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How SEO Changed

Image courtesy of Keerati at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

SEO has changed. It’s inevitable because over the years we’ve changed how we search online.

SEO is the process of getting your website noticed in search engine listings, so that more people (preferably potential customers) visit your website and then purchase your goods or services.

Getting people visiting your website is also referred to as ‘traffic’.

Getting ‘traffic’ to your website is the result of good SEO. So what is good SEO?

In the UK, most people use Google. In fact in August 2014, 89% of people in the UK used Google for searching (source: http://theeword.co.uk/info/search_engine_market.html). So if you want traffic to your website, it therefore makes sense to make your website Google friendly and follow their guidelines.

In the early days, Google never really let you know what made good SEO. How they ranked websites was a closely guarded secret, so SEO was a bit of trial and error.

It used to be that you would focus on a few keywords – words that people looking for your goods or services would type in the search box and boom, because your website had those keywords appear in the domain name, URL, title tags and other meta tags as well as the copy, your site would be listed.

But then unscrupulous webmasters abused the system. They would find out what the most popular keywords people were typing in and then stuff their website with those keywords, just to appear in the top, regardless of whether their website had anything to do with the keyword or not. They just wanted traffic.

That was bad news for people searching because it meant the searches returned irrelevant results, which was bad news for Google if it wanted to remain the top search engine people used. It was also bad news for website owners using these unscrupulous tactics because the traffic was not good quality prospects actually looking for their products and/or services.

So Google got smart. It added some more dimensions to their algorithms to make it more difficult for unscrupulous webmasters.

It took into account backlinks. Google reckoned that if other websites linked to your website, it must be good. A bit like when you ask a room full of people for a recommendation of a tradesmen. The tradesman with the most people recommending (or backlinks to it) it would be top of the list.

But that didn’t stop unscrupulous webmasters. A new industry was created just to create backlinks. The result was that you could pay someone to get you 100’s of backlinks from websites created just for the purpose of making you look popular so that Google would favour you against a competitor in their search engine listings.

Google soon realised this was no longer a good measure for the credibility of a website. So it then took into account the quality of the backlinks. The website had to be credible and relevant or it wouldn’t take those links into account.

In fact Google took it a step further and if your website contained too many poor quality backlinks, you got penalised and taken off their listings completely – something called sandboxing.

More recently, Google introduced a new algorithm (called Humingbird) and also guidelines for how to optimise your website for search engines.

Google’s objective was to improve the quality of search results even further and respond to how people search nowadays.

People don’t search by keywords anymore. They search by typing in questions – “how do I…..” “where can I buy…..” ‘what’s the best way to ….”

Google is now capable of learning from the content it finds, so it favours content that informs and teaches. Backlinks, keywords in URLs are not considered so important.

Google also recognises duplicate content so black-hat tricks of creating multiple sites with the same content don’t work anymore. In fact they result in sandboxing.

So what is the best way to ensure your website ranks well and attracts good quality traffic – people looking for what you offer?

Remember I said that Google likes content. Content is the name of the SEO game now. Good quality, relevant, informative content.

Frequency is also important. Frequent new content makes the Google-bots visit your website and index the pages. It learns to come back frequently and add new content if there is frequent new content being added.

And what do you do to take advantage of this? Blogging! Frequent, regular informative content that answers the questions your potential customers might have.

 


 

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