Yesterday we left off where Google had rolled out their second algorithm update and although it was getting tougher to figure out how to get a website ranked high on a search page, not everything was bad.
It was about this time (04–05ish) that Google and other search engines decided it was time to add another layer to the SEO onion.
Location, Location, Location!
Somewhere between 04 and 05 the search engines now took into account where you lived. Geographic identifiers were the next SEO puzzle piece that was designed to ‘personalize’ the searches by your history and your location to tailor the results to your specific needs.
Popular search terms now included things like ‘near me’ and ‘in my area.’
Every website you would visit was already leaving a bread crumb, or a ‘cookie’ as it were and search engines now had a voracious appetite for cookies!
They couldn’t get in your brain so they settled for getting into the memory banks of your computer to see what you were doing, what you were looking for when you were looking for it, and how many different ones did you look at.
I personally felt violated.
Google Throws Us a Bone!
In 2006 I guess Google decided they were being a bit rough on us writers and website developers so they did what any monopolizing dictator would do. They gave us additional bread and water!
I and many of my colleagues breathed a sigh of relief and for one or two days there we slept a bit better at night!
We had the tools to get ahead of the SEO game or so we thought. It was short-lived because in 08 Google totally shifted to branding and trust as a way to rank high.
That was the rollout of the Vince Update and Google was hell-bent on cleaning up the cesspool that the internet had become. And suicide prevention hotlines were suddenly overwhelmed with calls.
Should I figure out this new tactic or jump off the highest building I can find? The results would be about the same either way.
Google was now in the driver’s seat of search engines, the standard and the norm that it still is as we know it today!
Yahoo and Bing form The Search Alliance!
Between 09 and 10, Yahoo and Bing, the smaller less used search engines, formed the Search Engine Alliance trying to get some sort of policy and procedure implemented to get a fair share of the search engine game.
Google was having none of that.
As Yahoo and Bing were complaining about their share of a one-sided market, Google was busy buying YouTube.
They could now include video in their results and tweak the algorithm once again to see how active you were on Facebook, Twitter, and others as Social Networking was the new website of choice.
Your social presence now played a role in ranking. Jeez, here we go again.
2011 to 2015 Content Becomes King!
The Penguin and Panda (I’m not joking) update killed what was then known as a content farm. Websites with a massive quantity of low-quality content.
Websites that had unusual linking patterns, high amounts of identical anchor text, and keyword stuffed were sent a message that the website had been deleted due to (fill in the blank)
As a result, long-time retailer JC Penney was ultimately forced out of existence due to the stoppage of web traffic. SEO was now a ticking time bomb. Who would be next?
2013 Google launches Google Knowledge Graph and everything you knew up to this point was useless!
The Knowledge Graph used a highly advanced algorithm to focus on semantics and search intent instead of keywords. Well, thank God Google is now doing my thinking for me. Assholes.
15 to pretty much now the entire shift of SEO has turned into a behemoth that caters to the mobile-friendly user experience. I have the right to get up on my soapbox now.
So If a Phone is Now the Computer of Choice WTF Do I Do?
I am 59 years old and I have this to say about mobile devices. They suck.
I use my phone to make phone calls. I MAKE phone calls. Nobody calls me, they text or try to instant message me. Guess what, I don’t use my phone for anything other than making phone calls. I have a computer at home (the one I am seated at now) Nothing pisses me off more than somebody walking around with their nose stuck in a ‘mobile device’ I will purposely tell them, “WATCH WHERE YOU’RE GOING ASSHOLE!”
Back to SEO.
Actually, We Are Way Past SEO 5.0 By Now
The Hummingbird update in 2016 was designed to enhance your mobile frickin’ experience. Everything was going mobile and if you did not write mobile-friendly content you would be asked to politely throw yourself in front of a moving object.
The ‘Mobilegeddon’ update was proof of that.
In 19 Google rolls out the biggest update to date. BERT was to focus primarily on long-tailed keywords to further elaborate on your search intent. EAT, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness were now the way to get ranked. Without that, your website or your content was ‘just another cheap suit!’
The Future for SEO?
Is clear as mud!
I have tried o stay on top of this beast ever since I decided to go freelance. SEO is and will be the most fickle beast I will ever match wits with! But, that being said I do understand that everything Google has thrown at us is designed to make us better writers! There, I said it.
In 2020, there was a shift to voice search which is getting better every day!
With A-I on the rise and the number of voice-activated software platforms I see SEO becoming not only an integral player as it has always been but the rollout of newer and better A-I, enhanced voice-activated products will be what everybody wants to do.
Working smarter not harder will be the aim for each new product, good, or service, and learning how to roll with the punches is going to be paramount in the coming years.
Now, there are some more detailed articles on the historical timeline of SEO but I have tried to keep this as short as possible by hitting only the high points. And now I must shift gears.
Leverage SEO to Get More Business and be More Profitable!
I have really learned a LOT about SEO and the important role it plays in how people get their information now.
With tools like SEMRush and thruu, I have the ability to write for my clients and keep their content fresh and exciting by staying on top of what is important to their customers.
EAT, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthy are the hallmarks of the content I write as I try and look at my client’s needs, cross reference that with the industry, to establish each one as a leading authority in their chosen field.
That is what I can do for you and your business! And I also do things a bit differently than other content creators.
And The Pitch!
If you live anywhere on the planet, you are a potential client.
But, if you live within a 300-mile radius of Birmingham, Alabama I WILL COME TO YOU!
I think the internet has forced us to live digitally. I, fortunately, did not grow up thinking my nose should be on a mobile device.
I grew up where men talked to men about business, your word was your bond, and big deals were closed with a handshake. We as a society have strayed away from that.
I love doing the face-to-face it gives an immediate connection with some of the best people I have ever penned a line for.
It gives me a chance to get out of my office and see the beauty in what’s around me instead of staring at a monitor all day and checking my email.
SEO has evolved and will be ever evolving. So will I.