The Evolution of SEO Beyond Meta Data and Keywords
SEO Requires On-Site Optimization, Links & Social Media to Achieve Authority, Relevance & Top Search Engine Results
In the beginning SEO (search engine optimizaiton) was so simple…if you were thorough, you could be fairly confident that optimizing content and meta data with targeted keywords that you could achieve top Google organic search position.
Oh, how times have changed. Fortunately, because my digital marketing firm continually monitors, tests and experiments to monitor how search engine algorithms treat websites in addition to analyzing multiple sites on a monthly basis, I have insight that few do. However those who are managing one or just a few websites are dependent upon what they read to keep up with search engine changes, which are occuring more frequently than ever.
SEO is about so much more than what resides on the website domain. On-site SEO is only a part of the equation.
Linking Schemes and Organic Search
For some time now, Google has used incoming links to help determine “authority”. In other words, the more sites that link to you, the more qualified you should be for results relating to you, your business, brand, product, service or organization.
Contrary to what many other SEO companies have told their customers, I have never adopted the mindset of selling links to websites that were designed as link farms. As a bit of a purist, I have always leaned toward “White Hat” SEO methods. Link schemes can be very superficial and a little “Black Hat” if you ask me. And, as it turns out, Google has decided to treat them the same way. Google adjusted their algorithm in Spring of 2011 to discount low-quality sites that companies often used to sell link-building services, affiliate linking sites, etc.
My philosophy on this has always been if you present quality content, others will link to it naturally…and these are the links that Google values the most when determining relevance and authority in organic search results.
How Social Media & Social Search Impact Organic Search Engine Results
Social interaction and influence are now calculated in to organic search engine algorithms. We have tested and proven this for over two years, but Google didn’t announce it until recently. Yahoo, Bing (who share search technology) also use social media to influence organic search engine results.
So, if you are currently not active in social media, doing so could be beneficial. In fact, without going in to specifics I can tell you that my clients who ARE active in social media are outranking their competitors at the top of Google more consistently than those who are NOT active in social media. Social media is now a vital part of SEO that I don’t see diminishing, but rather becoming more important to how search engines determine and display results.
Social Search in Organic Results
In February 2011 Google began integrating your friends comments and reviews related to your keyword searches in organic search results. Social Search presents results that are related to you social media connections (friends, fans, followers, etc.). If you are not connected to anyone…chances are you will lose the success by association game.
What Google Social Search Results look like:
Of course there is much more to these topics, but the bottom line is SEO is changing by the minute. Google remains the #1 resource for search. So, if you wish to compete, integrating all aspects of SEO will serve your goals best over time.