It was all the rage when bloggers discovered how Google’s algorithm worked and SEO agencies sprouted like mushrooms to capitalize on the discovery. However, it has been more than two decades since Google burst onto the scene and the question is on everyone’s lips.
How relevant is SEO today?
The short answer is that SEO will always be relevant, so long as search engines exist. The innovation of Google (and the reason why it is a household name) is that instead of ranking sites based solely on their content, they looked at “the quantity and quality of external links pointing to a website (as well as the anchor text used)”, giving birth to an industry of link building.
The evolution of link building
There are numerous ways for businesses and professional bloggers and the like to obtain links on other sites. Facebook groups allow for link exchanges, and you can turn to an SEO agency for all the rest. Certain bloggers who are accomplished writers also oftentimes have access to publications and might be convinced to write about your company or product, with the right incentive. However, Google has slowly caught on to this link building tactic in order to rank higher on their results page. This has caused a shake up in their algorithms department.
In 2011 and 2012, many websites found that their traffic vanished overnight as Google’s new Panda algorithm took hold. It redefined what was considered a quality site and helped keep the spam sites where they belonged: down in the dregs. After Panda was introduced came Penguin, an algorithm targeted at websites utilizing keyword stuffing or “websites with unusual linking patterns, including a high-amount of exact match anchor text that matched keywords you want to rank for” – basically, if it didn’t look organic, it was flagged.
How to utilize SEO efficiently
First of all, too many businesses set up a website for the sake of looking professional – this is neither productive nor does it add any value. Secondly, value is king. If you are going to put something out there, it should be of high quality which is not a regurgitation of someone else’s thoughts or words. Researching what keywords to use are always a smart move as it can be easily incorporated into your content and help you better reach your audience. Lastly, find a social media network that will work for your brand.
For instance, a travel website might find more success on Instagram, and a beauty parlour or fashion boutique would have better luck on Pinterest. Corporates should stick to LinkedIn, and most can count on Facebook to help them in terms of marketing. It does help to research on your industry’s niche and figure out where on the internet are you most likely to find a relevant community.
Conclusion: SEO will only work if you do
Being lazy and not putting in thought to your SEO content will hurt your brand in the long run as Google might mark your website as spam. It is much better not to have a website than to thoughtlessly try to cheat your way to the top.