With Google’s new Penguin update, the world of SEO is facing a paradigm shift. For years now, a Google search would bring up a laughable percentage of organic results with the rest being ads and irrelevant content. In the history of search engine optimization the rank of a piece of content in search engine results has typically come down to relevancy and authority. Relevancy is all about using the right keywords in your headlines, meta-description, and anchor text to match what people are searching for online− or in some cases just to beat out your competition.
But as it turns out, this type of SEO strategy is a bit outdated. Up until the Penguin Update, ranking high with search engines was a relatively cut-and-dry task and depended primarily upon creating keyword rich pages often full of forced web crawlerpleasing text combined with the generation of inbound links. But it is now becoming clear that optimizing websites for search engines rather than for human beings is not the way of the future. Content must appeal to, and drive, human engagement in order to be seen as authoritative and relevant− and this concept can no longer be ignored.
High quality content designed for people must be at the nucleus of any successful SEO strategy, and what better way to monitor engagement than by focusing on what is successful on your social media networks?
As the team at Google work to create a better search experience for each individual user, they realize that it is important to look for clues that help identify the content that best serves a person’s needs. When including social media and the interaction that takes place on social networks, Google can now analyze how often something is shared, commented on, or liked and deduce that if people engage with it, it must be worthy of an above-the-fold position.
What does this mean for your business? As always, business owners should focus on publishing content that is creative and high in quality. Additionally, they must pay attention to how sharable and likeable the material is which will help it to succeed in social networks and on Google’s search results. Robots that crawl the web searching for keywords and inbound links are also looking to social media for signals of brand mentions and content sharing. So while social media has played a significant role in SEO for years, there is now far more emphasis placed upon its importance in boosting your company’s name up the relevancy ladder.
The Penguin update encourages online marketers to get with the program, dust off their ancient SEO strategies, and concentrate on providing their customers, fans, followers, and readers, with information that really matters. After all, this is the 21st century and it’s about time we give Google back to the people. If you are a social media marketer, an entrepreneur, or business owner looking to drive virtual traffic to your site, or tangible traffic to your brick and mortar store, concentrate on increasing engagement, mentions, and backlinks and your Google success rate will increase too.
Ultimately, your content must be valuable to the online community and to your target market. If people choose not to engage with or discuss what you are providing, then in terms of ranking signals, this sends a powerful message to search engines. Monitoring how various communities are interacting with your business on social media is a fantastic way to stay relevant and to stay above your competition.