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August 9, 2013

Is SEO Still Standard Operating Procedure?

Search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO, has been bandied about since the inception of the internet as if it were the holy grail of online success. But what is SEO really? More importantly, what has it become? Is it simply a matter of optimizing your website? Or, has it grown to include a number of other parameters? My answer to these questions may surprise you. SEO is no longer just one thing. It has grown to mean so much more.

In this article I will discuss how search engine optimization has evolved in order to become Search Engine Marketing (aka S.E.M.). I will also provide you with information that will show you how you can improve your search ranking. This includes techniques designed to insure a strong ranking position. Best of all, you can accomplish all this without resorting to tricks, gimmicks or deception that attempts to hoodwink the search engine spiders.

Stop Acting Like it’s 1999

Before the turn of the century, achieving search ranking was relatively simple. You selected a keyword relevant to your business, created a website and added the desired keywords to your content. You made sure you included the keywords in Meta and Alt tags. Then you posted your web pages to the top 100 search engines and directories. Voila! If you chose your keywords carefully, you soon showed up on page one of Yahoo, AltaVista, Net Taxi and other search engines.

Today it isn’t so simple. The major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing are mostly concerned with quality content, delivered on a timely basis. Google has even admitted that it no longer even gives Meta Tags a second glance. This content needs to be diversified (web pages, blogs, social media, videos etc…) and it needs to be highly relevant to the keyword or phrases that are searched. Today if you meet these criteria you will do well in organic search, (assuming your competition is not better at it than you). If you ignore these items then your chances of showing up on page one are slim at best.

Is On-Site Optimization Dead?

I am often asked is web page optimization still important? My answer is yes. Google and all other search engines still prowl websites as part of their ranking algorithm. Today, on-site optimization only accounts for about 25% of the overall score. However, it is still very important. If this on-page information is incorrect, missing, or doesn’t match the content, search engines will either ignore or misinterpret your content and rank you low or not at all. Either way it means bad news for your website. Make sure your on-page information is formatted to match the content and desired keywords. Otherwise your quest to be on page one will end before it begins.

Is SEM Different than SEO?

Search Engine Marketing is much more comprehensive than Search Engine Optimization. It includes all your websites plus your blog posts, social network posts, any PR posts, all pod casts and video posts. In essence, S.E.M. encompasses all web postings of any kind. Yet it also means more than this. S.E.M. is also a methodology designed to meet the search content requirements that provide high ranking. In other words, your success or failure is predicated on doing what the search engines want, not trying to trick them into giving you better ranking. When trying to rank highly on Google, this point is even more critical.

What Does Google Want?

Google loves mixed media, which includes video, photos, podcasts, and more. The reason they do this is due to the fact that Google is looking to determine who is serving the public the best content for any specific search. The googlebots evaluate your content for relevancy, usefulness, quality, consistency, timeliness, connectedness, positive feedback and diversity of format (web pages, blogs, social media, videos etc…). These are some busy bots.

Game the System at Your Own Peril

Gone are the days when you could easily trick the search engines in order to get a high ranking. Google has employed a multi-tier approach to detect most chicanery. Their new algorithms penalize such practices as keyword stuffing, duplicate sites, backlink farms and many other patently deceptive practices. On top of that they have hired a hoard of website evaluators that physically check out your pages, posts and back links. If Google catches you cheating they will downgrade your ranking or remove you from search altogether. Cheating Google no long means just a slap on the wrist. It can mean banishment!

How Can Content Marketing Help You Gain the High Ground?

A decade ago posting a properly optimized websites was all it took to achieve ranking. Today’s internet audience is far more savvy and sophisticated. Today’s websurfers prefer video and photos to text, provided they can find it. If you have a video on page one above the fold, it has a high probability of being viewed and acted upon. We know that statistically, videos will receive 80% of all clicks if they are highly visible. However, videos are not the be all end all of search results. Blog posts can also garner strong position in Google rankings. The same is true for social media posts that that have a high sharing factor (gone viral). Google also loves web pages that receive lots of positive ratings (especially Google Local or Map pages with Google +1 ratings and four or more stars.

The bottom line is that while SEO is not dead, it has changed so radically in the past few years that the rules of the game have changed. If you want to win, you need to adjust your approach and start creating compelling content that both the search engine bots and the public want to view.

Carl Weiss is president of W Squared Media Group, a Jacksonville, Florida firm that specializes in helping clients achieve online results. You can hear Carl every Tuesday at 4 pm when he co-hosts Working the Web to Win on Blog Talk Radio.

