March 19, 2012 Leave a comment
Remember those step-by-step procedures you learned in school for calculations and data processing? Those procedures your teacher told you you’d never need because other people would take care of it?
Well those other people work for Google, and those procedures—those operations that result in what is essentially automated reasoning through an algorithm—well, they are changing. And although you may still not remember how to write an algorithm, you better darn well know how to adjust to those changes or your business could face some seriously crappy results.
“Companies that are looking at this news and not being reactive are going to see steep declines in traffic,” said Kenneth Wisnefski, online marketing expert and founder and CEO of WebiMax, a search engine optimization firm. “Google’s change could push high-ranking sites down and reshuffle the index for sites that no longer meet their criteria.”
According to a statement released by Webimax, the change is expected to be the most substantial one in the history of Google search. Portfolio.com asked Wisnefski how best to prepare for the new algorithm, and he gave three pretty straightforward answers—no algebra required.
Step 1: Break from the old keyword mentality, embrace synonyms
Since Google is changing their dependency on keyword ranking to include comparable “like” words, webmasters should evaluate their website copy and brand message. Webmasters can now use similar words in context, pulling dependency away from using the same keyword throughout the page.
Step 2: Build up your FAQ page
Google admits they will place more relevance on definitions and direct answers. This move is an attempt to return to the end user highly authoritative responses to questions they are searching for. Businesses can leverage this by increasing their FAQ or “Ask an Expert” page on their website by answering direct questions related to their products, services, company, and industry. Doing this important step will help their page get indexed for a wide variety of keywords.
Step 3: Don’t sell, educate
Treat your website as much as an opportunity to educate users as an opportunity to sell your product. If you sell seeds for flowers, educate the reader about how to pick the best seeds for your garden, don’t just offer them tulips.
Wisnefski also said the changes are intended to make the algorithm more human based. Right now there is such a thing as a bad Google search. Put important words later in the sequence and the results will change, use a less popular synonym and the better result may not even come up, or ask a direct question and you’re likely to end up at WikiAnswers sifting through dozens of amateurs wagering their best guess for some other poor soul who already asked the same question.
“Google is really looking to standardize search outcomes regardless of the semantic choices of the user,” he said. “It won’t be about the term as much as the terminology.”
In theory, according to Wisnefki, with the new algorithm, the heart of the searcher’s interest will more readily and universally rise to the surface, though he remains skeptical that Google may still favor some of its own content.
“Google could be proving their power as the dominant leader in online search by completely rewriting the rules,” he said in a statement prior to the interview. “This move could also be an attempt to further distance them from rival Microsoft (Bing) and illustrate their strength in relation to Facebook in the online community.”
Regardless, effective SEO and website optimization can take anywhere from one to three months, so there’s not much time to prepare.
“Google gave us a three-month warning of these changes,” said Wisnefski. “Thus the call to action is now to evaluate and improve your webpage to make sure you can remain highly ranked or even surpass those that are well-ranked above you that are not going to make changes.”