A Quick Glance at the Changes in the SEO Industry

So I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately from some clients asking me if the Google algorithm is going to change anytime soon and to be honest, the best answer I can give to them is “you can definitely expect it.”  Now, to figure out WHAT is going to change…I don’t think I’m paying my covert Google spy’s enough to figure that one out.  I’m just kidding about the whole spy thing.  😉

So I thought rather than talk about what my opinions are about where I see Google heading, maybe it’d be interesting to talk about where Google has come from and if we have time in the end, we can talk about what I see next for big G.

Still a Work-In-Progress…

  • 1996 – The search engine (formerly called “Back Rub”) is placed on the servers at Stanford University in California
  • 1997 – The search engine signs the papers and takes on the name “Google”.  If anybody asks you “what does Google mean?”  You can tell them that it is simply misspelling of a big BIG number!  1 followed by 100 Zeroes…so 1000000000000000000000000….no jk, I won’t perform a “googol” here.
  • 2001 – The Google algorithm undertakes it’s first rewrite and now is able to incorporate other criteria to rank websites more easily
  • 2003 – Google wins their first patent, which was the ability to assign more value to links from higher-valued sites
  • 2003 – Google launches operation “Fritz”, which allowed a constantly updated index as opposed to indexing websites in batches
  • 2005 – Google suddenly makes the world of SEO a little bit tougher with the launch of personalized search results.  This allows Google to provide you individualized search results based on your preferred sites.  So if you’re a little guy, chances are your website was being pushed further away from page 1 as most folks were clicking on the well-known big brands.
  • 2005 – Operation “BigDaddy” is launched which in a nutshell, allowed a more widespread method of crawling sites
  • 2007 – Universal search is brought into the search results pages, which actually was a big help to the few SEO’s that understood how to leverage it.  This update allowed images, news articles, book searches, etc to be introduced into the search results.  As users were naturally more drawn to an image rather than text, this was the growth stage for many clever businesses.
  • 2009 – This was the most recent update, but the 3 search engine giants made deals with Twitter to include tweets in their search results pages so this is where real-time search comes into play.

So now with the search engine evolution out of the way, how has SEO changed?  Let’s dive into this a bit further.

Let’s utilize the 3 pillars of SEO to illustrate this topic.  As a fyi to those who are unfamiliar with the 3 pillars of SEO, they are:

  1. On-page content – How are you providing benefit to the reader with your words
  2. Internal architecture – How well do you link to other pages within your site
  3. Inbound links – How many sites link to yours

For on-page content, I honestly haven’t seen any increases in the amount of weight that the search engines rank this factor.  I think a reason why this factor has kept a consistent or even possibly a decline in weight is that too many people have engaged in keyword stuffing, invisible text, or other unnatural & dodgy tricks.

Internal architecture has been something that is so comprehensive that I’ve seen some incredible results by making some tweaks in this department.  Flattening your site architecture, using the RSS technology with your sitemaps, removing content barriers are just a few ways in which you can flow more PageRank throughout your site.  What this does is that you typically see more and more sites come out of the supplemental index, which means that your PageRank is on the rise.

Getting a link from a website can cause a lot of small business owners a BIG headache!  Let me tell you this.

Getting a link to your site is NOT the same as getting a good link to your site

In rare cases do I see the on-page content changes make as substantial an impact as does building good links to your site.  Don’t get me wrong, doing the on-page SEO is absolutely necessary before you engage in any heavy link building campaigns, but you really can’t rely on any one of these pillars individually.

So now, where do I see the future of search?

First of all, I believe that the future of SEO is bright for a while.  Don’t get me wrong, Google and the other engines have come a LONG way to perfecting their algorithms, but I really don’t see the search engines achieving perfection anytime soon.  The whole purpose of a SEO expert is to help your business target the correct keywords and semantically tailor your relevancy to your audience.  You aren’t paying somebody a big paycheck to simply go through a checklist and categorize your company into one of their “package” options.  I think that Google is definitely working hard to knock those types of SEO folks out of the industry.  What I mean is that I believe that there is a day approaching very soon that Google will be able to see HOW a page is optimized.  If they see that a ton of pages are optimized in the exact same manner, my personal opinion is that there could be a few demoting factors that may harm the website rankings.

How about you?  Anybody else want to share any thoughts on this?

About the author

Maximus Kang is the Director of SEO Strategy & Founder of Ranking Channel, a Seattle-based SEO consulting agency. With enterprise level experience at Expedia and agency experience at Optify, his SEO knowledge covers a wide spectrum. He also started his very . Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Facebook.

New to SEO? You can learn How to Win Users & Influence Google.


2 Comments for this entry

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    • Emeline

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