SEO Now and Then: How Optimization Has Developed the Past 10 Years

seo then now

Digital marketing is the highest increasing form of marketing and has become one of the most influential marketing channels. Digital marketing is continuously progressing and changing to better fit users’ needs. Google owns most of the market when it comes to search engines, so it is crucial to follow the changing algorithms of Google. When Google introduces new updates, marketers must optimize websites to fit these changes, making it necessary to be in the know of all things Google. SEO has seen both major and minor updates in the last ten years, and Google looks and acts much different than it has in the past. Here are seven of the biggest changes we have seen in the past decade.

1.      No more keyword stuffing

Until 2011, quantity was more important than the quality when it came to keywords. The Google Panda update penalizes websites that stuff their content with keywords. Instead, it rewards those that invest time in creating quality content. Keywords and keyword research are still relevant, but how we use them has changed, as well.

2.      Increase in Valuable Content

Since Google’s Panda update punishes keyword stuffing, it has led to an increase in high-quality content. Content marketing plays a key role in SEO because it has a large influence on the page’s ranking. Now, we take keyword research and use it to create content that users will find valuable. The content must be relevant to the search query, which takes time spent researching, writing, and collecting other digital assets, such as videos or images.

3.      Better local searches

After Panda, Google launched the Pigeon update, which completely changed how Google does local searches. Google Pigeon addresses the need for local businesses to be competitive among organic searches. It rewards well-optimized websites and helps mobile browsing come up with location-specific search results.

4.      An end to link schemes

Gone are the days of simply buying backlinks to increase a website’s Domain Authority (DA). Now, Google’s guidelines make it hard to increase a DA with just the quantity of links, and it now considers the quality of links, as well. Furthermore, Google rewards natural link attraction and authentic guest posts built from relationships between content creators and publications.

5.      Changing SERPs

One of the most noticeable changes in SEO throughout the last decade has been the changes to Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Google regularly modifies its SERP algorithms, making it necessary to stay informed about these changes in order to better optimize websites. The ranking of each website plays less of role in how users view the SERPs. For example, Google SERPs include the Google “answer box,” list of other queries under “people also ask,” Google Ads, and Google My Business listings, among others. Because of all of these additional results, a site that is ranked number one, may not be viewable to users without scrolling, or worse, it may even be on the second page of results.

6.      Google Analytics offers more insights

Google Analytics was launched in 2005 and has seen many updates and additional tools added to provide marketers with more accurate insights. In 2011, Google launched Real Time analytics along with additional features and tools, increasing the amount of data that was available to marketers. We can now measure conversion rates, Ad campaigns, and the demographics of users. The newest tools in Analytics include Store Visits, Lifetime Value, and Cross Device. These features are just several tools that are currently being beta tested. Google Analytics has come a long way since it was first launched. We are excited to see how it continues to invent new tools that allow marketers to create a unique experience for all users.

7.      How we use search engines

The use of search engines has changed immensely over the last ten years. The market used to be more evenly distributed, but today, Google is the powerhouse of search engines. The number of Google search queries per day exceeds five billion. Instead of using a phone book or yellow pages, we go to Google to find a phone number or business. Catalogs are almost obsolete with the increase of e-commerce. These are just a couple of areas that have seen people transition from old school methods to finding information online. And where do they go to start their search for this information? An overwhelming number of users go to Google. The increase in online information has naturally changed the way Google operates, and therefore, has changed how we market goods and services online.

In 2019, digital marketing spend is predicted to exceed traditional marketing spend for the first time. Since SEO makes up a large portion of digital marketing, it is important to keep up with the continuously changing industry by adapting to updates, following trends, and investing in an SEO strategy.

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