Recently, I discussed the importance of understanding how Google uses links to rank a business in its search engine. It’s almost as if to say the old adage is true, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” With so many businesses, blogs, organizations, and social media sites online now, the Internet has become one of the most competitive places in the world. To survive there, you have to go beyond the obvious.
While today, Google puts a great deal of emphasis on the importance of using links in your site, there is evidence that this may be changing in the future. Consider the comments made in Search Engine Watch,
If Google researchers have their way, we may soon look back and laugh at the time when search engines ranked web pages based on link-driven popularity instead of factual content.
It seems that Google researchers are in the process of developing a new way to analyze and rank websites that will one day take them out of making the link connections.
Fact or Fiction
It’s no secret that there are millions of websites out there that are loaded with information that may be misapplied, misused, or just plain wrong. This fact is common knowledge and has been a growing concern for Google. If rumors of this new algorithm are true, there may come a time (possibly in our very near future) where the accuracy of our content will be just as or even more important than the number of backlinks we may have.
In essence, they will be looking much more closely at the actual value of the content rather than how a visitor feels about your site. The results of this kind of change could literally rearrange the entire face of search engine optimization. According to Slate.com,
The strategy isn’t being implemented yet, but the paper presented a method for adapting algorithms such that they would generalize a “Knowledge-Based Trust” score for every page. To do this, the algorithm would pick out statements and compare them with Google’s Knowledge Vault, a database of facts.
By doing this, Google will be able to determine how trustworthy a site is. Certain websites will automatically make it to the top of the list. An established newswire service would get a higher ranking than a personal blog, for example.
What That Means
If the new algorithm is released, it will entirely restructure what we see when we use the Google search engine. A small business with an accurate site could outrank larger corporations. Size and money won’t be an issue in this case as much as the quality and reliability of the information shared on a particular site.
Another point that Google would factor into this new algorithm is “topic relevance.” They would take a look at the About Us page of the site to determine the goals of the site and then compare each page content to look for compatibility. Those sites that are proven trustworthy will gain the highest recognition in the eyes of Google.
The question many are now asking is whether or not Google will actually go through with it. According to a report by NPR,
Google has been explicit that this is only research and there are no plans to implement the system anytime soon. Still, the reaction… makes it clear that, for some, even the ideas present significant problems.
Considering Google’s past record, they usually begin to suggest future actions in the media several years before they actually implement them. Those who pay attention to such announcements are often rewarded with being prepared before the transition takes place. If this is truly in the future for Google, it would be wise for all website owners to take a closer look at their content to make sure that everything is on point and accurate.
Previously, I discussed the dos and don’ts on Internet marketing for firms. I had also talked about the changes in Google’s latest algorithms a little while ago, and one of the big changes that we knew was on the way had to do with all websites being more mobile friendly. Well, this latest roll out began on the 21st of April and has already begun causing some waves in a variety of industries.
The latest algorithm change has offered greater rankings for those sites that are accessible through mobile devices such as phones and tablets, and while the jury is still out on how effective this latest change will be, it seems like businesses and individual site owners are taking it fairly seriously.
Mobile Searches Affected By Algorithm
Some sites have been reporting that this new algorithm change won’t have too large of an effect on rankings in general, but will only cause favor for searches that are actually performed from mobile devices. NPR.org reports:
The change is only taking place on Google searches made on smartphones. The results will favor websites deemed “mobile friendly,” giving them higher rankings than sites that are only optimized for desktops and laptops.
Other algorithm news reports have suggested that the entire online world is at risk of being topped by competitors who have gone mobile, if site owners don’t start making changes and getting their code in order.
Take Heed of Google Warnings
One thing that made this algorithm update a little bit different from some of the others is that Google came forward and made it known exactly what it was we were all being judged on. I have to admit that this makes my life much easier, and I could see how this warning would help law firms and other companies looking to marketing themselves online as well. Search Engine Land advises:
It’s unprecedented for Google to pre-announce a big algorithmic change like this, but Google did so in order to give publishers ample time to make their web sites mobile friendly.
In the past, many of the Google algorithm changes have come as a shock to those who use the internet as a place of business. There are actually new changes made at a constant rate, some of which we won’t know about unless we do the research necessary to make the changes. I have talked about Google in the past in terms of how nobody really understands all of what makes their ranking system tick, but what we do know as of now is that honest and genuine material is given priority, and now, that making your site mobile may be more important that we first thought.
Legal and Other Industries Majorly Hit By Changes
For my last point of this post, I just want to touch on the fact that these changes to mobile searching are making waves not only because it is such a big overall change to make for site owners, but because the world has become a place where mobile searches make up the majority of searches now performed on the internet. USA Today states:
Score Media Metrix estimates has a 65% market share of U.S. Internet searches, wants sites to load quickly and be easy to navigate on a mobile phone. Google is doing this because it wants consumers to “find content that’s not only relevant and timely, but also easy to read and interact with on smaller mobile screens,” Google said in a statement.
