Many years ago, Google stated ten points on their Corporate Philosophy page – they were as follows:
- Focus on the user and all else will follow.
- It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
- Fast is better than slow.
- Democracy on the web works.
- You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
- You can make money without doing evil.
- There’s always more information out there.
- The need for information crosses all borders.
- You can be serious without a suit.
- Great just isn’t good enough.
They are still applicable with a constant endeavor by Google to follow the stated norms and also with constant improvements in the implementation procedures. This was reflected in the Scientific Evaluation, recently discussed by Amit Singhal at the discussion hosted by Church Hill Club where he openly explained the testing procedure of every algorithmic update at Google. He says that the focus has always been “DO What Is Best For The User”
All search activity starts and ends with the user.
- The user types in the query in the search box
- The results are displayed for the user by the search engine
- The user decides which results to click on
It seems so simple, but there are scientific and psychological principles which this whole activity revolves around.
The three parties involved in this activity are the user (always #1), the websites which get ranked, the search engines and the search algorithms which execute this result.
The search engines want to give quality search results to their users. The website owners want their websites to be ranked as high as possible so that their website can be found by the user. And the user wants to find relevant content as fast as possible. Hence, the user is the focus at every step of the search activity.
Amit Singhal also stated that there are approx. 500 changes to the Google algorithm every year, and Google runs around 20,000 tests every year.
The answers to the following questions are considered before moving forward with the new algorithm. They are:
- Is it good for the web eco system at large?
- Would it benefit authors?
- Would it benefit high quality content?
- Would it keep the Google system simple so that it can be maintained much longer?
Google says that every algorithmic update is rigorously and scientifically tested before finalized. The website owners optimize their sites by investing time and money to be found by the user on the search engines. Each click on the search listings proves the user found something relevant and useful. Other metrics like the bounce rate, the click thru rate, time on site, pageviews, and the execution of the call for action, prove the result served the purpose of the user’s search and was considered relevant or irrelevant by the user.
Usually the first focus is on what search engines want followed by the user or potential visitor. However, the web developer and SEO’s flow of focus by should be the other way round. Construct content, design, colour combo and content options – like images, videos, and texts, from the user’s perspective and then focus on the search engine bots.
SEO is not rocket science (yes an old and overused statement). It’s all very simple but still demands a lot of patience and perseverance.
- Cater to the user by offering quality information on site
- Make the site easy for the bots to crawl and index
- Use the Webmaster Tools Effectively by adding and offering the right information about the site
- Analyze the Google Analytics Data For The Metrics That Matter
- Take corrective steps to modify the site accordingly serving the user and the bot constantly
Search is fundamental to all and is constantly evolving so SEO cannot be a one time job. As search engines keep on working on their algorithms for quality results, an SEO needs to monitor, measure and tweak the site constantly as per the user’s evolving search behavior and the changing algorithms for attaining stability for the site in search rankings and visibility.