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4 Ways SEO has NOT Changed

SEO Perfect Company [1]

Recently, Search Engine Journal published an article about how SEO has drastically changed [2]. 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:

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). [3]

On-page Content Elements to Check:

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 Meta keywords have been replaced by meta news keywords (something specific to those accepted into Google News).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:

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

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.