A major confirmation came last week for marketers when a Google senior strategist confirmed that content and links pointing to a site are two of the top three signals contributing to search rankings. The third is Google’s artificial intelligence system RankBrain that helps process its search results using machine learning. Machine learning is described as a form of AI where computer programs can teach themselves how to develop and change when exposed to different types of data, in this case, search queries. You can learn more about RankBrain in this article from Search Engine Watch.
We’re believers of inbound marketing which means we spend a lot of time creating content for clients. Having Google confirm its importance isn’t a game changer but definitely supports our view of the need for ongoing investment in your site. Long gone are the days of set-it-and-forget-it, brochure sites.
Also interesting in the interview with the Google exec was the mention of spoken search. A study from October 2014 found 55% of US teens and 41% of US adults use Google voice search more than once a day, and the use of mobile voice search more than doubled between 2013 and 2014. All the more reason to make sure your content is written first and foremost for your audience. Spoken search will keep moving us to more natural sounding searches so your content needs to be natural too. We may start seeing that sites with the sort of content that answers the target audiences’ spoken questions accurately and concisely are more likely to be the ones ranking higher.