Living in a Google World

The race to the top of Google’s search engine results pages is the new normal. Here’s what you should know.

Fifteen hundred people. All wrestling for page one in Google’s index of 130 trillion pages. All capable of typing at light speed. And likely to have carpal tunnel syndrome in five years. Welcome to MozCon, a thriving marketing and SEO convention celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

The race to the top of Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages) is the new normal. We all know how it works: Google reigns supreme here. But there are some basic steps companies can take to compete in this race. They include:

  • Don’t try to game the system. Fake news exists in SEO too. Keyword stuffing, for example, could help you in the short term, but Google has no problem cutting off spammy/malicious websites. Remember that they want their searchers to be satisfied with the results.
  • Write content with the “inverted pyramid” in mind. Answer a “how-to” problem at the beginning of a blog for example, then drill down into more detail later. This helps you get featured in Google’s featured snippets, which is taking a ton of real estate on search engine results pages.
  • Use HTTPS. The search engines have considered penalizing non-secure websites. They ultimately decided against it, but don’t get caught flat-footed when they change their mind.

These tips will change very quickly in the next few months and years, because how we search is changing faster than ever before.

Web-based search began on the desktop, went to mobile, then to wearables, and now it’s headed to even more cutting-edge manifestations. Voice search (Siri, Google Home, Amazon Alexa for example) is becoming mainstream, and it’s becoming a standard feature in smart cars. Google has a significant advantage here, as they’ve been constantly refining their search algorithm, in one form or another, since 1998.

So how do companies compete in this “new normal” with search changing so quickly? Opinions at the conference differed significantly, but it’s clear to me that B2B companies need to carefully watch consumer adoption of these new manifestations (and plan accordingly).

 We’re already at the point where you can use Amazon Alexa to order a pizza or check the weather. How far away are we from asking Alexa: “What antivirus product has the lowest effect on my company’s network speed?” Not far at all. Try it.

fake news

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