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The top of Google’s search rankings has for a long time been the Holy Grail for many brands, particularly e-retailers and those in a market with low barriers to entry. As a result, many are led by an obsession to please the search giant, and their content can suffer as a consequence. We say it’s time to forget Google and remember your audience’s wants and needs – and it seems the tech firm agrees.
Follow the Panda and Penguin
Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates moved the goalposts for web marketers once again, with the aim of helping web users find what they’re looking for faster and improve the quality of results. Through Panda, Google rewards websites that publish relevant, unique and valuable content with a higher ranking, and punish those who simply copy features from other sites. Penguin on the other hand targets webspam, decreasing the ranking of those who violate Google’s quality guidelines. Now, keyword stuffing and linking to irrelevant external sites won’t cut it, as the benefit isn’t with the audience.
Content is the new focus
Direct SEO tactics including keywords and links still have their place, but they need to feature among quality content that your audience actually wants to read. This starts with careful research into trending topics and what’s already out there, so you can highlight gaps to exploit and offer your audience fresh ideas. With a detailed strategy in place, great copywriting ensures your ideas reach the reader with impact, but it goes beyond just words. Research for our recent infographic asked what good and bad content looks like on e-commerce sites, and the majority of respondents agreed that variety matters.
It is known that Google cannot fully ‘see’ videos and images, making them largely irrelevant to search rankings. This can compound the issue of content marketers placing too much emphasis on text as they try to impress the search spiders, meaning the user encounters bland, uninspiring pages. Rich content is now vital, so remember to use sharp copy to stitch words, images and videos together. And don’t forget design either – our research also revealed that a bad visual is the second biggest turn-off when buying online. We also discovered that videos are enjoyed most by the younger generation and silver surfers, while blogs are appreciated less than video, social, games, and forums by the majority.
Create value and encourage loyalty
The Panda and Penguin algorithms prompt an emphasis on content your audience wants, and this is precisely what Google wants. By turning your attention to the consumer and content they value, you will at the same time boost your appeal to the search engine and find yourself higher up the ranking ladder. What’s more, content that matters encourages return visits from those who view it, boosting long-term loyalty and stimulating greater conversions.
Forget about Google and engage with your audience instead – it’s what the tech giant wants and your audience needs.