Wikipedia defines Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as “the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines”. You’ll note in their definition that they mention search engines as a plural. While this is technically correct, when it comes to SEO in Auckland, there is only one engine in town: Google.
Digital agencies specialising in SEO in New Zealand or anywhere in the world will tell you that Google is the search engine you really want to be visible on, and there are at least two trillion reasons why.
There are more than two trillion Google searches each year which works out to more than five billion searches every day…or 228 million every hour…nearly four million every minute…or 70,000 every single second.
With these sorts of stats, it’s no wonder that Google is by far the most popular search engine in the world, controlling 90% of the global search engine market. For SEO purposes, a high ranking on Google is an absolute must but these days, keywords alone are not the be-all and end-all of search engine visibility. The rules have changed, and wouldn’t you know it…it’s Google who has adjusted their search algorithms to recognise all of the other factors that go into Search Engine Optimisation. It’s a massive work in progress with the company making 500 to 600 changes to its search algorithms each year. Some of the biggest developments include:
- In 2011 Google’s “Panda” was born. This update’s purpose was to lower the rankings of sites with inferior content. Copy stuffed with keywords just for the sake of it was penalised.
- Google’s Top-Heavy update was released in 2012 targeting websites with too many ads above the fold but not enough genuine content below.
- In 2012, Google also gave us “Penguin”, which relegates sites with manipulative and spamlike links.
- Google’s “Hummingbird” flew into life in 2013 with the aim of giving users better search results by understanding the overall meaning instead of focusing on individual keywords in a query. Again, this meant irrelevant keyword-stuffed content was not rewarded.
- “Pigeon” came next. It first appeared in 2014 and focused on more relevant local search results.
- In 2015, the Mobile-Friendly Update was added. This boosts the rankings of pages that have been optimised for the ever-increasing number of searches made on mobile devices.
- Since 2017, “Fred” has been tracking down low-quality search results that only exist to generate ad revenue.
- Google made a huge change in 2018 with the introduction of the Algorithm Quality Update which can change a site’s rankings based on content, loading time, bounce rates, and ad stuffing.
- In 2019, the Diversity Update was released, with the aim of diversifying search results so there are no more than two listings from the same domain in Google’s top results.
This is just the tip of a very massive iceberg. Google keeps adjusting algorithms and increasingly rewards quality content, be it written or visual, moving or static. If you can satisfy Google, you’ll rank higher. And, as you’ve read, that means you could be seen by billions – and that’s no exaggeration.