I keep reading articles trying to dissect Google’s search algorithm and all of these articles continue to frustrate me because everyone is looking for a shortcut, a cheap and easy solution to get their websites ranked quickly. Folks, it’s not going to happen! The truth is the only real way to succeed is to stop trying to chase the algorithm! If you use best practices for your SEO from the beginning, you don’t need to worry about Google’s algorithm.
The best SEO secret I can provide to any of my clients is not one that tries to manipulate or fake Google – it is one that creates a quality website and builds your online brand while delivering your target audience with exactly what they are looking for. Ultimately Google is not going to determine your future online marketing success, despite their algorithm updates to reduce spam and provide better search results, at the end of the day it’s the visitors to your website that will determine your success.
The best search engine optimization results come not from worrying about Google, but from worrying about the actual people who visit your website.
And the reasoning behind this is quite easy. When Google launched their Hummingbird algorithm last year it was developed to decipher the meaning behind a set or string of words. So this means that your website needs to be optimized not for specific keywords but for the actual user intent behind them. In other words, what exactly is a person trying to find when they type [Insert Your Keyword Phrase Here]? Whatever that phrase is, your website must deliver it to the user.
Additionally, Google themselves is obligated to deliver to internet users. When internet users no longer think that Google delivers quality search results is the time that Google will follow the path of Excite and die.
This is known as the Pogo Stick Effect. Essentially, if someone searches for a keyword phrase, views the search results, clicks on your website, and then instantaneously clicks the “back” button to return to the search results page – then Google is in deep trouble, because the internet user did not believe that the search result with your website was a quality result for that specific keyword phrase.
And if this happens too often, then your website will have a big problem as well. If too many people are not satisfied with the pages on your website, then your website rankings will start to fall (or stall) for that specific search query.
So, why do internet users “pogo stick” back to the search results pages from your website? There are a lot of possibilities, but here’s a few:
- Your website did not load quickly enough
- Your site is not optimized for mobile and the user was on a mobile device
- Your content did not answer the person’s search query to their satisfaction
- Your website did not look professional or credible
- Your website did not look authoritative
- Your website looked too much like spam
- Your website had too many advertisements
These are just a few of the potential problems.
When we look at the common “SEO processes” of reducing website load time, creating quality content, optimizing for mobile devices, creating a user-friendly site hierarchy, and targeting the most-relevant keywords, these are not really done to directly increase search-engine rankings. In actuality these processes are taken to create the best possible online experience for your website visitors.
As a result, once Google sees that your website is satisfying the people who search for a given keyword, then your rankings will rise for that phrase.
So, in the end, all Google wants is to rank websites that best answer the users intent behind their keyword search and not necessarily those websites that stuff keywords and various links all over the web.
About The Author: Kevin Watts
Kevin Watts is the founder of Raincross, a premier web design, development and digital marketing agency headquartered in Riverside, CA.
Kevin got his start in online marketing and website design by working for some of the most prominent names in online retail. He's most recognized for helping to start e-commerce retailer Organize.com in 1998, and spent 12 years running the company's e-commerce and online marketing operations. He has been recognized and has received several online retail, marketing and merchandising awards throughout his career.
Kevin grew up in Riverside, CA and graduated from the University of Wyoming. In his spare time, Kevin is an avid fly-fisherman, college football fan, and enjoys spending time with his son Matthew, daughter Kate and wife Lindsey.
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