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article imageOp-Ed: Changing the game for website rankings and SEO practices

By Alyssa Sellors     Dec 16, 2013 in Business
Online business marketing is dependent upon using the proper tools in search engine optimization, or SEO. This has meant using keywords to be picked up by search engines, but this practice has also lead to content that is not very user-friendly.
SEO is fast becoming part of a broader marketing plan as marketing teams are starting to realize how integral SEO practices are to the exposure of their company. In a basic sense, the goal of SEO is to be where your potential customers are, but where and how? When it comes to search results rankings, there are obviously multiple factors that affect both how readers reach your website, and if they stay there.
In the past, SEO practices were widely unknown and somewhat of a “mystery” to many of us. Loads of keywords were used, a number of links provided, all in the hopes of driving traffic to respective websites. Throughout the past decade though the creation of both a “rhyme” and a “reason” to SEO practices has come about, thanks in part to how rankings are determined and used.
Readers expect content that is engaging, interesting, and relevant, not loaded with repetitive words and phrases that feel forced. As the saying goes, content truly is king, and we expect quality content. Page authority is an SEO term that refers to “the probability that a specific page from your site will be found on a search engine,” affecting the ranking of your website and influenced by the quality of your content. Rankings are important because it affects the placement of your website on search engine result pages (or SERPs). Other factors that influence rankings include usable, fresh content, links to your pages, and images. Rankings are no longer based solely on key words and have changed to consider how frequently the website is updated, the relevancy of the content, how detailed and useful the content is, and the ease and enjoyment of the content. In fact, local search ranking factors 2013 show that the most important factor in rankings is in fact page authority, beating out the number of links to a page and the number of external links. This is a huge shift for marketing teams everywhere.
So, if how search engines are ranking websites has changed, inevitably SEO practices must also change. In a recent article entitled “From Old School to New School: SEO in Transition,” the author brings to light that SEO no longer operates in a “silo.” In the past decade, SEO was “filled with get rich quick schemes where the connection between business and the customer was not a material part of the strategy to get more traffic to a web site.” But now, that connection is absolutely essential to make, and usually made by way of content and interaction with the readers.
New tactics for SEO are more interactive and involve the reader, or potential customer, on an entirely new level. One example of these new tactics include “branding” when it comes to anchor text, instead of just loading in a ton of keywords to be picked up by search engines. Rather than relying on search engines to pick up on keywords, which is a very “passive” and antiquated process, companies are focusing on the creation of content that promotes their brand while providing useful content geared to their ideal customer. When your website appears on SERPs, you want the phrases that appear to actually accomplish your marketing goals, not just “show up” on a results page, so it matters what those words and phrases actually say. The simple goal is to grab the attention of potential customers and open the door to your company, not other companies with similar key words and phrases that may also appear on the same results page. Providing useful, quality content can achieve this goal.
It seems that the take away in all of this is “quality over quantity” when it comes to basic SEO practices. With the changes in how websites are ranked, many feel this is a change in the right direction.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about SEO practices, search rankings, Search engine optimization, Seo, Website
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