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What Google Wants and how that applies to SEO

What does Google want? World domination? Popularity in China? Spiritual Happiness? Well, probably all of those things but who cares right? We want to know what Google wants and how that applies to optimising our websites for better success in Google and a happy bank balance.

Google wants what it’s users want

Google is user centric and they have, since the early days focused on providing the best possible experience for their users. At the start of the In The Plex book by Steven Levy, Steven details how once on a trip with some Google execs in the early days, how when one exec asked Marissa Mayer “…what about the road map for revenues” she snapped back “that’s not the way to think. We are focused on our users. If we make them happy, we will have revenues.”

There is another more recent quote from Matt Cutt’s, Google’s spam warrior supremo, that kind of says the same thing:

One piece of advice I give to S.E.O. masters is, don’t chase after Google’s algorithm, chase after your best interpretation of what users want, because that’s what Google’s chasing after.

So what does Google want?

Let’s not beat around the bush here, Google is extremely focused on it’s users, nothing has changed there, but they are focused on their users because they want to sell their advertising and other associated products. They are still a big, powerful, agressive business, one that famously wants to ‘do no evil’, but still wants to rock the most successful and profitable advertising platform ever created.

So, to do this, they have to create amazing, awesome, revolutionary products that just keep you coming back for more. Best Internet Search Engine? Google, no doubt, they sell ads there. Best online maps? Google Maps, it’s free and… they sell ads there. Best web based email platform? Gmail and, yup, you guessed it, they sell ads there and at the core of this is a very simple and powerful business philosophy:

make your users happy and you will have revenue.

What the heck does this have to do with SEO?

There are two distinct schools of thought when it comes to SEO. There is the ‘to SEO my site I need more links and more keywords’ and there is the better, Field of Dreams, ‘if I build a really great site, Google will like me, and they will come’.

The thing to understand here is that the second approach is giving Google what they want, giving them a great, useful site that they can return in their search results, to keep their users happy. The first approach is the exact oposite, it is “chasing the algorithm”, trying to figure out how the engine works and almost cheat your way to the top.

SEO still matters

You can still do SEO, in fact, you still need to. It is still important to research keywords and understand the language your prospects are using. It is still important to make sure your site can be indexed, that your basic on-page SEO is dialled in and your pages can be well categorised. You are still going to have to make sure that you don’t have duplication problems and you are still going to have to do some link building to really make your baby sing.

What Google Wants from You

Google wants you to make a great site. A site that is a rich, useful, informative resource for your potential users. If you can find a way to do this, whether it is through your business blog or some other website content or application then you are building a solid platform for the future promotion of your site. Alternatively, if you chase the algorithm and are not user focused then you are always just one Panda or Penguin away from seeing your rankings fall into a bottomless pit.

Google keep providing tools like the Authorship stamp shown next to search results to reward and help those that play nice and are ramping up the offensive with the Panda and Penguin updates to close down those that don’t play so nice. So, you can work with Google, build some content that helps establish you as an expert and enriches the web or you can take on of the largest and most technologically advanced companies in the world at their own game – your call!

Enter Blogging and Content Marketing

We are not all Google. We can’t all build a search engine or mapping platform but the point is, we are, or should be at least, experts in our chosen field and your expert knowledge, is of great value to your potential clients. The currency of the internet is sharing, build a blog, share your knowledge, sprinkle over some SEO savvy and you will reap the rewards.

Takeaways

So, be good, build a blog, figure out what to blog about, build some amazing content, share your knowledge, concentrate on your users, apply some SEO savvy but don’t obsess over the details and if you need any help or have any questions drop a comment below or give me a shout on Twitter or Google+.  Oh, and do you dare to share with the social icons below! :)

Marcus Miller

I am an SEO Consultant based in Birmingham UK and with clients all over the world. I have been working in and around search for 15 years and currently focus on SEO Consulting, Website Consulting, Local SEO and Technical SEO Audits.

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