SEO is an ever changing beast and those who work within search need to remain constantly up to date. Strategy must constantly adapt and evolve to ensure clients are receiving quality recommendations. In order to rank well in Google’s SERPs there are several things that need to be considered and manipulated. To name a few; domain authority, the diversity and quality of inbound links, a well researched keyword model, suitable anchor text used in both internal and external linking, domain name, page rank, on page copy…the list continues.
More recently it has been necessary to consider the influence Social Media has on rank. Tweets already appear in Google’s real-time results. There has also been a lot of talk about Clickstream data being used by both Google and Bing, using user behaviour to tailor results to what the user wants to see.
There may now be further considerations to include into any SEO strategy to ensure your site stays as close to the top of page one as possible.
The first is ‘Brand Signals’. Google will look at a number of different attributes to determine whether a site is a brand or not. It will then prioritise the brand page in its SERPs. Google may very well be looking at hundreds of different elements that it believes a brand page should have. This short list gives some indication of the type of qualities Google wants to see. For example, Brands should have employees; Google will look at Linkedin profiles to find if anyone has listed the site as an employer. Owning Social Pages, Google will trawl through Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites to find these. Having solid ‘about’ pages and clear contact information on the site as well as an actual physical address and a Google Maps listing is also important. Receiving branded search volume to the site and running offline marketing and advertising campaigns will also be clear indicators of a legitimate brand.
Non-brand sites will most likely fall down in these areas; they will only have a contact form for example, will lack a social presence and won’t have a lot of branded traffic coming into their site.
Entity Association is another thing that is important to consider when trying to climb rankings.
Bill Slawski writes ‘Rather than just looking for brands, it’s more likely that Google is trying to understand when a query includes an entity – a specific person, place, or thing, and if it can identify an entity, that identification can influence the search results that you see’
This means certain types of sites will have a greater opportunity of ranking well for certain search queries, always with the users’ intent in mind. Entities help to classify search results and probably help with generating universal results too, for example, returning a map when a place name is identified.
Thirdly, user behaviour now too influences SERPs. Alongside Google algorithms there are users who create, rate and click through all sorts of different content, all this user information is gathered together to help rank results. Rand Fishkin writes that ‘many ancillary data points could be collected and used, including information about where users have “good” user experiences on the web’.
This type of endorsement is far tougher for SEOs to obtain than links and particularly difficult to engineer without seeming unnatural.
The strongest and most effective SEO campaigns will be always be aligned with the current world of Search.
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