The Changing Face of Google Search
In the past, I used to receive all sorts of fake lottery wins, Nigerian scams and too good to be true Job offers. But now the majority of my spam emails are SEO (search engine optimisation) proposals. In fact I get around 50-60 SEO proposals a week.
Why is it that there is such a high demand for SEO that it dominates your email content? The simple truth is, most businesses are more than willing to pay handsomely to be on the first page of Google. But it also highlights a major problem that Google, Yahoo and Bing are confronting - that millions of people are out to game the system.
Business are willing to spend as much as $1000 per month in order to get their website listed on the first page of Google for their specific keyword or search phrase. Often than not, if you engage the services of the "SEO experts" to help your website rank in Google search, you will often discover that they employ Blackhat SEO techniques, keyword stuffing and back linking tactics that will often leave your website in a worse position than before. Getting to the first page of Google takes months of hard work before you will see any results. So as long as as the internet exists, there will always be a great demand to try and game the search results.
How Does Google Search Work?
As more and more people find innovative ways to try to game the search results of Google, it gets harder for Google to serve up relevant information.
Google uses mathematical formulas to find, rank and pull up web sites that are relevant to your search query. Google's "magic formula" is a closely guarded secret, but never-the-less, it's a hotly debated topic and there are who industries and professionals trying to find a chink in the armour so that they can use that information to their own advantage.
What Does This Mean for your Website
Google's semantic search is a new way of trying to address this problem. Semantic search, is the ability of a search engine to bring up the results that you need, but that don't always necessarily match what you type into the search box. For example, if I where to do a search on Google for a particular book, I will have to visit each website separately that appears on Google's search results to gather the information that I need. But with semantic search, I can just type in the relevant phrase, and Google will provide me with the price and the condition of each book, the contact number, and store hours of each bookshop in my area.
Semantic search isn't the future of search, it's taking place right now. As you go online, Google uses your search history, your likes and your preferences to pieces together your online identity. Data is collected about you every time you in thousands of ways, such as when you watch an online video, whenever you buy something or whenever you log-on to your favourite social media site. Google creates a "personal algorithm" based on your online activities - and it uses this information in order to serve up search results that becomes more and more relevant to your likes and interests.
How to Play Nicely with Semantic Search
Daily, search is becoming more and more relevant, directed and personalised.
The way that most businesses try to rank on the first page of Google's search results is either to pay for advertising space (with Google Adsense), or they would do keyword research that is specific to their industry. The smart business person would write up articles and blogs based on these keywords, Google would than serve up this information to the end user, if their search query matched keywords from these articles.
However, with semantic search we don't need to focus on keyword research any more. What you need to do is to address the needs and concerns of your customers.
Staying Relevant in the Era of Semantic Search
To play nicely with Google you need to simply ask yourself these questions:
What problems is my business trying to address?
What questions do my customers typically ask me?
How will my services benefit my target audience?
Once you know the problems that your specific target audience is trying to solve, you can use those problems as the starting point to write up articles that provide real, workable solutions. That's the main activity that you need to focus on whenever you create any new content for your website. You need to forget about search techniques and focus on writing valuable content that addresses the everyday problems of your end user.
The more relevant your content, the more likely you will appear in Googles search results.