Google does this. It likes to go quiet for a while and make everybody think that things are all fine and dandy. Then POW, new algorithms roll out close together hitting marketers and brands right where it hurts.
Only, you can’t really blame Google for its best intentions. It releases new algorithms to cut down on spam and user manipulation, and to deliver the very best results it can for searchers.
Recently Google has announced it’s overhauling its mobile algorithm, has introduced a car insurance comparison service, and is looking at ways that websites can rank with facts, and not links.
But it’s the last part that’s so intriguing. Links are still a highly valuable commodity in the world of search if you build them in the right way.
Can fact-based content really be something that turns the world of online marketing on its head?
Is Google making the right moves, or is it just making changes for change sake? Are these changes what searchers want? Let me know in the comments section below.
It’s an interesting theory, but let’s take a look at the other things I mentioned first.
Google’s been busy. I recently touched on its mobile-friendly algorithm, which is set to give sites that have worked hard to give a great user experience on mobile devices a rankings thumbs-up, all in real-time, too.
The update is scheduled to go live toward the end of April and will work on a page-by-page basis, meaning that only mobile optimised pages will see the benefit as opposed to your whole site.
Google Compare has also launched, and represents its foray into the lucrative car insurance comparison market. It’s a form of lead generation with sponsored results and is similar to its flight, shopping, and hotel offering.
Oh, and Google has also introduced a cocktail recipe search thingy, too. Wonderful.
The fact of the matter
Why’s Google doing all this? Well, they’re a public company, and as I mentioned before search is Google’s bread and butter. Things like cocktail search and smart screens on bus stops are cool features designed to attract people and keep in mind that the search giant is one of innovation.
It needs to keep interest up, especially after Yahoo! has gained more ground on Google’s search share over in the US.
So the idea of fact-based rankings would certainly work in Google’s favour if they, as leaders in the field, completely rewrote the rule book and weedled out more poor-quality content in one fell swoop.
The proposals, highlighted by New Scientist, show that Google is looking to perfect its Knowledge-based Trust Score which will cross-reference facts on articles with information in its extensive Knowledge Vault.
Suggestions are that instead of rankings being determined by links they will be chosen by facts and trust. Google has apparently been trialling it and says it can reliably predict the trustworthiness of millions of websites.
It’s all sounds pretty revolutionary, but it does raise a lot more questions than it answers…
How much will your content have to change with Google’s new ambitions? Is the age of the standard online retail brand model over? Let me know below!
Only the facts
For one I can’t imagine marketers that have gone to great lengths to painstakingly build ethical links would be too happy if they became pretty much irrelevant overnight. Also, what about brands that don’t have to or need to create much factual content? Will they be hit hard and why?
And what if people have been investing in content marketing and are trying their best to do it themselves? What if a couple of their articles on-site quote some out-of-date or iffy sources? Will they be heavily punished in the rankings if they make the odd honest mistake?
And what about Google? What gives Google the right to house all of this information and determine what’s an accurate fact and what isn’t? And what of newly-created content from scientific papers and researchers? Say a popular scientific theory is debunked. Does Google update its information and penalise those referring to previous widely-believed data?
I’ts certainly going to be interesting to find out!
Secrets of success
Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but the core message is something I’ve been underlying for a while. That a customer’s conviction in a brand is earned through a combination of knowledge and trust – all things that you can be investing in now to win people over.
You can already start creating quality content around your field, and thinking like a journalist and being consistent with your copy is one of the best ways to make an immediate impact with your audience and encourage them to share.
Likewise, associating your brand with quality content is an excellent idea, but so is letting people know who is behind the content and becoming an authority in your area. Social media is the perfect way to do it, whether it’s a B2C campaign on Facebook or Twitter or B2B through LinkedIn and more.
And though ranking through facts may very well be the future it wouldn’t make much sense for Google to completely discontinue links from its 200-odd ranking factors. Building the right quality links will likely still be essential, but also think of the click-through element instead of just building for rankings.
Most importantly though, don’t put all your eggs in the Google basket when you’re looking to build an online brand presence. Use a mix of the above alongside other channels such as email and video, if relevant, and look at the whole of your campaign and overall strategy.
The key is being ethical, honest, and transparent when it comes to your customers, with a bit of flair in your content to keep them interested and coming back for more. And that’s a fact that’s been true in the business world for centuries.
If you’d like to know more about search marketing and how a strong online presence can help generate revenue through your website contact the Webpresence team today!