SEO is a very new area, so new that I would stay it has just gone past its 10th birthday. I would have a few years ago called SEO and industry, now I would call it a method. It is one method of a growing industry called digital marketing. It’s a very powerful method of digital marketing and many online marketers would argue that it is the very cornerstone and foundation of online marketing. Many of us keep hearing SEO has changed of late so let’s find out what the major changes have been over the last few years.

The internet is very new. People only started using the internet in a large way around 1995 and by 2000 there were still many search engines all fighting of the dominant position. By 2005 the dust had settled and Google was the main player. This is where SEO founds its feet and went from crawling to walking tall. But like children and teenagers misbehave SEO started out on a very negative path.

The Single biggest difference in SEO from 2012 is the mindset.

SEO practitioners knew ranking on Google was extremely important and any online business would soon need their assistance but the mentality of a large percentage of SEOers was to beat the Google algorithm and not play by Googles guidelines. They would use every trick in the book to cheat their way to ranking a client’s website and command a high fee for doing so. The mindset was “lets try to beat Google”. This was called black hat SEO. White hat SEO was working within Googles algorithm but the black hat guys were everywhere and were tarnishing the whole industry to the dismay of White hat SEOers.

Google become smarter, much smarter.

Google grew and so did the need for them to deliver the best search results for their users. This meant clamping down on the black hat SEOer and the methods they employed to cheat their way to page one rankings. The two most common ways were copying and pasting another sites content. Google slammed this practice and started to check for websites plagiarizing another sites material and even more so the whole concept of back linking. There were so many tricks to increase a sites rankings with back links. First it was volume, adding hundreds of crap back links to a website. Then it was creating a link farm of sites that were reasonably good sharing links and creating a big chain. Then it was paying for back link, then came guest blogging and finally personal blog networks. All these methods of raising rankings via back links were soon to be slammed and in 2012 millions of sites globally saw massive penalties.

Today none of these methods work anymore, or at least they are not sustainable. This is when I got into SEO. I stayed out of the industry because there were so many black hats doing the wrong thing. I can now breathe!!!

Content Marketing

Today content is king. Your site must have great content, good content is not enough and it must be original. Content must also be created on a regular basis meaning your blog has become the central point of your website, a place where content and important information is always being created.

Social media marketing & socially sharing Content

Creating content and posting it on your blog is not enough. Sharing the content with people on social media platforms is a must. Interested parties will consume your content and click back to your site. Social Media marketing is great at creating trust and credibility and making your site an authority. Very powerful for SEO.

Quality Link building

Link building is not dead, the focus is now on natural back links and more importantly receiving these links from sites that have strong page ranks/domain authority. Saying that, Content marketing is easier to implement and most SEO Professionals will spend time creating/sharing content over building quality back links. To do quality back link building is very time consuming and there are no guarantees of getting a link in 20 – 30 – 40 hours so it’s hard to justify charging a client for potentially 0 results. Content is for many SEOers a better option.

SEO is no longer an industry but a major component of a growing industry, Digital Marketing

It’s now a method, a very powerful method of Digital Marketing but I no longer consider it to be an industry. It is a skill set and combined with learning a few other key components of Digital Marketing makes you a person with a very solid skill set to market a website or business online.

It is now globally competitive.

Some SEO providers may be down the road from your office others may be in Katmandu. But is outsourcing SEO overseas a good option? Also SEO is now becoming more internal. All of the top fortune 1000 companies have internal departments where they work internally on their SEO.

It’s definitely evolved, it’s definitely grown up and is redeeming itself from its troublesome adolescence

Author : Rod Sinclair
Digital Marketing Expert