On Site SEO: Then VS Now

Ah, the good old days of SEO, where it was possible to push Google’s buttons, poking it in the right way to get the ranks we wanted for our specific keywords. 

In those days, keyword research was paramount. We painstakingly selected a singular keyword that we wanted to optimize and rank for. In fact, we measured our success mostly on how high our list of keywords were on the SERPs. We figured if we could rank highest for these keywords, our job was done.

We went after broad, short tail keywords that were more competitive without any second thought to the searcher’s intent or if it was even relevant to what we were limping to the barn with. We assaulted the content we wrote for our pages with an onslaught of repetitive phrases, inundating our text with a “keyword density” achieved with the formulaic research we each thought was brilliant.

On Site SEO

The content was heavily optimized and the content was written for the search engine first. If what we wrote told the search engines to rank us higher for whatever keyword we were working on, then mission accomplished. Why bother to worry about the quality of our content, or even if our visitors felt like the content was not relevant to what they were searching for?

See Here: How to Boost Your SEO and Website Traffic with Evergree

Link building, which we used to optimize our keywords on site, was easy. It was a simpler time back then. We happily built links, slapping them across the internet whether they were spammy or not. We hired low level freelancers to make 5,000 comments with a backlink to our site – obviously this link contained our keywords as anchor text.

What Happened? 

It turned out that although we thought we were pretty clever optimizing keywords and ranking these keywords higher on the SERPs, Google was getting smarter than ever

before, and it turned out that Google didn’t like being manipulated into returning irrelevant or poor quality sites as the top ranking sites on its SERPs.

In fact, those spammy keyword-focused backlinks ended up invoking Google’s wrath, punishing all of the SEO lemmings who all leaped over that cliff with penalization. Luckily, an elite group of SEOs realized that – spoiler alert – Google is smarter than they were.

It turns out that Google wants to keep its job as top dog by returning relevant quality sites to users, which is why it had constantly been advising SEOs to focus on analytics, quality and relevance.

On Site SEO Now

 The smart SEOs didn’t plummet off the cliffs and took Google’s cues, focusing on the user and making changes for them. Onsite keyword research is no longer at the top of the priority list. In fact, it is the last priority when successful SEOs consider what it takes to rank well for what their users are looking for on the SERPs.

Nowadays, SEOs focus on user engagement, keeping the particular brand, product or service they are marketing in mind. Analytics performance, content creation and social media marketing perch at the top of the onsite optimization list.

Keywords haven’t completely disappeared, but when SEOs do focus on keywords, they think about the intent behind the keyword, the needs of the user and long tail keywords. In fact, we now know that at least seventy percent of search traffic comes from these longer queries.

Also See: Improving Your Site’s SEO Performance

Conversion rates and performance metrics count much more than keyword ranking.

The content on site actually provides real value to our audience rather than existing to be a tool to rank higher. The experts might not agree on much, but they will all tell you that content is now the core of any real SEO strategy today.

Finally, backlinks pointing back on site are used to boost the authority of the site. Backlinks are built through relationship building and quality content that actually gets shared.

Times have changed a bit for SEOs seeking to do onsite optimization. The focus is to provide a good experience for the user, quality content that is relevant to the intent of the searcher, and to form legitimate and trusted backlinks. Technology has spoken, and the successful marketers have complied.

  1. Yeah, i totally agree with you kristin, it was far easy in the past to get ranked, many of them just used the key words and the content was not up to the mark, but as time changed there started a huge competition in blogging, we have to really work very hard to get ranked, we have do backlinks, link building, proper relevant content and many other , but we are not sure that we get ranked, it was a nice article, thank you for sharing.

  2. I too agree with your points it was easy to rank in early days now its been changed a lot which we need to focus much quality as Google is updating more number of updates.We need to focus on Keyword research , content quality is must and in depth articles which works well now. We need to get links from authority sites and keyword shuffling need to be handled else will lead to spam between nice share