It used to be easy to rank high on Google. Gone are the days of gaming the system, and for some digital marketers, this might be a bummer.
In 2019, it’s going to take more thought and time to get to the top of SERPs, as Google is working to rank more content that is of quality above all others. This is in an attempt to provide users with the best content available on the web that answers their specific questions.
I feel the transition away from keyword dense content is excellent news for the internet as a whole. The web is saturated with content. These standards will effectively succeed at ending search engine overload, which Bing failed at when it launched under this slogan.
Algorithms Change to Rank Quality Content
To preserve the integrity of the Internet, Google and other search engines have been forced to make algorithm changes routinely.
You need to get away from robotic keyword rich blog posts. Getting back to writing for humans means better websites. Also, less time wasted clicking around to find what you were searching for.
If you’re not a good writer, it’s time to hire one. While you’re at it, search for online marketing services to take your content from concept to conversion. The transition to SERPs ranking more quality content over keyword quantity can be illustrated by Google’s algorithm updates, which seems to change with the seasons.
Let’s Talk About the Google Petting Zoo
Google’s SERPs are most likely where you’re trying to get to the top of. In case you aren’t already SEO-savvy, I’m happy to inform you that Google gave each official algorithm change a cute animal name.
Let’s take a quick look at some of these changes.
In 2011, Google rolled out Panda — the search algorithm change that killed duplicate content, affiliate link pushers and advertisement overload.
Panda took care of pages designed to rank rather than provide valuable information in one fell swoop. It was a game changer for marketers. And it taught us what Google felt was quality, lessons that still apply today.
With the 2012 release of Penguin, we said goodbye to scrapers and crappy backlink schemes. Google addressed the quality of links in articles.
This update suppressed results that were generated by leaving comments on unrelated sites with your website’s URL. Also, any content chock full of keywords that are trying to game SERPs got knocked down.
Has it been a while since you checked your backlinks, or not sure if a client previously paid an unscrupulous Fiverr gig to rank on Google? Use a tool like Moz to audit your websites and start cleaning up. If you’re not ready to take that task on alone, hire a company like Boostability that can help you with search engine optimization.
In 2013, Google implemented a SERP update that gave preference to more extended content. No more quick and easy blog posts, the lengthier, the better.
The Hummingbird algorithm is also where keywords became runner-up to topic focus. What does this mean? Focus on your niche. Research the target clientele and be more thorough.
If you’ve ever worked in sales, you probably know you shouldn’t let a lead off the phone without answering all “if, and, and but” questions. You have to close the deal by calming their doubts on that call.
Similarly, you should close any gaps in information on your blog posts. Try going through past articles and fill them in with more detailed information. Stretch content out, write long-form for the win.
Pigeon, Possum, and Fred
Less revolutionary for content but still important were the Pigeon, Mobile and Possum updates.
Pigeon came out in 2014 and helped location-specific content rank appropriately. This was of most importance for location-based businesses. It helped separate ranking between local and global results based on user inputs.
Similarly, Possum in 2016 boosted results for pages based on a user’s location or where they are searching from.
In between the geography-centric changes was Mobile. It did just what it sounds like, gave preference to pages that optimized for mobile.
Last but not least was the Fred update in 2017. Fred expanded on Panda in combating marginal and weak content — think short articles without much depth or valuable info. Also, it focused on pages’ intent on revenue.
The Perpetual SEO Roller Coaster
There have been a plethora of additional updates to Google’s algorithms since what I’ve described above. However, these were the monumental changes thus far.
Like I said earlier, you have to keep your finger on the pulse of SEO to stay relevant. Just this past February over Valentine’s Day weekend there was a flurry of updates. These updates focused on preferring sites optimized for mobile and sites that load faster.
Marketers, stay at the edge of your seats. Your client’s traffic rapidly changes with each algorithm update, and it’s our job to fix and repeat. If you’re working as a small business owner to handle marketing yourself, you may want a little help in the SEO services department.
Always Quality Over Quantity
Keywords won’t do much good for you if they aren’t in context. If you’re dropping keywords into your content and they don’t match your site or your article, it’s a waste of time.
Quality of content is the new SEO. Let keywords happen naturally, they must flow within your blog articles and throughout your websites. It’s as essential as ever to use keywords in your title and meta tags, but make sure it’s intriguing and of value.
Don’t be tempted to force a keyword into anything if it doesn’t make sense or sound good when read aloud.
Success in content marketing ultimately defaults to becoming an authority in your niche. If you’re not sharing expert advice, you’re not ranking. Keep writing original, quality content or Google won’t rank you well.