Many a search engine marketer has tried explaining the simplest ABCs of search engine optimisation (SEO) to answer the cocktail party query, “So, just what is it you do?” Nearly as many have been met with glazed-over stares complementing polite nods and forced smiles.
The both unfortunate and fascinating truth? The SEO engine powers e-commerce forward with moving parts operating together as precisely as any finely tuned muscle-car engine. Companies hire us to ponder the intricate things that, were their managers and employees themselves to throw themselves into pondering them, would only distract them from the businesses of their own livelihoods. We make it our competitive advantage to specialise in essentially “thinking like the Internet”.
Nevertheless, professional SEOs can tap a practically immortal vein of leads sold on the seemingly esoteric tongue and ways of online marketplaces. Occasionally, it even comes down to something as simple as a practiced prowess for clearly (and briefly, in actual “human” language) explaining how what we do at our best can strap a rocket to any brand ready to conceive an online network. Consider these most recent topics near our industry’s pulse to be your ideal starting points for keeping your captive audience’s rapt fascination just a bit more genuine.
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper once said, “Just when you think you have all the answers, I change the questions.” We feel certain he would have made a superb SEO maven, had professional wrestling and acting not panned out.
Through the past ten years arguably more than at any other time since the worldwide advent of the Internet, consumers have overwhelmingly turned first to the web to seek the ideal local purveyors of any and all products and services under the sun. From books to ballpoint pens to bathroom renovations, if your friends and neighbours need it, they will turn first to a search engine for recommendations – almost certainly, to Google.
As it happens, Google has rewritten every rule. April 2015 ushered in Google’s official shift toward awarding prime priority rankings to sites with mobile-optimised code. It makes the most perfect sense: tippy-top results enjoy their headlining statuses because they generate the smoothest, most user-friendly experience. The more versatile a site’s performance across any and all devices – especially with an exponentially increasing volume preferring mobile browsing – the more cemented as a widely useful, authoritative home of information a site or app becomes.
Cater to how customers use your product, or spare the surprise when left pages behind your competitors among search results.
THE PANDA AND THE PENGUIN
Tech conversations can all strike the same wall before either half of the chat knows what hit it: jargon.
Among the less digitally inclined in particular, referencing Google’s often code-named search frameworks can become dicey in half a heartbeat. Case in point, ordinary people who read every day about Google’s “Panda” and “Penguin” projects but never receive a confident grasp of why they keep popping up in conversations.
Simply put, these two code-names represent recognisable mile-markers in Google’s quest for instantly delivered, scary-intuitive search results. More importantly, these tweaks to how Google assesses indexed sites to determine which competitors merit front-and-center seats have sharpened the world’s most used, powerful search engine in the name of keeping SEOs honest.
As a practice, Google has buried keyword-stuffing 12 feet underground beneath a foot of solid steel. The still-evolving Panda and Penguin algorithm changes have ushered in considerations rewarding sites that fit the profiles of how online consumers engage and share content. Instead of mathematically crunching keyword concentrations, Panda and Penguin have aided Google in measurably prioritising sites that:
- Optimize for mobile platforms
- Establish a consistent, engaging social presence (especially via YouTube and Google+)
- Regularly produce organic, high-quality content that users love to share
Google isn’t a coldly efficient calculator anymore. It thinks and passes judgment. Shape your strategies accordingly.
SEO IS NOT A TOOL – IT’S AN ENGINE
Here’s the most important part, and the one that can truly turn a conversation into a “Tell me more…” moment of lead-cultivation: SEO is no longer an island.
Analysts declared not so long ago we faced the dawn of “SEO” ageing gracefully into a somewhat archaic term that grew in definition beyond its original identity. Keywords alone won’t maximise any entity’s visibility ever again. Social media and the supernova expansion of mobile browsing and interaction lit the big bang that coalesced all things internet into a collective whole greater than the sum of its parts. Like the twisted steel under a Mustang’s hood, every part – content marketing, social media, branding and the like – either work cohesively together or they don’t “work” long-term at all.
SEO – or “search engine marketing” more commonly these days – is a fascinating beast. It just isn’t one easily trifled with unless one knows it in a fairly intimate way.
Starting late April 2015, Google will be giving ranking priority to sites that are mobile-friendly. As more and more people start using their mobiles to access the internet, it makes sense that Google would change their algorithm to better suit their users. The search engine will now help mobile-friendly sites, as well as apps, rank higher.