Recent changes to Google make it seem like Google is no longer just one search engine but a combination of 6 or 7 different search engines all rolled into one. Your SEO efforts should now be geared to ranking high in these search engines as well as in traditional organic search.
A little while back, I wrote an article entitled “The Five Pillars of Google Search” and had I known how important those pillars would become, I would have paid more attention to them. What I didn’t factor into the equation was Google’s whole re-structuring of its SERPs interface or landing page. It really is a whole new Google with not just one search engine but a combination of 6 or 7 search engines all competing for your attention.
The new left side column with its new functions and displays, opens up new opportunities for webmasters to get their listings within Google on that all-important first page. There are also many new ways to view the results such as view everything, or you can view with more or less shopping links. Plus, you can also view Google results for books, maps, blogs, updates, and discussions – all new ways to get your site or links into Google. Throw in the Wonder Wheel and things are indeed looking very different within the new Google SERPs.
As a full-time online search engine marketer, I should have expected something like this but the recent changes within Google has been totally unprecedented. We have seen major updates before, some of them very disruptive like the Florida update, but with Google Caffeine, MayDay Update, new layout and the recent shakeup of its Algorithm, Google has fundamentally changed how its organic search are ranked and used.
Before I start sounding too cryptic, these recent changes seem to be a “coming together” of all the different types of searches in Google, which have been around for some time. Now it seems with the new interface architecture… each type of search is given more importance or rather more of an equal billing or footing within Google. There are now multiple ways to get your links viewed and hopefully clicked within the most important search engine on the planet.
First, I always try to start any piece on Google or the search engines with a disclaimer. Mainly, in the course of running 9 or 10 websites, I keep a daily monitoring of the keywords which produce revenue, some of these keyword phrases have been monitored by me for 6 or 7 years, but they are only a small sampling of keywords and sometimes drawing or making conclusions with such a small sample can be misleading or downright wrong. So take any of the following information on Google with this point in mind, just one webmaster observing what’s happening with Google and putting in his two cents worth.
Now, the reason I say “Google’s New Search Engines” is the feeling which has gradually crept into my daily marketing – it feels like you’re no longer dealing with one organic search engine but 6 or 7 different search engines. Let me explain, for years Google has been presenting results for not just static webpages but also for images, videos, news, blogs and shopping/products – but recent changes have shaken up things significantly.
With the recent changes, Google seems to be placing more importance on these new ways to search. Videos have taken a big step forward and can now pop up on the first page and stay there. Producing a video is now one of the fastest ways to get on the first page of Google, even for very competitive keywords. While many online marketers are taking advantage of this fact, it is relatively new and you can have a much better chance of ranking for a video instead of an ordinary web page in Google. It can happen almost instantly.
Personally, I like using the YouTube platform because it is also owned by Google and they no doubt can easily tap into all the background stats on a video such as comments, viewer ratings… and so on. In other words, Google has always favored ways to make their SERPs more democratic and user generated/rated videos are the perfect fit.
So too are blog posts and entries, these can be easily monitored and (comment spam aside) are more democratic since it’s harder to fake Diggs or Re-tweets. All of these social bookmarking systems and sites provide the search engines, especially Google, with some very helpful user-generated rankings and ratings. Blogs now also have two subcategories – Twitter/Facebook Updates and Forum Discussions, which are now being displayed separately.
Google seems to be placing more importance on popular Posts, Diggs, Tweets… in their SERPs. Again, I find using a simple Google owned program like Blogger to be an effective way of ranking high in Google. For example, my posts in Blogger are indexed in Google within minutes, this recently seems to have been sped up and we are moving more towards instant search results.
Another instant way to get your content onto the first page of Google is to use a News Release. Google has always listed News Items on the first page but this now seems to play a more important role, especially when you consider all the new features in the left side column. Surfers will probably stay on that first page longer and you have a better chance of getting your news item read.
Within the last couple of years, I have started doing Press Releases, mainly through PRweb but there are lots of free programs you can use. I also like posting my articles to American Chronicle since Google News picks up and displays a lot of these items. Again, like videos, getting your News item listed is almost instant and within seconds you can have traffic flowing to your site.
Images and image search has always been an important feature of Google Search. One that online marketers and webmasters have taken advantage of by creating images to match the main products or keywords of their sites. Now image search, itself, is much more varied and has many more options to re-define your image search, for example you could target a certain color or line drawings. Regardless, images can be an easy way to get traffic from Google.
Within the shopping results is the place to be featured if you have a product to sell. This is the old product listing (Froogle), which Google has renamed to Shopping or Product Search. For those into online marketing, this is probably the most important listing as you’re sure to attract specific buyers who are in the right mind-set to purchase. To learn more about submitting your products to Google Product Search go here: http://www.google.com/intl/en_us/products/submit.html
While all these search options can be somewhat confusing to grasp even for the online marketer, all these options do present different ways to get on that first page in Google search. And while the number one spot in organic search will always be your main goal, ranking for the top spot in the shopping results, video results, news results, blog results, update results, discussion results and image results are all worth aiming for in your SEO efforts. Some of these are temporary or fast moving, but there are certain tactics you can use, which will increase your presence in the most important search engine, which delivers the most search traffic on the web.
Make sure you take a holistic approach to both your content and SEO. Create videos and images geared towards your site’s topic and keywords. Make sure you have a blog and a forum on your site to take advantage of these types of listings. Likewise, fully integrate your site with all the social bookmarking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Google Buzz… and become an active part of those sites. Make sure you’re creating news related items for your site or keywords, to keep your site in the whole mix of things on the web. Make sure you have a steady flow of fresh content being added to your site regularly and link this content to the “Q&A” types of sites; there is a growing emphasis being placed on these help-based sites by the search engines.
Lastly, I am a firm believer in having all your content/sites/programs interconnected with one another. Something as simple as using a Google Profile to list ALL your online programs and sites is one way of making them ALL reachable by your visitors and Google. But go for the overkill, do the same thing for your Facebook page, your MySpace page, your Linkedin page… and also interconnect all your different content by referencing your videos in your News Releases, your Twitter profile in your articles, your Facebook page in your posts… well, you get the picture.
Just make sure the search engines, and especially Google, have no trouble finding you or your content. Make sure this content is varied and displayed in different mediums such as videos, images, news, tweets, blog posts, and shopping links. Reaching that first page in Google has become a lot more challenging in many ways, but it also has become a lot more easier to do. Just go for it.