4 min read
Michael Ryan
Michael Ryan

How SEO has adapted & changed in the last 10 years


SEO is there to help you improve the visibility of your website. Years and years ago, you would have found that a website could rank highly if certain words were used on a website or landing pages.

SEO is there to help you improve the visibility of your website. Years and years ago, you would have found that a website could rank highly if certain words were used on a website or landing pages. But nowadays, Google is a lot more specific about its ranking criteria. You need to become a trusted source of information. If not, then you may find your brand lost in a sea of different websites on Google’s search engine.

SEO has changed over the last 10 years to help you focus on how your brand performs on the search engine results pages, or SERPs. Here is what you need to know about these changes.

Content creation

Whether you do your own SEO or you hire an ecommerce SEO company to help you, you will find that one of the best routes to ranking highly is content creation. Over the last 10 years, content has become more of an important factor when it comes to the SERPs. At the start, Google would have ranked any content that contained the right keywords. Therefore, it could have been extremely spammy and still ranked highly.

Thanks to the Panda update in 2011, content could no longer be stuffed with keywords or links or look spammy. Instead, it meant that business owners needed to start focusing on the quality of their content. This included blogs, landing pages and any additional webpages.

SEO specialists understand that the content of these pages needs to be high-quality and include the savvy use of writing, images, specific keywords, internal & external linking, and video and audio creation. You should also focus on creating strong connections with your social media pages.

If you focus in on your content, it’s very likely that you will improve your brand’s showings on the search engine results pages. So, make sure to upload it regularly and check it for mistakes. The better your content is, the more likely it is that Google will make your content visible.

Keyword stuffing

Another thing that happened in the past was keyword stuffing. Leading on from the idea of spammy content, keyword stuffing used to be a trick to rank highly on a SERP. Previously, website owners would use a large number of keywords on landing pages to make Google notice them.

As Google would think that this meant these pages were a strong source of information, they would make such pages rank higher for specific search terms. In some cases, unethical ‘black hat’ SEO techniques would be used to add more keywords. Some keywords would be made invisible and placed on the website. In other cases, the keywords may have even been hidden in the code of the website.

Nowadays, Google’s algorithm has caught on to these ‘black hat’ techniques and has demoted them on the search engine. Instead, Google now values keywords that are naturally placed within the text. In other words, it prefers quality over quantity. So, it’s best to do your research to see how the right keywords would naturally fit within your website content.

Local SEO

In the last 10 years, Google has slowly shifted from a focus on very general keywords to more specific terms. This includes a focus on local SEO.

If a website is very well-maintained and has been optimised efficiently, it’s very likely that Google will give it a boost for local search terms. This boost has been added to local directories to increase such pages’ visibility on both computer web searches and mobile platforms.

Mobile traffic

As you may already know, back in the early 2000s, mobile devices were mainly used for calls and texts. However, as time as progressed, mobile traffic has increased on the Internet. This is due to the fact that the Internet has become more accessible ‘on the go’ via today’s smartphones.

Google now rewards websites that are mobile-friendly. This includes websites that offer an easy layout to navigate. In addition to this, Google will create a mobile index to rank your mobile website compared to your desktop website. So, make sure both versions of your website look good and are easy to use for all of your customers.

Page speed

You only have a few seconds to impress your website visitors before they try to move away to a different website. Previously, you may have found that customers were a lot more tolerant of slower website loading speeds. This is because the Internet was not as stable as it is now, especially when it came to mobile browsing.

As the levels of website quality have increased, so have the expectations of users. Therefore, they will not be as forgiving if they are forced to wait for your website and its content to load.

Google has taken notice of this and uses behavioural data from your website to figure out where it ranks. Although a fast page speed will not make up for a lack of backlinks or quality content, it will have an impact on how many people appear on your website. If people leave your website quickly, Google will take notice and lower your positions in the rankings. So, make sure to improve your speed in order to rank a little higher.

Strong backlinks

In the past, website owners may have used link schemes to try and influence Google’s search rankings. However, Google has caught on to these and punishes users who try to use unethical ‘black hat’ SEO tricks to increase their rankings.

Today, you cannot simply spam links on other websites. Instead, you will need to find other ways to increase your ranking. This could include adding your links to relevant directories, posting guest blog articles and increasing your social media presence.

Are you ready to use SEO efficiently?

Over the last 10 years, SEO techniques have changed and it’s now harder to rank on Google for the right search terms. This is why it’s crucial that you understand how you can use it to benefit your own website.

Speak to Ink Digital to learn how our specialists can help you make your website more visible. They can discuss the right SEO techniques for you, and help you keep your site ranking highly for relevant terms in the major search engines.

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