How the SEO game has changed completely

Anup Batra


Rand Fishkin Demystifies SEO at Emetrics, San Francisco

I was at Emetrics in San Francisco yesterday along with attendees from Google, Dell, Oracle and a number of digital marketers. I found Rand Fishkin’s presentation style sensational and gained powerful insights on the evolution of SEO and Social Media Marketing over the years.

Rand showed us how five to six years back, if a website had relevant content and managed to get a high number of quality links, they would make it to the top of the Search Rank Positions.  This, however, has undergone a major change. Content and Links still remain important, but Google has now introduced a variety of new rules to the game, making it fun for the SEO community and getting more love from the users. There are three things that I thought stood out from Fishkin’s presentation:


(1)  According to Fishkin, engagement is the new rule across all digital marketing platforms. If your website is about yourself and you haven’t thought through the questions the customer has in mind, your chances of making it to the top of Google are very low. However if your website provided people with answers they are looking for, besides just selling the product/service, you will get a better outcome. These answers are often available on Google Trends, the queries we get found for on the Google Search Console (Previously webmaster tools), google analytics data and google keyword planner (an AdWords tool). On Facebook, quality trumps quantity and doing research on how your own Facebook fans behave, along with the behaviour of Facebook fans on other sites in your industry reveals clear data on what your audience looks for.


(2)  Fishkin titled his presentation “Don’t let them hit the back button” in reference to when they land on your website, mobile site or your social sites. There are a number of reasons people hit the back button. An interesting reason he pointed out was that if you ask them for their information as soon as they land, you are asking for a commitment too soon. Visual Content, Interactive tools and a simplified visitor journey reduces the people who leave your website and go away and this can improve your position dramatically on the Search Results, where the difference between being on page 2 and top of page 1 can be enormous.


(3) Fishkin talked about how in the past Google used to eschew machine learning for organic searches but has now started using it after discovering over many years that the best way to work with a variety of content and make meaning of it is to use algorithms that make algorithms. He gave an example of how for Google to find out that there is a “cat” on your homepage used to be for you to label it as a “cat” in your atl tags. Now with Machine learning, the algorithm automatically understands that when a creature like a cat exists on a number of websites, it would look like this. So even if we don’t label the “cat”, the algorithm itself has gathered the ability to do so.


What this means for search is that the future of SEO is all about making your website attractive, engaging and interactive for the users, and a lot of low end work that SEO community had to do will be eliminated. It is the true emergence of natural SEO, which is data and insight driven and not manipulative.

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