For those that know me well, they will tell you that the amount of research that I do into making sure that we get the right results for SEO is fairly substantial. During the past week I have literally taken the amount of research to a whole new level. Why? Well there have been a few changes in the past week that have seen a few late nights and a lot of reading going on here in the bat cave. So now it is time to update you on what has been going on.
A few months ago Google made a change to their Webmaster Guidelines from what read “In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.” and they changed it to “In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.” In short we went from link building through to Link Earning to good quality websites that are easy to follow and have great content. So if you are thinking about a website redesign, have a close think about restructuring your site to be completely friendly to your visitors and write all your content for those visitors rather than anything for the search engines. Then get blogging and get your site found, liked, shared and followed by as many people as possible.
The change came as a bit of a notification that there was a massive change in the algorithm coming again. We all get scared when these happen because we never know what they might bring, especially those that have taken their foot off the gas a little. Luckily due to the change to the webmaster guidelines we were aware that something was coming and it was coming within a few months. Now before I go on I will just say that Google Updates happen on a regular basis and we hardly notice anything most of the time. What has actually been happening over the past few months is that Google have rolled out Hummingbird, their biggest algorithm change since 2010.
What is Google Hummingbird?
Well it just so happens it is the biggest change to the search engine since 2010 when they ran an update called caffeine.
Should I panic about SEO?
Errr in a nutshell no. Basically if you have been following the guidelines and you haven’t been trying to cheat the system then you are good and most of all if you are adding good quality content to your website on a regular basis and talking about your brand as well as getting content on other websites then you will be doing all the right things you need to be doing to get ranked.
So what else are those lovely people at Google up to?
Oh my what aren’t they up to. Well before I go into a bit of a rant about one of the things that will effect all business owners, they have also updated their mobile results to be unified across all browsers and browser sizes. In their own words it will mean “A simpler, more unified design on mobile devices.” I have to admit with all the things they have done in the past 7 days to cause the removal of play devices from my pram, this one is actually a really good idea as it will mean it doesn’t matter if you are on an iPad, iPhone or Android device you will always get the results looking the same. (I hate saying it) but it looks like good work at the moment.
The cause of a lot of lost sleep and the invention of some new words as the confusion of which 4 letter expletive was going to come out about Google next and the excessive coffee intake caused a confusion in the brain to mouth functionality. (Ask me over a beer one day what I said I am sure it will make you giggle). The dreaded increase in the amount of keywords that now give the phrase (not provided).
If you go to your Google Analytics account and drill down to your traffic section you will see in there you have the ability to see search traffic and it will say “Organic” if you click here you will notice that most of your keywords now say (not provided). This means you won’t know if “Wedding Rings” or “Fish and Chips” are sending you traffic unless you can find your way around the history and the reverse engineering that is possible through your own knowledge of your websites we can still find good keywords and get you ranked for them. HOWEVER it will now be impossible to say for certain that you are getting traffic from certain sources.
Now a little history see’s us going back two years to when this was originally introduced when it effected around 2% of all searches, earlier this week we saw this rise to over 76% and according to www.notprovidedcount.com who are monitoring through numerous different websites the growth of the (not provided) count in analytics says it will hit 100% not provided from Google traffic on the 19th of November (just over 6 weeks from now).
So from now on we will be looking at reporting on ranking and increases in traffic so our clients know they are growing rather than being able to say for certain that traffic is converting for you through particular keywords.
In short all of the above literally means that by following the guidelines, creating great quality content that people want to link to and not trying to find a way to be at the system all the time, then your efforts will continue to grow your brand, your traffic and your business online.
In conclusion for the past 8 years one of the most important things I have always maintained is that no matter how frustrating it is and how long it can take you need to ensure that you build a good solid and highly recommended and recognisable brand. Make sure that you always do the basic things that need doing for your website, blogging being the most important and talking to people and being nice another major one.
Who would have thought that the company is only 15 years old and the domain Google.com was only registered in 1997! Now they have their own Oxford Dictionary Entry.