SEO is known as a bit of a dark art amongst the marketing world. With lots of differing opinions and with the different methods that people use to gain high authority it can be hard to decide which route to take. With lots of the results from SEO work not showing up for a couple of months, it can also be quite a lengthy and challenging task. However it is almost certain that SEO is one of the biggest factors in making your website the most successful one amongst your competitors.
Big search engines have algorithms to filter their results, these are regularly changed to try and bring the user better and higher quality results with less spam. The frequency of algorithm changes is increasing each year. So far in 2012 there have been over 30 changes to the most popular search engines algorithm, with the previous year at only 20 or so and the previous year to that having only roughly 9 or 10 algorithm changes. This shows us just how much is changing in the effort to give more effective results. This makes it a harder and more stringent process in trying to get your site ranked highly and more effectively for the search terms you want to target. By avoiding some of the older “black hat” tactics and by going for more natural SEO techniques known as ‘white hat’ such as natural backlinks, well-optimised content for readers and optimising pages without blatant keyword stuffing, your site should naturally gain better authority and should be a lot more attractive to the search engines.
As said, SEO is always changing and we need to move with it. One of the latest trends is personalised search results. By this we mean that your search results are actually affected by your previous searches and history, by what the search engine thinks you’re likely to find of most interest and importance. It is therefore an SEO’s job to try and make sure that your website is in that niche and to try and build up contacts online to get their web sites more exposure.
Social media networks, although having been around for quite a while now are becoming ever more popular by the day. It is very important that you keep on top of this and get involved where you can, make sure your website is able to be shared across these networks wherever possible as more and more everyday people are getting involved with social media and you don’t want to be left behind, so get on top of it now rather than later.
The most recent player in the social networking game comes from search engine provider Google with their Google Plus network. Being provided by one of the biggest search engine providers this instils trust in Google. This means Google Plus content will more than likely rank well on their SERP’s. As for Google and Twitter, it is still debateable as to how much “link juice” links from these sites pass on. It is important to note that these links are definitely worth gaining but just how much is still relatively unknown and it is still important not to spam these sites.
One of the main gains from being social network savvy is the generation of genuinely natural backlinks to your site. As you start to gain a bigger social network presence more people are willing to share your products / services and link to your site. It is easy to simply pay for backlinks but this is really considered something that the search engines frown upon and natural backlinks are the only way forward, the only real way to get your website up the SERP’s most efficiently and in a way that you know you won’t be penalized for.
In general, the older tactics of SEO that used to work wonders in getting some quick wins are being farmed out quickly and efficiently. Many people who have used some not-so-great tactics in the past have seen their websites dramatically disappear off the radar with some of the later algorithm changes, unfortunately (or fortunately in our eyes for the really spammy websites) these sites will find it very hard to recover and you don’t want to be in that position of having to work your way up the ladder again. The key is to completely construct your site with longevity at the forefront of your mind.
So is SEO losing importance? Is it a dying trade? In a word, no. There is no doubt that more tactical ways of going about SEO are going to be needed, and the only way forward is with white-hat techniques. But it is far from losing importance, SEO will just need to be used as part of a fuller campaign along with PPC and other tactics to really get the results were all after.
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Author – Adam Barley is part of the SEO Birmingham team for an online marketing company. Adam has been writing articles for a number of years now with great success.