5 Ways SEO Has Changed Over the Years
Search engine optimization (SEO) is as much about creativity as it is the scientific algorithms that make it work. The creative aspect is about understanding search algorithms and figuring out how to produce content that both engages visitors and keeps algorithms happy. To say that it is not static is an understatement. In fact, SEO has changed quite a bit over the years.
Webtek Digital Marketing is a Salt Lake City, UT and Austin, TX digital marketing firm (you can visit them here) that has been involved in SEO from its earliest days. Way back before SEO was even a thing, website developers were looking for ways to ensure that search engines would find their pages. That was back in the days of Alta Vista, Ask Jeeves, and other similar sites. These days, Google rules the roost. Google’s emergence has been perhaps the biggest change of all.
Filtering Out the Junk
Before SEO services became a model on which to build a solid business, website developers got search engine attention by stuffing their pages with keywords. It was a lot easier to do so twenty years ago. All a website owner had to do to get a page noticed was stuff it with as many keywords as possible. The keywords didn’t even have to make sense in the context of the content itself.
The result was a lot of internet junk. Back then, it was not unusual to visit a website filled with text but still not saying anything. Those sites are still around today, but they are a lot less common thanks to sophisticated algorithms much more capable of filtering out junk. Content creators now have to be a lot more careful about the keywords they use and how frequently they use them.
Natural Language Processing
In an attempt to make voice recognition a bigger part of search, companies like Google have been working on natural language processing (NLP). NLP is the science of programming computers to understand human language the same way the brain does. It is no easy task. But as the technology has improved, search engine algorithms are more capable of understanding user intent. NLP allows Google to better determine what you want to know in an internet search even if you don’t necessarily use the right words.
This is a big deal for SEO developers. Why? Because they now have to think about user intent in addition to identifying the best keywords. One of the consequences of NLP in organic search is the development of long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are much more suitable to NLP.
Another big change for SEO in recent years is the introduction of voice search. Google and its competitors understand that people are much more likely to use their phones to access the internet than they would have in days past. Furthermore, speaking to your phone is easier then typing things in on a virtual keyboard. As such, search algorithms have been modified to make better use of questions.
Why questions? Because that’s how people speak. They are more likely to ask their phones a question than simply speak one or two words. Search engines must be able to recognize questions and adapt. Likewise, SEO developers now have to anticipate the types of questions their target audience might ask.
As SEO and organic internet searches continue to evolve, digital marketing companies that choose to offer SEO services have to evolve with it. If they do not keep pace, they will fall behind. That is no way to maximize one of the most important marketing technologies of our time.