109 Responses to “Is SEO Still Standard Operating Procedure?

    The coming of spam preventing algorithms has marked a drawback in standard SEO procedure but this does not mean that SEO is dead. I think the SEO will always remain the first way out to make your site come up the Google ranking and gain some business.So, its importance can never be neglected.

    avatar malej says:

    За изменениями не угонишься,спасибо за информацию.
    Хорошее дополнение к общему представлению о SEO

    avatar Paweł says:

    Google do not care about spam, they care about AdWords. This is the real reason for all their “actions”.

    avatar Jasa SEO says:

    I agree with you though not entirely true, because Google still wants to be the best on all fronts. Included in the show that accurate search results.

    This is a good summary article. SEO had to evolve and Digital Marketing Consultants like myself are trying to stay ahead of the curve. Onpage SEO, Content Lead Marketing & Social Signals are still an essential part of our marketing mix, but I’ve found that other marketing channels are worth exploring depending on the client or service sector. The key to succcessful lead generation is to ‘be found where your target customers are actually looking’.

    avatar Ian Smith says:

    Totally agree Pawel.
    I have been finding it astounding how so many webmasters still seem to think Google are the good guys and that their motives are ‘for all us white hat people’.
    Look at any SERPS now and the quality of results (to put it bluntly) stinks.

    avatar Lawn Signs says:

    Since latest penguin algorith updation by google SEM all the way become more important for improved site rankings.

    avatar surya says:

    SEO has become most important part of Internet marketing online. I don’t agree about SEO is not in use in future.

    avatar Bucharest says:

    Actually I agree with Pawel.
    I am doing SEO/SEM for almost a decade now for a small niche site. We ranked 1st or 2nd position for all important keywords, in different languages. I junped on the social wagon long time ago as well. Guess what? I still rank well for some words, but after Penguin, now the big guys… Tripadvisor, Booking, Expedia are first, doesn’t matter what. (I am in accommodation business). And believe me, they didn’t do so much SEO specifically for Bucharest.

    So..keep your AdWords running and pay the big boss!

    avatar Travel Zakynthos says:

    I agree exactly with you! I also work in travel industry and accommodation and the big guys as you say rank better with not much SEO! And yes.. we all know the amounts that they pay for ads. Also this fact is a ranking fact! I can imagine that Google when you pay well for a specific keyword knows very well that you are very similar to this keyword! So you rank organic better than another one that doesn’t pay! What do you think? I don’t like it but i find it normal.

    The big guys will not stop paying because of their competition. The only way to dominate our niche is to provide the best information about our place because we live here. We know our cities, the secrets, the best places. We can have better content always!

    avatar lishengli says:

    SEO has become most important part of Internet marketing online. I don’t agree about SEO is not in use in future.

    I think keyword is the most important thing in seo and marketing.

    i use seo for this below site and it works
    خريد فيلم
    خدمات و پشتيباني شبکه و سرور

    avatar herry says:

    Google increasing its revenue and matt cutts is the guy who always saves Google’s popularity with these updates and wants to increase Google’s earnings. Nothing else. Do we have any alternative to Google?

    avatar Valerie says:

    Since over 85% of searchers use google to find things, no, there is no alternative if you want to be found in search. Not sure what you mean about Matt Cutts “saving” google’s popularity. Google is popular because a) they return relevant results in an uncluttered manner, b)they bundle all their services and most people use at least one, and c)because it is the default on millions of android phones

    avatar Todd says:

    Google is not the only game in town. I find Bing’s got better SERPs than G and DuckDuckGO gives great results without tracking your every move like G does. Also G doesn’t give a hang about the small business man. Only those with deep pockets.

    Google may be the most used, but it is a junk engine. I think mainly because they keep telling folks you don’t need keyword meta tag, which is ridiculous. No wonder the search results are junk.

    avatar Sbobet says:

    I like Google may be the most used, but it is a junk engine. I think mainly because they keep telling folks you don’t need keyword meta tag, which is ridiculous. No wonder the search results are junk.

    Totally Agree, Very Smart Articel. Thank you.

    avatar JD says:

    Not so long ago we dominated the first page for almost every item we carry. What changed? Google changed, no all you find are the boys paying the big bucks on the first page. Some are not even relevent to the actual search term. But they pay google so google rates them high. LOL for some of our items I find ebay auction ads, how are they relevent and in the best interest of the customer? Will these auctioners provide real support and customer service? are they going to be there when the customer has problems? NO. but that is not in googles interest.

    On page is much more valuable and important than it used to be. This combined with a few quality off page signals will make a huge impact. It’s no longer about quantity (amassing hundreds of low quality exact match anchor text links to your site) but quality (a few relevant, high PR links).

    avatar Dålig lukt says:

    I agree with you but I think that backlinks and social nettworking are the most important things in SEO and marketing.

    avatar InstantLolly says:

    We operate in an extremely competetive niche, which until recently was completely dominated by spammers.

