Search engine optimization, or SEO, was initially developed by website owners who realized that they could increase their traffic by altering their website content to rank higher in search engine results. They identified that if they could use search terms entered by users on their websites in order to make the site show up in the top search results, and it immediately took off as a primary marketing tool for online branding. The first SEO methods were simple: use the keyword or keyword phrase over and over in content, HTML tags, and other areas of the business website.
Of course, as search engines evolved and the internet became a primary playing ground for businesses in the 21st century, the rules changed and SEO evolved. The new rules required quality content, appropriate keyword density (not stuffing content with keywords just for rankings’ sake), and other elements to showcase the value of a brand to the search engines, rather than just to get “hits” from keyword use. Today, SEO companies still exist and still provide many marketing solutions for companies trying to build their brand and identity online. The focus, however, is much less on keywords and much more on reaching audiences as they evolve and their access to technology evolves, as well.
Mobile search is the focus of the SEO company right now, because most of the searches done for information or products online is done through mobile devices. Therefore, Google and others want to make sure that companies are prepared to help their audience in the best way possible, by being mobile-ready. Search results are, and are going to continue to be different based on the type of device used to conduct the search, and Google and Facebook are probably going to face off in the near future when it comes to cross-device tracking. This allows them to identify users no matter what device they are on.
The future of SEO isn’t going to be about keywords at all, according to SEO companies. The future is in attribution modeling and value-added information, as well as in building a solid social profile for your organization. Responsive website design will continue to thrive and make up the majority of the mobile ranking qualifications for business websites, and the focus on engagement and usability will become much more of a priority. Ultimately, the evolution of SEO has led to a world where SEO isn’t even a priority because social media marketing has taken the cake in terms of getting brands noticed online.