Thursday, November 20, 2008

Will you profit from the Google changes?

What is the point of having a website if it doesn't bring you a sale or at least high quality enquiries?

So we live and die by Googles' ability to index and rank our sites correctly to attract the right visitors. At any one time we can search ourselves on the keywords and phrases that we would like to be seen for and see exactly how we fair in the listings.

But according to search engine specialist Bruce Clay that's all about to change.

Google has, and probably always will, had to fight a battle with the 'black hat' SEO specialists who work hard to unfairly skew the rankings in their, or their clients, favour.

Google wants to maintain its standing as the leading search engine (over 80% market share in Europe) by offering the best, most useful and most appropriate web pages to us as web searchers. That's what keeps us coming back time after time.

Google has been experimenting for some time with ways to overcome the black hats by making each search unique. They are getting 'up close and personal' to help personalise each and every search that we make.

By using information gained from your previous search history, your location and a broad understanding of your 'intent' (are you looking to buy something or are you looking for information) they can create a different listing of web pages for you to view.

This is great for us as users as the results will probably be more akin to our requirements.

Google are also able now to interrogate video, flash and audio files on web sites and convert the spoken and printed word into text to help offer those in the listings too.

Overall, from a user point of view it's all good news.

How does this affect my website?

As a web site owner we still need to keep our eye on the SEO ball so that Google continues understand our site and knows when, and where, to rank it. Our problem is that we won't be able to check it's ranking for key words and phrases as that will vary from user to user.

This means that we'll need to study and understand the site analytics far more. How many people visit the site, from which keywords, how long did they stay, what pages did they view and did we gain something from them - some contact details or a sale for example?

With that information we are able to test and measure changes and influence the results without resorting to under handed tactics.

The other big change is the importance that Google is putting on what are described as 'Engagement Objects' - such as video and audio. These are seen as enhancements to the user experience and will give considerable weight to the ranking of a page. I have seen statistics that have indicated this for some time now so this element hasn't surprised me.

So the time has never been better to include video elements on your site as these changes will start to take effect during the first quarter of next year.

If you need help with video or how to make your site Search Engine Optimisation is up to scratch contact me at Alloy CRM - Sales and Marketing Strategists.

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