As Google evolves, so must webmasters - Earning your search ranking

By Alex Ward

More than ever before, well written content is becoming a webmaster’s bread and butter to find the way to the top of Google’s search rankings.

The mega search engine is working hard to make sure spammers and those trying to use SEO to circumvent the always-present ‘Googlebot’ are lost in the sea of low-ranking search results.

The search algorithm used by Google to trawl millions of websites and formulate the most relevant search results on any given topic changes up to 600 times a year to keep us on our toes but with major algorithm updates rolled out last year and throughout this year, the setting for online content has never been trickier.

With the biggest changes ever made to the way search engines work, the race has begun for sites to find ways to claw back up the search rankings, with many webmasters discovering that the updated algorithm has had a devastating effect on their Google rankings, taking with it the exposure of their brand.

Constantly on the lookout for ways to find the best search results, search engines are devising new ways to find the best content and make it harder for spammers to weasel their way into those results.

No longer can webmasters just stuff a mountain of keywords into their content to reach that illusive top three search ranking and hope for the best. Priorities have shifted and search engines have evolved. SEO – search engine optimisation – is taking more of a backseat as the Googlebot, the web crawling bot often known as a ‘spider’, looks more zealously for well-written, relevant and unique content to generate the most up-to-date, useful searches for users.

Those sites whose online offering is engaging and content-centric will be rewarded with better Google rankings under the latest changes. ‘Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines,’ the Google Webmaster Guidelines say. Privy to many of the ‘black hat’ techniques used to improve search engine rankings, such as creating multiple URLs with the same content, Google’s algorithm is essentially black listing sites that try to do the dodgy to move up the rankings.

‘Don’t deceive your users,’ Google warns, sending tricksters and spammers into the ether of low ranking results. Just as users are quick to leave websites not relevant to what they’re after, they also tire of search results that don’t point them in the right direction. Google is making sure that they stay ahead of the search engine game.

Social networking has also become key to boosting websites with tools like Google + and Google Authorship which work to build links between a producer’s content (be it blog entries or articles) with their Google + profile. You may have noticed a writer’s thumbnail and their byline popping up in Google search results. This is Google Authorship. Creating these links fosters the producer’s credibility in Google’s eyes and links multiple pieces of work together.

While still in its infancy, Google Authorship has the potential to transform a producer’s visibility, even for niche sites. While a device to get you to sign up to Google +, this new tool is also working to push spam to the bottom of the pile. SEO experts are predicting big things for Google Authorship.

Using blogs and social media platforms have become a vital way of life for webmasters, one which allows more and more people to express opinions on a producer’s work by sharing it on Facebook, tweeting about it, linking to it and bookmarking it. Google is increasingly looking to this information to gauge the credibility and authority of websites as a way of determining its relevance and quality. Herein lies the opportunity. If you can create content so persuasive that others want to link to it or share it, Google is more likely to see it as a credible source and something that should rank higher for certain keyword searches.

To keep up with Google’s updates and evolve with them, webmasters must look to their content to make sure it is up-to-date, relevant and unique to catch the Googlebot’s eye. While many businesses would argue they do not have time to spend making this transition and constantly update their content, there is many benefits to be gained from staying in step with the evolution of SEO. Writing quality, rich content ‘is the single most important thing to do,’ Google says and we tend to agree.

The team at can write this Google-friendly copy and help bring your brand to prominence in Google search rankings. – a group of freelance journalists contributing to UK and international publications and corporate websites. Contact, tel: 020 7359 1200.

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