The Future of SEO – Search Engine Optimization

Alphabet, Google’s new parent company, just commented on 3rd Quarter 2015 earnings yesterday.

Chief Executive Officer, Sundar Pichai, said many things, but one thing stood out to us here at The Optimacy Group:

Sundar said….”Machine learning is a core, transformative way by which we’re rethinking everything we’re doing.”

Machine learning is, in simple terms, a system that is able to learn how to do things better based on the way people interact with it.  For instance, Gmail determines which emails to throw into the SPAM folder based on how its many millions of users interact with their inboxes.

In the past Google didn’t use machine learning to determine what pages should rank in the search results. In the last two years that has begun to change. Although Google never speaks in detail about the way their search ranking works, to those of us practicing search engine optimization it’s been clear for some time that Google applies the statistics it gathers from user interaction when deciding who should rank.

The number of people who choose to click on a specific result (the page’s Click Through Rate) and whether or not they immediately return to the search results after clicking through (the Bounce Rate) help Google determine whether or not a page should be moved up or down in the rankings–or even removed completely.

According to StatCounter’s Global Stats on browser usage, 56% of people are using Google’s Chrome Browser to surf the web. That’s an incredible number of people, and a mountain of data they can draw from to determine whether or not those users like the pages they land on. It’s not difficult to see how Google could connect the dots from Chrome to determine how people clicking-through from the search results are interacting with the pages they’re clicking through to.

What that means is that you may be able to get a page ranked by building a large number of links to it, but if you want it to stay ranked it better perform well once it’s there. That means that quality content is more important than ever before.

The days of being able to rank low quality content (or even just unexceptional content) and keep it ranked are all but gone, at least for keywords that get any search volume at all.

Does that mean it’s harder to rank? That depends on whether or not you find it difficult to produce great content.

If what you’re doing is a cut above what everybody else is doing, then getting your pages to rank and stay ranked is actually getting easier. But if you’ve been producing content that doesn’t “wow” anybody, then yeah, it’s getting harder.

The bright side is that if you are producing exceptional content and the other sites competing for the same keywords aren’t, your ranking is starting to be based more and more on that quality of excellence and less on the sheer quality and quantity of links.

Getting links is still the most important factor by far that Google uses to determine whether or not your page should be put into the rankings initially, but once it’s there the quality of your content (or, rather, how searchers respond to that content) is what’s going to make or break your success in staying ranked.

That’s what we all want anyway, isn’t it? For Google to rank what’s best rather than just what’s “popular” (in terms of links)? That’s better for the searcher because they get the best content available, that’s better for Google because their searchers are happier, and that should be better for those of us producing content because we are freed to focus on creating great content rather than worrying about the mechanics of SEO.

That, of course, is the best-case scenario. Google isn’t completely there yet, but they are working hard at getting there, so if you haven’t been focused on adding incredible content to your site, now’s the time.

If you want to stay on top of what’s working now (and not just in Google), I recommend you join the hundreds of others taking advantage of The Optimacy Group’s services. We will personally guide you on your path to business success online.