SEO is the practice of getting better rankings on the search engines. The methods have changed over the last 14 years. If you cast yourselves back to 1997 it was essentially a matter of stuffing your web pages with keywords. If you could outdo your competitors in terms of keyword frequency and keyword prominence, the search engines at the time (Altavista , infoseek etc) would rank your pages well.
As we all know Google came along and changed the way SEO works. Google’s primary way of rating sites was, and still is, to analyze the quality and quantity of backlinks directed at web pages. It realized that the backlinks were effectively like votes in confidence for the content of the pages they point to.
Another change is now taking place in the SEO world. Backlinks still remain a deciding factor that Google and other search engines use. The type of backlinks that are of importance has broadened. The way we, as web site owners, go about getting them has been extended. It is all to do with social media. A backlink from a high authority website (such as from a major corporation’s page or from a page on a “.edu” site) remains highly effective. In addition to this Google also places emphasis on Facebook ‘likes’.
Web marketers are also using social media extensively to gain exposure for web pages. The aim is to gain Facebook ‘likes’ and traditional backlinks.
Again largely attributed to Social Media, is search engines’ preference for fresh, regularly updated content. Web site owners have easy access to tools to post content regularly (i.e. to blog, tweet and post status updates). The search engines, especially Google, recognize this as more likely to be better quality material than anything residing on an old stagnant page. It is a known fact that content posted through WordPress will get indexed by Google more quickly than many other forms of content. Publishers are becoming wise to this and starting up websites which are under WordPress control, or moving existing websites over to WordPress.
Data relating to Real-time trends are becoming readily accessible from tools such as Google Trends, Technorati, Google Insights and Twitter trends. Marketers need to cash in on these trends in order to produce content that will get noticed.
Mobile Devices are also having a huge impact on the ways we promote our products and services. Internet searchers are far more likely to be performing a local search and business owners are optimizing their content differently to accommodate this trend. They are making sure their content ranks well for the searches involving place names e.g. Spanish restaurant Winnipeg. There are more local-orientated marketing tools available as well.
One of the most significant of these localized searches is Google Places. Business owners for whom location is important will be missing out big time if they do not have a Google Places account. They will also need to make sure that their content is optimized to be consistent with the Google Places entry for the latter to be at its most effective.
Other changes of note are Google’s clamp-down on duplicate content (The Farmer/Panda update which resulted in the demotion, in web ranking terms, of content farms). Don’t forget that Google has a sensitivity for slow-loading web pages; monitor your website! Learn more about Search Engine Optimization to get yourself ahead in the game.