The Google feed was recently renamed “Discover,” and lately activity cards and collections have been incorporated into the Google search.
But what does this mean for enterprise search-engine optimization? We listened to what the experts had to say about the rules that can be derived from this – and gave three experts a chance to speak. They reveal what they are doing to adapt their updated SEO strategies.
1. Providing relevant content:
The main trick to being found through Google is to provide relevant content. This is an ongoing “to-do” that has to be taken care of over and over again. The Google algorithm cannot just be outsmarted any more by simply feeding it the right keywords. What matters is genuine, relevant content. And that has to be prepared in the best way possible: easy for users to read, but for Google, too.
Here’s how to create important content: To find out what interests customers, companies should obtain feedback. Whether by e-mail, online questionnaire or telephone interview. This way, content can be kept relevant and yet evolve and have a lasting positive influence on search results.
2. Tailoring pages to intent
Google can use what are known as “neural embeddings” – a form of neural networks – to embed search requests containing stray words in a context. In the process, the search engine collates the request with website content. This way, questions such as “How big is the gender pay gap in Germany?”, for instance, can be answered, even if the exact wording is not to be found on a particular website. As Google is growing increasingly effective at using “neural matching” to decrypt the meaning of search requests and synonyms and to align this with homepage content, the once-classic ranking factors, such as backlinks or the placement of keywords in title tags, are growing less and less relevant.
Instead, it is important to tailor the content of pages of a homepage to the intent of the users searching for the keywords.
3. Structuring content
With its latest updates, Google is increasingly turning to structured content – such as collections and snippets. This is particularly helpful for users of mobile devices. Clearly, this eliminates clicking on search engine results.
And this means that content needs to become more relevant and better matched up with the search intentions of Google users.
4. Emphasizing the basics:
Businesses must abandon the idea of relying on tricks to influence Google’s search results in their favor. Instead of supposed quick fixes, they should place an emphasis on the structure of their data. This helps Google clearly capture and display the most important data and information.
What is becoming important: Instead of endless continuous text, highlight the basics and label them accordingly in the markup. For instance: Where is an event taking place, from when to when, what is it about, and what category does it fall under?
Survey: How are you adapting your SEO strategy?
Oliver Bronner, Creative Director and founder of the creative agency Hy.am Studios
“In our case, we will place much more emphasis on the topic of UX. We need to have an even deeper understanding of our users, and to figure out what they’re looking for and why. For example: if we want to optimize a page on our homepage around the keyword “digital agency Berlin,” we have to ask ourselves what people with those search terms want to see. We need to develop a deep understanding of the information they expect, and how they would expect it to be presented. To do this, we need to anticipate what services they expect from a digital agency and then think about how we can best communicate our experience and expertise in this area. We need to come up with hypotheses to estimate the amount of time users would like to spend on a digital agency page, and then adjust the length and scope of the content accordingly. This will make our offering even more relevant to users and tailor it to their intent.”
Daniel Levitan, Marketing Manager at Eventbrite, a platform for event management
“Not much changes for us. This is something we already do for our event organizers by structuring the content on their pages on Eventbrite and, for example, optimizing semantic data for easy readability by search engines. This way, smaller niche events, among other things, easier to find. At the moment, we’re conducting A/B tests for SEO landing pages, among other things. This is how we can ensure that we will keep improving the user experience on our sites, and thus, indirectly, our ranking on Google.”
Roland Heuger, Head of Brand & Customer Experience at Bosque, an online plant retailer
“We’re not so much trying to make every single little update we can to our content, come what may. These updates are perceived by the algorithm but not by the customer. Instead, we want to regularly publish new, innovative, and relevant content that excites our customers.”
The bottom line
The days when companies spent lots of time inserting the right keywords to boost their traffic are over. Companies should focus on relevant content instead: This can be tracked down through direct customer feedback, for instance, or through A/B testing for SEO landing pages. At the same time, companies need to think about what the customer expects from the page – and align the page accordingly in terms of information content and presentation.