You know your website is a key element of your small business marketing. And you know you depend on search engines to help customers find your website.
What you may not know is how often search engines change. By that we mean, the criteria they use to rank websites change. And those criteria are fairly complex to start with; there are rumored to be over 200. (Google doesn’t really say. It’s part of their “secret sauce”.)
That’s a pretty fair question. To understand why Google is constantly working on updates to their search engine, you have to know two things:
- their only business is giving you the most relevant & current search results: they’re always looking for new and better ways to take your search query and show you exactly what you want to see
- they are always combating the efforts of unscrupulous individuals called “Black Hats” that try to ‘game’ the search engine into ranking their site highly, when it is less relevant or not relevant at all
Google is always looking for ways to analyze websites. Think about it, text is pretty easy to analyze. But what about pictures, animations, videos, charts, and graphs? All of these make for a richer user experience, and the Google search engine tries to analyze them as well.
This is why Google is always working on better ways to find out what the content on a site actually means.
How Can Those Changes Affect Me?
It’s simple, as Google makes changes to their search engine, things you have done on your website might be ranked less highly (or, worse yet, penalized). Your website does not get the favorable search ranking it did before the change. That’s a huge negative for your small business marketing efforts.
In the early days of websites, a common technique was called keyword “stuffing”. That is the practice of placing the keyword you want your website to rank highly for throughout your content. This resulted in content that no longer offered a good user experience. Google got smart to that fast and now penalizes sites that have too high a keyword density.
A More Recent Example
People doing everything on their mobile devices is all the rage. And that’s not lost on Google at all. Starting on April 16, 2015, Google began lowering the rankings of sites that do not have a site design responsive to mobile devices.
Responsive design, where the website automatically adjusts itself to best utilize the capabilities of the device it is being displayed on, is actually a pretty new thing. But Google knows how popular mobile is and they are moving to ensure that they offer the best possible experience to mobile users.
What Should I Do?
Call us biased, but we think you should be talking to a digital marketing agency that specializes in small businesses. (That would be a company like ours.)
Actually we’re serious. A regular chat with a digital agency can help you be sure there are no surprises around the corner for the star of your small business marketing team: your website.
Give us a call. We Know Small Business™.