Are Your SEO Techniques Up to Date?

Written on
Sep 27, 2012 
Brad Shorr  |

Search engine optimization (SEO) has undergone quite a transformation over the last year. Optimization techniques that used to be good are now bad; optimization techniques used to be marginal are now central.

As a consequence, firms that have failed to update their SEO arsenals may be firing blanks – or even worse, shooting themselves in the foot. Here are three of the most important adjustments every company should be making, starting yesterday.

Link Quality

Back in the day, acquiring inbound links was an exercise in “the more, the merrier.” However, Google has gotten very good at evaluating the quality of sites linking to you; therefore, if links to your site come from suspicious sources, Google will ignore them or even penalize you for them.

Looking backward, firms should clean up their link profiles by, wherever possible, severing links from bad sources such as link farms, certain article banks and directories, certain types of reciprocal links, and most types of paid links.

Looking forward, firms must be selective in building links, making sure the sources of those links are credible and relevant. Quality, not quantity, is more important than ever before.

Link Anchor Text

Back in the day, the best links were those loaded with juicy keyword phrases. For example, Drupal web design services was a whole lot better than click here.

While it is going too far to say that today the reverse is true, Google is definitely looking for links with “natural” anchor text. When Google sees nothing but keyword-optimized links, it gets suspicious. Natural anchor text is what normal people would use, as opposed to what SEO tacticians would use. Today, the best bet is to change up anchor text to a given web page with a variety of:

Today, SEO specialists and the firms that hire them need to think like their target prospects and customers, not like technicians.

Quality Content and Authorship

Back in the day, quality didn’t much enter into the equation. For SEO purposes, content was basically a bunch of keywords padded with pronouns, conjunctions and punctuation. Again, the emphasis was on quantity – how many keywords can we publish anywhere and everywhere?

Understandably, Google has no interest in ranking that kind of content, since it has little or no value to readers. And as Google has become more sophisticated in evaluating quality, it can now separate the wheat from the chaff and give the best rankings to the best content.

On a related front, Google Authorship is a new program that connects authors to their content, regardless of where it is published. The more authoritative the author, the more search visibility the author’s content will have.

This new emphasis on quality and authorship has enormous implications. In the past, firms could outsource SEO content to anybody with a keyboard and watch their traffic increase. Going forward, it will be increasingly necessary for firms to generate their own content – and it will have to be pretty darn good in order to move the dial on rankings.

Strategically, the best way to approach SEO is to focus on readers and pretend SEO didn’t exist at all. Google and all the other search engines want to give users links to content that are relevant, authoritative and helpful. This is a high standard, but it’s the right standard, and one that forces businesses to succeed at being relevant, authoritative and helpful in order to succeed at SEO.

From an advertising perspective, this is terrific news. In the past, SEO was rather disconnected from such things as establishing thought leadership and building brand loyalty. But today, with quality being such a priority for search engines, firms can’t have one without the others.

Brad Shorr is Director of Content & Social Media for Straight North, a full service Internet marketing company headquartered in Oak Brook, IL. A graduate of Northwestern University, he is an experienced content marketer, SEO copywriter, and B2B sales and marketing analyst. Having worked as an in-house marketing director, freelancer and agency specialist, Brad has approached SEO and Internet marketing from every angle, giving him a broad perspective and a great deal of hands-on experience. With more than 1,500 blog posts and articles to his credit, Brad has written for many industry-leading websites, including Smashing Magazine, Six Revisions, SocialMouths, Search Engine Journal, and Carol Roth.

Reader Comments.

Well – if this article isn’t an exercise in {to quote it on itself} “content [thats] basically a bunch of keywords padded with pronouns, conjunctions and punctuation” i sure as heck dont want to see what this so called SEO “expert” does when he’s paid to do it.
There’s nothing worse than someone espousing about something without actual factual content – and thats exactly what Panda/Penguin hoped to contain, yet somehow this ‘article’ (i use the term loosely) got into Goog’s news section and put online.
So much for policing crap away…………….

Posted by Blake | 10:08 am on September 27, 2012.

I read your full article. And i do agree with you that contents is most valuable thing in seo.Original and useful contents give advantages to get top rankings.It’s like seperating cream from milk

Posted by post - penguin seo | 2:36 am on September 28, 2012.

Hey Brad, your right, it’s more of giving search engines what they want better than the competition can in order to rank higher at the same time giving the person value when they visit your site. Pretty much a waste of time if a business does not target their customers.

The days of sneaky SEO tricks are pretty much done imo. But folks today still seem to scared of linking an anchor text… weird. In quantities and variations it makes sense.

Besides, when people are logged into Google (gmail, youtube) per say, they get VERY different results rather than if they were not signed in.

And since google changed their “places” listings to “plus” listings it is crucial that they get on board and take advantage of that free listing.

Posted by Gregory Morrision | 10:01 pm on September 28, 2012.

Quality content help us to reach top and also visitor easily understand our service.

Posted by Scott Thomas | 1:13 am on October 2, 2012.

This blog really makes sense and it is very informative. Thanks for this. I got an information from here.

Posted by jean | 8:20 pm on October 2, 2012.

It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button!

I’d most certainly donate to this brilliant blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for
book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
I look forward to new updates and will share this blog with my Facebook group.

Chat soon!

Posted by document | 7:14 pm on October 7, 2012.

Two words guest post!

Posted by Omg Machines | 11:48 am on October 20, 2012.

many do whitehat technique, but they dont understand it takes time to set results.

Posted by umashankar | 5:37 am on November 25, 2012.

Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having trouble locating it but, I’d like to send you
an email. I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.

Posted by Isidro | 4:20 am on December 20, 2012.

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