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What Is SEO and How How Has It Changed Over the Years?
24.01.2018 23:31

Many business owners will here hear the phrase 'search engine optimisation' (or SEO) from friends in the business community or even competitors and might consider it as a path to increasing earnings, but what is SEO? Alternately, a business owner may have attempted 'SEO services' in the past and found it did not work as well as anticipated or was functioning, but not as effective - this article explains what SEO is, and also why 'new' SEO is operating better than ever.

I have been working in search engine optimisation and ranking site market, until it was called SEO. Here are the modifications in SEO since the start of the new millennium and what you should be looking for in the SEO services that your SEO Agency provides or supplies.

We have a look back in SEO through the years and explain what SEO is now and how to utilise it for our website.

SEO in 2000

Back at the start of the Millennium that the 'big' search engines that many people were using were both Lycos and Excite. Obviously, back then a tiny percentage of the UK people had access to the web and those who did had a slow 'dial-up' system.

Websites were just one or 2 pages with basic information to permit them to load fast (within 20 seconds). SEO practices back then were to 'hide' as many keywords on a page as possible, so the website was found for those searches without making the page seem to spammy to traffic.

In 2002 Google found something called 'AdWords' and it was called the death of SEO, as people could cover prominence, on the today the number 1 site for beginning internet searches.

Back in 2003, Yahoo bought Inktomi, AltaVista and FAST, which was basically the conclusion of all of the 'smaller' search engines. Google started to pin down on 'spam' practices and websites. At precisely the same time Google realised the 'AdWords' weren't going to kill off SEO and that in fact the 'natural listings' encouraged visitors back to their search engine stage. Google started to recognise 'professional SEO' experts and encouraged good SEO rather than spamming SEO.

2004 saw the very first site 'banned' from the net as Google took action against websites that were spamming them. They also took legal actions against the "SEO Company" responsible.

To rank a website in 2006 you just desired links back to your website and so purchasing links / link exchange was the rage and many websites had a web page where they'd list businesses and links to their site (I am still amazed how many sites continue this practice).

Between 2004 and 2008 Google, now was the only real "player" in the search engine world, started taking action against inferior linking practices and companies and began tightening up on junk and buying links. The 'Noughties" finished with all "naughty" SEO practices being nearly made out, as Google concentrated on ranking sites based on their articles and it's relevance to the search being completed.

SEO in 2010

Between 2010 and 2015 we started to find the search engines take notice of 'Social Media' websites and soon the results were full of Twitter 'tweets' in the outcomes. (I could still see the surface of one of my customers when searching Google for his small business, and the first page of the search results were published with tweets of a Twitter dialog that two members of staff were having about how awful the firm was!)

Videos and images were also brought into the search results with the Google 'Caffeine' update.

Google introduced "personal search results" using all the sites shown in the search results according to your previous searches and sites you'd seen before. This triggered a 'bit of a stir' from the SEO world as clients claimed their sites had been "top of Google" for any search they did connected to their industry, simply because they had visited their own website many times previously, so Google of course fed them back the website for all relevant searches. This can still be a bit of an issue until you show them the brand new 'Google Incognito search'.

The focus on rank sites was on being found for BIG keywords. A 'Plumber' in Bristol would need to rank for this search, so that was the attention.

Google 'Panda' and 'Penguin' updates figuratively murdered off 'link exchanges' with enormous penalties for sites who had irrelevant links pointing towards them. At the same time Google introduced "no follow links" allowing websites to provide relevant links to other websites and information without penalising either party. It was the beginning of "safe linking". Quality and relevant content was now the key to rank in search engines.

38 million adults (76 percent) in Great Britain accessed the Internet every day, 21 million more than in 2006, when directly related records began.
Access to the Internet with a cell telephone more than doubled between 2010 and 2014, from 24% to 58 percent.
74% of all adults purchased products or services online, up from 53 percent in 2008. Clothes (49%) were the hottest online purchase in 2014.
Of all adults in Great Britain, 67% are aware of Internet storage area services, however, the take from these services to store data is a lot lower at 35%.
The UK was today (almost) net savvy and use of mobile phones to see websites was huge.

SEO 2015 and Onwards

The biggest change to the search engines in 2015 was the 'penalisation' of websites which were not "mobile friendly" - a cellular friendly site has different information for the smaller display to make it simpler for the user to read and comprehend. In ensuring that consumers got the best experience Google started ranking mobile friendly or responsive websites (in which the site automatically changes its format and size to fit the display) greater in the ranks.

The UK people were using their mobile phones for local searches, and local businesses could at last gain an advantage over the big corporates or even 'national' companies on the internet.

The debut of 'semantic search', where Google brings websites at the results not depending on the key words, but the content on a page, again changed the manner SEO agencies looked in working on sites. Ranking for the 'Big' keywords, such as 'Plumber Bristol' became important, as net users became more informed with their hunts. 'Long tail keywords', and as many as possible, started to grow website traffic and more importantly, conversions.

What's The SEO Process Today?

It's probably right to state that the processes or practices associated with search engine optimisation have now out grown the term 'SEO'

In years gone by working the material and structure of a site was sufficient. Now, there is so much more to do to not only rank a web site in search engines, but to find client involvement. An improved description of the service would be 'digital marketing'.

