May 2012 UPDATE – Things have changed a lot over the last 3 years in the internet world and will continue to change. While having a presence in forums is a good thing, video is even bigger and will continue to be a BIG player more so than it was in 2009.
In May, Google held their annual Searchology event, where they announced upcoming changes. As you are all aware, the only thing constant at Google is change. The announced changes present both opportunities and challenges to those of us that rely on Google to generate traffic to our Websites through users’ searches.
A new feature is the “Show Options” link, where users can add more filters when users search for a topic. Google is putting a lot of effort into getting users to use these options, so we need to understand what these options are. We also need to make changes to help our pages rank well in the Google searches.
When a user clicks the “Show Options” link, a new filter bar will appear on the left side of their browser window with additional options. We will now examine each of these options.
Google has placed video high on the list because of the value that they place on the improved online experience that users will have through the use of video. They acknowledge that video can communicate in a unique way that cannot be replicated through a printed Web page. When they click the “Video” link, they will receive a list of videos that are most relevant to the search they just entered. They can also further filter the videos by length and date.
Implications of the new emphasis on videos are as follows:
- Post your videos to YouTube and other video sites in addition to your own, in order to increase your attention and ranking.
- Pay special attention to the title, description, and keywords you give you videos in order to increase your ranking. Google is getting better at transcribing the language in videos, but it isn’t there yet.
- Videos longer than four minutes will be grouped with other videos that are up to twenty minutes long. The user is more likely to watch videos shorter than four minutes. If you have a longer message, you will be better off breaking it up into multiple videos.
- With the “recency” filters, it is often better to release then over time in order to keep your material “fresh.”
Another new option in the Google search filters is “Forums.” Under this listing, they are including forums from all the specialty sites that have a forum as part of the site, not just the big forums. “Recency” filters are also included under this filter.
Implications to this new option are:
- If you don’t already have a forum on your site, you should consider adding one. If you already have one, create conversation and moderate the site to keep it fresh.
- As you set up the URL to your forum, make sure that the word “forum” is in the URL, as it is much for likely to be classified as a forum under the new Google search classifications.
- It is also important to post of other people’s forums. Carefully worded responses on other forums can also be used to help drive traffic to your site.
These changes also give the user the ability to search reviews (and comparisons) of products. They are not only including the big name review sites, but also product reviews and comparisons from all sorts of sites of all sizes.
Implications of this change are:
- If you don’t already have the capability on your site, add to your site the ability of customers to share their experiences with your products and services. Sites with real, non-promotional reviews have always enjoyed good rankings.
- Encourage happy customers to write reviews on your site as well as other sites. This will help to counteract bad reviews that will come no matter how good you are.
- Service your customers well. Bear in mind that they are already talking about your services, but now it will be in print.
This filter gives the users the ability to filter the data by its age. Keep this in mind as you put resources on your site. Avoid the tendency to dump a large amount of data on the site and then make no more changes.
As you can see, Google is in the process of implementing some exciting new changes that can have a direct impact on your success. Here at KARTHOST.com, we aren’t successful unless you are, so feel free to contact us for help with making your site all that it can be.