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The shifting sands of SEO – things that have always held true

SEO has changed a lot over the last 20 years or so. There was a time when search engines as we know them did not exist; instead, if you wanted to find content online, you were forced to use a command line ‘gopher’ to trawl the web for references to your keyword.

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Human-curated web directories with more user-friendly interfaces then surfaced, followed by the merger of keywords and friendly interfaces to produce the early search engines. At this stage it was easy to cheat the system; for example, if someone wanted to trick a search engine into believing that their page was about ‘SEO in Northern Ireland’, all they had to do was include this keyphrase.

Search changes, but the basics remain the same

The main search engines have put a lot of effort into figuring out ways to stay ahead of spammers; however, even as they have become more sophisticated and included more ways to determine what a page is about and whether it is high quality, some things remain the same.

Companies such as Northern Ireland SEO agency Ryco Web know that quality, keywords and technical SEO will always matter. Technical SEO is the act of making sure that your page loads, is well formatted and does not have broken links. Backlinks − as much as Google wants to deemphasise them − will always be important.

Keywords are the guiding force

Keywords are as important today as they were more than a decade ago, although they are used in a different way. In the past simply including the keyword on the page was enough; however, this is no longer the case. You now need to write great content that includes the keyword in more than one place, with this keyword surrounded by other keywords from a similar context.

Google has become accomplished at understanding content and determining whether it is good quality; in addition, it can parse text well enough to spot content that is spun, auto-generated or copied. Your content must be unique, valuable, and serve a purpose to the end user. Writing for the search engines rather than for your users was never a great idea and is an even worse idea now than it was back in the late 90s. Your visitors should rule your every thought.

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