There’s a lot going on over at Google these days. Time was, SEO mean laying the foundation of on-page and on-site optimization and then building backlinks until your fingers bled. Then Google came to an important realization: The best content is written by writers, not link builders. That’s certainly good for professional writers and bloggers like me, but it’s actually a really good thing for all of us.
Gone are the days of crappy sites that can garner superior page rankings simply by inserting the right keywords and creating the right links. Google has shifted toward a “machine-based learning” model, using better computer calculations, a wide range of social signals that can be adjusted in real time to determine not if a keyword is appropriate, but rather to gauge whether the whole user experience is a good one.
That means for the first time ever, a site that’s well designed, easy to navigate, with content inviting enough to make people stay awhile and is created and maintained by a real person who takes the time to engage its visitors has a chance to trump a site with a thousand links and little else.
This new search engine standard is called Schema, and it helps Google analyze every element of your content to determine if it enables a user to search more explicitly. With every ranking, Google is now trying to determine if a post, social media feed, or site content creates a good user experience and a brand that people will love, share and trust.
What does that mean for you? Now’s the time to re-evaluate your website. Does it look good? Function well? Provide valuable, shareable information? Is it well written? Do you have blog posts and social media links and feeds? If not, you might soon find yourself on page five of a Google search if you’re not already.
So yes, in the words of Bob Dillon, “the times they are a’changin.” Fortunately for all of us, these changes will lead to a better, more information rich Internet to use to our mutual best advantage. It’s now quality over quantity, content over keywords, and engagement over browsing. And that’s a win-win for all of us.