Where are SEO and Google algorithms standing right now in terms of changes and new developments? How can those changes affect your business and what do you need to change to catch up with these changes and excel at what you do? Here is all you need to know about assertive SEO for the next year.
SERPs Look Different in 2021+
Traditional SEO strategies heavily rely on the use of keywords. If you use the right keywords as well as an adequate amount of keywords compared to your competitor, your website will rank higher. As a result, your online business will gain more traction and online traffic. Search Engine Results Pages (or just shortly SERPs) were a league table for such keywords. However, it is not as simple as that anymore. This change is, unfortunately, taking place partly due to the fact that Google is losing its self-confidence.
Even before the recent changes made to Google such as a dark mode for Google Search, SERPs had started making some drastic changes. The main focus here is on Google simply because Google is without a doubt the single biggest search engine used by the majority of people. So, it’s only natural that the industry follows any changes in direction that Google makes. The reason why Google has such an enormous success and is widely used is that it possesses a very powerful algorithm. Whatever you publish online immediately gets categorized, scrutinized, and archived according to the algorithm used by Google.
Everyone dealing with online business tries to create quality content to appeal to the algorithm. The more recognition you get by the algorithm the higher your rank in Google Search is. This means you gain more online traffic and tons of potential new customers.
Content Is President
So, what is it that makes this algorithm so powerful and efficient? Also, what makes the algorithm work to your advantage? Well, backlinks are known to be one of the most significant and crucial ranking factors for many years. The algorithm recognizes these backlinks as a human confirmation of quality. This validates the algorithm’s hypothesis that certain content is worth checking out.
For example, about a hundred words of keyword dense text will require less processing. It also has fewer outliers and because of that, it is a lot easier for the algorithm to assess it. Yet, for some reason, this kind of content doesn’t seem to perform well on Google.
The reason behind it is very simple. While this kind of content is perfect for the Google algorithm, the people reading it don’t want thin content like that. People seek rich and high-quality content they can immerse themselves into. So, as much as it is good for the algorithm, this type of content is less likely to be validated and recognized by people.
Your goal, as a creator, is to create rich content that many users will want to link to. This will drive higher online traffic towards your site and your content will be validated by Google’s algorithm because of it.
There Can Be Only One
One of the biggest motivating factors behind all of the recent Google search changes has been the evolution in technology. We now have several different cyber-butlers such as Siri and Bixby who are quick to answer all of your questions with a short, efficient and authoritative statement. Now all of a sudden top-ten searches on Google are getting less and less desirable because you only get the top search as an answer to your question.
Google, as a search engine, cannot completely rely on the all-seeing and powerful algorithm since the algorithm is just an educated guess. It is indeed a very good educated guess but it is just an educated guess after all. Until now that educated guess was sufficient and efficient enough because if the top result is incorrect something else in the top 10 will work just fine. However, that has changed as well.
The Single Source of Truth
For the purpose of pushing towards a single correct answer Google also introduced knowledge panels. Within the search results, these panels present Google’s top answer to any question you ask. For instance, stance if you Google “Black Widow” you will see a knowledge panel at the top of the results list. Most of the users will never go beyond this.
In most cases, the knowledge panels are considered controversial because Google is deferring to a 3rd authority to get the results on the subject. For example when you Google “Black Widow”, Google is deferring to Marvel Studios to get the needed information. If someone for Marvel Studios decides to redefine “Black Widow” from an action movie to romantic comedy Google would have to respect that decision no matter how wrong it is. According to the new information, Google would have to update the knowledge panel too.
Whether we approve of such change towards single results knowledge panels and all the other developments in the next few years or not, it’s inevitable to admit that these changes are coming and are here to stay. This is why we need to learn how to adapt to these changes and learn how to use them to our advantage.
Making Use of sameAs
One of the biggest and most significant changes in recent years has also been structured data. Type of metadata tells search engines how to interpret certain content.
You can essentially use the structured data to specify whether your content refers to a person, a product, an organization, or many other possible categories. Structured data also allows the search engines to understand the difference between several different brands or corporations. So for example, if you type Tom Ford a search engine would be able to tell if you are talking about a designer, the corporation, or the perfume.
The structured data extends the generic thing. That thing contains a valuable property called sameAs. It essentially provides a reference to the other channels for the same thing you are looking for. In the case of an organization that means your Twitter profile, your YouTube channel, your Facebook page, and anything else they can think of.
By implementing sameAs, you can provide corroboration of your brand presence. As a result, this helps you backlink to yourself and it also provides the type of third-party validation that Google needs to promote you up the rankings.
Be a Brand
It is a known fact that Google prefers well-established brands because people are more likely to trust them. The result they get back from Google is therefore considered high quality. They will therefore come back to Google again the very next time they need something. That means whole Google’s business model survives another day.
Since Google’s results are focused on brands, the best strategy you can use is to act like a brand.
First of all, brands usually tend to be highly localized entities the dominate a small sector. That is why especially if you’re a small business you need to start by thinking locally. Lots of useful local SEO companies can help you get the ranking that you need to help your business move forward. The strategies they use will help you gain more online traffic as well as more potential customers.
Also, identify the area of business that you are an expert in and then focus on that content. After you’ve established your area of business you can start focusing on the content. On top of that, it is also very important to develop a presence on social media platforms. Define what your target audience is and then cater to them through the social media platforms that they use. For instance, if your target audience mainly consists of teenagers then the perfect platform for you is either Instagram or TIK Tok.
Big Fish, Flexible Pond
When talking about business it’s important to consider one question. Do you prefer to be a big fish in a small pond or small fish in a big pond? The current search engine is moving in the direction of the correct answer being big fish small pond.
The problem these metaphors have is that they usually carry irrelevant limitations. We start by assuming that there is a choice between two ponds and that both are fixed sizes. In reality, the pond is very flexible and it can grow with you as you increase your business in size.
The most important thing from an SEO point of view is that you can dominate your niche. Your goal should be to become the single source of truth in the number one search result in Google search. In case you find out that you are not the number one there is a useful strategy that you can try. By reducing your niche you will eventually be able to become the number one authority. You need to strive to become the single source of truth Google defers to. Only this way can you defeat your competition.
All things considered, it is safe to say that the technology we use is changing daily and with it, the industry is changing too. As a business owner, you need to be flexible and ready to adapt to these changes so that your content can dominate the Google Search rankings in 2022.