Google has unleashed more changes in their search algorithm over the last 12 months than they have in the last six years. When the infamous ‘Penguin’ update came out a number of months ago, a huge number of websites disappeared from Google’s index, whilst hundreds of thousands of websites suffered massive drops in Google rankings. There are numerous reports of businesses collapsing in the space of days due to the loss of their high-paying top rankings. A number of people would call those businesses irresponsible for relying on only one marketing channel such as Google, but the major point of all this is that what was reliable is no longer reliable as far as Google rankings are concerned.
Not so long ago you could have a good title tag on your site, have one or two posts in your blog and have a handy domain name that contained a couple of keywords, and you would have been enjoying fairly high Google rankings consistently, as long as you had some decent links pointing to you from other websites. Even age and authority no longer matter as much, as many websites that have high page rank and have been around for years and years, suddenly fell from page 1 to page 100. Over the last few months, these ‘touchstones’ or ‘seo principles’ have been violated as many business owners have discovered that their SEO efforts have come to nothing, and the sometimes high fees paid to SEO agencies have been basically wasted.
What seems to be way more important to Google now is 2 things: Content Marketing and Audience Engagement. These of course aren’t Google’s ‘official’ priorities, or even anything they have stated publicly, but these are two general phrases that represent the two most important things that a website/business MUST have if it is to receive solid search traffic from Google and the Web – now, and into the future.
More on this in future posts.