Since its birth in the late 90s at Stanford University as ‘Backrub’ from the brilliant minds of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the most dominant search engine (now gracefully known as Google) has grown and evolved into a major vein of the internet, so much so that it now dictates the rules of what was once a digital wild west.
As Google’s influence as a search engine grew over a matter of years, it became clear that a lot of the content that was being put up on its site were simply not what users were looking for. The early days of the internet and Google were lots of keyword stuffing and link spamming in order to rank well.
This is where the need for search engine optimisation began to become clear. If Google was ever going to be a useful platform for users to have their questions and queries answered, as well as avoiding black hat players that tried (often to some success) to manipulate the system , it needed to establish some rules and codes of conduct.
Through several updates and changes to its algorithm, Google has changed the rules of businesses and digital marketers over and over again, let’s look at the most significant changes to the Google algorithm and subsequently the realm of search engine optimisation that digital marketers across the world rely on to help construction companies like yours.
Content Marketing & the 2011 Panda Update
You could once just fill a website with certain keywords that were related to your topic or businesses and it would result in the website ranking pretty well on Google. This was until Google developed a technology called Latent Semantic Indexing with their 2011 ‘Panda’ update which meant that sites and users had to focus more on the quality of content for the end-user and not the volume of keywords on a page or site.
No longer could site owners stuff site pages with semi-relevant keywords and update the metadata to rank higher on Google’s search engine results page. Instead, those who wanted to succeed in search engine optimisation on Google were those who produced the best most valuable content; thus creating a new era of what would come to be called ‘content marketing’.
Content marketing is now the most popular (and most effective!) method that marketers use to market clients’ products or services. It involves the use of written and watchable content that customers consume in order to learn more or interact with a company more. It involves the strategic distribution of content to attract and retain a specific audience and turn them into loyal customers.
Notably, the sort of content involved in content marketing is valuable to the customer and is something that they’d look for instead of being advertised to them and being forced to watch. There are many types of content marketing, below are just a few.
- Infographics – These are good for condensing large amounts of information into one easily understandable place that allows readers to analyse it more easily.
- Podcasts – This new medium of audio is not just for the entertainment of its listeners, but for those hosting to have their other products and services to be advertised. Podcasts are mostly free platforms but can lead to enthusiastic listeners to buying into their other range of services that consequently net them more money.
- Videos – Video marketing is the latest and freshest type of content marketing. It keeps users engaged for longer, can be efficient in their delivery of crucial information, and are being propelled in their popularity being apps like TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook.
Influencing ranks with links & the Penguin update – 2012
Google had mostly rid its search engine of black hat practitioners and spam-based link builders by the late 00s, but it wasn’t until its Penguin update of 2012 and the link building guidelines that came with it that we began to see natural link attraction between sites.
Links (sometimes known as backlinks) are important in improving a site’s SEO as it tells Google that other websites see this site as an authority on a certain topic, which results in Google ranking it higher because its algorithm is going off of the good will and recommendations of other users.
Link building is a tricky but important part of SEO. One of the main ways that sites can earn links is through writing guest posts for other websites in exchange for a link back to your site. There is also the option of just writing good content that other sites can’t help but link back to. Either way, link building results in your site ranking higher because the Google algorithm is told by several other sites that yours is the place to go to for information or authority on a topic.
Mobiles have exploded in popularity since the first iPhone in 2007. For the past 14 years, the technology has become more accessible, sophisticated, and affordable to the point that over 80% of the entire UK population and over 60% of the world population now have a mobile phone in their pocket.
Another reason why they’ve become so popular is because they’re essentially just a miniature version of the desktops and laptop that came before them. In response to this, Google has done everything it can to emphasise the obvious and long-lasting impact of mobile. More and more searches were being done on mobile devices than on desktop until in 2015, they actually surpassed desktop searches.
As a response to this, Google realised that sites need to be optimised for mobile use as much as anything else. This means your site looks great and functions well on mobile as much as it does on other devices. Responsive design is also a crucial part of mobile-optimisation, as it ensures that your website adapts to any device that a user uses – regardless of whether it is a phone, tablet, or laptop.
Integrating responsive design makes it easy for your audience to browse your site as they can easily scroll through your page and view your site correctly. E.g. ensuring the text on your site isn’t crowded and unreadable on mobile compared to on desktop, or making your site ‘thumb-friendly’ for mobile users that mainly use their thumbs to navigate content on their phones.
These were just a few ways in which SEO has changed with the evolution of Google since the 00s. Let us know if you want a second part to this to delve more into the ever-changing world of SEO.
Framework Marketing is a national digital marketing agency rooted firmly in the construction industry that helps construction companies grow further than they could ever imagine. Interested in knowing more? Get in touch here!
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