Posted by: the3rdi | March 22, 2010

How SEO has developed over the years

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has evolved quickly with the explosion of internet consumption in the past decade. Search engines have become integral to the efficient navigation of the web and webmasters continue to step up their game in order to maintain visibility among a growing number of websites that jostle for users’ attention.

Back in 2000 SEO experts focused on content and keywords to climb up the search engine rankings, then emphasis moved to code to ensure the quality of information and websites. Ten years later, it is quick, cheap and easy for any organisation to create a website with the smaller organisations becoming hard to differentiate from the ‘big guns’. Search engine rankings not always offering the best guide.

Quality not quantity
Change in how search engines collate results comes after endeavours to evaluate web page quality. With so many more sites relevant for the same keywords, search engines now need to identify quality content. Sadly, there’s no single algorithm that can deliver this, but most people believe that the key lies in user recommendations i.e. links and link-sharing.

For example, if your website doesn’t have any inbound links, it won’t make sufficient impact to rank in the first page of search results. Smarter search engines continue to be more successful at placing value on links where quality is gauged by a variety of elements such as: content, user behaviour, link use, traffic flow, click-through rates, back-clicks and session navigation.

Welcoming social media
As search engines become more sophisticated, links buried in directory-style lists are devalued. An improvement in link valuation has proven very important when considering the explosion of social media. The growth in social networks has developed entire online communities; the simplicity and ease of creating content means information online is soaring so websites need to and be clever when it comes to SEO.

The huge take up of social media has opened a new market for savvy SEO folk. Fresh content uploaded every day promotes the acquisition of links and drives site traffic. Creating engaging content is more important than ever for those seeking standout from their competition. Any organisation that can provide content of genuine value and/or interest and market it well online, can catapult up search results pages.

Sharing to grow
The sharing of videos and photos online has also become a tactic for driving traffic. This is evident in the use of viral videos as part of the marketing tool-kit; videos that create interest spread like wild-fire through cyberspace; increasing brand awareness and driving hits. The sharing of such material builds a more powerful online profile, moving the organisation up the search engine charts.

A constantly changing landscape
As time’s gone on webmasters have been pushed into developing better content, but quality doesn’t guarantee links. And, with links from good websites with relevant content and high visibility driving traffic there’s a lot of ‘back scratching’, but there’s no knowing how long it can last, or how SEO strategies will evolve as internet usage itself changes.. One thing’s for certain, SEO will always change as the online space develops. And, to maintain visibility web masters need to keep on top of SEO developments, new ways of using the digital media and who its users are.

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