Just how strong does “on-site” need to be for Google?
The on-going challenge for Google is how to maximise the way that Google’s spiders crawl the web for the purpose of rebuilding the indexed SERPs on a regular basis. Whilst in most instances largely effective, this system still has many flaws which I’m sure Google would be the first to admit to. SEO consultants and business owners alike with a keen interest in all things SEO would all admit to keeping tabs on frequented updates from SEOMoz and Matt Cutts (Head of Webspam at Google) in particular (but amongst others), but just how pertinent and accurate are their posts and updates? Central to industry best practice, both SEOMoz and Matt Cutts are not only hugely respected, but more importantly recognised and adhered to by most within the online marketing world. With the bulk of SEO companies and their consultants regularly updating their web and SEO standards in line with best practice as advised from aforementioned sources, the whole industry has to pay due diligence to any Google releases or algorithm updates, and advice given from respectable authors such as Rand Fishkin from SEOMoz, as well as any other keynote industry expert or “Whiteboard Friday” specialist. However if we delve further into the content within many of these posts, web chats or video feeds from notable sources which stipulate that ‘Content Is King’, just how relevant does this make ‘on-site’ content to a website?
The Case Study
Take a look at http://www.seomoz.org/learn-seo/title-tag stressing the importance of nailing down a clear and concise Page Title for your business, which includes both the keyword and company name. Although not compulsory, this is best practice. Now type into Google “fibreglass” and look at the first page search results. Although this is subject to change, the results on the 11/12/12 display a list of sites which contradict the most recent industry standard web & SEO guidelines. The same also applies through looking on the same date for “alloy wheels”, “pvc decking” and “living walls” where a list of websites appear on the first page within optimised positions showing a distinct lack of adherence to web standards, and a lack of on-site content in many cases. The following post indicates just how important content should be for your website http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2203974/Content-is-King-Other-White-Lies-We-Tell-Ourselves.
How sites with a lack of on-site SEO rank?
When continually reviewing important posts such as http://www.seomoz.org/learn-seo/on-page-factors which often dictate the benchmarks for many companies web SEO standards, why do we see Google still ranking websites which do not follow industry best practice? Maybe to counter the argument, websites may well have an engaging on-site video (seen in a good light by Google) and a well-structured navigation bar. Maybe certain factors outweigh others, but shouldn’t Google be taking everything into consideration? This is the million dollar question for all of the very best SEO companies and consultants paying close attention to reliable and reputable sources.
Do Google need to pick up their game?
Having identified a number of search terms pulling in websites within optimised positions with a distinct lack of web SEO optimisation it is clear to see that in the short term, Google cannot police the entire index as well as most industry professionals would want on a regular basis.
Ultimately, the user journey should be one where only the most relevant terms searched result in genuinely high quality sites being ranked towards the top of Google. These sites should not only follow best web practice, but should have the needs of the individual searching in mind, both in terms of website structure, and how easy it will be to find what they are looking for.
In defence of Google, they aren’t the largest global search engine for no reason. In 80-90% of cases, high quality and relevant sites will display within optimised positions on the first page. Maybe a lot of consultants are just perfectionists though, looking for nothing but complete accuracy with SERPS. Many SEO enthusiasts are quietly optimistic that Google has a much longer term plan for their bots to index SERPS more effectively going forward- in line with best practice as outlined by references such as SEOMoz. I am sure that this is only a question of time.