Lately, there have been several changes within Google search results that will affect search strategy in the digital marketing world. Recently, Google removed the Authorship photos from the search results, modified the Local search algorithm with the Pigeon update, placed more emphasis on the In-Depth articles and placed less emphasis on video in the search share. While all of these changes will force businesses and marketing agencies to pivot their strategy, it must be recognized that Google is making significant changes to search more and more frequently.
Google’s cites an enhanced search experience for the user as their reasoning behind all of the changes in the search algorithm, the addition of Knowledge Graph and additional snippets, and the modifications within their own products like Google MyBusiness and Google Plus. While this is increasingly true, many people jump to conclusions that SEO is now obsolete, which is definitely not the case. Here are four reasons why SEO still matters to the digital human experience.
SEO Is Probably Not What You Think SEO Is.
Many people define Search Engine Optimization as little more than rankings and links. Others define it as the the optimization of technical elements on-site such as meta tags, alt tags, and anchor links. But, think about it. What does SEO stand for? Search Engine Optimization. There are so many elements to being found in search, but the true measure of success when it comes to SEO is growth–whether that comes in the form of sales, visitors, page views, site engagement, leads, or shares. You can use so many things available in search to your advantage including MyBusiness, directories, social, video, rich snippets, Adwords, technical, inbound links, and more. The ability to be found by people looking for your services is enhancing the human experience. Be relevant. Be engaging. Be found. Don’t give up on SEO; just change your thought process about what SEO is.
Content Can Be Written for Humans and SEO.
Have you ever sat down to write a blog? What comes to mind first: the keyword that you’re targeting or the topic you think will be most interesting to your audience? The theory is that you shouldn’t consider SEO when writing content, and you should only write for your audience. You want your content to be relevant and shared. But isn’t that writing for SEO? Isn’t SEO writing shareable, relevant content that helps you to be found? Writing for humans and writing for SEO aren’t mutually exclusive. Those goals can be achieved simultaneously. Don’t struggle to fit exact match keywords into your content where they don’t organically fit, but write about topics that will both be interesting to your audience and relevant to the topics for which you’re trying to be found in search.
Rich Snippets Can Work To Your Advantage.
Rich snippets are detailed pieces of information intended to help users with specific queries. One of the more popular examples of a rich snippet being employed in an effective way is for recipes.
Rich snippets should be part of any SEO expert’s strategy to help their website stand out in a unique way that also enhances the human experience on the search engine. There are several versions of rich snippets that can be used, including:
- Type of Business
- Phone Number
Inbound Links Are Still an Important Part of the Google Search Algorithm.
The inbound links that Google finds relevant are much different than those it appreciated just a couple of years ago. Google’s Webmaster penalties have been harsh and swift for those who have built links on irrelevant websites, and it’s been challenging for those penalized websites to have penalties lifted. Here’s the thing: research shows that quality inbound links are heavily weighted when it comes to Google’s search alogrithm.
You just need to start looking at link building differently. Think of link building as contributing to the conversation. Sharing links to your website on social, adding comments to relevant blogs, and providing your listing in relevant and local directories are all ways that you can build positive, quality links that enhance the human experience. Before adding a link, ask yourself: Would this link make sense to me if I were looking at it?
SEO is changing. SEO is evolving. SEO isn’t bad; it’s just different. It changes when Google changes its guidelines. Will there be a day when we aren’t able to optimize for presence in the search engines? Possibly, but that time isn’t now.