It’s hard to believe Google was founded nearly 20 years ago. Since its launch, human behavior has been completely altered. But as technology has continued to advance, so too has the evolution of search – we can search for anything, anytime, anywhere (provided you have service!).
Nearly a decade ago, mobile was the next big step in search. According to the Pew Research Center, 77% of Americans have smartphones and 51% have tablets. And today, with the rise of personal digital assistants like the Google Home and Amazon Echo, voice search has officially taken hold.
Advancement in search means convenience and instant knowledge for consumers. But what does it mean for businesses?
Simply put, a company’s “success” online means being found by the people who might purchase or use their products and services. Being found online means staying up-to-date on how Google works. And with ever-changing algorithms, it’s important to stay in the know.
Below, we break down the latest Google updates you need to know in 2017:
Google’s algorithm only wants websites with relevant and quality content to reach the top search rankings. The Panda update allows Google to measure the quality of a website, and rank it accordingly.
What this means for you: As searchers type in keywords, websites are crawled by Google’s algorithm to understand if a site has the best content the person is looking for. Based on the quality of the majority of a website’s pages, the Panda update adjusts rankings of websites in Google’s organic search section. The better and more relevant a website’s content, the higher it’ll appear in search results. This means it’s vital your website has clearly laid out information, relevant keywords and the whole site is easy to navigate. Read more on SearchEngineLand.com.
Google uses links to crawl the web to navigate between pages within a website and to external sites. The Penguin update determines quality of those links, so as deter sites with low-quality links from ranking high in search results.
What this means for you: Through the Penguin update, Google catches sites that buy links in efforts to try to improve their rankings as well as low quality links that direct people to pages with irrelevant information. Link building is an important part of SEO, which is why it’s important to research how to do it right. We like The Beginner’s Guide to Link Building from Moz.
Google’s goal when you search is to present the websites with the best answers to your query. Hummingbird, which is the name for Google’s overall algorithm, now essentially sorts through websites taking into account conversational search, such as “Where is the closest place to my home to purchase a Serta mattress?”. A traditional search engine would focus on “purchase” and “Serta mattress”.
What this means for you: Taking conversational inquires into account, Google is searching the web for pages that match the entire query and not just specific keywords. For the example above, it would take into account the location from which a person was searching whereas before it would focus solely on the primary keywords. This is also relevant as more people are searching via Siri and through other voice software.
SearchEngineLand calls RankBrain “Google’s name for a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that’s used to help process its search results.” What’s important to note about RankBrain is it does not handle all searches, rather it is simply a part of the Hummingbird algorithm. Through machine learning, it primarily deals with queries that have never been seen before (which accounts for approximately 15% of searches each day).
What this means for you: While RankBrain may be more of a tool in Google’s arsenal to help the online search giant stay relevant, the bottom line is businesses need to understand their customer’s behavior. You may be showing up for searches who know some of the keywords or phrases related to your business or your industry, but what about all those who don’t? The ones who are starting with more generalized searches and expecting Google to fill in what they don’t yet know. By understanding your customer and the path they take to solve a need will help you better create the content to catch some of these more generalized queries. Learn more about Rank Brain at SearchEngineLand.
As you can see, the common thread in all of this is know thy customer and create the relevant content that will not only provide value to them, but also appeal to Google.
Stay tuned. Next week we’ll dive into the latest Google tools that will help you do business.