As users’ needs become more sophisticated, so too do search engines in their mission to ensure they provide these users with the most relevant, informative content; making ranking for specific keywords and phrases more challenging than ever before. So, here, we’ll talk you through why search ranking factors are constantly changing.
Gathering more data than ever before: when Google was first born in the mid-90s, it was a simple, stripped down search engine famously displaying just 10 blue links. Today, it’s the supercharged, world-leading entity all web developers and designers bow down to. Why? Because of the amount of data it is now able to gather – not only about our websites and everything surrounding them, but about the users using them. This ability to gather more intricate, detailed, and complex data than ever before means that it’s constantly learning, and therefore constantly changing to respond to what it understands as important to its users.
A deeper understanding of user intent: all search engines, not only Google!, are preoccupied with ensuring that the end user receives the best experience possible. For these search engines, this simply means delivering the most relevant search results available for their search terms. This has made understanding user intent a priority for search engines; recognising the difference between “What is a digital marketing agency?” and “Digital marketing agency near me”, for example.
Search engines don’t just look for one keyword anymore: where a decade ago, you may have been able to claimed the top spot on Google for one single keyword placed strategically throughout your website, today search engines are so much more intuitive, and will rank your site based on potentially hundreds of keywords and phrases it thinks are most relevant.
The way users search is changing: particularly with the invention and acceleration of voice search, the way users search is now changing at a rate previously unseen. Where, once upon a time, users would use just one word or a handful of separate words to search the informative landscape known as the World Wide Web from their slow & clunky desktop computer, now users ask questions; rely on their mobiles, and search for events & establishments near them. Internet usage is no longer static, and search engines have a duty to reflect this, seen in the adoption of things like Google My Business and making mobile first design a priority.
Search engines now analyse more than just your website: when search engines analyse your website in order to rank it, they look at much more than simply the content on your website. Where this may be the place they start, it’s certainly not where they end. Search engines also look at everything that exists around your site, too, such as: inbound & outbound links and social media platforms. To search engines, your website doesn’t exist in isolation, and is part of a much larger, more complex, ecosystem of information.
Whilst ever-changing search ranking factors can feel endlessly frustrating – especially when your rankings dramatically drop overnight for a previously high-ranking keyword or phrase – the best way to deal with this is to embrace it.
Part of the beauty of the digital world is that it is always evolving; becoming more intuitive, more intelligent, and providing us with even more data through which we can learn even more about our audience(s).
This ability to continually learn allows us to target our content; our blogs, our social media posts, our adverts etc. even more effectively with every change that occurs – saving us time and money in the long run.
By investing your resources in activity such as:
You can stay ahead of the game and ensure you’re always giving search engines like the almighty Google something to chew on.
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