SEO and Google’s Rank Brain
SEO (search engine optimization) is a process in which a website is setup with the goal of appearing highly in Google’s (for example) search results. Ideally, the higher the site is ranking the better. Some people become frustrated that SEO is difficult to do, and they don’t understand why they can’t just make a few changes to their website and have their site be the first site users see in their search engine results. Google’s search engine is very sophisticated, and it factors in hundreds of things to determine which websites appear in its results and in which order. Google does share some information about how Google search works because they want people to be able to create websites that provide good information that users can easily access, but the exact process of calculating the search results are purposely kept hidden. Keep in mind, high quality SEO is not about tricking Google into thinking your site should be the best result, it’s about earning the best result by providing users with the information they’re looking for and helping Google understand that your website has this information.
Information Based SEO
Google is always improving the way they process and interpret information, and their updates can be challenging for some SEO providers to keep up with. Google recently rolled out the RankBrain concept which, according to Google representatives, is now one of the three most important factors in their algorithm. RankBrain is basically an artificial intelligence program which is designed to decipher the user intent behind a search. What exactly is this user searching for? In the past, this has been a challenge for searches which use many words. RankBrain will try to determine what you’re looking for and match that to the most relevant webpages. If you’ve been focusing on creating high quality and informative content that is useful to site visitors, then RankBrain should not be throwing a wrench in your plans.
Long Tailed Search Focused SEO
RankBrain focuses on long tail searches (searches that use several separate words to create a phrase). Naturally, if you take any specific long tail search, it tends to be searched less often than shorter tail searches, but long tail searches make up over 65% of all searches. Long tail searches also generally indicate that the user knows exactly what they’re looking for, so organic traffic generated by a long tail keyphrase is considered more valuable. When a user searches using short tails, they could mean a lot of things. Although short tail searches tend to have more traffic, it’s difficult to know the intent behind those searches. By all means, when you’re doing SEO it’s great when you can rank well for short tail terms, but the top priority is to get your website in front of users who need what you provide. If a long tail search obviously indicates the user is seeking your service or product, then that is a search for which you should target the best possible organic search result. If your website’s content is vague, uninformative, and very similar to most of your competitors, how can Google select your website as the most relevant collection of information to the user’s search? Also consider, if a company’s SEO service relies on linkage, social media, or things other than content management as the core of its strategy, how does that help Google match your website to a user’s query?
Content Driven SEO
The idea of seeding in keywords x number of times, keyword density, etc., is out. Google knows that doesn’t make your information helpful. There’s only one way to do SEO which Google will approve of - release high quality information on a regular basis. Yes, it is hard. When you’re considering a company’s SEO services you have to ask yourself “Do they have the ability to create high quality information for my website?”. If a company’s SEO proposal isn’t highly focused on content then you’re definitely on the wrong track.