An Ofcom report from late in 2014 reckoned that the UK was moving ahead of other nations with its digital economy. In fact, the UK’s digital economy is now the largest of any of the G-20 member nations as a proportion of GDP. The UK’s is also one of the fastest-growing economies on the planet and much of that growth is digital.
So, when fundamental changes are made to the very nature of that digital economy, it has huge ramifications for the way in which digital and SEO agencies, in particular, respond to those paradigm shifts.
For example, London-based SEO specialists Greenlight highlighted in their SEO brief, http://www.greenlightdigital.com/blog/whitepaper/the-greenlight-seo-brief-summer-2013/, the importance of the Hummingbird algorithm (which Google introduced in August 2013), along with tracking “not provided” traffic, Patent Watch, SEO correlation studies and other important developments.
The agency’s SEO Director Adam Bunn sees the Hummingbird algorithm as having important structural change for SEO professionals but less impact for marketing purposes as the algorithm added another layer of interpretation between Google’s search algorithms and the user. Hummingbird marked Google’s biggest change since “Caffeine” in 2009 and affected nine out of every ten of searches. But whilst Hummingbird had – and still has – real implications for SEO professionals, it is still the Panda update (introduced in February 2011) and the Penguin updates of 2014 that remain the principle causes of ranking fluctuations for the time-being.
In another more recent example, Bunn has taken a look at the appropriateness of tagging whilst blogging, encouraging users to make sure tags are kept both selective and refined and to avoid the creation of tags which are unlikely ever to be used again.
Similarly, Search Engine Watch have taken a detailed look at Google’s announcement of 19th February 2016 regarding the removal of right hand side ads. This is effective immediately and removes the ads on desktop across all Google Search and Google Search Partners, with Search Engine Watch determining this will mean organic space is a great commodity and therefore increasing the importance of SEO.
From now on, Google will depict only three advertisements at the top and three at the bottom of all search results. This now radically reduces the average ads per SERP (search engine results page) from 11 to six, though there are a few exceptions. These are:
- All Knowledge Panel adsVery competitive searches – which may depict four results at the top of the search page, though the search engine says this will probably be in only in a relatively small number of searches
- And finally, in Shopping – where the PLA (Product Listing Ads) boxes may occasionally be shown on the right hand side or at the top of the page.
These are just a few examples of what it takes to respond quickly and accurately in the SEO world in what seems to be one of the leading countries on an international scale. This is a very rapidly-evolving sector and as Google moves steadily towards artificial intelligence searches will become increasingly contextual, relevant and personal. Correspondingly, finding ways to stay up with the elite will become increasingly important for SEO marketers.
Exactly how UK SEO specialists respond to Google updates comes under a huge amount of scrutiny due to the reputation earned over the last decade and more; maintaining that reputation and position over the next decade may prove a bigger challenge.