November 9, 2015

Understanding the Ranking Algorithm of Google

So I've been in the Internet Marketing / Search Engine Optimization Industry for well over 10 years now and the landscape has changed so much.  In the beginning all website developers had to do was punch in a few keywords, put in proper titles, ask other websites to link back and essentially that was it.  You would be able to rank just by doing those 3 things.  Now, SEO no longer Childs play.  Google changed and updated its technology and recently launched RankBrain.

RankBrain, like its name sake, is the AI (artificial intelligence) behind the ranking mechanism of Google. Its machine learning so its actually teaching itself instead of following a command prompt created by humans.  Thats pretty far out.  Please note though that RankBrain is not an Algorithm.  It is instead a "sorting hat" designed to scan the billions of websites and rank them according to the algorithm requirements.  Essentially RankBrain works as part of the algorithm.  Google has confirmed that RankBrain is the 3rd highest signal for ranking.


Google's Algorithms

 So first before I talk about Google's Algorithms, let me define it as the formula that Google uses to provide the search results.  Google's algorithm or ranking formula has over 200 major signals and hundreds and thousands of minor ones that inform it where to rank the website.  Its so comprehensive.  Here are a few major signals that are super important:
  1. Hummingbird.  This algorithm was briefly introduced over a year ago.  Hummingbird changed the SEO landscape more so than any other algorithm before it.  It changed the way an SEO professional dealt with content, created content and provided links because all of a sudden the Search Engine was trying to answer questions instead of providing keyword queries.  This was, I feel, brought on by voice searches via Mobile phones.  This type of search was called, "conversational search."
  2. Panda.  The Panda Algorithm was introduced in in January of 2013.  The most important aspect of Google Panda is quality content that is regularly updated. I didn't go into lengths because there are already so many other existing articles about the Panda Algorithm.  Some prominent ones are: 
  3. Penguin. The Penguin is not to be confused with the Panda as they are two succinctly different algorithms. Panda is about content and Penguin is about ensuring your website meets quality guidelines of Google's Webmaster Tools and making sure that your website does not practice any black-hat SEO techniques such as link farming, doorway pages, duplicate content, keyword stuffing, etc. You can get more information about Penguin from these resources
  4. Pigeon.  The Pigeon Algorithm improved local searches and determined which results suited keyword searches based on location and proximation to the keyword location.    
There were other algorithms in the past and additional smaller algorithms such as "payday" and "top heavy"... all of these algorithms are still in play today and need to be taken with consideration when optimizing a  website.  Remember there are over 200 major signals and thousands of other minor signals. But let me leave it to these top 4 Algorithms.  If you can follow the algorithmic requirements, especially as a Cayman Islands company, there is no doubt in my mind that you will be ranking in no time.  Need help with your Optimization?  First consultation is always free.  Please complete our contact form on Easywebsites.

April 21, 2015

Be Mobile-Friendly or Lose Rank and Traffic!

So if you haven't already heard, today is the launch of Google's Mobile Algorithm.  Everyone in the Search Engine Marketing Industry and News Industry are talking about it.  They are calling it MOBILEGEDDON, which to me doesn't seem like the perfect name for it because "Armaggeddon" means "the final battle between good and evil" -- essentially there is no clear winner yet. As opposed to this new Mobile Algorithm that Google is implementing today, which is a clear sign that Mobile is winning!

Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool 


How do you know your website needs this mobile algorithm?  Google has provided a tool called the Mobile-Friendly Test.    Go ahead and test your website.  And if you see something like Image 1 then you might want to check how many people access your website using their mobile phones.

mobile-friendly testing tool
Image 1: Not Mobile-Friendly Message using Google's Testing Tool

If you are in the Tourism industry, I am advising you to hurry up and ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.  Your clients / target market are Users from the United States and Pew Internet has said that two-thirds of Americans are now Smartphone users and for many Americans, mobile devices are a key entry point to the online world.

Cayman Islands Tourism Website Fail


cayman islands tourism website is not mobile-friendly
www.caymanislands.ky FAILS the Mobile-Friendly Test

I am disappointed that the Department of Tourism Mobile site is not Mobile-Friendly enough to pass Google's testing tool.  As the main tourism body for the Cayman Islands, they should be setting an example for all the small businesses.  Maybe they should hire someone as a paid Consultant to ensure that they are on the forefront of Search Engine Marketing so that we don't get left behind by our other Caribbean neighbors.  Ehem. As an example, the Bahamas Tourism Website is Mobile-Friendly.

bahamas tourism website is mobile-friendly
www.bahamas.com is Mobile-Friendly


Why it pays to be a Mobile-Friendly Website 

 

One of the top websites in the Cayman Islands is a website we manage called, Cayman.com.ky -- it has consistently been on the first page of Google for the major keyword, "cayman islands" which gets over half a million searches annually.  It is also mobile-friendly.  As a tourism based business, why did we take the time to ensure that its mobile-friendly?

If you look at the real-time statistics of Cayman.com.ky -- and you break down the user's Operating System, you will see that you could possibly lose almost one third of your traffic if you don't.  In Cayman.com.ky -- the possibility of us losing over 20,000 hits per month is a very real problem.

statistics on operating systems
Real Time Stats for Operating System and Browsers on Cayman.com.ky 

If you are in the Tourism industry in the Cayman Islands, it is safe to assume that your website would probably lose 1/3 of its traffic if you are not Mobile-Friendly.

If you are not from the Tourism Industry and you have access to your Website Statistics / Analytics make sure to check it out and decide if Mobile is right for your Small Business.  I only say this because the Cayman Islands Business Industry is so diverse and a lot of Small Businesses rely on local word-of-mouth Marketing to get the word around.  Otherwise, if you can afford to get a mobile site for your website, do it if you want your business to thrive in the Internet Economy.

If that doesn't convince you that getting a mobile-friendly website is important then maybe this announcement from Google will...

mobile-friendly announcement from google

Google will effectively demote your website from Search Engine results if it is not Mobile-friendly by April 21, 2015, which is today.  Well it will take a week to roll out so you have a week!   If you need help, please contact us with the subject, "Mobile-Friendly Website" and if you include this code in the subject:  ILOVECAYMAN -- we will throw in a 10% discount.

I write the way I speak so if you see any grammar or spelling errors, I appreciate you letting me know.