It’s pretty simple really. The act or desired result from SEO is too broad a topic to truly be captured if studied as a silo. Tactics are constantly changing to match the constant changes Google releases to their algorithm to make certain results more accurate and meaningful. After all, every time Google updates their algorithm it outdates a good chunk of ‘easy’ therefore likely spammy link tactics but it also reinforces tactics that will never change. These time-tested tactics are what we will be focusing on as you read onward.
The Ghost of SEO Past
Forgive the Christmas pun, but the past of SEO basically starts out as the wild west of the internets. In the very early days of SEO getting a link of any type, from any site, from anywhere on that target site held value. You could build a great, highly valued domain authority website by getting as many back links to your site as possible. All these back links had to do was to contain your anchor text.
These spammier links come in the form of article directories, listings directories, blog networks, low value spun content, useless comments on blogs and forums etc.
Lessons from the Past
Anchor text, oh anchor text. Thanks to those in the industry who went overboard with building in incredibly unnatural terms into the actual backlink (i.e. Best Real Estate Advisor in Toronto Ontario) the actual term used within external anchor text links have become virtually irrelevant. At the end of the day branded links with your business name/actual name embedded in the link are all you need.
The reason we have specified external in the above is that it is important to note that internal linking (links to pages from within your site from other pages within your site) that contain keyword rich anchor text is still good and useful, especially if this correlates to the users expectations and requirements for navigation.
Today, all link types are simply not created equal thus all websites are certainly not viewed as equal and even the pages on a website vary in degrees of importance and authority.
Gone are those nerdy wild-west days of setting up 100’s of forum profiles, spinning content stuffed with keyword rich anchor text, submitting to 100’s of article directories and using link wheel tactics that generate 100’s of links. As such, the old thoughts that have come and gone in waves across the SEO industry have steadily died off. These waves include everything from stuffing as many keywords onto pages on your own website, to loading up the footer off your website with tonnes of internal links, creating hundreds of useless pages on your website just to optimize for incredibly specific search terms; all gone, all dead. The one common theme among them all was that they were tactics that delivered no real value to the search landscape.
The current state of SEO
Currently SEOs building high-quality links that are also relevant to the website’s theme they are promoting are typically achieved an almost PR 2.0 type model. We refer to linkbuilding and SEO and well SEM in this manner as it really encompasses a number of the overall facets that comprise the web marketing process. All of which are geared towards increasing the audience (following/visitors) of a website.
Tactics typically start with working with the client to develop interesting/educational/hilarious/stupid hilarious/incredibly intelligent resources to be hosted on the clients website or web properties.
The PR 2.0 practitioner then basically hits the pavement and drums up interest for that content (or resources) and other cool opportunities for their client, for which the overall goal is always two fold.
Attract more relevant and likely to engage visitors + secure some stupid high value links to boost Search rankings.
The Ghosts of Christmas Future of SEO
I won’t say that content is king. Content is king. Okay I lied but there is never a cliché as more fitting than that for SEO. If you make great content people will find it, share it, talk about it and it will lead to impossible links that your competitors will never be able to get.
So all in all, I guess you can write a book about SEO, the only caveat being that it was already written in the Marketing classes any post-secondary student might haphazardly attend.
The real future for web marketing and SEO for that matter is the PR 2.0 model we discussed earlier (it doesn’t really matter what you call it) – to summarize the approach.
Rise and grind. Think on your feet. Rinse, repeat.