How SEO has changed and why it’s still important

SEO – or Search Engine Optimisation to give it its full title – has changed dramatically over the past few years, and digital marketing strategies have had to adapt quickly and effectively to to meet its pace.

Back in the day, when people were just starting to figure SEO out, it was a whole lot simpler. On-page optimisation was based almost entirely on the URL and key page elements, such as the title or headings on the page.

However, thanks to a lot of keyword-cramming and generally black hat practices, Google has changed its conditions, gradually refining them and ensuring that pages that give users the best experience online.

This meant semantic searches became far more relevant, meaning that Google would recommend topics based on what you were typing instead of taking each word at face value. The search engine giant has become a lot smarter and now attempts to understand the premise of entire pages, not just look at the keywords on the page.

Likewise, the dodgey days of piling as many links into a piece of content to get good SEO are also a thing of the past. However, they do still play an important part in overall optimisation. Back then, it was possible for companies to do deals for exchanges, direct requests or even bought links to get themselves further up the rankings, but now it is far more about quality than quantity.

Only links from trustworthy and relevant sites will do you any favours, while getting a good mix of link types – inside good quality content – will also assist you in your quest to conquer SEO in 2016.

We’ve also seen changes in Google’s Search Engine Result Pages, with the most recent being made just a few weeks ago. More than ever, businesses need to be creating and promoting fresh and interesting content that will reach and engage their target audience; while also ensuring it is all optimised, of course.

However, the way we view searches has also changed. The dramatic increase in smartphone usage has had a significant impact on SEO. For the vast majority of internet users, mobile platforms are the most popular way of browsing the web, keeping up to date with news and sharing things with their friends.

Last year, the number of searches made on mobile platforms surpassed those made on desktops for the first time, and many experts believe this trend will only continue. Although there is definitely still a place for content that is optimised for desktop computers, far more focus is being placed on being mobile-friendly, and rightly so.

This means a good SEO strategy now must consider the mobile experience, with those that are not optimised to this platform now potentially being punished by Google.
With all of this to consider, it can seem like a daunting prospect for a small company to get to grips with SEO. However, now more than ever, achieving good SEO is all about knowing how to create high-quality content that your audience will genuinely want to read, rather than trying to fool them.