Good vs. Bad SEO Investments | Best Digital Agency

March 14, 2016

According to Moz’s Google Algorithm Change History, Google adjusts its search algorithm 500-600 times every year. The frequency of such updates make SEO an increasingly challenging endeavor for even the best digital agency. Is it about keywords? Backlinks? Or more off-the-page factors, like authority and quality?

While most of these changes are minor updates, Google frequently issues major updates that can significantly impact rankings and organic search traffic. For example, in October 2015, Google announced that the company had implemented RankBrain, revealing to Bloomberg Business that it had been using the machine learning algorithm for months and that this had become the third most influential ranking factor.

The answer, of course, is that all of those things are important. Indeed, while the nuts and bolts of its algorithm are cloaked in mystery, Google has long admitted that there are hundreds of ranking signals and even more variations or subsignals. And it is widely recognized that efforts to game the system will result in your site being penalized in organic search.

So what is the best strategy?

More and more, the best digital agency minds are advocating a focus less on SEO and more on user experience (UX). In fact, Google itself is moving more and more toward a user-centric approach, hoping to better meet the needs of searchers. Thus, Rand Fishkin, the founder of, has said that search marketers need to adopt a dual approach to SEO, combining traditional Google-oriented SEO as well as the newer searcher-oriented SEO. He suggests that qualities around searcher behavior—such as a high click-through rate, high engagement or time spent on a page—and well-rounded content will become increasingly important.

Making your site as relevant as possible to your business goals is essential. We’ve long known that quality content will outperform low-quality content and keyword stuffing. Also important is to think about groups of words that are synonymous with your target keywords, as Google has long recognized that a user searching for “sneakers” probably also wants “running shoes.” This has the added benefit of better written material that doesn’t repeat the same clunky keyword in multiple locations.

What are your best recommendations for website UX? Add them in the comments.