May 15, 2012 | By:

The Future of Google Search Rankings

Of Penguins and Pandas: The Future of Google Search Rankings

Google updates its search algorithms constantly, with estimates on the number of changes ranging from 300 to 600 times per year. The goal of these changes are typically the same: the return the search results that best fit the searcher’s needs. You might ask yourself, “why does Google care about relevant content?” Google needs to deliver trustworthy and relevant search results to maintain its customer: you.

Here’s a million-dollar answer to the question “how do I rank highly in Google’s search results”: be what people are searching for. Legitimate content created by professionals who get to know you, your business, and your industry is the best bet for your long-term search engine optimization (SEO) and social media optimization (SMO) strategy because Google is always tweaking its algorithm to find that kind of content— relevant content. By contrast, Google’s algorithm updates focus on penalizing sites that use “black hat” techniques designed to take advantage of the rules. This is true both of the new Google Penguin update and the previous update, Google Panda, both of which focused on culling results that offered little substance.

Don’t believe us? Here’s a quote straight from Google’s own Webmaster Central blog:

‘”White hat” search engine optimizers often improve the usability of a site, help create great content, or make sites faster, which is good for both users and search engines. Good search engine optimization can also mean good marketing: thinking about creative ways to make a site more compelling, which can help with search engines as well as social media…In the pursuit of higher rankings or traffic, a few sites use techniques that don’t benefit users, where the intent is to look for shortcuts or loopholes that would rank pages higher than they deserve to be ranked…The goal of many of our ranking changes is to help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfill their information needs. We also want the “good guys” making great sites for users, not just algorithms, to see their effort rewarded.’

So, how do you know if your SEO company is “white hat,” “black hat,” or somewhere in-between? A “white hat” firm will provide you with a strategy that revolves around high-quality content— as in, content designed for human readers -first and foremost. Optimizing content for Google and other search engines will serve as a tool in that strategy, but not as the strategy itself. Penguin is the future of Google, but content is the future of search, and search engines will only get smarter about finding the best of it!

As an added bonus, once your site’s Google rank improves because you have great content, not only will your audience find you…they’ll actually engage with you, too.

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