Marketing channels haven’t changed as fast and as much as search engine optimization. Originally, SEO was used as a way to stuff keywords, change back end codes and spam terrible links to get higher search engine rankings. However, Google nipped this in the bud very quickly, and its search algorithm is always changing as a result.
A lot of Google’s business practices were formed by the middle of the 2000s, but this is not the case with its algorithm. It continues to change. As a result, the way that people see SEO also changes constantly, but how much has it changed over the last decade?
The Growth of Content
First, content marketing became a huge part of the SEO strategy. Google has always stressed what it considers to be good content, but it was the Panda algorithm update that stopped black hat marketers from stuffing keywords and creating spam filled website content.
Once Panda was introduced, it was very difficult for spammy content to rank highly in search engine results. Only quality content was allowed to rank highly in search results. This is the type of content that still ranks highly to this day, and content is still king.
The End of Link Scams
Google has always given its definition of a Link scam and provided examples. But there are those who find the definition and examples vague. However, think of a link scheme or scam as any attempt made to get higher search rankings via links.
By the end of the 2000s, Google had done everything possible to get rid of black hat link building scams. Scammers were usually penalized when they participated in building link wheels, exchanges or if they paid for links. But it wasn’t until the Penguin update in 2012 that the end of link scams really came about. These days, you can only get link recognition with natural links and guest posts.
The New Recognition of Local
Local SEO is completely different from the way that it was in 2006. There have been tons of changes made to the layout, but the biggest thing to affect search rankings surfaced in 2014. It was called the Pigeon update.
The Pigeon update made it easier for well optimized websites to rank higher in local searches. This benefited high-authority directory websites as well.
Basically, local searches are now more common, and they are also location specific. This is a result of more mobile devices being used.
The search engine results pages (SERPs) continue to evolve. Although the changes may seem small, search results have definitely changed over the last decade. Compare 2006’s results with the ones from today. There is a difference.
The Growth of Google’s Knowledge Graph
Another thing that has helped change SEO was the introduction of Google’s Knowledge Graph in 2012. It gives website users quick and short answers for their web searches. This is often in the form of an info box that contains a specific answer for a question. This is a plus for website users, but it usually offers more than regular organic search results.
As a result, the optimizers have to make a few adjustments. They must ignore general keyword targets or use Schema.org micro formatting as a way to make their website content easy to deliver to the system.
The iPhone was first introduced in 2007, and mobile use has become very popular since that time. Google continues to stress how important it is to optimize websites for mobile device usage. As a matter of fact, in 2015, mobile search was more popular than desktop search.
Mobile device optimization is necessary these days. It is no longer a choice. This is because Google continues to push it. It created a two-part update that stresses the importance of mobile device optimization.
The Slow Death of Keywords
Keyword stuffing is no longer optimal because of the Panda and Penguin updates. But another 2013 update introduced the soft death of keyword optimization. The Hummingbird update initiated semantic search. It determines what the user needs instead of looking at actual keywords.
These days, Google tries to understand what you are looking for instead of just matching up keywords. This means that keyword optimization doesn’t really work in the same manner. But then again, it is still important to do keyword research. It helps you to remain focus and give you new ways to rank.
Update Pace and Impact
During the years after many of these updates, Google still continued to issue major updates that influenced search rankings. This made many website owners worry. But there haven’t been as many updates recently, which means that Google has a good foundation these days. As a result, updates don’t cause as many problems in the online world.
It’s good to know the history of SEO. This will give you a better understanding of how it works today. The best thing to take away from all of this is that black hat SEO strategies no longer work. All in all, if you want to have a successful website keep an eye on the next decade of search engine updates.
Category Search Engine Marketing