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This weekend Google changed the algorithms that affect how your website is ranked on its search engine. If your rankings on Google have suddenly changed – this is why.

These are probably some of the most significant changes Google has ever made – thanks to @chrisnorton and his excellent blog for alerting us to the date this was happening – and they are very good news for those in the B2B market, who care more about quality relationships than getting thousands of visitors to your site.

How does Google rank your site?

Logo_Google_2013_Official.svg What Google used to do was rank your site based on the number and quality of links (called backlinks) to your site containing the keywords you wanted to be found on.

This led to a whole industry based on SEO (search engine optimisation), where people in back rooms have been working all day to set up links to your site which contain the keywords you need such as ‘Leeds litigation lawyer’ or whatever pulls traffic to your website.

Google recognised that this often delivered ‘a low quality experience’.  In other words, people who were searching for ‘Leeds litigation lawyer’ did not necessarily land on the sites you would expect to have come up top.

Our associate, Jonny Ross, wrote about Penguin and Panda in a guest blog for us in December, explaining how these backlinks used to work and what will be needed in future.

The future for your website on Google rankings

So how could Google find a way to rank websites based on what most people would say was a ‘good site’ or ‘a high quality experience’?

By measuring what is happening in social media.

Let the people do the talking.  If lots of people are tweeting about the latest content on your website and clicking through to it; if they are leaving comments on your blogs; liking it on LinkedIn – well, Google reckons that is a pretty good measure that you have got stuff on your website that is useful.

But if all you have on your website is static copy – how are your clients going to rate or talk about it?  You need to set up mechanisms so that the wider world can interact with your business online.

Three easy ways to help your Google rankings

Tree, social media platformsIf you are reluctant to enter the world of social media, throw away all thoughts that this is about teenagers chatting on Facebook.  It really isn’t.  Enter the grown up world of doing business online and forming relationships with people you only dreamed that your business might ‘meet’ one day.

    1. Start with a blog.  Provide insights, tips, advice for your clients.  Make it easy for clients to comment and share the blog.  This isn’t expensive.  WordPress is generally reckoned to be the best blogging software and is free
    2. Set up a Twitter account, also free.  Start tweeting about things that will interest and help your clients – it could be a newspaper article, a speech or a discussion online.  We had a really helpful discussion on Twitter recently when we posted a question ‘should internal communications sit with HR or external communications?’
    3. Share your blog on LinkedIn

Google+ will come of age

Google has been struggling to get its own social media platform, Google +, to be used and recognised.  These new changes mean Google+ is about to become more important.

Will we all be using Google+ properly by the end of the year?  I know it is important – but does that mean we will actually use it? Or love it?!

 

11 Responses to “Google changed its algorithms this week – three steps to ensure your website is highly ranked”

  • on March 18th, 2013 8:00 pm

    Loved yr blog #Googlealgorithms @chrisnorton – and tks. Have given you credit in our blog explaining to clients http://t.co/8QVHTvOEIL

  • on March 19th, 2013 1:28 pm

    Really useful stuff, Victoria. Thanks!

  • on March 19th, 2013 2:40 pm

    Its all about the ‘experience’ now with Google plus tons of other factors and one important one being site speed.

    I agree with what you say about Google+ but I just dont get it. I hardly ever use it because unlike twitter and facebook it is not intuitive at all. How on earth do you find people via your google+ page ~ do you know? Or do you just like them via google+ badges and buttons on ther websites and blogs?

    Thanks!

  • on March 19th, 2013 9:35 pm

    Thanks for the article. Do you think that linking and commentating on others posts, in order to get your ranking up, is productive or is it more efficient to be genuine in your transactions even if that means less activity. I hope it’s the latter.

  • Victoria Tomlinson
    on March 20th, 2013 8:58 am

    Thanks for really interesting comments and questions

    Sharon completely agree re Google+. It is clumsy and not enough seeming benefits for adding ‘one more thing’ to the list in social media.

    Kevin, posting comments elsewhere is now going to become less important than others posting on your sites.

    There is also the point that certainly in the B2b market you should be looking to form relationships and win business from these. Posting randomly can soon be spotted but genuine comments should start or or build on a relationship to help do this.

    We would always say be authentic and it is good that Google is trying to spot and measure this

  • on March 20th, 2013 1:13 pm

    Great post Victoria, and you are right to point out Google+. It’s a dead easy way to get your photo on the Google search page, and what does that lead to? A better chance of someone clicking your link!

    (see it in action here http://bit.ly/YomcUc)

    @sharon, the first thing to do is connect all your accounts to Google here
    https://profiles.google.com/connectedaccounts

    you can connect more and find people by visiting this link
    https://plus.google.com/people/find

    @Kevin commenting on other people’s blogs that are relevant to you is really important, but DO NOT do it for SEO reasons!! Do it to engage with others in your industry, or target audience.

    Commenting enables people to continue the conversation and to get to know each other, just like this now.

    There are many success stories from blog comments, I have gained business through commenting, and I have been asked to guest blog many times through commenting, all of that leads to SEO of course, but it’s not the prime reason by any means!

    Jonny
    @jrconsultancy

  • on March 28th, 2013 1:17 pm

    [...] Google changed its algorithms – three steps to ensure your website is highly ranked [...]

  • on April 17th, 2013 4:33 pm

    [...] time on optimising for local search, and making sure your Google Places listing is up to date. More tips on optimising your website for organic search (SEO [...]

  • on April 24th, 2013 6:24 pm

    @MrsButterwth @sengineland @eskimosoup Useful stuff in here, adds to our blog http://t.co/8QVHTvOEIL – thanks cc @jrconsultancy

  • on November 27th, 2013 11:00 am

    Quick and simple tips, this is pretty much how everyone should start.

  • on February 14th, 2014 12:11 pm

    […] Don’t underestimate the importance of social media – and it is becoming more important. […]

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