If you haven’t noticed, we dig SEO in a big way here at Search Engine Journal. And while we love spiders and all things that crawl (no, we’re not talking about prepping for our Halloween party), we get especially jazzed when sharing our insights with SEO beginners.
SEO is great. We love SEO. You might say we’re a little obsessed with improving the way people, brands, and strategists (whoever!) do SEO. And while there are many awesome ways to learn SEO as a beginner — keyword research, competitive analysis, and site audit — right now, we’re going to cover the changing landscape of SEO to catch you up to speed.
If you’re going to begin your path in SEO, knowing what you do and how you do it is important, but knowing what changes have been made and staying in-the-know will be ever more meaningful in your ongoing efforts.
For example, whenever you begin an SEO audit, there are prerequisites that need to be completed such as crawling the site’s HTML, checking robots.txt for blocked pages, and measuring PageRank of your competitors. But, if you don’t have a basic understanding of SEO history or changes being made over time, how would you know that Google turned off its Toolbar PageRank from its browser in March 2016? And, how does that affect your SEO audit process? AND, how will you know the authority of your website going forward?
For a long time, I viewed my SEO audit process as a task that needed to be done rather than a craft that gives my forthcoming strategies a fighting chance to win new clients or improve organic traffic for my current clients.
Because of the changing SEO landscape and with a little help from the SEJ news Slack channel 😊, the idea of “This is a boring audit that needs to get done” turned into an opportunity to be one of the first to try new SEO tactics or prepare for Panda algorithm update.
After years of working in SEO, I’ve accepted that it’s hard to keep up with every new algorithm change and the hottest trends conference goers chat about. So, in hopes to spare you, all SEO beginners can check out the latest SEO changes below. Huzzah!
As agencies, consultants, and freelancers we see common misconceptions with SEO, it’s likely because context, personal preference, experiences, and lack of knowledge often muddy the effects SEO have on our websites. So, to clients, the idea that SEO strategies such as building high-quality backlinks or updating your local listings with accurate information are able to evoke some sort of large increase of traffic to your website seems about as realistic as having a psychic predict your future.
There’s still a lot to learn and consider if we look for practical ways to begin our SEO strategy. First, let’s start with the basics.
It’s human nature to change. From I Am Jackie Robinson to A Christmas Carol, the characters in these narratives (whether truth or fable) help represent the lifeblood of how it’s human condition to change. With that, technology changes. From Pong to MacBooks, technology adapts just as humans do.
The same goes for search engines: at the end of the day, SEO evolves with humans and technology, but what you do with those changes rely on your ability to adapt.
Before we enter down the rabbit hole of the recent revolutions of SEO, it’s important to know how search engines work. Look at it like this: Last month I needed to find a pair of shoes for a wedding. So, I typed the Google search box “Where to find black shoes for a wedding?” and received over 80 million results.
Google, a search engine, is the middle man for searchers (like me!) and the content on the internet. As search engines become more sophisticated, these 80 million results become tailored to my search history and preferences to serve up more high-quality content that I’ll most likely be interested in clicking.
SEO, SEM, PPC, (and other triple-lettered iterations) serve as a driving force of getting your content to perform well in the search engines. If you’re curious about looking deeper into the secret inner workings of Google’s algorithm, the new Search Quality Ratings Guidelines Google announced at the end of March 2016 is about as close as you’re going to get. This document was originally released in November 2015. The guidelines emphasize local and mobile and reduce the supplementary content.