Remember the days when search engine optimization was simple?
Guess at a few keywords
Stuff them into your website (maybe hide some with white text on a white background)
Submit your website to a pile of online directories
Boom! Done. Start printing money.
Those days are looooong gone. I am here, however, to tell you that SEO is still indeed a thing. And more important than ever!
How is SEO done nowadays?
Ultimately, there are two key factors to SEO, and arguably those haven’t changed since the beginning of the internet:
What you say (i.e. good content)
What others say about it (i.e. endorsement for your content)
Some Things Change…
The way you optimize for SEO with your own content hasn’t changed a whole lot, to be honest.
Pick your keywords carefully. Research the terms that are relevant for you, have good monthly searches (i.e. there is traffic to be had) and aren’t overly competitive (i.e. you stand a realistic chance of capturing some of that traffic).
Match your content with the keyword. Ensure your page title and primary heading include your keyword, or a close variation. Ensure the body copy references it, along with related terms. Write naturally, and don’t “stuff” the term in.
At the most basic level, that’s it. The big changes over the past few years are around what others say about your content.
The Changing Face of Authority Building
In the olden days, we’d do the following:
Submit a site map to the half dozen popular search engines.
Submit our website to a thousand directories, maybe even for a fee.
Blast out a thousand spam emails asking site owners to link to us.
Call it a day.
Today, the process of building your website’s authority is much more challenging:
Submissions still matter. This has more to do with ensuring your website is present in local search results, such as Google and Yelp, and any industry-specific directories that matter to you.
Link building is now pull versus push. You need to be much more strategic about getting others to link to you. You need to entice them with great content and offer up free content for their site. In other words, you need to earn it.
Reviews are everything. Gathering high quality reviews is imperative to your success. Google has been pushing their own products higher in the search results - i.e. ads, featured snippets, map packs, local packs, etc. Notwithstanding ads, if you want to have a presence at the top, you need to play their game. You need to be well reviewed, as this greatly impacts SEO positioning.
This post certainly isn’t intended to be an SEO guide. Rather, I wanted to point out how relevant SEO still is today, but highlight how it’s changed, and changed for the better (in my opinion).
We’re moving closer and closer to a time when the search engines won’t be able to be manipulated by low quality websites with SEO tricksters on their payroll.