SEO, an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization, is the process of increasing the traffic and ranking of a website in respect to a web search engine such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. Highly ranked website results in more organic traffic, increased sales revenue and business.
SEO achieves this using different strategies such as keywords and on page optimization, keeping in mind the inner working of a search engine.
This process is one of the factors which decide which decides if a particular business or websites is successful or not. It is an integral part of internet marketing.
The SEO process is a continuously evolving process, which transforms concerning changes in the search engine’s algorithm.
Importance of quality content
There was a time when websites, to appear on top of the web search results, used techniques such as keyword stuffing and simply spammed most of their content.
This changed drastically with the introduction of Google Panda, which modified the search algorithm and punished websites which ranked higher using backlink stuffing or posted low-quality content.
Websites and people working with SEO now understand the importance of content. Many SEO agencies now focus more on providing high-quality content as opposed to using keywords.
As a result, many agencies which offer SEO services also double up as content creation companies, ensuring that your websites content is always up to the mark.
This was made possible due to the Panda update which literally blowed spammy content out of the water.
Page Ranking vs. ROI (Return of Investment)
At some point in time, every SEO agency or expert measured their success based on the traffic they generated and how the page was eventually ranked.
But, eventually, businesses started to understand that higher-ranking did not always mean an increase in sales, leads or overall revenue.
This meant that the reports they generated were pretty much outdated and useless. As a result, SEO nowadays offers an ROI report.
Google made sure that these ranking reports were rendered useless by personalizing user search, offering distinctive results on every search made, based on a user’s activity.
This helps any website or business understand clearly if SEO is working for them or not.
Back in the day, SEO’s used a dirty trick to rank higher amongst the search results. The content wasn’t created for the user then but for the search engine.
This lead to low-quality content was inconspicuously getting more attention than user-focused material.
In recent years, search engines started rewarding user-focused content rather than overly hyperlinked and spammy content with no relevance to the search whatsoever.
Three years back, searches made from mobile devices experienced a sudden boom, surpassing the number of queries made via desktop machines.
Since then, SEO agencies and experts have adapted to the change and ensured that their client’s websites are properly optimized for mobile access.
SEO becomes local
The old SEO did not take into consideration small businesses and enterprises. It solely focused on national and international businesses.
With the increase in general availability of the internet to people from all over the world, it became quite apparent that people were not only interested in finding multinationals but in local information as well.
As a result, more and more local businesses started to pop-up on the radar. This was made possible by Google’s 2014 Pigeon update, which made small enterprises and businesses possible to list themselves on the internet using a plethora of ways.
Furthermore, websites which were very well optimized for mobile access gained a serious advantage in local as well as personalized results. GPS made it even simpler for people to find businesses based on their current geographical location.
The linking game
When Google used Page Rank, a ranking algorithm which ranked pages on its search result page according to the number of links leading to “popular” websites, SEO agencies and experts started taking advantage of the same.
The quick way to drive up your website to the top was to include various links to trustworthy, spammy or fake websites.
That has changed completely now. Back in 2012, Google started penalizing sites with such links, even banning some from their search results because of the unorthodox methods used.
As a result, over ten percent of the search results were severely affected in some way or the other.
Businesses, due to these changes, lost billions of dollars in revenue, scouring methods on how they could recover from such a disaster.
Constant optimizations to Google’s algorithm
Google released some random updates to its search engine algorithm once in a while. These changes very much affected a websites or businesses ranking.
These sudden major changes are on a slowdown since search engine algorithms have reached a stage where links are not as useless as before.
It is, though, necessary to update or change the algorithm once in a while, and Google is doing that, taking a small step at a time, allowing SEO agencies to adapt to these changes.
Keyword based searches
For a long long time, SEO strategies have been built based on keywords. Keywords were stuffed into a web page. More keywords meant more chances of appearing in the top results.
Come present day and you will find that this strategy is completely inadequate and outdated. Today’s Google not only relies on just one keyword but creates a long tail of words which it thinks a user might be looking for.
It doesn’t matter if the phrase you searched exists on the web page, there will always be something related to your search, something relevant to what you are looking for.
In the last decade, SEO has experienced something nothing ever has. With advancement in technology and user demands, the strategies used by an SEO have completely changed from what they eventually used to be.
SEO is now more focused on promotion of content via Social Media, with paid searches still being prevelant in the current scenario. This will, of course change with the tide of time and SEO experts and agencies will make sure they always stay up to date with all the tools they need at their disposal.
The best way to make it to Google’s first page is to work on constantly providing high-quality content as opposed to using dirty tactics.