Your search engine ranking for your website is about to change – again. And this time, most business owners are going to get a piece of bad news that I have been warning about for a long time now. This Wednesday, Google launched a new search algorithm, called Caffeine, and they masked this by simultaneously launching a new feature that lets you add a background image to the Google homepage – whoopee. This change to Google is a huge fricken deal. I’ll explain why after the jump.
What I have been warning customers about is that standard search engine optimization (SEO) as we all know it will start to go away in favor of real-time, updated content in your website that is constantly added on a regular basis. In other words, you won’t be able to add keywords to your website and wait to come up high anymore – it won’t work. I ‘ve been preaching to customers and at networking events for some time that we are “leaving the information age, and that we are entering the participation age”. This was the topic of my Ignite Sussex presentation a couple of months ago – that business owners need to consider who in their organization makes up the voice of the company’s heart and soul, and then pass them the microphone and let them talk to the world. Without telling your company’s story, you won’t have an easy time competing in today’s social-driven marketplace.
Even Google is feeling the social heat, where real-time news and information sources like Twitter, Facebook pages, and countless other online sources are competing to be the most timely source for certain information. So now, we have Caffeine. Caffeine, is Google’s new secret sauce that helps them index a staggering amount of web pages simultaneously, so that they are updating Google search results with a much higher frequency. This means that new content will enter Google faster, and older content will leave Googles top search results faster.
This is very good news for some, and very bad news for a lot of business owners.
Most business owners that I meet have a very hard time believing that there aren’t some secret magical tricks to coming up high in search engines. They believe that if certain words are organized and linked just so in their site in just the right way, that they will dominate search results. It is true that this is how it worked for many years, but with search results becoming more real-time, it will be impossible to constantly pay a search engine marketing company to tweak your site. And lets be honest, “tweaking”your site will NEVER be as good as adding genuine, well-written content on a regular basis, that people will want to link to.
Truth is, SEO, and the search engine marketing companies that peddle their wares, have offered questionable value recently, because adding keywords to your website isn’t adding value. It isn’t adding a soul to your site. It isn’t making people come back to your site again and again. SEO doesn’t make someone trust you, OR your website. Also, if you get people to your site because of SEO alone, but the site isn’t designed well, doesn’t have decent content, is confusing to use, doesn’t look trustworthy, or has a multitude of other issues with it, NO ONE WILL BUY FROM IT! But we see people time and time again that spend hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands of dollars per month (really) just to boost traffic to an under-performing website. That is madness, stupidity, and a waste of money. Sites like this one that have a link at the bottom to every local city and town name are just trying to game the system to get traffic from Google. Hopefully, we will see an end to this spammy strategy in the future. To me, someone who knows what he is looking at, it makes your company look sleazy. And I am not alone – as web users become more and more savvy, they can recognize a site loaded with keywords as a desperate attempt to gain traffic.
I say good riddance to SEO. SEO is becoming automatic. This latest move by Google proves that this is where things are headed. Want to know what to do to take advantage of this? Simple. Hire better writers. If you interview two prospective employees with equal credentials, hire the one who is a better writer. To me that applies to any position that involves use of a computer. This is a REAL problem that honestly shocks me when I see it. I’m talking about the number of people I meet that couldn’t write a simple business letter or article unless you held a gun to their head. Even then they probably couldn’t do it. Those people…. the ones that can’t write and produce content… Those are the people and the companies that should be scared about this new social marketing economy. This economy, this public, and now search engines too, are demanding that you show your best stuff. That you prove that you are an expert. You can’t cheat with keywords and hope to milk the Google cow for money.
How big is this change with Google? Its huge. And its magnitude will sink in slowly as the rules for website “optimization” are again thrown out the window. I think it is time that companies start to think about their own marketing voice optimization. This news about Google is GREAT NEWS for companies like mine. Why? Because more people will soon realize that they need MULTIPLE PEOPLE in their companies working on their website content instead of just the IT guy or marketing person. THAT is how you will need to compete. To have multiple people in your company editing your website content safely, you will need a solid Content Management System (CMS), like ours.
I remember how companies didn’t want to give their employees Internet access just 10 years ago. “They will all surf the web all day!” And that was a valid concern back then. Today, we can’t imagine doing business without almost all employees having broadband. We depend on the Internet. And now, the Internet is demanding that you give something back to be noticed. You can’t hide behind that old, tired brochure website. You had better have good writers, AND good content, AND a Facebook page, AND a high-performance website, AND a blog, AND a twitter account, AND a good source of information to get noticed. Or else you won’t get noticed anymore.