What Is SEO For Today’s Businesses?
We live in a digital world today, and according to Accenture, 94% of B2B buyers search online before they make a purchase. Businesses that don’t want to understand and leverage the importance of SEO are going to be left behind and will also lose out on customers that could add to their business. The dominance of the online world is clear for everyone, and a report by Statista has revealed that global ecommerce is estimated to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021!
Ecommerce will account for 17.5% of retail sales by 2021, which will be double than right now. The GE Capital Retail Bank has also reported that 81% of people research online before they buy something. The digital world has clearly impacted local businesses, and a report by LSA Acquisio stated that 75% of mobile searches result in a store visit within 24 hours, and 30% of these visits are for a purchase.
Consumers today view the internet as an important part of their shopping experience, irrespective of whether they are buying in person or online. They can use the internet to learn about the business and the products before they end up purchasing them. However, a lot of businesses still find it overwhelming when it comes to investing in SEO. That is because businesses want clear cut details about returns on investment for every financial investment. To help, we have outlined everything that organizations should know about the value of SEO.
Why is SEO Important?
Google checks various factors when trying to determine the ranking of websites that show up on their SERPs. They verify if the content is relevant to the query and can be trusted to offer value to the reader. When content ranks high on SERP, its chances of attracting clicks and attention increases drastically. Reports have indicated that 30% of clicks will go to the link ranked first on SERP, and the percentage will fall to around 12% for the third ranked link. The links at the bottom of the page, only receive about 2% of clicks from users. (Smart Insights 9/2016).
The statistics above clearly show the disparity between the top and lower ranked websites, which is why businesses desiring more online traffic must use quality SEO to boost their rankings. The digital marketplace is constantly evolving and has become an integral part of the sales funnel for every business today. Customers today like to research online, before they buy any product or service, and that is why businesses must pay attention to SEO to improve their visibility for online customers.
Search engine optimization has become a vital component for online success, and businesses that want to ensure that they have a strong online presence must invest in SEO to engage the modern consumer.
Constantly Changing Landscape of SEO
Search engine marketing started in the mid-1990s, which was a very different time. The SEO tactics in the earlier days have become obsolete now, and involved keyword stuffing, meta keywords tag, and manual submission. In the past, SEO tactics for leveraging traffic involved construction of inter-linking farms of website, purchasing bulk links from automated spam injectors, and link bombing.
Everything changed again in 2011, when vertical search inclusion and social media marketing became mainstream methods for SEO. Over the years, search engine algorithms have been improved, which has meant most of the tactics that worked in the past are now prohibited by search engines today. No one knows what the future holds, but in digital world, it can be safely predicted that change is constant.
There is no denying that search marketing will remain a priority for businesses when it comes to maintaining a competitive edge in the digital world. There have been claims made that SEO is dead, but there is no logic or evidence that proves those claims. Search engine optimization is still integral to businesses today and will garner even more importance in the years to come.
Google algorithms play a vital role in determine the website ranking in Google’s SERPs. Search engines have complex algorithms that serve its search results, and these algorithms are updated regularly to ensure that users are provided with relevant and accurate search results. Business websites must therefore, keep abreast with the newest changes and algorithm updates affecting the SEO landscape.
To help explain the impact changing search algorithms, we have outlined some of the major algorithm updates that Google has released over the years.
The Google Panda algorithm update rewarded high-quality websites, and diminished presence of low-quality websites on Google’s organic SERP. It was called the ‘Farmer’ in the beginning, and Google states that the initial rollout of Panda affected nearly 12% of English language search results. There have been 28 updates made to Panda from 2011 to 2015.
The Panda algorithm update addressed several problems in Google SERPs, including:
- Thin content
- Duplicate content
- Low-quality content
- Lack of authority
- Content farming
- High-ad-to-content ratio
- Low-quality user-generated content
- Content mismatching search query
- Low-quality content surrounding affiliate links
- Websites blocked by users
The Panda algorithm has been cited frequently, as an update from which it is almost impossible to recover if penalized.
Google remained business, and after the release of Panda, they announced the release of the Penguin update, which would be a new way to reward high-quality websites and diminish visibility of websites that engaged in keyword stuffing and manipulative link schemes. Google states that the initial rollout of Penguin affected 3.1% of search engine queries in the English language.
There have been 10 documented updates made to the Penguin algorithm from 2012 to 2016. The Penguin update has become a part of Google’s core algorithm from 2017. Penguin focused on two malpractices:
- Link schemes
- Keyword stuffing
The Penguin algorithm came into being in order to fix the flaw in Google’s system. This flaw had allowed their algorithm to be fooled by malpractices like use of numerous low quality links and keyword stuffing.
RankBrain, an integral component of Google’s core algorithm, employs machine learning to identify relevant results for search engine queries. The algorithm update has changed how queries are interpreted by applying various factors like location of the user, personalization, and words of the query to determine true intent of the user. Google was able to deliver highly relevant results by discerning the true intent of search queries.
Due to its integration of machine learning, RankBrain is miles ahead from other algorithm updates. Google feeds the RankBrain algorithm with data from various sources to teach it how to produce relevant search results. The algorithm calculates and teaches itself over time, and learns to match various signals to different results, and then order search engine rankings based on the calculations.
The Hummingbird algorithm update was unlike the Panda and Penguin updates, which were released as add-ons to the existing Google algorithm. Hummingbird was a complete overhaul of the core algorithm Google used, but it did retain most components of the core algorithm. This algorithm update clearly signaled Google’s commitment towards an increasingly sophisticated understanding of user intent and matching them with relevant results.
The main purpose of Hummingbird was to translate semantic search from concept to reality, which would create a search standard. It improved the ability to approximate true intent of searches to deliver accurate and relevant results to users.
Search engine optimization has completely dominated the online marketing place, and businesses have started investing heavily in digital marketing services to stay ahead of their competition. It is simple, if you want to beat your competition online, you must practice quality SEO to rank first on Google’s SERP and attract more clients that your competitors.