Many small businesses have a false sense of security regarding search engine optimization (SEO). Many small enterprises believe that all they need to get a competitive advantage in their local market is to show up. They think all they need to do is pick any SEO company or web development company and they will get local customers. While this might have been true in the past, the fast rise of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have awakened many local businesses to the fact that many consumers increasingly think that if your business can’t be found online, you are not a legitimate business. Even if your local business has been around forever, there is an increasing consumer consciousness that equates online presence with legitimacy and credibility. Why should this trend worry you? It means more and more of your local competitors will show up online. It means that merely showing up will not be enough. It means heaving competition for online real estate in your local market.
The rise of SEO 2.0
If the prospect of increased competition is not enough to worry you, you also need to realize that getting ranked locally or nationally is no longer as easy as before. Thanks to Google’s latest string of updates: Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird, SEO has become more complicated, more nuanced, and more discriminating. In short, the old SEO tricks that got your local business ranked at the top of local searches will probably no longer work for much longer. You are facing a double whammy-a tsunami of local competitors eager to grab a slice of the every increasing number of mobile-driven customers and the increasing difficulty of landing in the top of search results. Keep the following trends in mind when reviewing your business’ current search engine optimization campaigns. Make sure your online marketing company is aware of these trends. You don’t want to find out the hard way and be forced to make adjustments in the dark as Google rolls out more changes.
The move past keywords to what customers mean
The big innovation Google’s Hummingbird brings to the table is its focus on figuring out what people actually mean when they enter keywords into Google’s search box instead of fixating too heavily on the sequence of the words in the keyword. This is a massive change since old school SEO was all about building web pages that match search queries exactly. Now, instead of building stiff web pages that are geared towards certain keyword sequences or collections, Google is looking to rank web pages based on their overall meaning. These are then lined up with the ‘gestalt’ or holistic meaning of what the search engine user typed in. Since many web development and search engine optimization companies are still fixated on mechanical or formalistic SEO techniques like exact match keywords, you might be putting your business’ visibility online at risk if your current SEO company doesn’t upgrade their ranking strategies to keep up with Google.
Detecting trust beyond stiff keyword formalism
If there is any lesson to be gleaned from the massive disruption caused by Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, it is this: aim for trust. Your business’ online presence must build trust in the mind of people visiting your site. The more trust you build, the more Google can reward you with higher rankings. Online, trust is indicated by content quality and online partnerships. If too many people click the back button after landing on your pages after they do a search on Google, this is a massive red flag to Google that your content quality is low. If most, if not all, of your backlinks are the exact keywords people normally use to find sites like yours, this doesn’t build trust. If most of your backlinks come from low quality or irrelevant sites, these factors can also harm you. Make no mistake out it, Google’s recent waves of algorithm changes represent SEO 2.0 and they are all about trust. Google is looking for sites that can be trusted. This means these sites must have linking patterns and content that can build trust.
Don’t let yourself get blindsided by upcoming Google updates. Make sure your current online marketing company is on the ball regarding SEO 2.0. Don’t rely on the fact that you are currently number one for local searches. Considering the massive changes wrought by Google’s most recent waves of updates, no one can be sure that past SEO practices can maintain previous results. Future-proof your business’ online presence by insisting on SEO strategies that focus on building trust and enhancing end user value.