The Changing Face of Search Engine Optimization

With the ever evolving internet market for just about anything you can imagine and Google's index growing to almost 9 billion pages, and counting, there is little dispute amongst search engine optimizers that our job is getting much harder. From linking to articles, and density to ontology, our industry changes as fast as any other. The search engines, especially Google, seem to be on a daily diet of change and their algorithm seems to be growing at the rate of their index.

The word 'related' plays a much bigger part in SEO today than it ever has in the past. Instead of targeting an exact keyword phrase, it now makes a lot more sense to keep your site within context and to have related words to your keywords, compared to having density of one keyword phrase. Linking has also turned into a frenzy for relevancy. Unrelated links seem to no longer carry much weight at all. The theme through all of Google's recent changes seems to come down to one cliché: quality over quantity.

Just like with any other update at Google, optimizers must search and research their profession, however it seems to be happening more often than ever. You can't walk through our office without hearing Google's name a thousand times. We have unofficial RND (research and development) meetings almost every hour as there seems to constantly be new ideas and theories popping into all of our heads. In the past there were always changes to the way we've done our work, but the pace of this change is accelerating rapidly as well as the competition for online searchers.

MSN seems to be creating a buzz and they've just recently started a national television ad campaign. Their search results resemble Google's of 6 months ago, a time that will go down in SEO history as "the good old days", and also a time that Google's SERPs seemed a lot more relevant than they do today. New search engines seem to be popping up all over the place, and after all, wasn't Google a virtual unknown 5 years ago?

One of the best points made to me over the past month came at the preview of the new become.com search engine in California, where founder Michael Yang decreed this to be only the very beginning in the history of online search. Whatever happens in Google's future, and the future of online search, there is one thing for certain: only the most intelligent and innovative of SEO companies are going to stay above the bar and continue to find ways to get their clients, and themselves, to the top.

Bobby Heard ([email protected]) is the Vice-President of Abalone Designs ( http://www.abalone.ca), which offers great SEO results at affordable prices.

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