The past two months have brought about some of the largest changes in a short space of time I have seen from Google. What do these changes mean to your site? Well, depending on the current level of SEO/Web Promotion being done on your site, it may mean very little. If you are on a lower budget, or not doing any SEO work at all, it could considerably impact on your business.So here are some of the most important changes:
- Personalised search changes
- Google Local, and other Universal blended results
- Real time search
- Site speed
- Social Media/Networking
Personalised search changes
While Google Personalised search has been in place for quite some time now, previously this only worked when logged into a Google Account. On 4th December 2009, Google announced that they will be opening this up to everyone, whether you are signed into an account or not.
Google Local, and other Universal blended results
In the past couple of years, Google blended the search listings from images, video, blogs, news etc into a system called Universal Search. Which have been incorporated into the natural listings, pushing many sites off the first page. Now we have social media sites such as Twitter, and Facebook showing up in Google results, and is one of the reasons social media/networking optimisation has become an important piece of search. Google local is the small map and related results you will very often see in Google results. More frequently you will notice that these results no longer appear just based on using a suburb within your search, and will appear in more general searches. What this really means is if you were doing well in the lower 5 results or so of Google, is that your site will now be much harder to see.
Real time search
Real time search is where information just added onto Twitter or Facebook, and other sites, will immediately appear within Google's results. While we are seeing very little of this in Australian results as of yet, this will be a major change to come in 2010, and will potentially have a large impact on sites currently doing well at the top of the search engines.
Google are also now using site speed as a factor in rankings sites according to how quickly though load. This means sites that are very "image heavy", and have a lot of video or Flash Animation, may find their rankings drop.
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other Social Media/Networking have been around for a long time now, but with the changes to Google in terms of including listing these within their results, having a presence within Social sites such as these is becoming a very important part of your web marketing campaign. Not all Social Media sites are suitable for all businesses, so it is important to select the right solution to match your business. As you will see, these are large changes that make web promotion more complex, and require changes in strategy to keep you driving effective traffic to your website.