When people think about keeping up with the latest algorithms, they are usually thinking in terms of trying to “beat” the search engines. In other words, they’re trying to stay one step ahead of Google. Keeping up with the newest algorithms isn’t a game where you’re trying to come out on top. Instead, it’s your ability to better understand the search engines and what they are looking for. You can then use this information to work with them. When you take this approach, you’ll find that your thinking is less reactive and more proactive.
What’s the Deal with all these Algorithms?
Search engines are products of the companies that own them. Google is a company that makes millions off its search engine. Just like you need to keep your products relevant to your customers, Google needs to keep its search engine functional, too. That’s why it continues to make changes that ensure users are satisfied.
All of Google’s algorithms are designed to improve the user experience. When people trust Google to deliver timely, accurate and quality search results, they choose to use their product over others.
Changing Your Way of Thinking
In some industries, it’s hard to predict what’s going to be important. But in this industry, all you have to do is realize the things that are important to you as a customer.
Think back to the days when you entered a couple of keywords into the search bar and got back spammy sites just because they included those keywords half a million times? That was frustrating, wasn’t it? Thanks to semantic search, you can now type any question into Google and get a fairly accurate response.
When thinking about what types of things will be important for the search engines one day, consider your own user experience. This will help you think on the same path as Google and prepare you for future algorithms.
How to Keep Up with the Algorithms
Now that you have a new thinking cap on, it’s time to think like Google thinks. Remember, you’re trying to work with them, not ahead or against them.
Let’s look at a few tips for keeping up with the algorithms.
Put Your Audience First
Google tries to put their users first. They do this by including the best content in the search results. I feel they do a pretty good job at it, too. When I search for something, I typically get exactly what I’m looking for in the first few results.
With this in mind, it’s imperative that you create content that is written to your audience. You must learn how to talk to them specifically, even though you may be ruling out a wider audience. When Google sees that your content is high in quality and written to a specific niche, your website will have a higher chance of ranking well.
Create Valuable Content
Expanding on the topic of content, it’s important to create valuable content that is right for your audience. You then need to take things a step further and distribute your content through the right marketing channels. Don’t worry about being on every channel. That’s impossible. Be on the ones where your audience is active.
Your content should align with your audience. If you sell products for moms-to-be, you’ll likely find your audience on Pinterest and Facebook. They will probably enjoy vibrant Pinterest boards and relatable blog posts. If you sell software for businesses, on the other hand, your content will have a more serious tone, and your audience can be better reached on channels like LinkedIn.
Also keep in mind that content helps consumers at every stage of the purchase funnel. You should have content created for the discovery phase, the lead nurturing phase and the conversion. Don’t just think in terms of completing the sale, either. Think about the entire lifetime value of the customer. What brings them to your product? What will they be doing after they’ve made the purchase?
Look to the Future
If you are constantly waiting to see what the search engines do and then reacting, you’re going to be chasing a dream that others are catching. Rather than waiting around for the next big news to hit, think ahead to the coming changes.
What types of things are users hoping to see with the search engines? Better contextual meaning of terms? Improved local searches? Do you think that the search engines will accommodate these needs? If they do, how will this impact your content?
When thinking ahead, remember that the current generations using the internet can only know so much. It’s really the younger generations that will be changing the online experience to fit their needs. It pays to know what the younger crowds are thinking when they use the internet, what their needs are and what their expectations will be.
A final piece of advice is to always stay in compliance. Many webmasters have learned the hard way that cutting corners doesn’t result in any rewards. Even if you’re not blatantly engaging in spammy SEO practices, your website can suffer just for being lazy, complacent or poor in quality.
For example, if you’re not creating relevant, quality content, you can be penalized. If your content is duplicated, short or keyword heavy, it can also be penalized. The same goes if you have low quality links, slow loading times, a Flash website and more. Google has rules, and they often share their expectations with us. Follow them if you want to be a part of their success strategy.
Most of Google’s updates are aimed at providing a better user experience. By understanding what’s important to Google and what technology will look like in the future, you can make strategic decisions for your business. This is what will get you better rankings and offer you protection from penalties.
There’s no reason to fear Google algorithm updates. They are, in essence, designed for you.