Digital Marketing 101 – Adapting to New Google Search Algorithms

Google’s search algorithm update on 7th February 2017 seemed to have passed under the radar. Many webmasters were unsure if it was even implemented. However, within hours, its impact was obvious.

Google has had to face some music since their November 2016 update. Search results seemed to be misleading and a lot of the top results were questionable while some of them were outright fake or satirical websites. The new update not only addresses some of the issues but has also refined a lot of other aspects that determine a website’s search rank.

Today, we take a look at the effect and possible motivation behind the recent changes without delving into the technical aspects, endless graphs, and extended analyses. Some of the results have left most content writers as well as digital marketers bewildered. So, if you are left wondering what went wrong, trust that you are not alone. What seemed to work a few months ago is not producing the same results anymore or worse, having a negative impact on website traffic.

Google has stressed the need to use quality human-centric content for several years now. Yet CMOs and webmasters still prefer copy that is written to include a bunch of keywords instead of content that actually adds value. The recent editions of Google Webmaster Office Hours hangouts have stressed the need to correct course. But there seemed to be few takers – why change when the system works? With the recent update, change is inevitable. Google seems to have taken matters into their own hands. It is almost as if they lost their faith in the credibility of human judgement when clouded by corporate interest. Google is now punishing mass-produced low-quality content… Hard!

The immediate result was that many of the sites that consistently showed up in the top three results for certain keywords were suddenly missing from the top five or even from the first page entirely. Complacent digital marketers who depended on ads and funnelled content (more on that later) to drive website traffic were in for a rude awakening, perhaps a much-needed one. While most are now busy finding new loopholes to exploit, enterprising CMOs and webmasters are looking to set things right. An eye on the future represents a tremendous opportunity for moving to high-quality content in earnest, especially in growing markets like India.

The solution to the conundrum is no secret. User-centric content is the only credible course of action left to digital marketers. Good content writing companies can help you transform your current strategy to utilise the new changes and the make most of them.

Google has also gone to some lengths to ensure that webmasters follow their guidelines for optimal results. Some are naturally wary of the idea of being limited by non-standard parameters. For instance, Google’s obsession with white continues as they recommend all content be easily visible on white and light backgrounds. This includes logos and social profile links, which are generally out of their purview. However, the intent behind these guidelines is clear. To facilitate the process, webmasters are provided resources to ensure their code has ‘correct’ markup and a forum to get their questions answered.

Google wants you to produce quality content and they are helping you get there. If you are stuck somewhere, chances are that Google has a solution for you. However, for a busy digital marketer, this does mean investing a lot of time to read up on the material. It can also get complicated for other reasons. While most guidelines are clear-cut, some can leave room for interpretation. A good example is the notion of CTAs. Unfortunately, most CTAs are preceded by content that is created with the intent to ensure that the reader will take the plunge. This is commonly referred to as funnelled content – where the individual is left without a choice. While not inherently against guidelines, it is, nevertheless, a questionable practice that has so far evaded scrutiny. It is a good idea to start moving away from such tricks and gimmicks. Provide users with a clear picture of how your business can enrich their lives and they are more likely to respond in kind.

As it stands now, digital marketing needs a fresh perspective to arrive at the best solutions. Quality content writing services coupled with the insights gleaned from content strategy management can provide the impetus for the growth you seek.

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