Google has made a huge number of changes this year and a lot of sites have suffered because they were aligned with the algorithm in 2011 and not the algorithm in 2012. Algorithm chasing has been profitable for years but only because it was cheap and easy – in 2012 Google has made it really clear where the algorithm is going and what to do about it but because it’s not cheap or easy to chase there are few sites doing it.
I talked at the recent Branded3 Seminar (see the slides below) about how the new algorithm was based largely around artificial intelligence designed to find sites that users love and rank them higher. The problem is that investing in a site that users love is a lot more difficult for big brands than just hiring an SEO agency to build links.
We have a sophisticated content audit process to identify which pages on a clients site need improvements but if the answer is “most of them” then it can be hugely expensive to fix, especially for a large scale ecommerce site.
Page quality can be modelled mathematically but fixing low quality pages on a big site can be a 2 year process for big companies with slow moving IT departments.
Companies that are going to see the best results over the next two years are the ones that are agile enough to create websites that users really like using and that doesn’t just mean certain parts of the site. One of the biggest mistakes people have made in recent years is putting their best content on a blog or within infographics and leaving their product, service or category level pages alone. Google is clever enough now to look at the key commercial pages and make ranking decisions based on those pages alone rather than your entire site.
The slides below pretty much sum up our thoughts on SEO strategy for the next two years and we will be focussing on this topic in a few more blog posts soon.