Search Marketing Industry - in a 'Make or Break' State
Everyone wants to be at the top of their game, and will go to any lengths for it. Then why blame SEOs (Search Engine Optimizers) who make the game more interesting, by introducing players you would not expect to find on the field. The thought worth pondering over is; when Google is asked a question, and it shows up results that don't quite make sense to you; it is natural to wonder what happened to the optimization of search results.
From time immemorial, Search Engine Marketers have followed the idea that companies need to hire them to increase a web site's rankings in the search engines. Higher rankings meant more traffic, which eventually would result in higher sales. In this equation, a search engine's most important source is the User. Search engines have evolved most rapidly in the last decade. That has happened to give higher quality results to any search query, and to keep SEO spammers from exploiting search results. Despite these two rules, SEOs have managed to find their way across with the help of small algorithmic rankings.
The primary tool Google used to ascertain the authenticity of a website was co-relating the keywords typed to the ones used on a webpage. But websites started stuffing the keywords on their pages, even if they made no sense. Google caught up with this trick and brought out the ban striker. But, not everyone can keep pace with the changing algorithm. They persist that clients adopt common-place optimization techniques like meta tags, keyword density, and directory submissions that won't get you on the top of a search engine ranking page.
Now, the search engines lay more emphasis on the links around the web. To them, a link is like a thumbs up. Getting a link from a prestigious and well known company is crucial, like Indiatimes or NYTimes. SEOs call this "link building" where a high quality content is either created and handed off to websites in exchange for a link (white hat SEO), or a link is paid for, without the need for content (black hat SEO). With these techniques of quality content and substantial links, a good SEO can put a website on the top 10 or 20 among search results.
But even more important than good links, is the user. Almost all search engines are focusing all their attention on the user; who is more difficult to manipulate than a computer-based algorithm. An individual's preferences are hard to predict and maneuver. Now links are not the only measure of relevancy and popularity, the internet has evolved and given access to human beings more than algorithms.
The unmitigated popularity of social media has also influenced search engine marketing. Google and Bing have confirmed that links shared through Twitter or Facebook directly affect search engine rankings. Even though there is a belief that it's the quality of a tweet or update that influences the SEO rankings, who's to say that someone can be prevented from buying a tweet from an influential person in the social sphere ? Yeah right; read the last statement again to believe it might be true.
Google is trying to get a step ahead, now by employing its newest weapon of Google Chrome. The extension allows users to block websites within results, which filters useless content. Matt Cutts, Head of Google's Webspam team, explained the extension in detail on their official blog. With the number of people using search engines, increasing by the second, it becomes tougher to manipulate content or website rankings for SEOs.
I say, high time it is for Search Engine Marketers to come up with something revolutionary. Till that time, there's not much choice left with lesser mortals like us to be spectators about it.