Search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the most important aspects of modern web design. In recent years, having a good grip on SEO has often made the difference between a successful website and one that fails to garner significant attention. Due to the nature of search engines, SEO must constantly adapt to ensure that websites remain high in the search rankings.
Many web designers have been noticing lately that Google, the most widely used search engine by far, has had its search algorithms modified in an attempt to reduce the amount of spam content in search results. With this in mind, it pays to remember that it is in the interests of both you and the search engine companies to produce content that doesn’t have the typical spam features, such as keyword stuffing. The aim of Google is to produce results that are pleasing to people searching out websites, so having a high quality site can act as a form of SEO in itself. In the long run it’ll pay off as more specifically optimised pages eventually become obsolete.
Producing consistent content is all very well, however it never hurts to use SEO to gain an edge over competitors. The type of SEO you will need depends heavily on the type of viewers you are looking for. A few years ago, most web browsing was firmly computer or laptop based; however these days there are many more ways for people to access the internet. Make sure your website is fully mobile compatible and you’ll broaden your customer base considerably.
Personalised searching is something relatively new that has been throwing a curve ball at website designers looking for effective SEO. What this type of searching does is correlate past data from a user’s browsing and searching history to produce results that are likely to match the things that they are interested in. With Google implementing this in their browser as well as their search engine, it’s fair to say that this type of search is going to stick around. An example of the way that this affects web users is if they are subscribed to blogs via the Google Reader app. These blogs will tend to be bumped up in the search results (though only for the people who are subscribed to them of course). With social media and networking becoming an increasingly widespread and important facet of personal computer use, it seems likely that this trend for social network oriented search results will continue. It would seem that for website builders, SEO may become increasingly focused on building up large networks of online contacts in a bid to increase the potential number of viewers exposed to their web content.
It really is hard to understate the impact that social media will have on SEO in the near future. Despite being around for quite a while now, the major players in the social networking arena continue to grow as more and more ordinary people become involved. Start taking advantage of the benefits of social media now, instead of becoming left behind as search engines begin to favour more social-media savvy pages.
One hidden benefit of social optimisation is the generation of genuine back links from other websites. Once you have a wide audience thanks to implementation of social networking functions, you will find your search engine rankings going up as others begin to link your site. Back-links from other sites are a very powerful SERP modifier, and while you can easily pay for backlinks, Google is firmly headed in the direction of reducing the rankings of spam-like sites.
Overall, the future of SEO will be more complex than in the past. Old school techniques to fool search engines continue to be weeded out, but if you construct your content with longevity in mind, and are diligent with implementing emerging social networking features, you can ensure that your sites are future proof.
Rajeen Shah is a link building enthusiast, with mastery of blogger outreach, negotiation and cat herding. Raj has over fifteen years IT experience, can administer a Linux server blindfolded and has spent the past six years dedicated to online marketing.