This post was written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. A full version of this article is available in the Education Center. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.
It’s no surprise that Google is the largest search engine in the world, with approximately 65% of the US Search Engine Market Share. It leads the other “big three” search engines by a large majority, with Bing and Yahoo! having roughly 15% market share each. Getting top ranking on Google search has to be a priority for your business.
What you may not know is that Google is constantly updating its search algorithm to screen for the best search results for its users. So even if you have strong SEO rankings, your results may vary over time based on these updates. Over the past year Google has made significant changes to its search algorithm that changes how results are displayed. In order to improve your SEO rankings in the future, you need to be aware of two recent updates called “Panda” and “Search Plus Your World.”
The Giant Panda
Google released a large update called “Panda” in 2011, which focused largely on new ways to determine search rankings based on the quality of content. Many sites with dated content saw their results decline sharply soon after the updates, while sites with high quality content saw strong improvement. The Panda update emphasized 3 key elements:
- Freshness of content
- Content depth and corresponding traffic
- Quantity of advertisements on websites
As wedding professionals, it is important to understand how Google rates your websites and how you can improve rankings over time. Remember: Content Matters!
Freshness of Content
The more frequently your content is updated, the more interesting Google finds your site! Updating the content on your website or blog reminds Google’s robots to crawl your site often and subsequently boost your search results listing. When content is stagnant, Google returns less frequently, and your site may lose relevance. In essence, the search engine robots are a bit lazy! It takes frequent content updates to remind them to come back and visit your site.
Content updates do not have to be a large undertaking. You don’t have to re-design your site or adjust the basic web copy. What we want to do is create an area on your site where content is more dynamic vs. static. In fact, creating fresh content can be easy! Here are some of the ways we create content:
- Creating a blog and posting at least a couple times per week, preferably once per day. We suggest using WordPress to build your blog.
- Adding your blog as a navigation item on your main website. This will give your main website a big boost in freshness!
- Adding social media buttons and enabling sharing of content from your site.
- Adding photos and videos to your site from your recent weddings.
- Creating press releases to highlight new accomplishments.
- Getting new ratings and reviews from past clients.
Content Depth and Corresponding Traffic
Search engines don’t like websites with limited content or blank pages. So you don’t want to create a lot of new pages on your site without a purpose for them. In addition, Google looks at the amount of traffic to these content sections. The search engine gives a high priority to places on the web that mix good content with strong traffic to those sections. Ultimately, Google is trying to find content that is interesting and valuable to users, so make sure that each page or post has something valuable for consumers and search engines alike.
Tip: Aim to have roughly 500 words per page to optimize your content sections for the search engines. Make sure you create new content for every page on your site rather than repeating the same content across several pages. Also, don’t copy content from other sources on the web. Unique and fresh content always wins!
Quantity of Advertisements
With the Panda search update, Google also screens for the quantity of advertisements on websites. For most wedding professionals this is typically less of an issue, since most businesses focus on selling their services versus showcasing third party ads. In any case, try to avoid excessive advertisements since a large ratio of ads may be considered a negative experience for users.
Check back soon to read more on Google Plus Your World and the impact and future of Google+!