Search Engine Optimization (SEO) evolves and changes constantly. What was once an extremely technical and data-driven field is changing into a social marketing bonanza! Now, rather than needing a full staff of IT experts, many SEO capabilities are at YOUR fingertips. Below we have compared what traditionally worked in the past with the new SEO trends. You might be surprised as to how on track you already are in this ever-evolving industry.
Traffic & Rankings vs. User Engagement & Brand Exposure
Numbers used to mean everything. They used to focus on how many visitors came to your site, how many pages were seen, and how long they lingered on the site. Today's numbers have shifted to center on increased engagement. Often, this engagement does not even happen directly on your blog or website, making social standings and user interaction even more vital. Now, rankings and metrics serve as a reporting effort instead of a direct correlation to success. Clicks and pageviews should no longer have the emphasis. Utilizing user engagement to convert a potential customer to revenue-generation is on trend. This engagement can tell you what the people want.
Organic vs. Diversified Traffic Sources
Finding out information used to mean picking up a physical encyclopedia. Then we used search engines online. Even though people still continue to search out what they are looking for, there has been a major increase in discovery. How many times a day do you click on an article because a friend shared it, rather than going to Google and asking a question? Google has its purpose and we hope it will always exist, but continuing to diversify your traffic, especially through social media outlets, is very important.
Technical vs. Marketing Knowledge
SEO used to involve complicated back-end coding: altering alt tags, padding keywords in the most ridiculous places, and creating outlandish descriptions. The algorithms have become much smarter and they pick up on “fake” attempts at making your website better. True marketing knowledge will go much further than any IT-made attempts.
Search Engine vs. User Optimization
We’ve also seen a shift in optimizing titles and headlines to match keywords. Gearing these towards creative headlines, engaging content and ease of navigation for users, is now so much more important.
Exact Matches vs. Keyword Diversity
Formerly, a certain set of words would help you to rank higher across search engines the more you reused them. Search engines now have a wider vocabulary and favor diversity. For instance, instead of just using “graphic design” over and over again all over our website, we use words like “brand, identity, design, logo”. As you can tell, these all relate. However, they touch on different aspects of graphic design. And since the padding of keywords is now so frowned upon, the only way to continue to add to your keywords is to continue to put out amazing content. Although it takes more time than most things we do, this reason alone is one of the major players in why we add new content to the blog so regularly.
Rank in Search Engines vs. Competing in the Blog-o-sphere
The race is on. No longer just on Google and Yahoo, but the competition continues in industry-related blogs. The necessity of putting out your own personal content or publishing to a blog has grown. Reposting other content on your social media, though acceptable, does not go quite as far as sharing your own original thoughts and ideas.
Privacy vs. Personality & Transparency
Though many people still value their privacy, we have started to accept the lack of anonymity on social media to capitalize on the person behind the brand. Adding “You” back into your business is crucial, and letting people in through complete transparency continues to achieve returns.
Link Building & Backlinks vs. Link Earning & Real Relationships
Having other websites linking back to your own used to be such a major player that people would purchase memberships in directories. They would buy “links” and participate in link exchange programs. Now, quality links are much more important than the quantity of backlinks. High-quality content and the rise of guest blogging on industry-trusted sites have come to the forefront. People used to even do crazy things like barter for link backs. Today, bloggers tend to give links freely, without any conditions. It isn’t uncommon for us to link to other resources or tell you about who inspires us. We don’t mind at all if it helps their rankings! Instead, we care more about creating the best user experience possible for you.
Short-Term Hustle vs. Long-Term Strategy
Short-term tactics aimed at tricking search engines just don’t work anymore. We have to operate under the assumption that SEO is a long-term strategy. How are we going to grow and shift as the industry continues to grow and shift?
Content Distribution & PR vs. Communication
You might remember the day when social media (and even more traditional methods like press releases) were written and the medium was just the method to put the information out there. Current social media has evolved into becoming its own ecosystem for communication. It has become participation-driven and not just a “preach from a soapbox” concept. We used to rely on other media sources to talk about us to “gain exposure”, but now, we all pray for that viral moment. Having an article published in a major newspaper or being on the news is still a major win for any business, but users going crazy about a post, product or service can often be even more effective.
Commenting vs. Participating in Community
Backlinks were such a crucial portion of the SEO equation that people would spam other blogs, leaving phony comments just as an opportunity to link back to their own site. Authenticity is now realized, and sharing in the full experience of a brand is necessary. Users need to be engaged and participatory. Instead of leaving phony comments, help people to solve real problems, build real relationships, and create brand authority.
What SEO practices do you rely on? What do you use to help you track results?