Search Engines are one of the most popular ways to drive traffic to your site, and over the years Search Engine Optimisation/Marketing (SEO/SEM) companies have been working on websites to do just that… optimise your website and market it to get the highest possible rankings in search engines.
But Google has made some major changes to it’s algorithms recently to “level the playing field” as many websites have come to be “over optimised”, i.e. written for search engines, or search engine friendly at the expense of being user friendly for a real person.
Google has made a shift to reward the websites that have been working hard for users to show high quality content. This has always been Google’s goal, to reward websites that are compelling, that users love, tell their friends about, bookmark, and visit over and over again.
Websites that abuse SEO by going beyond what a real person would expect to read, (e.g. too many keywords in a particular area) now might not rank as high as they did before. And Google will be continuing to to improve it’s algorithms to achieve this.
SEO really should be about two things;
- Using the collected online data to make smarter, more informed, marketing decisions online, e.g. to understanding your audience, develop high quality and relevant content that solves their problems…
- Creating a website infrastructure that is technically sound and easy for search engines to crawl and index.
Measure of Success
Search engine rankings and the traffic websites get from that shouldn’t be the measure of success.
If a website has been built solely to get high rankings, and site visitors view only the home page for 2 seconds and leave, (because the content is not relevant), then nothing has been achieved. (In-fact this scenario could be quite detrimental).
Businesses need to look at what happens to the traffic that arrives on their websites. What are they doing, how long are they staying, are they clicking on ‘calls to action’ (contacting you via your contact form, purchasing, or signing up to newsletters…)?
Create a website, monitor it, understand the data, make changes and fine tune to improve on the previous results and succeed. This is a cycle websites should regularly go through for continuous improvement.