Today SEO holds as much importance for any business as a whiff of fresh air for us. Google’ recent changes give some indications as to the direction we are heading. Old SEO methods are not as effective as they once were because of these changes. Strategic SEO requires real marketing, not just going for links. Here are a few indications this is true.
Loss Of Keyword Data
Until recently, Google provided the keyword data for the visitors who visited a particular website through Google search, within Google Analytics -> Traffic Source data. This enabled understanding of website visitors’ intentions and helped businesses evaluate the effectiveness of website flow and landing pages. Tracking keyword data helped in conversion optimization and targeting new keywords. Over the past couple of years, Google has slowly encrypted keyword data and recently began encrypting 80 to 90% of queries.
The only option is to use Google Adwords to test performance for different keywords and measure the results they deliver. Google provides the keyword data for its PPC program. Remember, to use only exact match when carrying out such a research. This will provide valuable insight as to which keywords are generating the most conversions and you can focus your resources on them. Alternatively, you can also use a less precise method of reviewing Google Analytics to see which pages are getting the most traffic and compare those pages with keywords that are ranking. You can gain some insight, but it introduces more guessing.
Author Rank Update
Author Rank was introduced way back in 2011 and many bloggers and site owners are using it to gain the advantage of having their image next to their results in the SERPs along with related schema information. But Google did not build Author Rank out of the goodness of its heart. It helps Google to determine the authority of a particular website, brand, or personality by the quantity of content generated on related topics, number of shares it gets on social networking sites, the number of people in a circle, number of likes it gets on those pages and various other factors that are used extensively available on social media sites.
The importance of Author Rank is only going to increase as Google will be able to get more data and place some more importance to the author of the content. Some predict it will have an impact on webpage ranking in that a webpage written by an “unknown” will rank lower than a webpage written by a high authority author. Do you know what your Author Rank is? Check out this new tool (in beta) to check your Author Rank.
Google+ Takes Center Stage
Google+ was launched in 2011 and was the entry point for Google into social networking. Although the tool did not get rapid acceptance, in recent times its acceptance is growing. Google active promotion of the tool by integrating it into the center of many functions like Author Rank and rel Publisher, have boosted that acceptance.
If you plan to utilize Google to market your company, use G+ regularly in your social media campaigns. Networking data can provide great insights to Google about a company or brand and to stay ahead of the competition. It is likely those who don’t use it will fall behind.
What the SEO of the future looks like?
Focus will be more on quality content and content marketing. Google reps like Matt Cutts have stressed on several occasions to focus on the content and the user experience to grow your online business. Avoid direct self-promotion and rather promote in a way that encourages others to talk about your business. Mentions in news, websites, and social media will build your brand and your website traffic as well as your SEO authority. Anyone working on SEO needs to create a team of experts who are not only able to create excellent content, but also promote it by using 360-degree marketing across the web and even beyond the online world.
The bottom line for all the Google updates (past and future) is to understand what your target audience wants, provide a greater experience for users across device platforms (mobiles, tablets and laptops), and do it in a way that is creative and attention-getting. Really, this is the way it always should have been done. Google is just getting smarter at enforcing the rules.
Author Bio: Bernard Naylor is an online consultant for Clarity Way, an inpatient drug and alcohol rehab facility that provides intensive individualized treatment programs. He also likes blogging about online strategies that are related to SEO, content, PPC, and lead generation.