How SEO Recently Changed and What You Should Know by Chris Hornak on 05/21/2013 If you’re looking to hire an SEO company, whether it’s for the first time or second, you should take some time to get to know what’s going on in the SEO industry. An industry that is in constant evolution… Google has been quoted saying they make approximately 1 update per day if not more to their search algorithm. This post was developed to give you the information you need to choose your next SEO agency. How Was SEO Traditionally Done? Up until 2011/2012 the majority of SEO strategies were focused on creating keyword-focused content for your website and generating as many links to your site as feasibly possible. For the most part, this worked. Google was looking for sites with strong link signals and frequently updated content. You can think of links as votes, and the more votes your website had, the more important it must have been. How Has SEO Changed Recently and What Should I do? SEO in 2013 is a much more complicated equation. Mainly because of two updates to Google’s algorithm that go by the code names Panda and Penguin. The new equation might look something like this… What does all this mean?… 1. Build a Great Website Google wants to rank websites that take the time to think about how great the experience of their website will be for their customers. This means you should design your website with your customers in mind while also ensuring that it is built following Google’s Website Guidelines. 2. Create Great Content/Linkable Assets It may be hard to define what great content is since it varies from person to person and industry to industry. You should work closely with your SEO company to help them understand you and your customers. This way they can help produce quality content that will appeal to your audience. You should also consider making your business transparent. This means you should be willing to educate your customers and readily give them the information they’re looking for. If you’re not doing it, then your users will go to a competitor’s website that does. The creation of this content can come in many forms such as blog posts, infographics, slide shows, videos, whitepapers, etc. The idea behind creating this type of content is to produce content that people will find valuable enough to share and link to. 3. Use Google Authorship In the short time since Google released the authorship feature, hundreds of authors have linked their content to their Google profile. By doing so their picture shows up in the Google search results just like this… As Google works towards using human signals and monitoring people as well as brands it’s important to take these steps while it’s still early. Otherwise, you risk falling behind your competition. 4. Execute Online Branding Search engines want to show brands that people trust. This means it’s important that your offline branding is also represented online. Here is some insight into how Google may determine which sites have a strong brand. Image Source: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-next-generation-of-ranking-signals 6. Encourage User Engagement In 2010 both Google and Bing confirmed that Twitter and Facebook signals influence rankings. Since then Bing has formed a relationship with Facebook and Google has released their own social networking site, Google+. There have also been many tests that show the more social engagement a site receives, the better they also perform in search results. This means it’s important to be active on social networks as well as encourage customers and website visitors to become socially engaged with your brand online. 7. Avoid Google Penalties As Google continues to make updates in an attempt to improve their search results, they’ve taken action against sites that violate their guidelines. In 2012 they sent more violation warnings than ever before. It’s important to ensure that your SEO efforts are ethical and truly adding value to the internet. Conclusion As you can see, SEO has become very complicated, and yet the idea is simple… search engines want to reward websites/brands that real people find valuable. If you can create the type of content that real users will find valuable, you’re heading in the right direction. If you’re focused on short-term goals like reaching a certain number of links or ranking for just one or two keywords, you may be heading into a direction that could lead to a penalty. Hiring an SEO company that keeps its finger on the pulse of Google and Bing will allow you to maximize your efforts and lead to what is considered by many as the most cost-effective marketing strategy. Share the Love Related posts: The Layers of a Tasty SEO Sandwich Are Exact Match Domains Still a Good Idea? SEO Theory: How Google Calculates Content Value How to Start Diagnosing Penguin 2.0 Chris HornakDirector of Operations|Director of Operations at Eyeflow Internet Marketing Chris has been involved in digital marketing since 2005 and has performed hundreds of SEO audits. He's also presented at local Pittsburgh events on various SEO topics. 2016 Digital Marketing Essentials Learn how to improve your search engine performance dramatically and do more business online! Check it out!