July 23, 2017

Staying Ahead Of Google Search

Last week, I asked the musical question, “Are you keeping up with Google?” In that post, I tried to stimulate some thinking around the idea that waiting for the ranking algorithm to change is not the best time to begin doing something new in response. If you work that way, you are constantly feeling under the gun, like you can’t keep up, and that you are always falling behind.

Staying Ahead Of Google Search
Staying Ahead Of Google Search

Instead, I tried to get you to think about doing what is best for searchers and then waiting for Google to catch up with you. So, the question of the moment is, what should the smart search marketers be doing now? Let’s consult the crystal ball to consider the biggest change that will come from Google next.

Now, understand, I don’t have any inside information, and I have no way to prove that I’m right. If you wait long enough, I am probably bound to be right and if you look at things in a short enough time, I am bound to be wrong, but that is not even the point. I am writing this post so that I can help you think about what Google (and any other search engine) might be cooking up for its next revision on its ranking algorithm. In other words, these are the smart things to get ahead of instead of waiting for them to happen and then reacting in a frenzy:

  • Social media activity trumps links. Some of this might be already going on, for all we know, but think of how many problems would be solved if Google could discover the quality of search results based not only on the links each piece of content attracts, but also on the social media activity that surround those links. That activity not only tells you what is important, but also does so in real time to help you see something is trending. Today, many SEOs are paying for links to affect the rankings, so would social media activity be harder to manipulate and therefore add a check to the paid link manipulation? Search engines might be ready to find out. Smart search marketers might want to work on their social media footprint now instead of waiting for that shoe to drop.
  • Search results ranked by context. Will Google decide to give you different results when you are searching from a mobile device than from your computer? Searching for “coffee” might bring up Wikipedia from a computer and the nearest Starbucks from your phone. Might smart search marketers want to provide answers for all the different kinds of questions that searchers might have? Perhaps Starbucks should be putting out lot of information about coffee to compete with Wikipedia as an expert.
  • Search results ranked by conversion. It’s one thing to see that people click on the results, but could commerce searches be ranked based on whether they buy something? Between the Google toolbar, Google Checkout, and Google Analytics, Google has many ways of seeing what sites sell more things based on each keyword, which might start to become an important part of why a site ranks higher. Wouldn’t it make sense for Google to rank sites higher for commerce searches when people actually complete their purchases? If you though conversion rate was not important a long as you got conversions, maybe you are just waiting for Google to turn the tables on you.

Again, no secrets here. I am speculating on what kinds of things might happen. If you can identify an idea that might improve the searcher experience, you can bet that Google thought of it, too. Instead of waiting for them to implement it, perhaps you should be working to make things better for your customer and then waiting for Google to figure out the next turn of the algorithm crank. When the next shoe drops, you want to be ready.

So, smart readers, what else should we be thinking about? What are the other things that we know are good for searchers that we might be giving a lower priority to, just because Google doesn’t reward them”yet? Let’s share ideas and stay ahead of Google, instead of spending stressful careers in react mode.


Mike Moran
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Mike Moran is an IBM Distinguished Engineer, expert on Internet marketing, and the author of Search Engine Marketing, Inc., the best-selling book on search marketing. Mike also writes the popular Biznology newsletter and blog.