The Changing Face Of SEO – How To Stay Ahead Of The Curve
SEO is constantly changing.
Google does these updates to ensure that the search results that they provide are always relevant.
They don’t always get it right and sometimes Google updates get tweaked/reverted to fine tune them even further.
One thing that has remained constant throughout the Google updates is the Google guidelines has remained pretty constant throughout.
Google doesn’t want you to “game” the results and Google certainly doesn’t want low quality spammy sites that provide no value ranking at the top of their results.
A reputable seo agency knows this and so an SEO agency will always play within the rules and try to do SEO as naturally as possible.
One thing that has remained consistent across SEO is backlinks – They have always played a role in SEO.
Let’s go back 10-12 years and look at SEO and how it used to be done.
Back in the mid 2000’s SEO was very easy and it wasn’t even really a term/thing amongst the wider general business public as it is today.
SEO used to be very simple (or spammy, depending on how you look at it, most definitely spammy!):
Add your keyword everywhere – Website owners used to ‘keyword stuff’, which means putting their keyword everywhere and over optimising their website for a keyword.
Lets say your keyword was ‘mens socks’ then website owners would put the keyword and variations of it in their title tag, their meta descriptions, on their page, in their images and you would even see a keyword cloud at the bottom of a website with all variations of the keyword just randomly sitting at the bottom of a website providing no real purpose or value to the reader.
Cloaking was another old SEO trick that website owners used.
Cloaking was the act of trying to deliver one set of content to a website user and different content to the Google bot in order to manipulate what each see.
One of the biggest, most popular and obvious cases of cloaking was to put for example, black test onto a black coloured background – That way, in theory anyway, the user wouldn’t see this hidden text, they would simply see a weird big black empty space – But if you run your mouse over this area to highlight the content you would see lots of keywords there.
Google caught onto cloaking and it’s against their policy. You should never attempt cloaking, Google will find it and will penalise your website from the SERP rankings.
Spinning content was another classic SEO technique from the mid 2000’s and this involved using a robot/automated tool to re-write your content for your webpages.
People used to say “say the same thing 5 different ways if you want to rank on Google” which basically lead to websites just rehashing their content and approaching it from different angles.
The result? 5 paragraphs on a webpage that basically all said the same thing just from a different angle and adding no value to the reader.
Spinning was basically where you would write a paragraph of text and copy and paste it along with some other variations of words and a machine would re-jig the article and provide another version based on the original, this would then simply be added to a webpage.
Google as with all things caught on to spinning and if you have ever read the quality guidelines, you basically now write for humans not search engines, where as previously a lot of website owners wrote for search engines rather than users.
Content is key. Unique content is key, and Google understands all of this.
Write content for your audience. Break it down with nice headlines, images and infographics, make your content unique and engaging.
Provide more value than your competitors. If your competitors provide a 500 word article on the “5 best SEO tips” then go even further and provide a 4000-5000 word article on the “75 best SEO tips”.
Go the extra mile and provide content that will encourage your website visitors to stick around.
Another old SEO trick used to be to have what’s known as “orphaned” pages on your website.
These were pages that were over optimised with keywords, had spun content but they weren’t actually linked to from anywhere on a website.
Their purpose was just to rank as high as possible in Google and drive people from them back to your website.
Google soon clicked on as they always do and realise that these pages were just pure fluff and spam, and that they weren’t even important as they weren’t even linked too!
These days your on-site interlinking is key to SEO and a fundamental part to any white hat SEO strategy.
You should always link naturally from your content’s sentences to a relevant page on your website.
Think about Wikipedia and the way they do it – They are a prime example of brilliant page interlinking.
Great page interlinking also helps the Google bot crawl your website, it also helps Google understand the context of your pages and how important they are – Afterall if you think about it – By having lots of internal links to a page, that shows that the page is pretty important, else why would you link to it?
It’s relatively easy to stay ahead of the SEO curve – Just don’t do what people did 10 years ago!
Write for humans – Not bots.
Don’t over use your keyword in your content – Keep it natural!
Don’t try and game or bluff Google – Google is too smart and your website metrics such as bounce rates, time on site etc will reflect this… and if you use Google Analytics…. Remember who has access to this data to judge how engaging your website is… Google!