Much has been made in recent months of the “death” of search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the practice of including certain keywords on a web page, both in the content you see and read as well as in the hidden “meta-content” that only search engines like Google see. In the past, it was possible to pack this content with keywords and links that would get the search engine to think that a page was an authoritative source on whatever keyword(s) it targeted.
Now, however, articles like this one along with our own experience tell us that Google has changed the game. The focus now is on Online Audience Optimization, which is about making a page relevant to the way people engage with content online. So does this mean that all the work we’ve done in the past on SEO is completely useless? Absolutely not, because we’ve always done it the right way, instead of simply cheating the system like many others. Here are three reasons why this is no reason to panic (at least if you’re a Capra client):
Search engines still care what a page is about. If there is relevant content on the page, that still matters to Google. Meta tags and things like that still matter, but if the content is good, which something we’ve always emphasized, you’re still a step ahead.
There’s now more of a focus on making the audience care. If you’ve been following along, you know that we’re all about care. It’s important to know your audience and understand what they care about. If you engage them in that way, they’ll be more likely to engage with you.
Along those lines, it’s important to find ways to get your audience to engage – whether through an active discussion/comment community, gamification or just really kickass content, having people spend more time on your site is what really appeals to Google nowadays. Luckily, this is also something we’ve always encouraged our clients to do, so no one should be particularly worried.
The experts may want to give it a fancy new name, but OAO is just the next evolution of SEO, and it’s one that we and our clients are prepared for. The real question is, are you prepared too?