    Since latest algo updates, the spammers have disappeared but so have most of the legit sites too.

    avatar Steve says:

    very informative article. lucky to read about it.


    SEO is still very much alive and more sophisticated than ever. But if anyone patiently obeys the rules of the game, he/she will surely reap the fruits, of high ranking that will lead to large number of high quality traffic to their site

    avatar Jasa SEO says:

    Hi Carl,
    SEO will always live at least until “Uncle Google” is bankrupt 😀

    avatar seo company in delhi says:

    Nowadays, Google makes SEO critical. The main reason behind it is that Google wants revenue through Adwords. I agree that even before 2009, search engine optimization was very simple.

    Validate your code! Although it seems these articles never mention it, valid code can make big changes in your SERPs. The first I do with any SEO project is make sure the pages pass a W3C validation. This one step can make big changes for the site–especially older sites with many errors. Another thing you can do with older sites for which URL rewriting isn’t an option is to add the category/product names to the URL as a query string. While this isn’t the best solution, it can make big changes for a minimal amount of work. For many small businesses, on page is still the most important part of solid SEO.

    avatar antrix says:

    As being an SEO analyst, I will be improving my on-page optimization very soon.

    avatar Mirsad says:

    Of course that On page optimization is still important. Google has it’s own SEO guidelines for it.
    In every case, it just everything need to be normal and you need to provide real and quality content and product.

    avatar seo company in India says:

    SEO is a part of SEM. Because SEM is a wide fields it includes organic seo as well as paid.

    avatar seo company in delhi says:

    Google wants always provide best results to users. There are so many parameters for it like relevancy, user engagement etc. SEO should also understand this thing and try to make website more valuable.

    the best way to keep you site in first page is seo and follow the google rules.’
    believe in that

    avatar خرید فیلم says:

    to become successful in marketing it is necessary to learn new Technics for marketing.

    Absolutely I agree with your opinion, Carl
    SEO is still handling the main part of internet marketing. The only reason in my mind is just because Google’s become the great search engine right now

    avatar arti kepo says:

    SEO (offpage) is illegal, so move underground 😀

    avatar ace maxs says:

    SEM will kick SEO ass 😀

    Although the old-fashioned methods of using SEO is going to be vanished, they are still helpful for many search engines.

    SEO? I think seo is very important, but the most important is how you can convert your good position in SERP into sales.

    SEO in one of the way to get sales, same with SEM

    avatar obat ambeien says:

    SEO is happiness ^___^

    avatar Pat says:

    What does google want? For one they want small businesses who cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars on SEO or SEM to fail. They also only care about the rich people who can afford their adwords program which now they have made so complicated that you can drop a few hundred dollars before you learn how it works.

    avatar Land Rover Auto Parts says:

    SEO is not the same as it was. Now It’s really include some analytic tactics in it. It’s becoming more challenging now a days. Google wants produce more clear and appropriate and spam free search results.

    SEO plays a crucial role in E-commerce.In fact, if you don’t have any visitors for your website, you will definitely have to stop your business.
    I personally run a SEO campaign for the following website: and I would really appreciate if anybody wants to help me in this case. thank you in advance for any help if you may provide.

    SEO is still strong but only for those who do natural seo as well as have analytic mind. Spam free and honest work always gives good results. Avoid spamming and keep an eye on day to day changes in this field.

    avatar Kesuke says:

    Some great points raised there Carl. Google has certainly made the landscape much more volatile, but at the same time the level of competition has continued to grow to the extent where as you say it takes much more these days to stand out from the crowd and to find true success.

    avatar zeintin says:

    the best seo on google is adwords hehehe 😀

    avatar gudangcouple says:

    All they want is to get more money with adwords ads.

    i can call you master of SEO, i learn more form you…. great

    in my opinini to become successful in marketing it is necessary to learn new Technics for marketing.Google wants always provide best results to users. There are so many parameters for it like relevancy, user engagement etc. SEO should also understand this thing and try to make website more valuable.

    avatar jasa seo says:

    when seo website just keep Google Guidelines, Of course that On page optimization is still important. Google has it’s own SEO guidelines for it. In every case, it just everything need to be normal and you need to provide real and quality content and product.

    Greetings, This internet blog is genuinely thrilling and satisfaction to examine.

    The days of SEO being a game outsmarting algorithms are over. Today content strategy and valuable, sustainable strategies are essential, not just tricks and links.

    I read a great article here, but somehow, i found something that i disagree, of course it doesn`t mean that i know better than you sir, but it just my opinion. Thank you for sharing

    avatar KONOHA NEWS says:

    Great Master 😀 .i can call you master of SEO, i learn more form you….

    the best seo on google is adwords

    Wow thx for seo information

    i think the main important thing is ur i right?

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