I’ve been following this SEO development which began to make waves a few days ago, for which experts claim that it ‘changes SEO as we know it’. That’s a big statement to make and you would think that the sheer gravity of it would be making headlines. It has, but mainly to the industry because, I don’t know, maybe the world has bigger problems than website SEO…
To put it in perspective before I explain what it should mean to my fellow Trinis: there used to be a time (in the days called yore) when the Google Analytics that we web designers used (and still do today) provided the keywords visitors used to find your website.
For those of you who may not know, Google provides a code linked to your domain which is embedded into all your website’s pages which are then tracked and reported back to your analytics ‘dashboard’. These keywords provided absolutely valuable insights because they were the actual keywords visitors were typing into search.
Google but the brakes on reporting these keywords a couple of years ago by hiding those used by visitors who were logged into their Google accounts (in the name of privacy) while doing their searches— still reporting that the visits were made, but listing the keywords as ‘not provided’. It was an unwelcome nuisance but at least the other keywords from non-logged in users were still available.
As of this article, now 100 percent of the referrer data on search queries from organic traffic is not provided by Google. So if I’m monitoring traffic on a client’s site, no longer do I have access to the keywords their visitors are using to get there. There’s much more to this and possible workarounds but I’ll not get into it here. You may of course…Google.
What this means for local SEO
I’m so glad that regardless of all the new technology, ‘old fashioned’ has never gone out of style. I’ve always focused by energies on configuring my clients’ sites to work at the business level first, obtaining the right content, presenting it in a meaningful way, emphasizing their selling points while guiding the visitor towards a becoming a customer because they deserve it.
Google is trying to stay ahead
I think this is the natural evolution of search which Google learnt the hard way and kept trying to fix. Upon the advent of ‘keywords’ people began stuffing them into every square inch of space to boost rankings by appearing to be relevant. Google began to actually penalize ‘keyword stuffing’ (and other ‘black hat’ SEO practices) even reducing the value of keywords in a domain name in an effort to rank sites that were really worthy.
It’s always been about the user
The bottom line is that Google’s goal (among other things so it’s just one of their goals) is for you to focus on the user. If your site is relevant their algorithm is going to rank you higher and on the first page. I’ve always peppered my site with keywords as SEO best practice but the Forward Multimedia website, all articles, content, everything, has always been with you in mind, giving you the info you came looking for, pleasing your mind that I can actually do what I say.
I can’t say that the algorithm works 100% all the time. For example, there’s a web design site in T&T that’s in the number one position for one premium keyword, that appeared out of nowhere, and it has no business being there for clearly obvious reasons. But it’s not the ranking that converts the visitor to a customer (it’s a fact that nobody looks at top returned result alone), it’s the site itself that does the job when the visitor lands.
It doesn’t diminish the impressive value of the coveted number one position or the desire to get there as I won’t mind it one bit. Forward Multimedia fluctuates on third of search (there’s a reason for positions moving around, two different browsers may return different rankings) and I’m ready for when you come. But compare my site with the others on the first page and you’ll see the difference, and that difference is by design.
It plays to my strengths
I’ve laid claim to the fact that I ‘see’ a site better than my competitors. Anyone can buy a premium template and swap out the demo content. In fact that’s the first thing I do. But it’s the second thing I do that counts- I step back and look at the site now that it’s ‘yours’ then make it work to be all it can be. No amount of technical skill and coding can compete with my process, which makes my clients’ sites tough to beat.
Just remember, what I do on my site can be done on yours.