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SEO: Where It’s Been and Where We Are Now

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) used to be in a very dark place. The early days of SEO consisted of some pretty nasty tricks such as stuffing hidden keywords all over the page or changing the content of a page depending on if the user was a search crawling bot or a human. In the beginning, you could rank a page for almost any topic regardless of what the web page was actually about.

Search engines got smarter, but so did black hat SEO hackers. The escalation of techniques and tricks become reminiscent of the arms race during the Cold War. Even ‘reputable’ SEO firms were resorting to spammy techniques because after all, they worked at the time. You could say that Google really lead the charge to foil black hat SEO practitioners as Google’s algorithms got smarter and smarter. In addition, Google began to severely ‘punish’ websites that used questionable techniques. This led to much desperation, second guessing, and many companies had to go out of business because they lost their stream of leads.

Unfortunately, even legit SEO techniques were pretty lame in the past. White hat techniques consisted of endless directory submissions and trying to convince other webmasters to link to your website. Of course, there is still some value to these mentioned techniques, but the primary focus is a bit different.

Where We Are Now

Modern SEO could really be referred to as ‘The Golden Age of the Copywriter’. High quality content is often considered the single biggest factor for ranking websites these days as described by some search marketing companies. And when we talk about content, it’s not just the content on your website. What’s on your website is very important, and is considered a large ranking factor. However, off site content is equally important.

Offsite content appears in a variety of ways. When promoting your site, you need to have many sources pointing to your website as the authority or recognized leader for whatever keywords you want to rank for. Here are some examples of offsite content:

  1. Guest blogging: You write an article on someone else’s website that links back to your website. It’s a win-win because the owner of the other website gets some quality content and you get a quality link back to your site.
  2. Social media sharing: Writing and sharing relevant content about your business on social media is very important. It lets people know you’re serious about your business. If you share links to your website content and those postings get shared by other users, you get an SEO boost.
  3. Press releases: It’s important to let people know of your successes. Submitting press releases not only alerts media outlets for a potential story, but it can also give you a collection of juicy links and pages sharing your press release.
  4. External listings: Directory-like listings are still beneficial, but it only helps if the listing sites are reputable. There are thousands of website directory sites, but the vast majority of them are worthless these days. You want to list your business on sites like Yelp where you can link to your business and have users review you.

Beyond that, there are many other ways to get your links out there to promote your site and improve your SEO rankings. Luckily, the vast majority of it is common sense basic marketing techniques that you probably already know you should be doing.

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