If there is one thing all SEO individuals know, it is that the Google algorithm SEO ranking methods may change daily or weekly.  And to complicate things further, Google rarely confirms updates in their algorithm status.  Only two changes have been reported this entire year.  This means we must always stay on top of the current trends and do our best to identify any subtle changes in real-time. SERPs (Search engine result pages) appear to be dominated by the larger domains, not necessarily the most qualified domains. To compete with these larger domains, smaller businesses must follow the search engine marketing trends for 2017.

What are search engines looking for?

Google and other search engines are all about organizing the world’s information, making it universally easy to access.  They are only interested in adding the most useful content available. We are constantly being told to add only the more relevant, user-friendly content for this reason. Educating visitors will bring your site to a higher rank. Add new and interesting news regularly to offer your users a better online experience.  Once you begin to show a pattern of usefulness to the search engines, your value will increase and your site will grow to be an authority website. This is a website which is trusted by visitors and by top search engines. This is the website which will be considered for a top SERP listing.

What does the term SERP mean?

The SERPs are the pages provided to users as they search for goods and services online. The user puts in a search query for specific words and/or a phrase known as keywords. The search engine will then direct them to pages of results.  They can then choose to browse the pages for an answer to their query. Search queries may differ on search engines even though the same keywords are entered into the SERPs.  The results can be different based upon many factors such as physical location or browsing history.
Most search engines do customize the user experience, and there are thousands of search engines. The SERP pages revealed are different from search engine to search engine and will display subtle differences. Google and top search engines are always experimenting with new search methods. This is done to offer users an intuitive and better search experience. As technology changes, the SERP results today may be very different with the results you discover tomorrow.

What we need to know as search engine optimization specialists:

SEO specialists must stay current with methods introduced by top search engines.  They need to recognize when the client’s traffic declines, and when other actions are required. It may be time to change directions and to consider other tools available. However, it may not be the fault of the SEO specialist, but rather that Google has changed their algorithm quickly without notice. When this occurs it is time to consult with the SEO team and discuss options to comply with the new changes. To determine exactly how your client  may have been affected by a recent algorithm change, look at others in their specific industry.  Continue to make the client’s site better and better as time goes on. Keep great organic content on the site and take the time to stay current with today’s new SEO technology.

Why is one site higher than another in the SERPs?

Having been in business since 2001, we have built trust and are ranking highly in most instances. We offer both web design and SEO solutions and our website has enjoyed a high visibility for some time now. Our clients notice this right away and ask us how we have such high visibility.  We are always honest in our approach to this question. We do our best to reveal to clients that it takes time and effort to build trust and to experience a high rank in the search engines. Our website is an “authority” website and we blog regularly to maintain this top listing.
As new designers come online they soon discover the ranking method may favor others over them. We all notice that the larger domains continue to receive the higher rank on the SERPs. It takes time and commitment to gain visibility and it is a daunting task. To completely understand everything there is to know about how Google ranks sites would be impossible.  That is, unless we worked at Google. They are not giving out company secrets.  We do know it has taken time to build our rank and if we fail to add new content, we will find ourselves in a low position in short order.

What if we stopped blogging consistently?

If we stopped adding relevant content today, our rank would suffer and we would be back at square one in a short period of time. New content keeps our rank high. When we complete a new site and turn it over to our client, we are quick to let them know they are in charge of their own success.  They have to get involved and promote their own site. Google does not promote your site. There are no shortcuts to becoming the top dog on search engines.  You cannot buy your way or trick your way to better organic rank.
Adding good organic content will work best over time to let SERPs know you are here to stay and deserve a high rank.  Here are a few things to check:

  • Check the Google “Search Console” to see if you have a manual penalty
  • Look to see which web pages have declined in rank
  • A simple change in one page may not be an algorithm change
  • You may notice that some industries fluctuate more than others

Our conclusion for SEO ranking results:

For a majority of businesses, the top results in the SERPs are the ones most often used by those searching online. Ranking positions fluctuate constantly. It is great to have a top position.  But remind your clients that you do not work for Google and do not know how they make any final decision on who to list first.  The best we can do is to suggest techniques which will help you stand out in the crowd such as adding new content consistently, and  linking top quality sites related to your own unique industry. These are a couple of techniques which appear to work best.
It is easy to make educated guesses based upon our experience, but we cannot promise or guarantee any outcome.  Every business owner must take responsibility and be in charge of their own destiny.  We have no control over variables in the SEO industry. Just like our clients, we are learning all the time. We will tackle each new issue as it arises.
As Google posts new rules, we are there to respond to their new normal.
Thanks for stopping by.
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Jean Holland-Rose, Chief Creative Officer & SEO Professional
Inside Design Orlando