When one looks back to the early days of Search Engine Optimization, it is clear just how much the technology and online marketing strategies have evolved. Aside from many algorithm updates from Google, other factors such as ranking, reputation management and of course, social media, have all played a vital role in the constant changes of SEO.
This evolution is especially important for SEO strategists, webmasters and website owners, as the changes over the years have also brought new responsibilities into the role of Search Engine Optimization. Understanding how SEO has changed, and what is needed to ensure those crucial high rankings are both vital to stay ahead of the game.
Organic Web Strategies – the New Search Engine Optimization?
When Search Engine Optimization began to take hold in the early part of 2000, the rules were far simpler. SEOs simply needed to focus on on-site optimization and linking strategies in order to get results. Over the years, other elements were added, such as good content, off-site work and smart keyword research. Today, SEO has become a constantly evolving online marketing tool, integrating a number of additional elements to ensure the best results.
Some of the factors that are now vital to Search Engine Optimization success include:
- Social search – with over 20% of our time is spent on social networks, users are changing the way that they find information online SEO campaigns therefore need to incorporate social media strategies as part of their online campaigns to reach the huge numbers of web users on major social networks.
- Content – solid content strategies have also become more essential than ever, company running blogs being essential to boost traffic and ensure consistent, unique content that assists traffic and usability. Along with traditional web content, infographics, apps and interactive content are also becoming the norm.
- Reputation – this has become a vital aspect of Search Engine Optimization. New Google algorithm updates have made reputation, trust and authority one of the most important ranking factors. This makes websites such as Wikipedia, major newsgroups and retail giants feature high in the SERPs. Social media monitoring, traffic analysis and ranking are all core elements of reputation management.
- On-site – elements such as accessibility, all-inclusive keyword research and strategising, linkbuilding, search verticals in images, video, mobile, web pages and social platforms plus recent search protocols, for instance Schema.org, Rel=Author and video XML sitemaps, are now a basic part of any Search Engine Optimization strategy.
- Local search – Google maps opened the world up to social search using geolocation, allowing web users to find businesses and services in their exact area. From an SEO point of view, maps offer a way to optimise on a local scale, reaching users who are very close to that crucial buying point.
SEOMoz’ Rand Fish had some interesting views in the slide show The Death & Rebirth of SEO. In his words, ‘search is no longer living in a vacuum – today it lives in the broader inbound funnel’. Simply put, what this means is that the basic SEO practices are not enough to ensure results in today’s age of evolved Search Engine Optimization – SEO should be seen as a broader picture to ensure online marketing success.
Alek Jones discusses a number of search marketing trends, offering a wealth of resources for businesses who are seeking web design and online marketing information to help them improve their presence online.