Keeping Up With Changing Search Engine Optimization
SEO is an ever-changing process, taking those who work in this world along for the ride. Over time SEO has become as though it were a living thing, reacting to changes in its environment and assimilating new ideas with remarkable intelligence. SEO has never been immune to flattery and pretty words and as such has gone down a few poorly chosen paths and developed some rather bad habits along the way.
SEO Drops a Few Bad Habits
Like a good game of “Hot Potato” SEO has been tossing the concept of quantity back and forth with major search engines like Google, each seeing how long the other could hold on without getting burned. It looks like this time around it was Google that felt the first sting, and in reaction pushed out a few updates that really took the wind out of the sails of SEOs all over the world.
Have You Been Feeling the Burn?
If you’ve been in SEO for a while or have been reading up on the subject, you’re familiar with an approach that worked really well for a long time: Get it while the getting’s good! The goal was to get as many links as you could as quickly as you could, and it really didn’t matter how or where because someone following any of these links back to your site wasn’t as important as someone finding your site high up in the SERPs thanks to all of the link building you had done.
In due course Google has done everything it could to reduce the effectiveness of the pro-quantity approach by penalizing sites and dropping their rankings, or banning them from the results forever. Sites with a lot of poor-quality content were affected, as were sites that gave or received a lot of low-quality links. After the anger and surprise over these updates and their effects on the world wide web, a new standard has begun to emerge like a phoenix from the ashes.
The Dawning of a New Age
It’s really kind of gratifying to see something that you’ve been telling people for years become adopted as a common rallying cry. I have always emphasized the need for quality and explained to my clients how a focus on quality content and genuine effort was going to win the day. Some people have not wanted to listen, instead choosing to take an approach that focused on quantity. Did it work for them? In the short term a lot of them did experience increases in rankings, but after a while their numbers dropped off, and then after the Panda and Penguin updates rolled out their sites were nowhere to be found.
It’s Not About You, It’s About Them
What is your goal for SEO? You want to increase your rankings, get more traffic to your site, and eventually make more sales, correct? Sadly, that isn’t what your customers care about. They want to see new things that are interesting, useful, and relevant to their daily lives. Content that addresses these needs is true quality content and that is what is going to get noticed.
In order to master search engine optimization for the new web, you’re going to have to discard the “What can they [customers] do for me?” attitude and move towards one that asks what you could do for them instead.
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