In order to “get” SEO strategy, it’s important to look back at its history. In the beginning, the best SEO strategy was all about getting a really high keyword density and increasing the number of links out there on the internet leading back to your website. The easiest way to accomplish this strategy was better known to black-hat SEOs as “keyword stuffing” and “link farming.” Google’s algorithms had a lofty goal — serving up the best results. Unfortunately, the algorithms at the time had loopholes that were pretty easy to exploit. In these early days of SEO strategy, finding and taking advantage of these loopholes was the name of the game. Black-hat SEOs would slip through whichever way they could. If that meant cramming keywords into every little nook and cranny, so be it. If it meant putting white text on a white background, paying shady link farms to link back or building out 10 sites just to link back to a primary one, it was all fair game.
Because it all worked. Some very successful digital marketing pros made piles of money exploiting these SEO tactics.
Today, those lazy SEO strategies will get you penalized, if not outright blacklisted. Back then, the algorithms rarely updated, but today, the algorithms update frequently with new information. They have matured and gotten smarter, and are constantly evolving to weed out spam and show searchers the best content. Google algorithm updates Penguin and Panda get most of the credit for closing easily-fooled loopholes and shaping today’s SEO. However, Google’s goal has never changed. They always wanted to reward the best websites for whatever keywords were being searched. So, for those of us who had always focused on white-hat SEO, we are now reaping the rewards.
If an SEO company tells you, “We can SEO your website,” run the other way. SEO is now so complex and dynamic, that in order to play in this arena, you need to commit to a monthly budget and approach. Getting to the top of the search engine rankings and staying there takes a dedicated, well-rounded team of web and SEO professionals. It takes a digital marketing team. SEO now goes way beyond the on-page copy, links and keywords. SEO strategy now includes traffic-driving activities like email marketing, social media sharing, customer relationship management (CRM) and thoughtful content strategy. It incorporates the best engagement with elements like user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design, conversion rate optimization (CRO) and call-to-action (CTA) strategy. It uses content marketing, blog posts, landing pages, infographics, video, on-page updates, PR and keyword analysis. And finally, the best SEO strategy needs to earn links legitimately through quality content and link outreach. This level of complexity takes experts in a variety of disciplines: UX/UI designers, conversion specialists, keyword analysts, journalists, we developers, videographers and more. Needless to say, SEO and SEO strategy is no longer a one-person game.
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