Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Changing Face of SEO

There once was a time that meta tags (keywords, page titles, descriptions) were king in helping your website get to the top of search engines. It didn't really matter if the website was all flash, was mostly graphics or had little content, just as long as your meta tags were good so was your placement. Over the years, search engines evolved and became more sophisticated in how they rank pages making it important to have a good balance of text and graphics, and making sure that the meta tags for a particular page also matched the content embedded on the page. But not anymore, how things have changed!

Currently, search engines like Google give very little weight to meta keywords. Although titles and descriptions are still useful simply because the end user (web surfer) uses them to help understand what type of information they will find on your page, they don't help with gaining overall placement on Google.

Why have things changed? I believe Google is specifically changing the way they evaluate and rank website to make sure the top page ranks go to "real" website, not spam sites. Spammers have learned to exploit the search engines and increase the relevance of an irrelevant site. It became common practice for spammers to stuff meta tags with keywords to trick the search engine indexing program, giving the spam sites higher placement in naturalized results than "real" website.

What's next? In my opinion, I think Google will start to index websites and base naturalized placement on their social media presences because it is a solid method (for now) to separate the spam sites and the "real" website. Those small business owners not utilizing social media like twitter and facebook may find themselves out in the cold before too long.