsing, as mobile’s share of browsing will only continue to increase in the coming years. Google ranks sites that aren’t designed for mobile use lower, as this can impact the user experience. When planning an SEO strategy, focus on what your audience really wants and needs, and aim to delight them from the first interaction they have on your website.
If you want to get a better handle on which SEO tactics are best for your business, a professional agency may be able to help. At Bash Foo, we have 20 years of experience in digital marketing, and we are happy to help make your marketing goals a reality. Contact us so we can help you find a marketing solution that meets your business’s unique needs.