Over the past three years SEO has changed quite a bit, but it’s not only SEO, it’s the fundamentals of it as well. Most of these changes feel quite sudden, but the truth is that Google has been slowly turning the knob over a long period of time, but it just takes quite a while until we see the results of these changes. One of the major changes to SEO is Google making it harder for companies to game the system. A while back when you wanted to SEO optimize your website, all you had to do was repeat the keyword throughout your site more than your competitor and viola, you win! When someone searched the keyword your site would come up first because you “shoved” the keyword all over the place. That method didn’t last too long though.
After the keyword stuffing era was no longer an option, when you wanted to search engine optimize your website you needed to get backlinks from forums and people’s comments. When this new method came to the table, people went crazy over it. They created software that would let you backlink your website with little man power required. People even wrote books about it! This method of SEO did last for quite a while, but like all good things, it came to an end. Many companies built solid websites using this method, but all the programs and books were no longer useful to those looking to search engine optimize.
Then we were hit with the Panda update, which experienced a few tweaks here and there over the past year. On one side of the table, this change is great because it leaves spammers, content mills and useless websites on the backburner, while your site has a chance to make it to the top of Google rankings. On the other hand, websites that relied on previous methods to bring traffic to their sites were left high and dry. The days of spinning articles and creating low quality content to bring traffic to your site, are long over. Only well-written, unique content on your site will make it thrive.
Along with these new 2012 changes, Google has announced a few smaller changes, as well. Google has officially stated that too many advertisements above your webpages fold will hurt your Google rankings. This isn’t a drastic change, but it creates a more user-friendly environment for your visitors. Also, if you are going to have a website, you need to get social. Google is aware that those who are offering real brands are using social media sites and they want to see some backlinks to these sites.
Search engines also became familiar with the millions of forums and comment links that were being used to drive traffic to websites. So, what did they do? They cut the power of these specific links way down, making you link to several different types of sources from a variety of locations. It was decided that nothing was going to be that simple. With all of these SEO changes, only those who are creating websites that contain engaging content, and are designed for visitors are going to get ahead. The days of building a website for search engines is long gone. It doesn’t mean SEO has gotten harder, it just means that you are going to need to focus more on your audience and create lasting brands and you want to get ahead.