Even Google doesn't know what data it will use to rank pages in the future, so hedge your bets and include as much as possible.

The web is constantly evolving, and a lot of that has to do with how Google has chosen to organize pages and media. The search engine draws information from many different sources – social networks, map data and third-party reviews – to create a richer internet that provides searchers with the most relevant information.

But if the web is always changing, it can be difficult for content marketing strategists to figure out how to promote their sites. The latest video from Google Webspam leader Matt Cutts sheds some light on this issue – but in an indirect way.

Feed Google some data

This week’s question for Cutts asked if EXIF data needed to be embedded in pictures to help with Google search rankings. EXIF stands for “Exchangeable Image File,” and it refers to data embedded in pictures taken by digital cameras. This provides the search engine information about what kind of device took the picture and where it was taken.

Why is this important? According to Cutts, it isn’t – for now. “It is something that Google is able to parse out, and I do think we reserve the right to use it in rankings,” he answered, cautioning that at present, EXIF data won’t affect any page’s SEO ranking, but it’s possible that one day it could.

A future where anything goes

The interesting part about this exchange is it demonstrates that even Google is unclear about what kind of information will be useful for its own rankings down the road. What we can take away from this insight is that it’s always a good idea to make information possible, just in case. Keeping anything from Google won’t do you any favors.

Even Google is unclear about what kind of information will be useful for its own rankings down the road.

For example, people don’t conduct Google image searches to look for pictures taken by a particular kind of camera – yet. In the near future, there could be 3D devices or special lenses that make some pictures more useful than others, and this will help Google return better results.

Put all your cards on the table

For marketers, this illustrates the need to give Google what it wants. Namely, data. Physical addresses, phone numbers, pictures, reviews and other information affect rankings, but as recently as five years ago, they didn’t matter quite as much. Now search results that don’t include a Knowledge Graph full of information look pretty bare.

Additionally, emerging social media platforms could have a significant impact on search rankings. Most people assumed that Google+ was just an attempt at creating another social network like Facebook, but asAuthorship now plays an important role in search results.

There’s no telling what kind of information might impact SERPs in the future when Google could have access to even more data. At this point, there aren’t any SEO tips and tricks that guarantee customers will find you online – there is only useful, shareable content writing and accurate real-world information – so don’t hold back.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.