SEO in 2012 looks quite a bit different than SEO in years past. SEO, prior to recent algorithm changes like various Google Panda iterations and the introduction of the Penguin Update to Google’s algorithm was fairly straight forward: build links with targeted anchor text on high PageRank pages and wait for rankings to climb.
Today, SEO requires a more unique and creative approach. Those who lack creativity are destined to rank poorly for their keywords, or worse, end up penalized by one of these recent algorithm updates.
SEO Is An Up and Down Process
Even those who stay “white hat”, which means they follow search engine guidelines, are playing a guessing game. For those who do play by the rules, they are still forced to adjust if, and when the rules change and algorithms are updated.
Google, the only search engine most people care about, has made at least one change per day to their ranking algorithm since 2010. Most of these are never noticed, but they add up to a sizable shift in how search works from year to year.
SEO Needs To Get Creative
SEO has always required a certain level of technical know-how and creativity in acquiring links. Today, technical ability is still important, but creativity is becoming more of an attribute required for success.
Those who lack the ability to think and plan in an out of the box kind of way are going to get lackluster results.
Some creative elements for an SEO strategy are, but are not limited to:
- Social outreach with related individuals and sites to gain mentions and links
- Blogger outreach through commenting and emails from one webmaster to another
- Guest blogging with brand building and engagement in mind, rather than links (but still get the link)
- Creative on-page content like videos and infographics that people will share to build further exposure (and again, links)
Finding The Right Connections
PageRank (PR) is a metric to determine the value of a link. A page with high PR is seen by Google to be more popular and valuable than one with lower PR. While interesting, it is next to useless for most situations. Relationships with other webmasters and a target cusotmer base hold more value than PR.
Better ways to find places and people to engage with are to find the right social networks for a given market, and to use tools like Compete, Alexa and SimilarSiteSearch. Enter keywords or a competitor’s site address, compile a list of the related sites, and begin looking for the best opportunity for outreach.
Eventually, gatekeepers will filter emails, ignore Tweets or gloss over blog comments. To deal with this, SEO’s need to be persistent in reaching out to the most influential within their market, and offer value in return for the engagement they are seeking.
Keeping Relationships Warm
The goal is to make more money for your site or a client’s site. The best ways to do this is to consistently engage on every available channel, and to offer value repeatedly without asking for much, if anything, in return.
Because there are so many places to reach out to influential people and customers alike, results can come quickly. Increasing the value proposition of a website, while aggressively pursuing social engagement, webmaster outreach, and on-site development can result in a flood of links, mentions, and traffic.
Each site will be different, but most should know whether their creative approach is working within an eight week time frame.
@JulianaPayson on Twitter is content manager of the InMotion Hosting Blog. InMotion Hosting is a Los Angeles Web Hosting company with a 100k+ audience of web-professionals and webmasters who buy Business Hosting services. If you have interesting content to share that could be valuable to InMotion Hosting’s Newsletter audience, or if you are interested in collaborating and taking guest or research content, please reach out to Juliana