Search Engine Optimisation has long been the way we ensure our websites are found on the search engines, and since the birth of Google, it’s been a critical part of the success of most websites.
Back in the ‘old days’ it was all about stuffing your website with the right keywords you wanted to be found with, however it didn’t take long for web developers to realise they could simply add their competitors details into the meta-tag information and in many cases out rank them with their own business name.
So Google started getting smarter. Like a child, in its infancy, Google was still learning, stumbling and basically learning to walk.
Move ahead more than a decade and Google’s algorithms are much more complex, and evolving and learning every day.
Search Engine Optimisation is no longer about keywords, but your website’s authority and value in information that it can offer those looking for your services.
Google now acts and interact more like a human, watching carefully how your content connects with the audience, both on your website and how it is shared and liked on your social media channels, business directories, the value and quality of your backlinks, even your web servers ‘neighbourhood’, analysing every aspect of your website and giving it a value score to determine where you should rank.
For an SEO specialist, understanding how Google ‘thinks’ now actually makes it easier than ever before to get your website ranking above your competitors, by simply thinking laterally in the same way we as humans value someone and the services they provide.
It’s simple and brilliant.
But we are about to enter into a whole new stage of ‘SEO’ like nothing we have ever seen before. In fact it has already started, and it’s time to start preparing your website for the future before you are left behind.
The age of personalised sales automation has begun, where Google don’t just provide you with results based on your search results, but very soon it will start generating information to suit your interests, traits, habits, gender, age, taste, health and much more as it starts to capture information to learn more about you than you know about yourself.
Google will be able to assist in tasks such as assisting your friends with buying you gifts for your birthday, based on your personal habits and interests from the data it has collected about you via your online presence.
It will start learning information about you to assist in your lifestyle, such as helping you plan and book your vacation based on places you have visited previously, travel sites you have searched for, ebooks you have read or purchased, and other sites or banner ads you may have looked at to find reviews on travel sites. It then combined this data with your age, your interests, your travel data obtained via Google Maps, and possibly your health data, to determine you need a holiday and here are some suggestions. It could even suggest to your friends that you may like a travel bag for your upcoming birthday!
Or another example may be reminding you that your favourite band is playing in town, based on how many times you have watched the band on Youtube, listened to them on Spotify, Liked their posts on Facebook, or purchased any of their music on the Apple Store. Much of this information is now available, and already being crunched into our digital profiles to assist us, and prompt us.
How do we optimize our websites for the future?
This is actually something you can start doing now, as Google are no doubt already learning and adding these formulas and patterns into their algorithms.
By ensuring a few steps are taken, you can be ready for the next big change in SEO.
- Ensure all your content is relevant and provides value.
Google can see from your sitemap when you last changed the content of a webpage, and obviously the more recent the date, the more relevant it is probably going to be. So ensuring your pages are kept up to date and resaved to update the date ensures you are more relevant than your competitors. Also ensure your text offers value to your readers, explaining the services and the advantages of them thoroughly, but naturally, as if you are speaking to someone about them.
- Ensure you add the address and phone number of your business, and the trading hours. Google is more likely to locally promote a business if it knows the location and trading hours, so that it can recommend to mobile users the closest business that is open.
- Connect with your audience via social media and blogging.
If Google knows you regularly provide actual support and assistance and provide extra value then it is more likely to promote you over your competitors that don’t socially interact.
- Keep your site structure up to date.
If you run a WordPress website you’ll know it requires WordPress updates, plugin updates and theme updates. When these are not updated it can compromise the chance of your site being hacked or delimiting functionality and speed. Google is clever enough to be able to see the versions and when the plugins were last updated, again ensuring the health of your site and also reassuring that your visitors computer won’t be compromised by any malicious coding.
If you keep these in mind, as well as generally promote your website as you should, it will assist Google in providing the very best customer service to it’s visitors, so they can find what they want even more easily, and making you the first choice.