Sunday, January 15, 2012

You Cannot Keep Up with Google, in Mobile or Desktop Mode

Marketers spend inordinate amounts of time, it seems, trying to figure out better ways to convince Google that content they want to share is important, and ought to rank favorably and high in search results.

And, as you might fear, some people spend lots of time just trying to "game the system," something Google also spends quite a lot of time attempting to prevent. 

One might argue that such efforts are doomed to fail, in the long run, simply because the environment changes so quickly, and because Google works virtually every day to weed out such attempts at manipulation. 

About 20 percent of daily queries are new requests; specific terms or questions Google has not seen before. That means a losing battle for anybody who really tries to insert such "trending" key words into copy. There simply are too many changes in trends to keep up with, and those trends change all the time. 

Ultimately, all you can do is product interesting, relevant content, frequently, and let the cream rise to the top. Search engine optimization "experts" always will argue that SEO works. You'd expect them to say that; it's how they make their money. 

As a purely practical matter, few people or companies will ever have enough time to do all, or most, of what SEO experts recommend. What works today might not work in a couple of months. What worked two years ago doesn't work today. Nobody knows how the algorithms will change tomorrow. 

So some of us are simply going to do the best we can, without worrying about "optimization" beyond a few simple pointers. Google says it conducted more than 6,000 discrete search algorithm and performance experiments in 2010 alone. 

It is safe to say no other content producer has time to match that, or even much ability. Most of us can barely keep up with even the broadest of trends, such as the growing shift to mobile consumption of content. Even that is complicated, since "mobile" now includes small screen phones, medium screen e-readers and full-screen tablets and notebooks, plus "big screens" such as TVs. 

Then add the changes in user interface, touchscreen versus keyboard-and-mouse being the most important, and content producers have lots to consider, just in terms of form factor and user input methods. And mobile access, which implies a greater trend to touch interfaces, is getting to be more important.

Google says mobile search has grown 500-percent over the last two years, replicating the rate Google saw with its desktop search engagement. 

Overall, including mobile and desktop searches, Google queries amount to more than a billion requests every day.

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