There has been so much talk about SEO fading out and finally dying. The truth is SEO is still here and it will stay. However, it is no longer practiced as people used to. There are many changes which must be taken into account if you want your SEO efforts to be rewarded well. Google, arguably the best and most popular search engine today has implemented a lot of changes which will affect SEO as we know and practice it.
The changes in search engines are meant to make things a lot easier for users. This is why old habits have to go and new ones have to be practiced. Link building is one of the many things which everyone used years before but it seems that it is no longer helpful today.
Although link building is still an important aspect of SEO, its relationship to other strategies has changed dramatically. We tend to cling to what is familiar and we tend to do things the way we always used to. This may be a good thing but there are times when this just won’t do. SEO is all about learning and adapting to changes.
One bad habit which everyone seems to be guilty of is the focus on links. It seems that everyone has this assumption that when they focus on links, they will be able to build more quality links and when they have quality links they do not have to worry much about content, technical information and site architecture. This is not the case and this could not be farther from the truth.
Having all your eggs, or should I say links, in one basket can hurt your SEO efforts very much. In 2003, an update called Cassandra which is the predecessor of today’s Penguin, weeded out low value SEO tactics and those that engaged in cross linking to their own websites became targets.
Florida is one of the more well-known updates which went after sites that stuffed keywords. A result of this is the high amount of competition between sites because there was no longer a single ranking for various terms.
Brandy is another update in 2004 and it focused on the relevance of a site’s content. The Nofollow attribute came about in 2005 and all of a sudden numerous sites saw a massive amount of links added to their sites and it became a lot more difficult to get new links with value. Halfway through the year, personalized results started appearing and depending on each user, results and search history varied greatly.
Jagger was an update released in October 2005 and it changed tactics such as paid links, link farms and reciprocal linking. Big Daddy was also rolled out in the same year and it allowed Google to crawl and index more pages and this led to the increase of competition among sites.
Before the most recent Panda update, there was Panda v1. Today everyone is wary of the Panda update that targets low quality content.
It’s critical to learn from previous updates. Links DO matter, but the benefits of link building as we knew it has changed.