If you work in the world of digital marketing, you know how important the omnipresent Google algorithm is. PageRank is the algorithm used by Google Search to rank websites in its search engine results. How your website fares in the PageRank algorithm is important because the majority of traffic to your website likely comes via a Google search. Roughly six out of 10 leisure travelers begin researching travel plans on a search engine first, and the number of people doing that research on a mobile phone or tablet continues to increase.
For destination marketers, these facts highlight why it’s important to know how and why Google is changing its search algorithm. Understanding algorithm changes can help you improve your digital marketing tactics, and it can also help explain changes in ranking in website traffic.
So what’s new with the Google algorithm? A few updates this year are worth noting. First, Google now favors mobile-friendly websites during mobile Google searches. Google announced the algorithm change prior to its implementation. A few of the qualities Google values in a mobile-friendly site include larger text that’s easy to read without zooming and well-spaced links. Mobile traffic now makes up an estimated 60 percent of all Web traffic, so the move was unsurprising and, according to most experts, expected. You can check to see if your site is mobile-friendly with Google’s test here.
More recently, Google confirmed a “quality update” to its page rankings. The core algorithm has changed in terms of how it processes what Google calls “quality signals.” Google has made updates intermittently regarding site quality, and it rarely outlines exactly what those signals are, but it does address the issue somewhat here. What we do know is that Google continues to place more value on useful, informative, engaging and rich content on websites that are regularly updated and provide more useful details than other sites.
The conversation about content quality brings us to one last important algorithm change, but this time it’s not Google. It’s Facebook. The company made significant changes to it algorithm for business pages that affects what shows up in the users’ news feeds. “When people see content that’s relevant to them, they’re more likely to be engaged with News Feed, including stories from businesses,” said a statement on Facebook’s site. “What we discovered is that a lot of the content people see as too promotional is posts from Pages they like, rather than ads.” Earlier this year, Facebook began limiting content updates that are too promotional in nature from appearing in user feeds. (Find out what Facebook considers too promotional here.) The move doubles down on Facebook’s goal to present only engaging, relevant information from users’ favorite brands to ensure users don’t feel inundated with promotional messages. It’s probably a good idea to review Facebook’s list of best practices if you’re worried about the quality of your content.
It’s difficult to predict how algorithms for Google or Facebook will change in the future, but it’s obvious that recent updates are focused on providing relevant, valuable content delivered on the devices people are using today.