I’ve said it before. Search engine optimization changes over time. You would think so, but even the definition has changed.
SEO used to be the art of ranking web pages in the search engines for specific key phrases. That’s no longer a valid definition. Today, search engine optimization is the art of maximizing organic search engine traffic and delivering that traffic to your website. So what does that mean exactly?
Search engine rankings used to be static. If you ranked No. 1 for a particular search term, then you ranked No. 1 for that search term for all users in all places. It was easier to achieve high search engine rankings for your search terms because all you had to do was game the algorithms. It’s much more difficult today to game the algorithms.
Thanks to personalized search, social signals, and hundreds of search signals, search engine optimization is no longer about achieving high search engine rankings.
Sure, you want to achieve high rankings, but that achievement is no longer a static achievement. You can rank No. 1 for a search term in Minnesota and be on page 2 for the same search term in Texas at the same time. Furthermore, you can rank No. 1 in the morning for that search term and fall to No. 8 in the afternoon. Even different users in the same city can see different search results for the same search query at the same time. There are simply too many factors affecting search engine rankings to make going after positioning worth your time. So what’s the game?
You want traffic. Plain and simple. But to achieve high traffic from search engine rankings, you need to focus on producing quality content and distributing that content across as many platforms as possible – search and social.
With Facebook and Quora linked to Bing and Google taking search cues from Google+, it’s important to promote your content through the social networks. That itself can boost your search engine rankings and traffic. So don’t think about search engine rankings as a static achievement. It’s always a moving target.