Search engine optimisation version 3.0 refers to the current state of the process that once was as simple as submitting your website to the search engines, ensuring you had the right Meta data in place and then just waiting for high rankings. Like the Internet, the process of search engine optimisation has grown in scope and complexity.
The Death of Search Engine Submission
Back when AltaVista, Yahoo! and Hotbot were the leading search engines, webmasters needed to simply add relevant keywords in their Meta tags, submit the site to the search engine ordirectory and wait for their website to start ranking in the search results. Once Google established itself as the leading search engine, the old method of inclusion via submission quickly became obsolete. The Keywords Meta tag followed suite soon after.
Link Building Isn’t Enough
Google paved the way for evaluation of a website based on factors beyond the direct control of webmasters. The online democratic system established by Google is now followed to an extent by almost all surviving search engines. Abuse of the system by unscrupulous webmasters led to Google tightening its processes and making optimization more complex.
Last November’s Google update, nicknamed Jagger, rendered SEO that relied on reciprocal link exchanges almost ineffective. Google considers all activities that try to artificially boost a website’s rank on the search engine results to be spam. It was natural, therefore, for the algorithm to start penalizing any sort of link scheme that was indulged in with the sole intent of artificially inflating link count.
Factors Affecting Search Engine Optimisation
Today search engine optimisation involves a lot more than mere Meta data entry, submission, reciprocal linking or keyword placement. Google evaluates websites on a number of factors including:
- Relevance of on-page content
- Use of synonyms rather than unnatural repetition of a phrase
- Number of inbound links
- Origin of inbound links
- Relevance of the site that provides the inbound link
- Spam rating or trustworthiness of the linking site
- Overall spam mass
- Outbound links to authority sites
- Click through rate from search listings
- Bounce rate of referrals from the search engine results pages
- Visitor traffic statistics
Traffic Matters for SEO
The latest addition to the search engine optimisation conundrum on Google has been the involvement of visitor traffic data in the algorithm. A previous Articles article describes howwebsite visitors affect Google search results. Visitor traffic has the exceptional characteristic that it is extremely difficult to artificially inflate. Unique visitor numbers cannot be easily boosted. Google could potentially replace its current dependence on link count and valuation with a much more suitable indicator of website relevance and usability – website usage data from traffic stats!
Search Engine Optimisation v3.0
SEO version 3.0 is obviously not about tricking search engines or artificially optimising content or links. It is all about developing websites that visitors approve of.
If visitors like what you have to offer, they will stick to your site, and browse through its pages in depth. If your website is not relevant to a search query, visitors from the search engines will leave your website in just a few clicks or seconds, providing a very clear indication to Google that your site did not provide them the information they sought. This in turn will adversely affect your position in future search results.
Moreover, as the scope of the Internet widens, search engine optimisation is no longer limited to the confines of Internet Explorer and Windows PC’s. A well optimised site will provide quality, usable content across a multitude of platforms including mobile Internet browsers, and in a variety of formats including dynamic WML, static XHTML and syndicated RSS feeds.
Web 2.0 has heralded the arrival of search engine optimisation v3.0. The task is now upon us to maximise the opportunities and deliver quality content to the masses of users looking to buy products and services across the world.