Google recently updated its search algorithm “to help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfill their information needs.” In other words, Google will promote sites that provide a good user experience and contain genuinely useful content for readers.
What is “White Hat SEO?”
These things fall within the realm of “white hat” search engine optimization (SEO). In Google’s own words, they’re promoting sites that are “good for both users and search engines.”
Having a site that gives users a great experience means data is easy to find, pages load quickly and it works perfectly on mobile, tablet or the desktop. According to research, 67% of mobile users say that they’re more likely to purchase if they visit a mobile-friendly site.
A website without good content will not hold a user’s attention for long either. However, good content needs good marketing, and Google’s new update takes that into account: “[good marketing means] thinking about creative ways to make a site more compelling, which can help with search engines as well as social media.” For example, consider business listings on social media and local online directories. In one study, 47.6% of survey respondents (of US consumers) had a negative reaction to the discovery of incorrect local information and 85% of consumers search for businesses online, you begin to see the negative impact an incorrect listing has on a local business. Google’s search algorithm is paying attention and consistently correct business listings is good for customers and search engines.
How Important are Backlinks?
Google’s algorithm also considers the number of websites that link back to your website. You could try a black hat tactic and buy those links, which may work in the short term. However, as soon as Google figures out that the backlinks aren’t legitimate, your website will immediately lose its position on the search engine results pages. Or you could do the following:
- Respond to positive and and negative reviews, and give your customers a reason to link back to your business and recommend you. A Recent study shows that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- Keep a watch on your social media channels to see which customers need your immediate help. Help them out and they’ll write about you everywhere, providing you with quality backlinks
Google is aligning its search algorithm to match real-life best practices for businesses. From Google’s perspective, it needs to make these changes to stay relevant as a search engine — after all, people wouldn’t use a service that doesn’t connect them with good websites and businesses.
As far as VendAsta’s partners go, our platform can help your clients implement all these SEO best practices. If you’re not selling our platform to local businesses yet, book a demo today!
(Photo courtesy of Chris Nystrom)