Were you involved in the online marketing world back in 2010? Earlier? Ever as recently as a couple of years ago, actually, the strategies that were considered surefire paths to SEO domination were completely different from what they are today.
Interestingly enough, however, Google was saying the exact same things about how you should try and rank a website then as they are now: Provide detailed, relevant, helpful content, network naturally with others, and Google would notice.
Unfortunately, their desired reality just wasn’t the case for most marketers. Hitting the top of search results meant putting in the hours to create backlinks, make sure the anchor text of your links matched the phrases you wanted to rank for, etc. These practices were considered spammy by Google, but they worked… and so people kept right on doing them.
Now, however, Google has finally caught up with its own mantra, and since early 2014 those adhering to old school link building practices are probably walking away a little disappointed.
For Google, it’s a win.
For us marketers, it makes things more complicated, but it’s a win as well.
Right now, SEO is actually simpler than it has ever been, but it’s not easier. That is to say, there’s a lot of work involved, but the work you put in is more valuable to all parties involved now.
In fact, pages are ranking fairly easily for many website owners now, provided they do a great job of providing content. A key component now is Google’s paying attention to social media cues when determining how much of a buzz a page is creating, and therefore how many people find it interesting and useful.
Right now, you can create a page and be ranking on Google within a couple of hours, provided your piece catches social media fire and gets shared around.
Of course, that means you’ve got to come up with something really good. Honestly, though, this can only serve to elevate the level of content that gets produced, as webmasters will be able to spend more time focusing on creating really useful, interesting content for their sites instead of focusing on the post-care SEO of creating countless backlinks.
In order to win, then, you need to be onboard with this new thinking. In fact, if you’re still working within the old framework of SEO, you’re likely going to see more problems than benefits. Sites are constantly being penalized and thrown into the SERPs abyss because they have tried to game a system that has always been about staying one step ahead of those trying to game it (and a goal they’ve finally achieved).
Will SEO professionals still have specific strategies you can take to give your site a leg up?
Will they work? Probably, but you need to think of SEO best practices these days as a side dish, because there is no longer a substitute for the main dish of hard work creating genuinely awesome pages for Google to crawl.