Starting in February of 2011, Google began updating its Page Rank algorithms to weed out what they deemed “thin content” and black hat SEO. Google’s algorithmic updates were specifically targeting low-quality content farms and websites engaged in dubious practices to increase their Page Rank, such as keyword stuffing or link schemes. With these updates, playfully named Panda and Penguin, Google seemed to be sending a volley out to the web marketing world to shape up or risk a deduction in Page Rank.
And what have most SEO-related blogs responded with? A histrionic outcry of, “SEO is dead!” While the melodrama may be a fun read, it couldn’t be less accurate. SEO is not dead, and it certainly isn’t dying. Google’s changes have surely changed the landscape of what SEO considers best practices, but that is far from the death knell that bloggers have been touting it as.
Rather than trying to render SEO irrelevant, Google is focusing on user experience in search results. Is your website informative and useful to the user? It seems the biggest focus of these updates is to promote higher quality content and to demote websites that provide the user with little or no substance at all.
Visitor engagement is the new key to higher Page Rank — a real and organic exchange of information and content rather than a detached link exchange. I suspect, since both Google and Bing have indicated that social networks are a factor in Page Rank, that having a reputable Twitter or Facebook account and sharing links there will become more and more important.
The focus is shifting from quantity to quality. Visitors want to know that a link they click will actually have the information they need rather than just look like it. Instead of using content farms and irrelevant linking, Google is encouraging the SEO world to produce real content for the real users who visit websites.
So stop shouting, “SEO IS DEAD” and start shouting, “LONG LIVE SEO!”
Posted on Thursday, October 11th, 2012
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