Part of the reason why inbound marketing is becoming so important is necessity. In the last couple of years, Google has released two updates to its search algorithm, that is, the rules that Google uses to rank search results.
The first update, called Panda, was released in 2011. The purpose of this update was to lower the ranks of sites which exploited loopholes in Google’s algorithm in order to rank higher. This was the beginning of a transition that would see Google focus more on quality of links and website content rather than mere quantity of links when ranking a website. Subsequent updates in 2012 and 2013 by the equally benign name of Penguin (versions 1 and 2) further devalued so-called “black hat” practices in order to focus on link and content quality.
It’s strange to think about, but as Google refines its increasingly-complex search algorithm, it is able to value content on the internet more like a human would. For example, under the pre-Panda algorithm, Google saw a quality website as one which had many links leading to it, no matter how irrelevant. People, on the other hand, see a quality website as being informative, helpful, and up-to-date, among other things. Therefore, Google itself has changed in order to be what it is now looking for: a more helpful and relevant tool for its users.
In addition to alterations to search algorithms, inbound marketing is gaining popularity because it works. And why shouldn’t it? When we have a question, a need, or a problem that needs fixing, we want an authority, not an advertisement. We want a website to have plenty of accessible information available, perhaps in the form of a blog or a FAQ like this one. We want the ability to ask questions and interact, either through a phone call, an email, or even a tweet or Facebook post. We want other people on other websites to be talking about this trusted source, maybe in the form of a review. These have always been elements of a customer-friendly website. The only difference now is that Google is beginning to see things the same way.