Continuing on with our community questions, here are a few requests for specific ranking information:
"What are the 100+ variables Google considers in their ranking algorithm?"
Easy to say, hard to do. Take a job at Google, work your way up the ranks and join the inner circle.
Another question we received is along the same lines:
How do you outrank a super established website in your niche, one where Google is giving site links and their domain is older
Again, easy to say, hard to do. Either forget outranking the domain and buy it, or spend time doing exactly what they have done, and hope they also stop their SEO efforts in order to let you catch up.
These types of questions arise often. "If I could just learn a few quick-fix insider secrets, I can outrank everyone!"
If there was a quick n easy secret formula that would guarantee high rank, why would those who know it, reveal it?
The reality is that quick-fix secret formulas don't exist.
Sure, there are quirks in the algorithms that can be exploited, but they are often trumped by historical factors, like authority metrics, that are difficult to fake. One common blackhat technique is to hack an established domain, and place "money" pages on that domain. That's an admission, if ever there was, that technical trickery on your own domain is either too time consuming, or doesn't work so well.
I know some of the worlds top SEOs, and I can't recall them spending much time talking about secret sauce. What they do talk about is making money and growing empires. They're more focused on the business strategy of SEO.
The effectiveness of many SEO techniques will be dead soon, anyway.
What you need to think about for the future is user interaction.
The Future Of SEO
Have a read of this document, by my good friend and Merlot drinker, Mike Grehan. Mike outlines his view on the future of search, and he makes a number of important points:
- The web crawler model is nearing the end of its useful life
- Signals from users, not content creators, will become more important
- Universal Search changed the ranking game forever
- Forget rank, think engagement
If you want to future proof your SEO strategy, take heed of Mike's words.
The crawler model is failing because the crawler was designed for structured text, not multimedia. The crawler can't see behind pay-walls. It has trouble navigating databases in which the data isn't interlinked or marked-up. The search engines will need to look for other ways of finding and making sense of data.
Social networks, blogs, Twitter etc indicate a move away from the webmaster as signaler of importance i.e. who you choose to link out to. The search engines will need to mine the social signals form those networks. The user will signal where their attention is focused by their interaction and paths.
Universal search, in may cases, has pushed results listings down below the fold. For example, to get a client seen high up on the results page may involve making sure making sure they are featured on Google Maps. Similarly, if they have video content, it should be placed on YouTube. Google have shown they are increasingly looking to the aggregators for results and featuring their content in prominent positions.
That list of search results is becoming more and more personalized, and this will continue. Who knows, we may not have a list before too long. More and more "search" data - meaning "answers to questions" - might be pushed to us, rather than us having to go hunt for it.
The future of SEO, therefore, will be increasingly about engaging people. The search engines will be measuring the signals users send. In the past, it's all been about the signals webmasters send i.e. links and marked up content.
For now, you still need to cover the obvious bases - create crawlable, on-topic content, backed by quality linking. But you'll also need to think about the users - and the signals they send - in order to future proof your site. Google has long placed the user at the center of the web. Their algorithms are surely heading towards measuring them, too.
What are these signals? Ah, now there's a question.....
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