2001: A Crazy Search Landscape Via Bruce Clay’s classic search engine relationship chart: http://www.bruceclay.com/serc_histogram/histogram.htm
The Algorithm: (Keyword Use + Anchor Text) X PageRank Simpler times. Spammier times, too.
SERPs All Looked Like This: Via Google’s 10th Birthday post: http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/09/google-time-machine-web-in-2001.html
SEO Meant a Few Fundamentals Make good content, make it accessible, target the right keywords… That was pretty much it!
And a Lot of Link Building Links were pretty much everything once you got a crawlable, keyword-targeted page set up.
Or, More Often, Link Spamming Even I bought some of these back in the day…
Fast Forward 7 Years Google celebrated the year with a TCP/IP protocol reference: http://blogoscoped.com/archive/2008-01-01-n53.html
Google’s Dominating Via http://searchengineland.com/comscore-new-google-high-new-yahoo-microsoft-lows-though-both-rise-in-raw-searches-13784
Local/Maps is on the Rise Matt McGee charted the astounding rise of Google Maps/Local starting in 2008: http://www.smallbusinesssem.com/charting-the-undeniable-growth-of-google-maps/1046/
There’s a Few New Protocols The Sitemaps.org homepage literally hasn’t changed since February of 2008!
But Not Much Else Has Changed In early 2009, I wrote a post about the shift in importance of algorithmic factors at Google: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-googles-rankings-algorithm-has-changed-over-time-
Or This: Personalization and social sharing dominate the page because I’m logged in.
There’s Rich Snippets & Schema.org There’s a good post by Rich Baxter on Schema here: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/schemaorg-a-new-approach-to-structured-data-for-seo
Rel=Author Good advice on how to get it set up here: http://www.blindfiveyearold.com/how-to-implement-rel-author
Video Results Google on how to create video XML sitemaps and appear in these results: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=80472
And Social Annotations Not only are the results annotated with the share / social data; they also outrank the top result
SERPs Are Almost Always Personalized Search history, social networks, previous clicks and more impact personalization + rankings
And Geographically Biased, Too Geography impacts both search result ordering and search suggestions/instant
Search Barely Requires Typing BTW – I tried this same search from Portland vs. Yoder, and “Fox News” is not a top suggestion, but “Firefox “and “Fred Meyer” both are
Misspellings are a Thing of the Past A few years back, there would be entire sessions at conferences on SEO for misspellings
Instant Answers are Everywhere Google even offered instant answers as to the sexual orientation of celebrities: http://gawker.com/5844769/google-will-now-tell-you-which-celebrities-are-gay (but the feature appears to have been removed)
The Algorithm Has Changed, Too Check out Dr. Pete’s Algorithm History guide: http://www.seomoz.org/google-algorithm-change
We Had Vince Aaron Wall did some excellent analysis on Vince here: http://www.seobook.com/google-branding
And May Day Barry Schwartz summarized the impact as described by Matt here: http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/022293.html
And, of Course, Panda Some good analysis from Cyrus Shephard here: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/beat-google-panda
Brands Can Now Dominate Entire Pages Nothing but Apple.com from top to bottom
Some are Dominated by Google Itself http://www.seobook.com/google-eats-their-organic-search-results
Social is on the Rise Like Never Before Via http://searchengineland.com/top-internet-activities-search-email-once-again-88964
In Social, Fragmentation Appears Certain Users: 50mm 750mm 200mm 120mm 10mm Users: 14mm Millions 14mm 6.5mm This growth is a big reason why I’ve changed my tune on social media marketing and now strongly endorse it for almost every business: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/everyone-should-hire-social-media-experts
Are You Working w/ An Organization that Believes and Invests in Inbound Marketing? Poor Fox Mulder. He just never believed in video recording or photography.
Where Does Search Live in Your Funnel? Via http://www.bigpictureweb.com/blog/2011/8/29/ten-ways-to-show-inbound-marketing-roi-with-multi-channel-fu.html
Where Does SEO Live in Your Process? A few representational org charts via http://www.bonkersworld.net/organizational-charts/
What are Your Competitive Marketing Advantages? The day I got the NES advantage joystick was the day I beat Contra. Because auto-fire on the “B” button was essential to winning that game.
#1: Product http://thinkgeek.com ‘s positioning and product selection naturally intersect with a sharing-heavy demographic, creating a virtuous cycle of inbound marketing.
