You know, I often say to folks that SEO is for users, and not search engines.
If you’re catering to search engines, you’re at their mercy for when they change their algorithms.
And believe me, search engines change their algorithms often.
Why do you think this is…?
Let’s explore this today.
Let’s understand search engine algorithms from a unique point of view.
Now, I do not have any insider’s intel on search engines.
I simply understand them and their algorithms, and want to share with you what I’ve come to know in my years as an SEO professional.
What do search engines do…? Who do they service…?
They service users, right?
They want to help users find what they seek, and they aim to achieve this quickly.
Let’s bundle everything that people seek into a group and call it Information.
People seek information when they use search engines.
Search engines provide people with the information they seek.
In order for search engines to provide information, they must first find it.
This is why they crawl websites – to discover information that people may seek, in order to present it to them when they seek it.
This relationship between searchers and search engines is that of a helping hand – an assistant, if you like.
An assistant that’s there for a person throughout their search journey.
In a single search cycle, the journey for information changes.
This change usually transitions from not knowing, to knowing and taking action – whether this action be a purchase, a download, or an expansion of the information sought after.
The search journey changes!
In order for search engines to service the user as their search journey evolves, they ideally should know as much as they can about the user.
What do you think this amounts to…?
You see, in order for search engines to be able to serve users with information from websites, they must constantly discover websites and the information within them.
This is an essential part of their job.
This is something they do all the time. They are continuously on a quest to discover information on websites, and to understand the information.
In order for them to serve users with what they seek, what must they do…?
The same thing they do with websites.
They must discover people who seek information and understand them. Continuously.
How can they ensure they continuously understand people?
The same thing they do with websites.
Search engines connect with people the way they connect with websites.
When they crawl websites, they connect with them.
They connect with people by servicing them.
This is why, several years ago, there was a huge push for connectivity.
Remember that period…?
There was a big marketing push around connectivity. It was a prominent selling point.
Search engines sought to be at the centre of this connectivity.
Because it meant they were in position to know their users as well as they can – or even better than they know themselves.
This, you see, allows them to make adjustments in servicing people with the information they seek.
Websites are simple.
Understanding websites doesn’t require too complex of an algorithm.
People are complex.
Understanding people with all their complexities, which has no end, requires a real-time learning set of algorithms.
A set of algorithms that can make adjustments to what’s shown in the SERPs by the minute.
A set of algorithms that can cater to people depending on very specific information.
A set of algorithms that can display unique results per individual – i.e. search personalisation.
This folks, is why search engine algorithms change so often.
The relationship between the searcher, the search engine and the website is a symbiotic one.
Algorithms help to analyse this relationship so that changes can be made upon interpretation of this relationship.
So, within this dynamic, who would you say is at the centre of this relationship?
The searcher! Users – of which you aim to attract to your website.
Search engines are catering to serve users as best as they can.
They change their algorithms so often to ensure they are displaying the best, most appropriate websites to their users, based on their needs and demands.
If you follow the whim of search engines, you’ll always be behind the curve – the curve of understanding your targeted audience.
You’ll be making adjustments to cater to search engines.
Rather than understanding your targeted audience, you’ll simply be reacting to search engines.
If, on the other hand, you understand the users you aim to attract to your site, you know you can improve your website to cater for them, just as search engines continuously aim to cater for them.
If you understand the users you aim to attract, you know by catering to them, search engines will identify this and present your site to them when they perform a search.
If you understand the users you aim to attract, you know, just as search engines do, that you can predict the information they will be seeking, at any time during a given year, and show this information on your site, thus attracting them to it.