This is a good thing for law firms specifically because you also want consumers to find the content they need and be able to interact with you from mobile devices. If a mobile user can’t access your page and use all of the features the can use from a PC, they are likely to move on to the next competing firm in your area.
Last time, I discussed the importance of building your links slowly but steadily. Also, in the last few weeks I’ve covered a lot of different subjects, including one change in Google’s algorithm which will take all websites into the mobile era if companies looking to rank well. Now it looks as though Google is changing things up again, with last month’s announcement through Knowledge-Based Trust, which presented a new way of scoring documents online. Rather than rating sites for the number of links that they have, this latest algorithm change will affect those that have accurate content. RT.com says:
The web giant would rank search results based on each site’s ‘truth score’ instead of its popularity level. The search engine currently relies on a system that ranks websites based on how many times the page has been linked to – which means that even fake information has a way of making it up the chain of search results.
The latest change will score websites on accuracy and honesty of information in a way that hasn’t been made a priority in the past. It could have the power to boost the rankings of pages which haven’t been taken notice of in the past, but unlike other changes to the algorithm, it won’t be penalizing those sites that have inaccurate data.
From Popularity To Purpose
This change in ranking system will initiate a new way to establish purpose and brand awareness as a website and an online business. There are many companies that haven’t been noticed by Google, or have been left low in their ranking due to unpopularity throughout their industry. Being ranked on truth rather than celebrity endorsement will give a chance to the underdogs who are working to bring real knowledge to the world. This is extremely positive information for law firms in particular, because as I have made clear in the past, you are known leaders in the field of research and integrity. This makes your firm website a prime candidate for a ranking boost without needing to change too much of the content that you have hopefully already been posting. Search Engine Journal explains:
Many research papers whose algorithms eventually make it into an algorithm usually demonstrate a vast improvement over previous efforts. That is not the case with Knowledge-Based Trust. While a Truth Algorithm makes an alarming headline, the truth is there are five important issues that need to be solved before it makes it to an algorithm near you.
The way that the new system will process information is through an artificial intelligence, which will be used to determine how honest facts are in their statements. This is being designed by the Director of Engineering of Google, Ray Kurzweil.
Pinpointing Relevant Changes
Before website owners begin making alterations, deleting content and searching for new, more straightforward data to supply in their industries, there are things to consider. Tidbits of information that count as trivial facts will not be counted toward the quality and trustworthiness of a site. This means that repeating things that don’t really matter to the content being posted, whether these things are true or false, will not increase rankings. At the moment, the method being utilized will not be able to signify duplicated content, which could be a problem to Google and the companies which will undoubtedly try to impress this latest algorithm. This means that spam might make a comeback and could increase ranking. As a law firm, I would highly recommend not trying to get caught up in sneaky tactics involving spam, because Google does have other ways to track this information and it tends to impact overall rankings in a very negative way.
Finding Your Truth Score
The most recent documentation on this algorithm change suggests that each page of a website will obtain its own ranking on the basis of truth. This could eventually discredit the reputation of some websites whose information has a high level of untrustworthy data. CNN reports:
By checking pages against that database, and cross-referencing related facts, the research team believes the algorithm could assign each page a truth score. Pages with a high proportion of false claims would be bumped down in the search results.
One thing that I’m positive about is that there’s no downside to too much honesty, so long as it flows with the content that you’re posting. In other words, this algorithm change shouldn’t affect the overall quality of your content, or how relevant it is to your industry. It’s important to stay on the subject, include information that your clients want to read, and also keep spam to a minimum. In fact, if you can completely negate spam from your website, you have a much better chance of coming out on top, whether your honesty ranking is low or through the roof.
Checking Your Facts
Google will be using their own tool for fact checking, as mentioned above, but believe it or not, this is not the only fact checker available on the internet and you can use a variety of different applications that can do the same thing if you’re willing to look for them. NewScientist.com says:
The software works by tapping into the Knowledge Vault, the vast store of facts that Google has pulled off the internet. Facts the web unanimously agrees on are considered a reasonable proxy for truth. Web pages that contain contradictory information are bumped down the rankings.
Different software functions in different ways and may not account for certain aspects of a website, but if you search the net you’ll find many different sites and applications that you can use as a business to weed out misinformation and test what your ranking might climb to.
Whether or not you decide to take advantage of this latest change in the algorithm, it’s important to follow along each time that you see something has changed. The more that you know about Google rankings and search engine optimization, the higher your chance for success will be in your industry through better brand recognition and a higher rate of financial success. Growing a business or maintaining the traffic of a law firm is much easier with the power of the internet working with you rather than against you.
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