The internet is evolving every day. It's not exactly a living being that's evolving through natural selection, but those of us that create internet software and hardware come up with creative ideas every day that--in my optimistic view--make life more fun and business easier.
Sometimes the creative ideas are not technology based, but are instead usability based. Take mobile websites for example. A few years back, the early creators of mobile websites started using the .xhtml as the mobile page file extension because those types of pages worked better in mobile browsers. About a year later, Google posted an official blog stating that they would more highly rank .xhtml pages in mobile search results.
This led to a new push in website development wherein mobile websites were important and everyone should create a mobile site. 2009, 2010, and 2011 zipped through and yet mobile websites were still not widely adopted because very few understood the benefit or had the money for mobile website development.
Adoption of mobile websites has been a flop for more US-based small businesses even though there are tons of data that show how beneficial they are for ease of use. Some of the data is available here on google.com/think.
Another group of programmers started experimenting with website design in such a way that they could change how a website looks based on the size of the screen. The web design would respond and adjust itself accordingly for a large, medium, or small screens.
Enter the "responsive" website design; by the end of 2012, Google was now publishing an official blog post saying that the mobile web page and the desktop web page should use the same URL with the same extension. In other words, Google was now saying they would more highly rank a website with a responsive design.
Google posts official blogs all the time to explain how they are going to do thing, or what they feel is good. Every department in Google has their own official blog and each official blog is very selective in what they post. They know they are closely watched by investors and those of us who use Google's products and services to better our businesses.
Here are 4 of the Google blogs I personally read, and why:
This is Google's main company blog that tells the best of what's happening at Google. Sometimes it's new technology, sometimes it's new software, and sometimes they have "feel good" stories. I use many of their posts to keep me informed of how Google is used in the world.
This is a technical blog about the software called Google Webmaster Tools. Inside this blog, they explain how to use the software and what changes they have recently made to the software. From an SEO professional's point of view these blogs tell me what Google wants, and therefore how a website needs to be changed.
Whenever I sit down to read this blog I know I have to put my thinking cap on. This one is sometimes written for the non technical person and simply explains new search features, but other times there are technical posts about changes to how search works. I look at each post and try to figure out exactly how Google is gathering the data to make those new features work. Those data gathering methods are what drives the need for changes in how search engine optimization works.
There's a large WOW factor in this blog. It's not structured like a regular blog and it's more enjoyable to read and watch. This is the public dissemination of research that Google participates in as well as interviews of thought leaders, and creative marketing examples. I've been following this blog since 2010 and I've learned that the insights they post here will often times affect changes in other Google software or search features. This really is the blog to read for insights into the future of search.
It's difficult to easily explain why search engine optimization changes so much and so often--and why a business needs to keep paying for SEO services once they've reached top ranking. I read several other, more technical, official Google blogs as well to guide me in how I should be doing my own research and what I should be writing about next.
The real difficulties with search engine optimization are learning how to use technology, online marketing, and continual content creation to serve your customers better. Reading these blogs helps you keep on top of what your customers want. The SEO challenge is continually figuring out the best ways to show Google Search that you are answering your customer's needs.
It takes a lot of technical knowledge mixed in with creativity to answer the modern day call of SEO. Small businesses can accomplish the standard basics, but the best SEO is done by the professionals.