Op-Ed: The New Google Insists Content Remains King

With Google's latest search algorithm update, in a sense nothing has changed, but what is more important than ever is to know your business.

Google, one of the most prominent and innovative companies of this century, is now worth more than £200bn and has become “the third largest corporation in the U.S., measured by market capitalization,” according to a senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

While many regard Google as a technology giant, the fact is that the company was born as a very small start-up led by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who first started working on their project in 1996.

Although Google has become an invaluable tool that makes it extremely easy to search for information, it is statistically proven that a great majority of Google users only review the first page of search results. According to Gravitate Online, “A sample of over 8 million clicks shows that over 94% of users clicked on a first page result and less than 6% actually clicking to the second page and selecting a result displayed there.”

This means that, while a lot of companies have tried to make their businesses relevant on Google, most of them end up being ignored by the customers. And so the gold rush began to become more noticeable in search engine results, with businesses deploying various digital marketing strategies, including search engine optimization (SEO) – the art of enhancing your online visibility using specific keywords – and by earning local and international visitor attention through directory inclusion.

While these and other strategies have to exploit Google’s algorithm, the fact of the matter with the growing team of search engineers at Google becoming increasingly aware of these practices it has become more and more difficult to improve website rankings.


Google Hummingbird Changes the SEO Landscape

The development of a new and more refined search algorithm is the final and most important change to the current online landscape. Google’s Hummingbird update aims to reward high quality and original content, allowing websites to climb in the digital rankings only if they are able to provide customers with what they are really looking for online.

The new search algorithm (only the second in Google’s history) announced on September 26, 2013 was birthed in line with the growing understanding of the semantic web and the rise of voice search thanks to time-strapped tools like Siri, the iPhone’s voice activated personal assistant.

Assuming people use longer, more specific, queries (i.e., as we all become more advanced searchers) means that Google now rewards websites that return an exact match for the query. Although Hummingbird is the most important change in the way Google filters and classifies its search results in over a decade, this new algorithm does not really break with the past, but instead updates key aspects that companies must take into account if they intend to attract new customers.


How to Benefit from Google Hummingbird

With Hummingbird, Google has started giving much more importance to long-tail keywords than to individual search terms. Focusing on the meaning of the whole chain rather than on individual concepts makes a whole lot of sense and should inform your company’s digital marketing strategy in the future. At the same time, companies will have to start paying much more attention to the quality of their content marketing (i.e., written material), avoiding the use of unnatural and artificial language, and promoting the heavy use of social media.

In a sense nothing has changed, but what is more important than ever is to know your business. Who are your customers? What do they want? How are you trying to reach them? What are you trying to say?

Content is still at the heart of this communication and it’s never been a better time to invest in written and visual assets to help reach a growing audience, even if it is in a more competitive market place.


Mark Knight is a Director at Broadgate Mainland – business PR and financial PR experts. Connect with Broadgate Mainland on Twitter.


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