What is SEO and how has it evolved

Dec 27th, 2009 | By | Category: search engines

In this article I will take you through what SEO used to be about, what its currently about and how I can see SEO changing over the next year or so.

SEO a few years ago

Now a few years ago SEO still had the same concept which it has today in the sense that if you make your website attractive to the search engines then you will get preferential rankings thus bring you up in the SERPS.

However, SEO techniques have long been changed. Many companies still live in the past using expired SEO techniques which once used to be effective but if used today then your website will be penalized. The only thing to blame for this is the lack of updated SEO knowledge.

Now let me explain.

In the past if you searched for something like 'cheap lcd tvs' then the likelihood of finding what you was looking for on the first page was no where as close to the likelihood of finding it  in todays results.Why? well, firstly I must mention the evolution in the major search engines. Google and other major search engines are trying their best to show accurate listings in the search engines which has meant a frequent change and update in the algorithms used by the major search engines.

For example:-  In the past the more you used a keyword on your webpage the more likely you was to get ranked for that particular keyword. So, many people would go and litter their sites with an unbelievable amount of keywords. Google and other search engines would start to rank these websites very highly in the search engines. In the past the majority of emphases was placed on onsite optimisation and not so much on offsite optimisation or link building. The webmasters and seo agents of these websites would even use techniques which are now black hat such as changing the font color of the keywords so that it would match the color of the pages background. This was used so that visitors could not see the many keywords while the search engines could. In the black hat SEO world this technique is referred to as cloaking – a form of presenting search engine spiders with different content to that of a user.

If you tried to use this method today then your website would get penalized and removed from the search engines.

Now lets take a look and see how it should be done today

As Google and other search engine robots try their best to show best matched and relevant results in the SERPS they are always tweaking and changing their ranking factors – algorithms. One major change that the search engines needed to address was keyword usage due to the cloaking techniques SEO agents used to easily manipulate the search engines with. So after a few algo updates we are at how the search engines work today.

Onsite optimisation

what is seoToday if you overly use your keywords you risk being penalized. Another major change is using a latent semantic indexing (LSI) structure for your keywords. What this means is that you should use a variety of keywords related to the keyword that you are trying to rank for. So instead of using the keyword 'cheap lcd tvs' over and over again you would use keywords such as 'cheap lcd tvs' televisions' 'plasma' 'full HD' 'LED'  and so on. 

As you can see the keywords mentioned above are all related to tvs and they can be even more specific. However the example above is only an example of how it has changed.

Now the question arises that if your using a variety of keywords but only want to start ranking for a few of them then how can this be done?

This brings us over to:

Offsite SEO

The pages on your websites have now been optimised using the LSI structure – now to drive your results up in the SERPS then Offsite SEO is also required. Offsite SEO is a practice of building backlinks to your website. If your not too sure what backlinks are then please read the following article on Backlinks

While the major search engines looked at new ways to narrow down search results to relevant ones only, it became apparent that a method was needed other then onsite factors alone – this is why today backlinks play a big role -

a backlink is like a vote for your site

Backlinks should be used with keywords as Anchor text – In the same way that a backlink counts as a vote for your website then so does your anchor text act like a vote for your keyword. However I must mention that a (LSI) form of using anchor text is also very important. SO dont use the same anchor text over and over again. Change them around so that they correspond with your keywords that you used on your onsite optimisation. Using a LSI structure is very beneficial as it will allow your website to rank for many more keywords and not just 1 or 2. If you are using the LSI structure correctly then you will be using keywords which are related to your site and your niche so its a big bonus for all of us to use this technique. We will benefit from rankings of multiple keywords and also get a ton of targeted traffic.

The future of SEO

Now the only way to determine what the future will be for SEO is to look at how the search engines have been developing their algorithms and what the focus of search engines are on. There are many updates that take place on the search engines and we get given indications as to where more emphases will be placed to rank websites. If you havnt already read the article on Google caffeine update then its a recommended read.

Google is now focusing on site load time speed, real time results, faster indexing and many more factors. Much of it is about speed and relevance. The reason for the updates is due to Google and other search engines trying their best to give searchers and users what they are looking for fast. They recommend the use of SEO but they clearly know that there are ways that SEO agents can manipulate the results to their advantage such as finding sources of backlinks and using them. This isnt black hat its just a fact that this is what is required to achieve the preferential rankings.Think about this for a moment, what about the many websites which are having difficulty competing with the many other websites that know where to get backlinks from and these website owners who can not get hold of backlinks have better contents and are more likely to be a website that a searcher is looking for.

How will google overcome this?

Surely this is what its about.

Lets take a look at a few possibilities.

One thing for sure is that Google and other search engines love social media sites – such as bookmarking sites – web 2.0 sites – facebook – myspace and so on. These are websites which are ultimately used and created by users. The search engines love them for the new contents which is available everyday and also because there are ways to show a true popular website.

Lets go over the last sentence again – There are ways to show a true popular website! The reason I have highlighted the word true is because any seo agent can sign up to a social bookmark site and bookmark their own site. This doesn't show true popularity, its just a method used by an seo agent or seoist to get a backlink to their website. 

However, if you see a website which has been bookmarked by 30 people then either 1 of 2 things have happened.

1. the website is truly popular and has been bookmarked by many individuals due to the content or whatever the reason.

2. an seo agent has gone out of his way to create 30 different accounts and bookmarked his website that many times

Today the first statement is more then likely to be the true reason. The reason I have highlighted the word 'today' is because if this is the way search engines will start to find the true popularity of a website then the the people that practice SEO are a clever bunch of people and they will start to use the 2nd statement if this is what is required.

SO I can see much emphases being placed on social media and can certainly see it becoming a very important part of any SEO campaign in the near future.

If you have found this article useful then please bookmark it.

Tags: seo evolution

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