by: Dana Chen Fischer
In the early days of the Internet, search engine ranking algorithms are heavily weighing on the basic elements of website structure, keyword selections and backlinks. Today, search engines have been rolling out updates in a much faster paces, not only it posts bigger challenges for SEO, but also leaves many frustrations to business owners because many of these ranking algorithm changes directly impacted their website’s ranking, and their inbound leads flow.
What have changed?
- The number of web sites, pages, blog sites and social media content has increased drastically from the days of only having a few million web sites online. Today – millions of pages of content, blog posts and social media content are published daily on the Internet. There is an incredible velocity of content generation daily and this will only continue to accelerate. In order for the search engines to provide quality, timely search results for users, they had to develop algorithms to sort through all of the noise. The complexity of optimizing for organic search rankings has gone through the roof, but the underlying formula for success can be achieved through a combination of strategy, tactics, effort and long-term vision. Of course, software automation added to the process will drastically help (more on this later in the article).
- Competition has escalated during this period of time. Now,not only do we have an ever increasing volume of content but also many businesses understand the art of search engine strategy and have started spending money on optimizing their web design and web content. Businesses are actively measuring their results with analytics and making changes each month and they understand the value of being found naturally or organically in the search engines. According to an eMarketer.com survey of senior Marketing and business owners in 2008,a large percentage have added “SEO” to their marketing budget as a separate line item. Forrester Research surveyed 204 marketing executives in July 2009. Their research unveiled that marketing executives are expected to spend $2.8 billion on SEO services in 2010 with spending to increase year-over-year to $5 billion by 2014.
- The entrance of social media to the search engine stage gives us even more we need to focus on. Social media has completely transformed how people share information – in terms of the social anthropology of storytelling (future blog post) and also in terms of how the major search engines have adapted to use social media factors in their search algorithms. The real-time delivery of information provided by Social media, combined with the upcoming changes to search (See Google Caffeine) mean that social mentions, syndicated press releases, blog posts and even videos can rank higher than business web pages. The most interesting part is that they can rank very quickly, sometimes in minutes. We are seeing Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook content ranking higher than business web pages! People are also using social search results as a relevant and convenient traditional search alternative.