Old practices, as mentioned earlier, supposed 'big' keywords were crucial to rank. A focus on a single keyword per page or perhaps for a whole site would rank the business and back then it was about 'rankings'.

Old Method of doing SEO

Now there are a number of elements to consider in regards to SEO. 'Semantic search' is the main driver and conversion the principal goal, not positions.

Semantic search is where Google returns information on the webpage, not the description the website creator input, back into the searcher. An instance of this would be to choose the 'Plumber Bristol' example. A couple of years back you would have concentrated on ranking the business for "Plumber Bristol", "Plumber in Bristol" and perhaps "Emergency Plumber Bristol" - but this still holds true for businesses that offer a solution for 'distress purchases' (where time and an alternative outweigh the demand for information and advice) better practice throughout a website is to include content that offers advice and guidance also includes 'long tail keywords' (3 or 4 word searches) such as "Emergency plumber with free callout in Bristol" or "Reviews for an Emergency Plumber near me". Google wants the user to have the best experience and find the relevant information immediately, and semantic search achieves this. Additionally, this is sensible for a business owner. Would you rather your site was found by a searcher looking for "Plumber Bristol" where they could be following advice, looking to get a job, searching for a plumbing service that you might not provide, or for a specific and targeted search such as "best emergency Plumber near BS7??

Concerning keywords this is the largest change Google have made and it is here to remain. optimointi or electronic marketing is no more about where you rank, however how many different search phrases you're able to be found for their conversion in to paying customers.

Website Content

A few years back (and just 2 or 3 years back) Google indicated to professional SEO Agencies which 300 words onto a webpage was adequate content. Last year they said the MINIMUM ought to be at least 500 words.

Every day I am asked to examine a web site by a prospective client - and the majority of them have between 150 to 250 words on a webpage. That is common practice. Either Google must alter it's expectations as most websites don't meet their tier or another way to check at this is as an easy way to jump the contest simply by adding content to your website. Do you think Google will reduce it's expectations or expect sites to enhance for their own standard? Google published the 'mobile friendly' update understanding that somewhere around 80 percent of sites would need to be updated - and they did it anyway as it benefitted over 50% of there users. Quality articles effects 100 percent of their customers.

I suggest to our client roughly 800 words per page. This is enough content to be 'semantic search' friendly, provide relevant content and not be overly word heavy.

Fantastic practice would be to have:

  • Page Title - say exactly what the page is about ('Big' Keyword if you have to)
  • Headline - asking a question
  • First paragraph explains briefly explains the content / alternative
  • Image / or movie
  • Longer description of the solution
  • Take our Emergency Plumber in Bristol, for instance:

Page Title: Emergency Plumber Bristol

Headline: Are you Searching for the best emergency plumber near you in Bristol?

First Paragraph: Smith Plumbing provide a 24 hour emergency plumbing service in Bristol. We don't charge a call out fee and can be with you in 20 minutes. That is why our customer testimonials and feedback say we're the very best emergency plumbing service in your area.
This has a range of benefits.

Firstly, those men and women who just want a Plumber may read the first paragraph, see the picture of the van (build authority and professionalism) and telephone the Plumber. Other folks would want to have more information which they can find further down the page. Is this cheating at SEO? Absolutely NOT. You are supplying relevant information to the user and Google will love you for this. The content is structured and written onto a page would be the "new" SEO.

In the event that you were a Plumber could you rather be seen for one big keyword or multiple relevant customer converting keywords?

Old practices were to make website content for the search engines. Now you must create content to provide value for customers. This is a simpler process than you might think.

What were the past 5 customer enquiries to your business? What was the difficulty they were trying to solve? Write about the problem and your solution.

Link Building

The historic way of 'link building' would be to get as many links from as many places as possible. This year we has an extremely large firm contact us in their SEO and they were horrified when we suggested they had to remove their 1.4 MILLION hyperlinks back to their site since they had spent a fortune over the years buying the links. Irrelevant links, and the more you have the more damaging it's, highlights to Google the irrelevance of your site - regardless of how relevant it might be.

Today, a couple of, relevant links is far superior than a Million links back to your site. Today, links have to be constructed through engaging relationships. Accepting our Plumber once more, a connection back from the 'Gas Safe register', a local pipes centre or bathroom showroom, and a few regional sites that like his advice would be enough.

Social Media

Even though we still get a some companies similar to this now, a few years back when we proposed businesses should be on Facebook I was generally told "Facebook - that is for teenagers isn't it? If done well, Facebook can drive more traffic and paying clients to your door than your site. The 45 to 54 year olds are using Facebook over teenagers, and as nearly up to 18 to 24 year-old.

Facebook Users UK era - courtesy of statista

Facebook allows a business to construct a brand, participate customers, get customer reviews and instant customer responses. Unlike testimonials on your own site which potential customer may see should they visit your website, a review on Facebook is seen immediately by all of the users friends and if their buddy 'likes' the remark - all of their friends, friends. Increasingly more of our customers are getting leads from Facebook. Folks are asking their friends for suggestions on companies to use and obtaining dozens of suggestions back - if you're on Facebook you're more inclined to get a direct connection to your own contact info.

What is next for 'Social Media'? Live streaming! Twitter has bought a company called 'Periscope' which permits you to live stream video from your phone. "So what?"

Video Marketing

There are no 'old' SEO practices for video since it just didn't exist when YouTube started it out for displaying humorous videos of cats and the like.


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