What Is SEO?
SEO, short for search engine optimization
, can be an integral part of any business that wants to drive relevant traffic to their site.
Search traffic to your site is critical to its long-term success and properly investing in it can pay off in dividends. SEO tactics and strategies more often change than stay the same as SEO practitioners strive to adapt to and rank on ever-changing search engines.
Search engines have evolved greatly over the years to algorithmically deliver more relevant results to searchers. According to internetlivestats.com
, on Google search alone, there are more than 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. This does not include the other players like Baidu (China’s dominate search engine) that by some estimates has 531 million users worldwide.
In short, everyone and their grandmother are on search engines daily looking for answers, products and services to fulfill their needs. The current scale and engagement of searchers on search engines is a good indicator that people will not stop using search engines anytime soon. Since everyone uses search engines to find answers and look for products and services to fulfill their professional and personal needs, it makes sense that businesses of all sizes want their products and/or services to be displayed on search engine result pages.
The SEO practitioner serves as a guide to help you navigate the do’s and don’ts of SEO and rank higher for relevant searches. From poor site structure, bad keyword choices, thin content and duplicate content to slow server response time, there are countless pitfalls that can harm your site in search results. SEO isn’t all about avoiding the things you shouldn’t do — all sites should be proactively taking additional actions, such as:
- Determining what topics and sets of queries you want to rank for in search results
- Writing unique and valuable content (demonstrating their EAT: expertise, authority and trustworthiness)
- Tackling the ongoing technical SEO issues many of them that are inherent in certain CMS’s
You will always have the need to drive relevant traffic at volume to your site, so investing in SEO is a great way to ensure that.
How Has SEO Changed?
SEO has come a long way since the launch of Yahoo and Google in the mid-’90s. Often pages were “optimized” via keyword stuffing, gratuitous use of tagging and spammy generation of inbound links, but those tactics led to search results that weren’t always in the best interest of searchers. Over the years, search engines have introduced more ranking factors to better refine search results with the hopes of delivering more relevant, quality results to the benefit of searchers. Search engines strive to put the needs of searchers over the needs of webmasters — webmasters that want to use search engines so that their content is easily found on the internet. To that point, search engines are not afraid to penalize websites in search results rankings if their content or methods for gaining rankings are deemed not to be in the best interest of searchers.
Two of the most infamous algorithm changes/updates (both released by Google) aimed at penalizing sites are the Panda and Penguin algorithms. These cutely named updates have inflicted ranking punishments for countless websites over the years. Panda was first rolled out in February 2011 with the aim of penalizing sites that had low-quality content. Often characterized as sites with thin content, duplicate content or simply low-quality content. Penguin was released in April 2012 with the goal of penalizing sites that Google deemed to have created unnatural inbound linking profiles in an effort to gain an advantage in Google Search. Other notable updates include Hummingbird in September 2013, the mobile-friendly update in April 2015 and many more.
Updates to search engine algorithms are a constant to life in the SEO community. Advising clients on how to avoid being penalized, recover from being penalized and improve rankings is how SEOs show their value. RankBrain
is the newest, most interesting and least understood update in recent memory to the algorithm of the world’s most frequently used search engine: Google. At a very high-level, RankBrain is an artificial intelligence machine learning algorithm.
Keeping up with cutely named updates is one thing, but keeping up with an artificial intelligence machine that utilizes deep learning methodology is a whole new animal (without the cute animal name).
Why Will SEO Never Die?
SEO will never die because search engines are constantly changing and businesses that want to better understand and prepare/anticipate those changes will need the help of an SEO practitioner (either in-house, agency side or both!) to best ensure their companies stay on-top of the SEO game. As long as search engines evolve, I do not envision a world without SEO.
What do you think? Will SEO ever die? Share your opinion by commenting below.
If you would like to know where you stand from an SEO standpoint, check out our SEO audit services
, as well as other SEO services we offer.