#2: Community At http://etsy.com the community powers the marketing of the brand, including the linking and sharing critical to great SEO + social media reach.
#3: Content The http://blog.okcupid.com blog does a fantastic job sharing useful and interesting content – that’s helped them earn #1 rankings for incredibly tough terms like “online dating.”
#4: Distribution By aggregating jobs from across the web and powering thousands of job boards, http://simplyhired.com has built a remarkable presence web-wide.
Where Does SEO Live in Your Process? If SEO isn’t part of the process, you’ll always be playing catch-up and begging for resources to fix problems rather than executing as you develop and innovating.
How Will You Measure and Improve? Via http://www.conversationmarketing.com/2011/09/automated-seosocial-reporting-using-google-spreadsheets-an-example.htm
#1: Data as Content Marketing Tons of great examples via Kelly Ford’s blog post: http://kellynford.com/2011/09/27/marketing-your-startup-with-a-steady-drumbeat-of-data/
#1: Data as Content Marketing While Kelly shows lots of good ways to use your growth/financial/metrics data, I also love using user/habit/trend data like http://blog.last.fm/2010/12/16/the-data-behind-best-of-2010
#2: Video Content + SERP Visuals For a brief time, SEOmoz held the top 3 spots for “learn seo,” and the video result in position #3 actually earned more traffic/clicks than the top 2 combined.
#2: Video Content + SERP Visuals Getting a video snippet simply requires embedding a video on the page (though standard YOUTube embeds don’t work) and submitting a video XML sitemap file. We use http://wistia.com which is awesome for this.
#3: Thought Leadership + Rel=Author Who needs to rank #1 when you can earn better traffic than the top ranking sites w/ a photo?!
#4: Social Networks for Personalized Rankings Last year, Google used Facebook, Friendfeed, Twitter, Quora and several other social networks to show connected content. Today, it’s nearly impossible to find something socially annotated that’s not through Google+
#4: Social Networks for Personalized Rankings More on this: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/social-annotations-in-search-now-your-social-network-rankingsYou can see your socially connected data via http://www.google.com/s2/search/social?hl=en#socialcontent
#4: Social Networks for Personalized Rankings Create Share-Worthy Content Share Socially Win the Internet Earn Rankings Boost More Searchers Biased to Seeing Your Stuff Get Natural Links through Visibility Network Amplification Grows Reach Earn More Social Followers Growing your social network and sharing socially creates a virtuous cycle of marketing/influence.
#5: Link Building w/ Your Social Followers Tactic via Wil Reynolds of SEER Interactive: http://www.seerinteractive.com/blog/using-twitter-and-backlinks-to-build-links/2011/07/28/ http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html
#5: Link Building w/ Your Social Followers You can use Klout or Followerwonk scores (or just follower counts) to order the results
#5: Link Building w/ Your Social Followers Use vLookup in Excel with the Linkscape API to see if they’re linking to you yet How to: http://www.distilled.net/blog/seo/getting-started-with-the-free-linkscape-api/
#5: Link Building w/ Your Social Followers Engage w/ or reach out to sites you want links from This tactic can also be applied to blog commenters, email list subscribers and any social network where you can export a list of your friends/followers
#6: Long Tail SEO via Gamification http://quora.com has been highly effective with this, as have http://stackexchange.com, http://dribbble.com, and even Moz’s own http://www.seomoz.org/q
#7: PR through Social Outreach Starting a relationship over social media is easy and it leads to great press coverage surprisingly fast. Recent example from Moz: http://www.geekwire.com/2011/postit-wars-part-space-invaders-attack-pine-street
#8: Viral-Worthy Content via Q+A Research Places like http://answers.yahoo.com, http://quora.com, http://answers.com, virtually any web forum (http://boardreader.com is a good way to find them) and even Google Suggest are good for this.
#9: Influence Search Suggest through Branding You can see the original experiment here: https://plus.google.com/111294201325870406922/posts/BJJyt6rZ5Ku
#10: Leverage Thought Leaders to Build Content Via http://blog.folyo.me/post/10723370923/how-much-does-a-website-cost The concept is simple; identify leading influencers in your space, recruit them to contrbute something small, perhaps just a few survey answers, then aggregate and share the data. They’ll help it spread.