The early 2000s birthed a myriad of Internet millionaires – microsite millionaires is what we call them. They were making fortunes overnight by taking advantage of loopholes in Google’s SEO guidelines. There were a plethora of professional SEO services that cashed in on this as well. It was a simple formula that anyone could use:
- Find a niche by conducting keyword research
- Develop a microsite around that niche, using a high keyword density (aka keyword stuffing)
- Use the site to direct traffic to your money-maker (aka an e-book or other product)
- Do the same for different niches and keywords
You can find many success stories from Internet entrepreneurs who used this formula. It was about developing lots of microsites, otherwise, the money was minimal. For example, 30 microsites were needed to generate a steady income of $1,000 per month. This sounds like a lot, but WordPress made the process simple.
Everything changed in 2011 with the Google Panda update. The days of microsite millionaires were officially over. So does this mean that SEO is no longer important? Of course not, but any SEO agency in Los Angeles will tell you that the game has changed and there are a lot of different factors that make SEO rankings possible today.
PageRank is no longer the #1 factor in determining your ranking. Now, it’s one of over 200 metrics being used by Hummingbird to measure your ranking. Your page authority is dictated by all of these metrics, which includes social media shares, outbound links, inbound links, site design, quality of content and user friendliness. A quality SEO professional today will offer services that incorporate all of these aspects into a solid digital marketing strategy.
Keyword Placement vs Keyword Frequency
In the olden days, keyword stuffing was the norm because it worked. But not today. Nowadays, it’s about where you place the keywords. And if anyone dares to keyword-stuff their content will pay dearly with lowered rankings (if not downright removal of their site). Long tail keywords are still recommended, and should be placed in key areas, such as the meta descriptions, URL, subheadings and image descriptions.
You’re no longer required to implement a keyword 7+ times in a piece of content. It doesn’t do any good for your ranking, nor for the quality of your content.
Semantics vs Long & Short-Tail Keywords
The way keywords are analyzed by Google today is much different than it was at the turn of the century. Google now uses semantic search, which teases out the meanings behind the words you use.
For example: You own a website for your vegan restaurant in Valdosta. Although the items on your menu are cheap, you don’t use “cheap vegan food” in your content. However, you list your low prices on your site, hoping that visitors will put two and two together.
If your site gets a decent amount of views, and visitors were to type in “vegan, cheap food in Valdosta”, your website would show up in the SERPs. Google is able to determine by itself that your restaurant qualifies as “cheap”.
What SEO May Look Like Going Forward
If keywords do become obsolete, it likely won’t happen anytime in the near future. However, the way SEO has been used in the past and even today will look much different in future years. Google and other search engines are continuously updating their algorithms to reflect higher quality results for users. Teaming up with a professional SEO agency that stays on top of this ever-changing landscape is a good way to make sure you have a solid SEO strategy for your company.