I love search engine marketing.
That is unlikely to be a surprise, given my career and role in building Browser Media. Search marketing has always been core to a lot of what we do as an agency and, in my humble opinion, it is impossible to be a good digital marketer without embracing SEO.
I do, however, often feel my blood boiling at some of the bullsh#t that can often permeate the otherwise wonderful SEO world. It genuinely frustrates me and tarnishes our whole industry. Let’s be honest, a lot of people have been burned by the shysters and SEOers are
up down there with estate agents in terms of reputation. This exasperation has driven my crusade to make sure that Browser Media is ruthlessly ethical in our approach to SEO.
If I had to single out one aspect of the SEO industry that irritates me the most, it is the attempt to shroud everything in mystery. By using technical / confusing language and suggesting that you need to embrace dark arts to succeed, the charlatans peddle a total lack of transparency. It is the very opposite of the way that we like to work.
I was therefore thrilled to see new heights of transparency from Google this week with the unveiling of the new Guide to Google Search Ranking Systems. Google has always been good at supporting webmasters and resources such as the Google Search Essentials are genuinely helpful at demystifying SEO and explaining, in plain English, how things work at the Googleplex.
The new search ranking guide gives a really useful explanation of various automated ranking systems that they use, including the following:
- Crisis information systems
- Deduplication systems
- Exact match domain system
- Freshness systems
- Helpful content system
- Link analysis systems and PageRank
- Local news systems
- Neural matching
- Original content systems
- Removal-based demotion systems
- Page experience system
- Passage ranking system
- Product reviews system
- Reliable information systems
- Site diversity system
- Spam detection systems
The resource also highlights which systems have been retired (e.g. Hummingbird, Mobile-friendly, Page speed, Panda, Penguin, Secure sites, etc.), which is very helpful in understanding the evolution of the search algorithms. For example, you can see how the new Page Experience system has superseded previous systems such as page speed / mobile friendly / secure site.
It really is worth a read if you have even a passing interest in SEO. Not only will you learn more about how Google works, it will help you appreciate the value in focusing on creating amazing content / functionality that your readers will love, rather than obsessing with algorithm chasing.
I know that I am like a broken record on this front, but the basic principles of good SEO have not actually changed as much as many will pretend. You absolutely need an incredibly diverse skill set to do SEO well, but most of Google’s new systems are simply iterations of the same goal – find the best possible results for its users. This is obviously to support its Google Ads revenue rather than a saintly objective, but I fervently support initiatives such as the new ranking systems guide as they help to clarify the SEO process and, hopefully, demonstrate that it is far removed from the dark arts.
Of course, you know where to come if you want to speak to a friendly team that promises not to blind you with jargon :-)