Popular search engines Google and Bing have both gone through some recent changes. Google has launched its Knowledge Graph, which augments searches for people, places or things by bringing up a sheaf of associated facts in addition to simply producing websites associated with keywords. Bing has added a social element that connects your social network to searches, giving you not just ideas from the web but also expertise from your connections.
Changes in search engine paradigms, especially changes related to Google’s Knowledge Graph, have a major effect on search engine optimization techniques. Knowledge Graph, for instance, tends to rely more on sources that Google “trusts,” such as Wikipedia and other major data sources. This could mean that Google will present less data from newer websites, which could be a troubling development for many new business owners who are hoping to grab Google’s top spot.
Some analysts believe that developments like Knowledge Graph mean an even heavier focus on links from trusted websites within website, article and blog copy. Links to .gov and .edu domains along with links to blogs from industry thought leaders and industry membership organizations are links that Google sees as reliable. This means that plugging in links from off-topic sites will produce results of lower quality that will not rank well in the search engine results pages.
Also, mentions on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest could become just as important as inbound links. Google will increasingly leverage its Google+ social network to bring a social element to its searches while Bing leverages Microsoft’s investment in Facebook. Just as an inbound link provides a search engine with “confidence” about the validity of a web page, social network mentions could also become more relevant to a search engine’s confidence about a web page.
Organizations with experience in search marketing will always remind businesses that search engine optimization techniques are not a magical way to boost a business to the top of the search engine results. SEO requires both time and ongoing maintenance to ensure a steady presence in the Top 10. As search engines evolve, high-quality content, relevant links and social mentions will become even more essential to web pages that want to work their way up the rankings. The increased emphasis on quality will benefit the querying customer most of all.