Search engine optimization has been an element of online marketing for nearly two decades since its earliest beginnings in the mid 90s. The technique has changed significantly over time but it has never completely lost its relevance. Even though some in the marketing world may believe that SEO is dead, it has simply evolved.
In a sense, the old way of doing SEO is over because so much about search engine optimization has changed. The earlier formula of simply optimizing H1s and meta tags is not enough to increase search rank. Now there is no one formula for getting results from SEO; instead there are different approaches that work differently for every business.
There have never been any guarantees that certain SEO practices will work immediately to increase search rank. If someone is unable to get results from traditional SEO then they might write it off as ineffective and assume that SEO is dead. The reality is that SEO works but you simply have to evolve with it as it continues to change.
How SEO has Changed
While in the past certain tweaks such as adding keywords to title tags may have worked to increase rank, there is now a lot more to consider. When Google Panda was released, it caused SEO to change significantly. The emphasis now is on creating a high quality experience for users through great content instead of “spammy” content for the sake of SEO.
Even though content needs to focus more on a positive user experience, that content still needs to be optimized and that is where SEO still maintains its relevance. SEO keywords can still be used effectively within the right content to get better results. Content needs to be seen by the largest possible audience and SEO can play a major role in helping that happen.
Old practices like title tag keywords have actually been found recently be much less effective than previously thought. A study discovered that the correlation between a keywords in a title tag and the ranking of that keyword was actually very minimal. Since Google has gotten better at understanding the context of a page keyword targeting doesn’t need to be nearly as explicit as it was in the past.
Now businesses working with SEO often benefit from more longer form content because it naturally includes terms that describe the topic and will be noted by Google. These terms that are related to the topic are now known as entities and are just as important as keywords once were in SEO. Businesses can now go beyond traditional keyword research into entity research to find more terms to be included in content.
Social Media and SEO
More businesses are focusing their marketing strategies on social media as it continues to expand its influence through different sites like Facebook and Instagram. SEO can helpful for social media marketing by boosting the rank of links to social media pages and ensuring that users will be led to those pages. People also use social media channels to search for things and search engine optimization can be useful in affecting these types of searches.
One thing to remember about SEO is that optimizing content can take on many different forms and does not have to follow what is traditionally thought of as SEO. Every business will still need to take efforts to ensure that their high quality content is seen by an audience online.
As SEO continues to evolve and change, people will always use it differently to reach the ultimate goal of boosting traffic. As long as people are able to get these results in new ways, SEO will continue to live on as a viable choice for marketing.
Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.