Have you ever thought what would the internet and your online life be without Google? Whom will you ask all your informational, navigational and/or transactional questions?
Sure, there are other search engines out there, but Google stands as the World’s biggest and arguably the best one, who serves up over one billion results every day around the globe. Such is Google’s involvement in our everyday life that we often use it as a verb – “Google it”.
Isn’t it kind of mandatory now to feature in Google search result pages?
The answer is absolutely YES. Search Marketing is no more the next big thing; it is the big thing now.
[Tweet “Search Marketing is no more the next big thing; it is the big thing now”]
In a world where 80% of consumers search for a product or service before purchasing it, invisibility is a fate much worse than failure.
Personally I resonate with this citation of Matthew Capala (an author, NYU professor and founder of Searchdecoder).I met Matthew in my search marketing class at New York University last year. Gosh! The marketing realm of 2014 is a total different ballgame than what it was seven years back when I started my professional career as a business development & marketing executive.
Why? Simply because now:
- 80% of consumers search for a product/service before purchasing it
- 70% read online reviews before making purchase decisions
- 68% of consumers begin their decision making searching for a keyword
[Tweet “Consumers now are at the driver’s seat” via @SearchDecoder]
Consumers now are at the driver’s seat. They decide what they want. Gone are those days when brands used to be contented doing Push Marketing. Today, it works the other way round. In 2014, it’s more about getting the customer to come to you rather than you taking the product to them, commonly called Inbound Marketing or Pull Marketing.
But how do you pull your customers? The mantra is to ‘show up‘ when consumers are looking for you on social media and rank higher on Google’s Search Engine Result Page (SERP). If you think you already know the trick, think again! Today you cannot simply rely on the defaulting so called “black and gray hat” tactics; you need to walk the path and along the way adapt with the changes in Google’s search engine to earn your online authority.
The Evolution of Google’s Secret Sauce
With the shift from keyword based search to conversational search, the need for a robust SEO strategy has never been stronger, while the landscape has never been more competitive. Google is never complacent with its product and services. It constantly updates its search algorithm to keep pace with the advancement in technology and the expectation of smart users. The infograph shows the journey of Google’s search engine updates.
Timeline of Google’s algorithm update
With these updates in place, it is definitely more challenging and competitive to have a strong digital eminence in terms of SEO/SEM. Getting to know the below 6 interesting facts about Google would help you to better optimize your content and increase your digital presence.
Quality score: One of the main ingredients to rank higher on SERP
Remember those early days of PPC campaign when there was that “highest bidder wins” practice, where the more an advertiser is willing to pay, the higher their ads average position. It was not only unfair for advertisers with small budget but also for the users as it led to a common false belief that ‘Sponsored Listing Ads’ are irrelevant and spammy. It has taken Google years to get these perceptions out of people’s minds. Today, your Ad Rank is based on a combination of your bid (how much you’re willing to spend) and your Quality Score (a measurement of the quality of your ads, keywords and website).
Quality score is mostly an indicator of how relevant the user’s query is to what the advertiser is offering. Both these components of the Ad carry equal weightage. Because of this relevancy factor (quality score), more and more people are now clicking on “sponsored listing ads than ever.
With enhanced Campaign in Adwords, you can now reach out to your target prospective consumers. Suppose you are an advertiser with several locations, wouldn’t a user closer to one of your locations is probably more valuable than someone further away to advertise? With the migration to enhanced campaign, Google now provides advertisers the ability to bid differently based on:
- Hours of Day
And provides the ability to make these bid adjustments within one campaign, rather than separate campaigns.
Panda update: Quality content matters to make it to the top of SERP
Google’s Panda Update is a filter introduced in February 2011 meant to stop sites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results. The aim here is to stop publishing content for the heck of traffic. With this update, content needs to be more unique, original and helpful to people. Learn more on Panda: Redefining Site Authority
Penguin update: Goodbye to bad and spam links
What makes a bad link profile? Google focused on links that were:
- Coming from poor quality sites
- On sites that aren’t
topically relevant to your niche or business
- Paid links
- Keyword rich links
- Links where the anchor text is overly optimized (i.e., exact-match anchor text)
Penguin update is aimed at decreasing search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by using now declared black-hat SEO techniques involved in increasing artificially the ranking of a webpage by manipulating the number of links pointing to the page and poor quality links.
Head of webspam at Google’s – Matt Cutts, said that Penguin focused on penalizing sites that use black-hat techniques and rewarding sites that are offering a great visitor experience. Learn more on Penguin: Drilled deeper into website
Knowledge Graph: Google now provides answers to your questions and not just links
Google’s Knowledge Graph is a system that Google launched in May 2012 which understands facts about people, places and things and how these entities are all connected. This new technology provides structured and detailed information about a topic that is searched for in addition to a list of links to other sites. “Knowledge Graph” is Google’s term for how it is building relationships between different people, places and things and report facts about these entities.
Hummingbird: A search engine you can talk to
Google’s search engine now a. answers b. converses c. anticipates. With Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update, we can talk to our computer and get answers to everything we ask. We can now ask conversational search query like, “What’s the closest place to buy the iPhone 5s to my home?” A traditional search engine might focus on finding matches for words — finding a page that says “buy” and “iPhone 5s,” for example.
Now with hummingbird, Google will focus on the meaning behind the words. It may better understand the actual location of your home, if you’ve shared that with Google. It might understand that “place” means you want a brick-and-mortar store. It might get that “iPhone 5s” is a particular type of electronic device carried by certain stores. Knowing all these meanings helps Google to go beyond just finding pages with matching words.
Check out this infograph for more information: Google Hummingbird Infograph
Interested in more such interesting facts and smart tactics to implement?
Stay tuned to enrich your ken with SEO/SEM factoids and tactics.
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Do you know more about Google technology? Check out our latest post on why Google Glass view is 180 degrees out of whack!