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4 Ways SEO has NOT Changed

Posted on Thursday, May 15th, 2014 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Featured, SEO

SEO Perfect Company

Recently, Search Engine Journal published an article about how SEO has drastically changed. The article hits some very relevant points on what SEO looks like today. There’s no denying that search engine optimization has changed over the years, but one thing that people tend to dilute when they’re waxing poetically about the death, decay or evolution of SEO is that in many ways SEO hasn’t changed.

Now that you’ve read my obligatory intro paragraph, here are 4 ways SEO has not changed.

Website Crawlability is Key

If search engines can’t crawl and index your website, it will rank for nothing. All the content marketing, PR efforts, infographic creation and authorship markup will be a huge waste of time if search engines can’t crawl your website. It always amazes me how many websites still struggle with maintaining a crawlable website. They either inadvertently orphan 50% of their content or somehow block their entire site from being crawled in their robots.txt file. It’s true that PR and content marketing are what typically move the organic needle, but having a crawlable website will always be step 1 in SEO.

Tips on Ensuring Website Crawlability:

  • Consistently check your robots.txt file
  • Run a spider tool on your website at least once a month
  • Verify your website using Google Webmaster Tools AND LOOK AT THE DATA (at least weekly)!!

On-page Content Counts

More and more I see people paying less and less attention to the mechanical details of on-page content. This worries me. Of course keyword stuffing doesn’t work anymore and quality of content outweighs quantity of on-page content, but you shouldn’t assume that just because a web page was written by an in-house copywriter or brand manager that all is well with the content. Great content can work against you if it’s not structured in an optimal way. Elements like alt text, image and video summaries, above-the-fold content and headers should be present and checked. Don’t abandon simple on-page optimization checks just because everyone’s talking about content marketing (it could be nothing but hype).

On-page Content Elements to Check:

  • Alt tags: check that they’re filled out
  • Image and video summaries: do you even have them?
  • Above-the-fold content: make sure your content isn’t buried by banner ads, cross promoted articles and unnecessarily large images
  • Header tags: use them where possible

Meta Data Matters

For us old timers, we’ve seen the death of a few meta tags as ranking factors. First the meta keywords tag; then the meta description. But just because meta tags aren’t as gameable as they once were, it doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Meta tags still have an effect on organic search performance. Meta descriptions can still influence click-through rate. Meta keywords have been replaced by meta news keywords (something specific to those accepted into Google News). Title tags (although technically not a meta tag) are still a ranking factor. So don’t forget to check your meta data!

Meta Data Checks:

  • Title tags: Should be unique and specific to each page; no longer than 66 characters (or it may get cut off in Google SERPs)
  • Meta Description: Need to be unique and specific to each page; no longer than 156 characters (or it may get cut off in Google SERPs)
  • Meta Keywords: If you still have them on your pages, make sure they don’t appear to be keyword stuffed.
  • Meta News Keywords: If your site has been accepted into Google News, use them (but don’t abuse them)!

Organic Search Success Takes Time

One of the challenges with website optimization is that the results are never instantaneous. Although Google is much quicker at identifying website changes and making updates to its index, because of the drastic change in ranking factors and various Google updates, it still takes a significant amount of time to see the fruits of your SEO labor. SEO is a journey, not a potato sack race. If you want to see instantaneous results, go signup for Google AdWords.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Any challenges with crawling your website will delay your changes from being seen in Google.
  • You’re fighting a constant and ever changing battle (new competitors, algorithm updates, etc.).
  • Having a strong SEO foundation is necessary for success, but only the beginning of achieving true organic search success.

It is true that SEO has drastically changed. It takes much more to get on the first page. However, if you only focus on what’s changed and disregard what hasn’t, you’ll be missing a big piece of the SEO puzzle.

About David Waterman

David Waterman of The Search Agency+ works in SEO, Content Development and Online Marketing, at The Search Agency - 11150 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 600 Los Angeles, CA 90064 as a Director of SEO/Search Marketing - Website: http://www.thesearchagency.com

David Waterman+ manages all SEO efforts for an assortment of clients. He has over 8 years of Search Engine Optimization experience with a specific emphasis on content optimization and website taxonomy/organization. He sets strategy for a wide array of top-tier clients in various industries and has experience managing international search marketing teams and servicing international clients. In his spare time he enjoys going to garage sales and swap meets in search of vintage and collectible items.



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20 Responses to “4 Ways SEO has NOT Changed”

  1. Great points, David. I think you nailed it with your comment, “One thing that people tend to dilute when they’re waxing poetically about the death, decay or evolution of SEO is that in many ways SEO hasn’t changed.”

    I’m tired of people trying to revive the dead discussion about the death of SEO. Can we just agree that the “changes in SEO” are not the death of SEO? Just because your black hat technique doesn’t work any more doesn’t mean SEO is dead.

    Web development and web optimization (i.e., SEO) go hand in hand. In order to have a searchable website, you need to get all the technical details correct — everything you explained.

    Great stuff, man. Keep it up.

    • Couldn’t agree with you more Daniel. Great minds think alike! 😉 If only more SEO professionals embraced change instead of running away from it. You and I must pick up the torch and run forward!!!

  2. Marian says:

    On the on-page side, SEO did not change much. I agree with you those stuff are still important and need to be address immediately when something is not right to your site.

  3. All of this is important, I have found that being on Google plus has helped my efforts and I’m tracking my progress through webmaster tools.

  4. As a small business owner… it’s hard to keep up with the recommendations… e.g. Title tags now 66 char (70 before), Meta Description: 156 char (160 before) I’m ready to give up.

    My homepage title tag is 68… should I be stressed out about this? Thanks.

  5. Tony H says:

    I hadn’t really thought about it but I completely agree with you, these things really have not changed. Thanks for this insight!

  6. Rakesh Desai says:

    I agree with the points that you have shared. SEO has not changed much as we think. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. linda says:


    Thanks for sharing your knowledge…..made me think over again what has not changed in SEO…Good work

  13. SEO has definitely changed David but not for the 4 points you mentioned. The most important part Google is not able to balance are the links. Google is restricting you to build new links in a free manner and that is where SEO is getting limited and big fishes are enjoying this.

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