SEO or search engine optimization has had quite a ride over its relatively short history. SEO like many things in life has a life cycle. Search engines have had a symbiotic relationship with the people trying to rank well in them since the beginning. Though Google may see the people trying to rank better as parasites trying to game the system, the fact is that they have been the host body for Google and other search engines to develop their algorithms.
As people try and rank better, Google changes to try and ignore the people who are most interested in their search engine. It shifts and shakes but the people who want to rank better eventually figure out what it is that Google wants. The catch 22 of the situation is that Google wants to find the naturally great content and sites that aren’t trying to get ranked well. That may be a bit unrealistic as the value of being ranked well by nature would cause people to want to cater to the algorithms. Should Google punish the people who are essentially their internal customers? I don’t think so.
Google has two customers, the people searching for information and the people who have information to be found. For the most part Google makes their money off of the people trying to be found. Yet it is these same people that it essentially punishes every time they shake things up with their new algorithms. Google is like a woman that enjoys playing hard to get. They can afford to do that for now while search and their competition are in the state they are now, but like everything on the web, that is likely to change.
SEO has gone from starting in ignorance where people didn’t realize they could alter their ranking by doing things differently, to people trying to game the system. Like some great martial arts battle where Google is the master fighting their fast learning students SEO has evolved. At first people simply figured out that more content helped them rank higher, then they realized that tags and keywords mattered. From there they learned about inbound links, and then they found ways to automate it and game the systems on all levels.
So what was Google’s response…. They released some smarter algorithms to target indicators that might prove a site is faking quality. Google is essentially a blind old master who is not as skilled as the average human being. We can after all go to a website and in a few moments rank the quality of the website. Google only crunches text and compares it to formulas. For this reason they will never be able to know what is quality and what has the elements of quality. They are simply a program like the sentinels from the movie the Matrix. So where does this leave us? Well currently the life cycle of SEO is back to quality content and social shares. They have figured out that social indicators can essentially give them human eyes into what is quality and what is not. The machines have employed humans.
It is quite simple to succeed in SEO, write quality content because humans like it, those humans will tell the machines through social sharing that, to go biblical on you, “It is good”. From there you will look good to Google and they will rank you higher. Like the human life cycle from infant to elderly, SEO has gone from authority and content to links and keywords, and has finally come back to authority and content. The smart strategy is to return to the basics and don’t get caught up in tactics that can come and go. Below is a short interview I did with Adam Chronister (@AcceleratedFL) from Accelerated Freelance on the future of SEO. Enjoy.
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