Why are we tracking the upcoming changes in Google’s algorithms instead of directing them? It seems like a strange question. But perhaps our current assumptions and predictions are part of the problem of the chase.
As SEO-centric content marketing specialists, we keep asking ourselves, “What is Google going to do next?
Will Google find a new way to mix ads with organic search?
Will Google Audio appear in search results?
Will Google launch a scary new algorithm called Skunk or Flamingo or Ernie?
All the answers lead to the same conclusion: we don’t know. On the other hand, there’s no point in being ashamed of what Google is going to do. We’ll know when Google tells us.
But do we need to be informed about the upcoming changes in Google’s algorithms?
Too often we see Google as synonymous with the Internet. However, research and trends show that this is not the case. In fact, it is possible that the world of search is moving away from Google, and the world we live in is changing faster than Google can say.
We’ll get there. First, let’s look at the practical questions that arise when we treat Google as an all-powerful being to follow.
So, what should we do with SEO?
Before we can steer the search in the right direction, we must take a close look at where the next upcoming changes in Google’s algorithms. We’re not talking about things like voice search and mobile optimization, we have to think bigger.
Where is our long-term search really going from Google’s point of view? Here’s what we know: Google focuses more on search trips, less on search queries.
Google doesn’t just want to be the place to get a quick answer. You know that search has evolved beyond that.
(In fact, only 8% of Google searches are questions.)
Of course, people will still go to Google to find out how old a celebrity is or how many ounces are in a cup. However, Google wants to take them to the next step and keep them coming back to Google to guide them in their daily lives. (Google was transparent about this).
Instead of helping a search engine determine Harrison Ford’s age, Google wants to wait with answers to inevitable follow-up questions like the year Indiana Jones came out and the Temple of Doom. When a search engine asks for ounces in a cup, Google has the best chocolate chip cookie recipes ready.
Google has reorganized search results, especially on mobile devices, to achieve this goal. That’s not exactly new either. Google has been offering related searches for years, but is improving the way this information is presented (and will continue to do so).
Despite Google’s obvious intentions to keep users on its site (and ideally clicking on ads), this feature is useful to users. It puts your search in context and helps you find the most relevant content.
However, we should not only talk about Google.
Yes, Google still does most of the searching on the Internet, but do you remember when AOL was the largest Internet service provider and Yahoo was the place to search? Times change and it’s naive to believe that Google will always be number one when it comes to searches. Yes, seriously … That can be hard to swallow, but we have to be prepared for any new … well… weather.
Every day, Google’s share of the search pie is being attacked by other search engines, which are also becoming more sophisticated (and somehow more unpleasant).
For example, when it comes to product searches, more users (46.7%) go to Amazon before reaching Google (36.4%).
And with privacy increasingly an issue, Apple Maps can trick Google into figuring out where we’re going.
When searching on social networks, many of the things Google tells us are no longer relevant. We know Google prefers longer content for blogs and websites, but LinkedIn limits posts to only 1,300 characters. What about Twitter? Only 280.
The Internet can get too big and too deep for one type of search engine. It is quite possible that vertical search will become the norm in the applications we use every day.
Remember: SEO means search engine optimization, not Google optimization. If you like SEO and you are only thinking about what Google wants, you are probably in the dust.
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