Recent changes by Google are changing SEO strategies that have worked in the past. Here’s the latest info you’ll need if you and your website hope to keep up with the latest shifts in the big G’s world of SEO and search.

New Perspectives and Changing SEO Strategies

Karon Thackston’s recent blog post, Matt Cutts Reveals Google’s Updated SEO Focus on content serving the needs of usersCopywriting Strategy, offered insights into the changing SEO landscape. The core message from Google is that their goal is to give users the answers they’re searching for, and that means providing the best results from authoritative sources, recognizing related keywords and natural phrases, and consideration of the context.

Danny Goodwin’s August 23rd article reviews compelling evidence about how users interact with organic vs. paid search results. Drawing on data from UK searches in June of 2011, GroupM UK and Nielsen researchers found that the top three results grabbed 68% of the click-throughs and a branded search nabbed 90%. For those interested in targeting specific demographics with a PPC campaign, women are more likely to click at 53%, and searchers over the age of 35 are more likely to click PPC results than younger searchers.

In terms of branded content searches, Google recently began displaying only seven results, instead of the expected 10, so in light of the GroupM UK/Nielsen data, landing one of those three positions does pay off. But remember that not all users searching for “hotel in Paris” are going to see identical SERPs. This is because Google tracks and delivers tailored results tailored, and what appears in those seven coveted spots varies based on the user’s location and search history.

If that’s not enough to rethink changing your SEO strategies, Google’s overt move into publishing, covered in a blog post by EVG colleague Joseph Hall, is just one more game-changing factor that has everyone wondering what else could impact online marketing.

Quality Content is the New King 

So what’s a person to do in the face of this upheaval? As Matt Cutts preaches, “Never sacrifice the quality of your copy for the sake of the search engines.”

Google’s mantra privileges high-quality, trustworthy content, and they’re doing everything they can, including improved use of synonyms in search results, to deliver. The days of churning out text stuffed with keyword phrases and article spinning could be relegated to the Bedrock Old Folks Home if Google continues to have their way.

Now, more than ever, EVG believes in the value of relevant content written for humans with natural text supporting target keywords. Aiming for those top three positions on SERPs cannot be the end goal, attractive as it is, since Google’s data about individual search behavior returns results tailored to individuals rather than a universal page per query.

Focus on having your content serve the needs of users, and your site will benefit.

Kathleen Gossman – Project Manager

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