Written by: Michael Lawrence
Evolution doesn’t always apply to Darwin and his studies of the Galapagos Islands; it can refer to the improvement of anything over time. Cars have evolved from the Model T to sports cars and SUVs. The internet is no different. Not only has the internet evolved but so have its users and applications.
One of the most important internet applications is the “Search Engine” ie. Google, Ask Jeeves, Yahoo, Bing. They are essential to navigating the internet and one could even make the argument that they are essentially the operating system of the internet.
Search Engines have been evolving at an alarming rate for years. In 2010, Google launched 516 improvements to their Search Engine. Examples of visual improvements include: “Auto Complete” “Google Spelling Correction” “Knowledge Graph” “Dictionary results” and “Products Listings on SERPs”. An example of an improvement that we don’t see is an algorithm change.
Since its beginnings, Google has placed value on keywords. The internet and its users have evolved, so has Google. Searchers today are much more advanced and know how to “search”. Why? Search words have become search queries. We know longer blindly enter keywords, we ask questions that let Google know what we want and what our intention is regarding the information we are seeking.
Below is an example that demonstrates the difference of searching with keywords vs. a key query
You may be thinking this is great for the consumer but what does this mean for SEO Managers and Webmasters? It's very simple, since people are using questions to search Google you must optimize with answers! This requires only a few minor changes in most common SEO strategies, but here are two simple steps to follow.
How to Adapt
1. Identify questions visitors are going to ask Google to find information on your website. Use Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to identify what people are already searching for when they find you.
2. Add the questions you identified in step 1 to your site and answer them on your site. By doing so you will increase your relevant content and increase your SEO effectiveness.
**Note: If you want people to find you for something specific, ask yourself how would you search Google to find information, and optimize for that query.