One of my highlights as a marketer are Matt Cutts periodic webmaster videos. These simple yet highly informative videos give an interesting glimpse into Google and on occasions can be very revealing.
The most recent has been true to form -
Will backlinks lose their importance in ranking?
While Matt is clear to state that back links to a website are still important and will remain so for several years to come, Google’s ultimate goal remains to match a search with the most relevant content.
A key to producing the most relevant search results is to have a clear understanding of what is being asked. Only by having a clear understanding of the query can a search engine produce the best search results.
This is one of the reasons that long tail search queries (keywords which are more the three or four words) produce much better results. The more words used the better understanding Google has of the search query and the more highly relevant the results.
This is one of the reasons I think they are so keen on the idea of audio search or conversational search. We naturally create long tail searches when we do an audio based search so if Google can understand what we are saying they can create better search results.
Content Still Key
While back links are clearly being used as a measurement of reputation website content still remains at the heart of search and always will.
Matt explains this well as it’s the page content that the searcher is interested in and not its back links. So as well as the audio understanding of language they are working to better understand the written word too.
I found it particularly interesting how Matt also gives a nod to content authorship and that at times knowing who wrote the content could become a mark of its quality and reputation separate from back links.
Good search marketing is a balancing act so there are always multiple areas to consider, but my key points from the video are as follows:
- Continue to develop and use back links as naturally as possible with the mind-set that these are building reputation.
- Focus on content quality and making it easy for Google to understand your website content. Use rich snippets and schema where you can.
- Develop authorship links and authority both on and off your site
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