The SEO Game has Changed

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For the longest time, the big buzz word in search engine optimization (otherwise known as SEO) has been keywords. To optimize your site, you did keyword research, worried about keyword density (the number of times a keyword appears in the content), and hoped you had optimized for those keywords correctly so that Google would place you at the top of the search engine results. Recently, the SEO game changed.

Early last year, Google released an update to its search algorithms called Google Panda. Despite its cute name, Panda was not a nice change for many people who had relied on keyword SEO only. Many of those people found their websites suddenly buried in the results or left off completely. In fact, one non-profit organization saw almost all of their website traffic disappear overnight. Earlier this year, Google released a new, tougher update – Google Penguin.

So, what changed? Google is not the top search engine by chance and in order to stay there, it consistently has to change its search algorithms. Remember, the Bing commercials – Cure for the Search Overload Syndrome? Bing suggested that it provided more relative results to searches than Google. The recent Google updates are addressing that issue of providing relevant results by creating a system to place websites that people “like” at the top of the results pages. This system relies on both machines and humans to determine the quality of websites and really focuses on the difference between content written for SEO purposes and content written for real people to enjoy and share.

In upcoming posts, I’ll be sharing with you some tips and advice for surviving, and better yet – thriving, in the new world of SEO. In the meantime here are a few resources for your reading pleasure:

SEOMOZ’s How Google’s Panda Update Changed SEO Best Practices for Forever: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-googles-panda-update-changed-seo-best-practices-forever-whiteboard-friday

SEOMOZ’s The Penguin Update and How Google Identifies Spam: http://www.seomoz.org/ugc/the-penguin-update-how-google-identifies-spam

Who are Google’s Quality Raters? Here Matt Cutts with Google explains how they use their quality raters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmo3z8pHX1E

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