the future of search?

Steve MacAlpine —  July 16, 2013

Search is heading to a deeper analysis of a site’s perceived value to users, authorship, structured data, and social signals.

There’s a lot of discussion around the future of search and this week I’ve come across a few gems that I’d consider essential search reading. It would seem that the verdict is unanimous.

Remember…80% of visitors to a website begin by typing keywords in the query box of a search engine and in Australian, that engine is Google (94%)

 # the Stone Temple Consulting Interview with Matt Cutts on link building

Matt Cutts: No, not all link building is bad. The philosophy that we’ve always had is if you make something that’s compelling then it would be much easier to get people to write about it and to link to it. And so a lot of people approach it from a direction that’s backwards. They try to get the links first and then they want to be grandfathered in or think they will be a successful website as a result.

Their goal should really be to make a fantastic website that people love and tell their friends about and link to and want to experience. As a result, your website starts to become stronger and stronger in the rankings.matt-cutts

…….There are best practices, and you need to make sure you get the basics right, but it is true that a lot of SEO is now circling back around to good old fashioned marketing.

There are lots of ways to do marketing and do it well; there are lots of different ways to get peoples’ attention and to get traction. And the more creative you are or the better the experience is with your website, the more likely you are to be successful. But in a lot of ways, if you think like a good marketer and think about what will appeal to people, you will find your job as an SEO and getting links or trying to build your links will be easier as well.

Eric Enge: One great way to build links in my vision is to build strong Twitter, Facebook, Google+ presences. Build strong, engaged, followings and then create great content and you push that out and then that audience will likely share it, and start doing other things that cause visibility and help it rank. That’s a cool way to do link building.

the full interview with Eric Enge and Matt Cutts can be viewed here

# Rand Fishkin’s 6 ingredients for great marketing

Rand Fishkin founder of Moz wrapped up Mozcon 2013 with a discussion on the problems with internet marketing today and his view on what constitutes great marketing.

Fishkin was highly critical of the poor tactics used by some marketers for “Burning out web users” and of display ad budgets with poor ‘click through rates’. His view is that budgets would be better spent on developing link worthy content. randfishkin

Given that most marketers have grasped this the issue then becomes standing out from the crowd. Fishkin said that every great marketer uses a combination of the following characteristics:

1. Transparency

Transparency is a core component to marketing, but it often sounds easier than it is. That’s because it requires revealing information which the most corporate cultures would prefer not disclosing.

A great Orwellian quote : ‘In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act”

2. Authenticity

Brands define what they stand for and stay authentic throughout all of their marketing and messaging and customers can clearly see through fake messaging. Authentic brands develop the best connections with customers.

3. Generosity

All good marketing contains some element of generosity. This implies a willingness to give things away at a discounted rate or free periodically.

4. Fun

Even the most mundane topics should be lightened up to be marketed correctly.

5. Empathy

Good marketing sees the world from the eye of the customer and tailors its message accordingly. Rather than a company just listing its features, it should tell you exactly how it will solve your pain.

6. Being Exceptional

In a world where everyone is copying each other, Fishkin said that great marketers should zag when everyone else is zigging. This means being the outlier in ways that make you stand out from the crowd.

Rand’s full presentation can be seen at the end of this post

# 2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors

Every two years, Moz runs a Ranking Factors study to determine which attributes of pages and sites have the strongest association with ranking highly in Google. The study consists of two parts: a survey of professional SEOs and a large correlation study.

 Takeaways and the future of search

“According to our survey respondents, here is how Google’s overall algorithm breaks down:

We see:

  1. Links are still believed to be the most important part of the algorithm (approximately 40%).
  2. Keyword usage on the page is still fundamental, and other than links is thought to be the most important type of factor.
  3. SEOs do not think social factors are important in the 2013 algorithm (only 7%), in contrast to the high correlations.

Looking into the future, SEOs see a shift away from traditional ranking factors (anchor text, exact match domains, etc.) to deeper analysis of a site’s perceived value to users, authorship, structured data, and social signals:

 

and for the SEO geeks here’s Matt’s slide deck….

https://www.socialinsights.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Rand-Fishkin.pdf

 

Steve MacAlpine

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Brand and digital strategist - founder of Social Insights.