Digital marketing job descriptions, the document that details the bountiful set of skills you're required to have in order to clinch the top prize and get the job.
On most digital marketing job descriptions, SEO ones especially, you will, without fail, see this absolute gem:
- Stay abreast of the ever changing Google algorithms
Much like all that extra reading you get set to broaden your learning beyond your lectures, everyone says they keep on top of these - but do they actually?
SEO is one of the most progressive fields in the world. Everything about it is built around change and improvements, and if a website refuses to move with the times? Bam! Dropped in a flash... forget it. Not interested. If you can’t adapt to the new rules of the game, sorry, it was good while it lasted but there’ll be no more Monopoly tournaments for you.
Staying ahead of the game and brushing up on your SEO skills is always super handy. Maybe you run your own business, or you work in tech and need to know how Google sees the website you've developed. It's not only important for when you're applying for an SEO specific role.
If you are applying for an SEO role though, to save you the embarrassment and the high school flashback of blushed cheeks, sweaty palms, fish gape mouth and an eventual “ermmmm, not sure”, when you get asked a pesky question like ‘how do you keep updated with Google’s algorithms?’ We've got the inside scoop on how to stay abreast of Google's elaborate and ever changing algorithms.
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The golden rules
Now, before you plunge into the depths of Google’s seemingly never ending algorithms, it’s best to familiarise yourself with the basics. You don’t want to look like too much like a newbie, right?
Generally, if you abide by these suggestions, your website should do well. If you want to dig further, and investigate minor tweaks that could make a small amount of difference, then check out the tips below on how to stay updated and get yourself seriously stuck into the nitty gritty stuff.
1. Google has bots that ‘crawl’ your site spider style
Not literally, obviously. That would be creepy. Not good for the arachnophobes among you. No, these ‘bots’ are busy in the background, scrambling around, looking for new and updated pages for their index. Your pages need to be indexed in order to appear in the SERP’s and for Google to register any changes you’ve added. From a technical perspective, your site should be easy to crawl, which means having a logical sitemap, and an easy to use site structure.
2. Content is king
If you’ve already worked in digital marketing, you’ve probably heard this a zillion times, but crown and sceptre aside, what does it actually mean? Well, in a nutshell, the quality of your website content can impact your site success, because Google ranks sites with top notch content highly. So, ensure yours is of the finest variety and your followers and Google will be ready to fall at your bejewelled feet.
3. It’s a good idea to be keyword aware, but not keyword obsessed
More is definitely not more in this scenario, so slot in relevant keywords in the right places to show Google what your site is about, but don’t overdo it. Keyword stuffing is basically like cheating on your French oral exam, you might get quick gains but you’ll always get caught out in the end. ‘”Who, moi?”
4. Google is all about, yep, you’ve guessed it - the user
Deliver the most epic user experience and you’re onto a winner.
5. You need to make sure those keywords and content covers are making your site ‘relevant’
Unfortunately, as was the way in the playground, popularity is important too. But hey, at least in this instance you don’t have to deal with the mean boys or girls, right? When it comes to search engines, popularity comes in the form of votes, and in Google’s currency, votes = links/social shares/likes. Get ready to make your social fan’s fingers work.
Keeping tabs on updates
The best way to keep ahead of the search game is to follow authoritative SEO sites and blogs like a hawk. Any time you’re looking for a quick update on what’s going down, swoop on in and study the sites that are popular with SEO experts.
In a way that is reminiscent of when there were rumours of your mate Chris getting a bit too close to the librarian and apparently reenacting the Friends scene in the Paleontology section of the library, there are also a lot of rumours and whispers within the SEO community, and they don’t always turn out to be true. Get updates straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak by checking Google's Webmaster Central Blog. If there’s any serious update, it will be announced there.
Other handy SEO resources to keep you in the loop:
- Search Engine Watch - stay on top of the latest search trends
- Search Engine Land - key algorithm updates and SEO advice
- Moz - Weekly Whiteboard Friday learning videos and helpful SEO articles and advice
- Search Engine Roundtable - SEO discussion and debates, algorithm updates and general advice
- Search Engine Journal - search marketing news and tutorials
- The SEM Post - SEO and PPC news
- SEO Alltop - news from a collection of SEO news sites
As well as researching and predicting what might happen, SEO is also about reacting quickly and appropriately to what does actually happen. Change your website based on Google’s most recent recommendations, don’t wait to act. Be responsive. Follow the best SEO update blogs and websites and monitor any major changes in your website traffic and rankings like a hawk.
As much as you’d love it, you’re not going to understand everything about SEO after an hour’s research. It takes time to truly understand how the algorithms work and learn the trade. So if you want to become an expert, you’ll have to meticulously study the art or get some training. That means swotting up on all things SEO, including algorithms, content marketing, keyword research, link building and technical SEO.
Want to learn more about search engines?
There are a couple of options for you if you're looking to delve into the specifics of SEO...
- Professional Diploma in Search Marketing - this is ideal for you if you literally just want to learn all about SEO and PPC.
- Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing - an all round qualification that teaches you everything from SEO and PPC to digital display advertising, email and social. Plus it covers analytics, mobile marketing and strategy.
Get in touch today to learn more about our Digital Marketing courses, all of which are provided by the Digital Marketing Institute.