The opportunity arose as part of a panel session at BrightonSEO. Following several questions about link spam (answer: don’t do it) conference organiser Kelvin Newman asked if anyone had a question about a different aspect of SEO – so I raised my hand, took the microphone and asked the panel what advice I should be giving clients who want to optimise the content on their websites for search.
The answers were very interesting indeed.
Dave Coplin, Director of Search at Microsoft, said that Bing would rank websites that demonstrated a strong social media strategy. When I asked him to clarify his definition of “social”, he said: “For us it’s Twitter and Facebook”.
Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, began his answer with a reassuring statement for a questioner from a content agency, namely: “It’s all about content.” Elaborating further, he said: “A website has to be able to answer the fundamental question: ‘Did the user get what they want?’”
As well as the to-be-expected advice about sharable content, and writing good quality product pages, blog articles and Help/FAQ sections, Far dropped a major clue about an important new measure of search engine optimisation: the presence of “user symbols” such as feedback forms, surveys, maps and video.
Martin McDonald, SEO Strategy Director at Expedia, pushed for a more direct statement from Far: “Are you saying that rich media is now part of the Google algorithm?” To the disappointment of the audience, Far refused to be drawn into such a commitment, but I’m sure many of those present at BrightonSEO (including myself) are reviewing their website’s use of rich media in light of these new hints from Google.