NASHVILLE, TN – It’s hypothesized that the term “Search Engine Optimization” was first documented by John Audette and Bruce Clay in 1997. When search engine algorithms were simpler, webmasters could saturate a page with keywords, ensuring a higher rank in search engine results. Ultimately, as users really want the most relevant data, search engines worked to make their algorithms stronger to avoid “Keyword Stuffing”.
In an article by SEO expert Jill Whalen, she comments on the minor changes that helped SEO evolve from 2000 to 2008. In an outline she found from 2000, her introduction stated that Google had 1.3 billion pages indexed. When the article was written in 2008, Whalen, CEO and founder of High Rankings, estimated that Google had nearly 10 billion pages indexed. As all of these small changes and unexplained algorithms rock our SEO boats, Whalen comments on what stays the same: “The one element that will never change is the same one that I’ve been advocating forever—whatever SEO methods or strategies you use, the thing that will get you the furthest is creating an awesome website!”
The easier it is to make a website, the more people sign up for personal blogs or websites that can potentially distract users from the relevant information they’re searching for. Services such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, and Weebly make web development a breeze. As these sites have gained popularity in the past few years, more people have dumped their information onto the web.
Five years ago, if you had a serious niche, it’s possible that you could be one of several websites, or even (gasp!) the only website, discussing a subject. Now that it’s so easy to make a website, i.e., you don’t need to know how to code it, you don’t need to purchase a domain name, new sites spring up daily. In the wake of this over-saturated market, ensuring that your website has up-to-date, relevant information is crucial.
Twitter launched in July of 2006, and since then, its users have grown to giant proportions. An article from Time Techland dated September 2011 revealed that Twitter has 100 million active users. Facebook launched in February 2004, and as of January 2012, there are 800 billion users. Now Google announced that search results are getting more personal, as users will see Google+ results as well as normal search results in the “everything” category.
These sites are a destination, where people spend lots of time connecting with friends or acquaintances with common interests. While before, friends could share links fairly easily through email, now, these websites like Facebook and Twitter provide a common ground for link sharing. As Eric Hammer from Quantum SEO Labs writes, “[Social media] has really taken the concept of SEO and stood it on its ear because until now, you were trying to get Google to notice you. Now, for the first time, because of social media, you need to try to get human beings to notice you too and recommend you to their friends.”
Google Loves Change
To keep searches fresh and readily improving for users, Google is speculated to make changes almost daily to their search algorithms. Google introduced Panda (previously known as “Farmer”) to better their search results by weeding out duplicate content and lowering the prevalence of “content farms” in query results. Google launches Google Places to give businesses a place to be recognized.
Just as Google likes changing their own search algorithms, they also favor fresh content, as we recently reported in “The Google Freshness Update”.
While the SEO horizon changes daily like the phases of the moon, what stays the same is the importance of relevant, accurate, and fresh content.