During his SMX Next keynote, Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz took a trip down memory lane of Google’s algorithm updates since 2001. During this Live with Search Engine Land that took place later that day, he spoke with notable SEO practitioners on what we’ve learned from these updates to position ourselves, and our sites, to stay ahead of a constantly evolving SEO environment.
Barry was joined by Eric Wu, VP of product growth at Honey Science; Carolyn Shelby, manager of SEO at ESPN; and Todd Friesen, director of digital strategy & SEO at Salesforce.
Poorly written, thin content is “just not going to work anymore in the content world. Everybody’s content has gotten good,” says Friesen. Even if Google may not be able to algorithmically determine whether you’re content is “good,” users sure will — and they won’t engage and convert on flimsy content. “They’ll move on because the bar has been set,” Friesen adds.
“Make sure you know what your target audience wants and hand it to Google on a silver platter,” says Shelby.
“Because ‘good’ is subjective, what [Google is] looking for is [content] that’s going to make the user not have to think,” Shelby believes. “You need to anticipate what it is they want, sometimes before they even know what they want. And make sure you have that experience ready and fast for them in exactly the format they want it in.”
With nearly all of Google’s search algorithms now seemingly machine learning-based, says Wu, he doesn’t worry about length, but instead echoes Shelby in making sure the content addresses the user need immediately — and is fitting [to that] persona that’s coming in.”
Wu advises creating content that’s very targeted to an audience — the users most likely to generate revenue. “Don’t try to reach everybody,” he says.
Watch the full session above and subscribe to Search Engine Land’s YouTube channel to keep up with future Live with Search Engine Land episodes.
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