Due to constant changes in Google’s algorithm, search engine optimization is constantly evolving.
In the early years of SEO, webmasters would often stuff their website pages with keywords to get them to rank higher. They would use black-hat keyword stuffing techniques such as hiding them within invisible text or inside the website’s code. Google eventually caught on to this and adjusted their algorithm. Keyword stuffing can now negatively affect your website.
Along with the shift in how SEOs utilized keywords came a change in how content is written. In previous years, SEOs focused on the quantity of content instead of quality. They would churn out numerous, non-essential pages that were often poorly written, stuffed with keywords, and featured duplicate content. For a while, websites that did this were able to easily rank for various keywords, despite having low-quality content for their users.
Now the focus has shifted, and Google prioritizes well-written and informative content. To rank in Google for a keyword, SEOs must now focus on writing high-quality content that naturally incorporates keywords and informs readers.
Over the past decade, there has been a shift in focus from desktop to mobile search traffic. With more people browsing on their phones than ever before, Google now rewards sites that are mobile friendly.
Within the last couple of years, more websites have been optimizing for mobile to accommodate for this change in how users search. Additionally, with mobile-first indexing, Google uses the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking, making it even more crucial that your site is optimized for mobile devices.
A New Focus on Local SEO
One of the biggest changes in SEO over the last couple of years revolves around local search, as local searches have become more common and also more specific.
By embracing the new focus on local search, local companies have additional opportunities to reach their target audience. Google My Business allows local companies to create a profile with the goal of ranking in local searches.
Along with this rise in local search comes additional opportunities for keyword optimization. SEOs can now optimize content to rank for location-specific keywords that help them more easily reach their target market.
The End of Link Schemes
In the early days of SEO, many people participated in link building schemes that gave their website numerous fake links from various sources to increase rankings. Like all other black hat SEO techniques, Google caught on and now penalizes, bans, or de-lists websites that take part in these link schemes.
Instead, Google now values websites that have gained links in natural ways. Common link building strategies include guest posts or gaining backlinks from relevant and authoritative websites or directories.