Google has been throwing all manner of birds and animals at us recently in an attempt to improve user search experience. Plus, unless you change your Google settings, many of you are seeing local search results rather than county-wide ones. Some may say that’s a good thing, but what about for all those small businesses that rely on Google’s wide reach for their survival?

Many businesses with national and international reach rely on their rankings to gain new business. The issue now is that they have no idea what results people are seeing because the SERPS are being localised meaning everyone is seeing different results making devising a winning SEO strategy increasingly difficult.

Does this signal the end of SEO?

SEO is changing

A lot of Google’s changes have been good as they’ve knocked on the head many of the black hat SEO practices that were rife. The only issue is that many genuine businesses that played by the rules are now suffering as a result of the changes.

Link building was a big part of SEO, but because of the party poopers this now has morphed into link earning placing the onus of high quality content that people will want to link to. Obviously, that’s a good thing, but the business owner has little control over the links he gets making it difficult to work out whether his strategy is working or not. For many businesses SEO is becoming a pain with many falling prey to to dodgy outfits that promise the earth but deliver little.

SEO has always been split into to categories: on page and off page.

As a business owner, you have most control over the on page stuff, such as title tags, high quality content, well-coded website, good navigation etc. But it’s the off page stuff that’s a bit harder to deal with. Yes, you can generate high quality articles and blogs, but rather than just blasting them out to umpteen article repositories, you must target your audience more carefully to attract the right kind of links that will give your rankings the boost they need.

Don’t forget social

The other reason behind all the changes is that search is becoming more social.

The number of shares, likes and fans you have is beginning to have an impact on the relevancy of your website in the eyes of Google.

Mind you, considering how many cowboys exploited the old SEO, how long will it be before they devise cunning ways to fiddle the new system?

For many of the big brands (and those that use Pay-Per-Click campaigns), the algorithmic changes have little effect, but they can be devastating for the smaller businesses. Google stated that if you played by their rules, your website won’t be affected by these tweaks and yet thousands and thousands of sites saw their rankings plummet.

Online marketing is constantly changing. As a business owner you have to keep up with the changes, especially if you don’t have the budget for a bona fide SEO/internet marketing company that can run things for you.

What has your experience been of the recent changes?

Did you get hit, or did you manage to ride out the storm?

Leave a comment below.