The first time I’d heard of any kind of search engine optimization, it wasn’t even called that. It was the late 90s, and I was a web developer, reading an article about meta tags. I thought to myself, people will likely abuse it, but the payoff wouldn’t be great.
You see, at that time there was no Google, and yahoo! was a big dog, but I foolishly ignored search engines as a form of traffic. I would submit my client sites to yahoo, but most of the time spent marketing focused on link exchanges and things of that sort. For some of my clients, I even went on to Usenet and answered important questions, with a url in a signature (a methodology that’s still effective by the way). Those were the good old days.
By the time I got in to SEO seriously, in the early 2000s, meta tags were a thing of the past. The game had changed. Now it was about keywords and H1s, and title tag. Does anyone remember how back in 2003 you could put something in the title tag, bust out an H1 and some alt tags, and get a top ranking? Those were the days.
Enough reminiscing. Now that we’re fresh out of yet another dramatic algorithm update by Google, we have to ask ourselves what’s next? The answer to that is simple. Real content.
Real Content has been the key to good SEO all along. It’s no secret sites with great content get return visitors, and happy customers. Well, guess what the search engines want? The same thing. They want happy customers, and relevant results. Content is king! This is the infallible rule of the web, nearly since day one. Content, content and more content. YOUR content. Good content. This is what real SEO consists of.
The web is becoming increasingly social, and the search engines are aware of it. They’re looking for sites that people actually like, so you can’t put lipstick on a pig anymore. Spammy overoptimized sites fall off the search engines daily. If you are an SEO, your goal should not be manipulating rankings with tricks or gimmicks. You should be doing everything possible to make sure the engines list you, sure. Proper code, semantics, tags, site maps. The technical part is still relevant. But you should be doing all of these things to ensure your CONTENT is being focused.
I’ll come back and go into more detail about this later.