How has SEO evolved? Let us count the ways:
In the old days, on-page optimization was mapping two to five keywords per URL, optimizing the page elements, and calling it a day. These days, with advances in semantic search and machine learning, pages can rank for a multitude of related keywords outside of the keywords optimized on the page. Having content that fulfills the needs of what users are looking for, rather than just being the best match for a given keyword string, is a much better experience and gets sites in the hands of those that most need them.
Gone are the days of the desktop computer being the primary device used to serve the web. Mobile devices have quickly become the way that people consume content. Digital media consumption on mobile devices has skyrocketed in the past several years and will continue to grow.
Because of this, SEOs must focus on “mobile first”, particularly with apps, and make sure that mobile pages load within a few seconds.
During the past several years, Google has changed its local results so many times it’s mind-boggling. Local SEO used to be about spamming listing by incorporating keywords in the business name and creating spam links to get hits. Now, local is all about positive reviews as well as more traditional ranking signals like relevance and page content.
Social media is king. Online social sharing used to largely take place via email and instant messaging, things that are largely outside of the scope of SEO campaigns.
In today’s world, social media is ubiquitous, and ignoring that can be perilous to SEO. The modern-day SEO must utilize social networks to promote content to earn both shares and links for maximum exposure.
While links have always been a factor in determining search engine rankings, link building has changed dramatically over the years.
It used to be all about link quantity, the more links to your site, the better, along with anchor text. Simply grab a link, whether it was legitimate or not, throw it on your site and you were done.
These days it’s about quality. Links from relevant, authoritative sites are more heavily weighted while links from spammy websites are discounted or grounds for a ranking penalty. Search engines like to see a “natural” link profile with a good mix of link types.
Technical SEO is now very much a requirement for web developers. SEOs must make sure their clients’ sites are built in a mobile-friendly manner and load as quickly as possible.
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