In the past two years, SEO and the digital marketing industry in general, have changed drastically. The standards for determining high-quality SEO have totally shifted and what worked before doesn't necessarily work anymore and can in fact even hurt your efforts at World Wide Web domination.
For example, where adding keywords to meta tags and getting directory links to your site once sufficed, it can now actually hurt your website's rankings. Recent algorithm updates by Google, such as the release of Hummingbird and several changes made to Penguin, reveal that the search giant is aiming to have its bots look at a website in the same manner that its users would.
This is great news for sites that are producing awesome, useful content for their site visitors.
Once upon a time, not very long ago, the job of an SEO was to make a website attractive to two very different parties: users and search engine spiders. Spiders liked keywords, users liked content. The trick was in figuring out how to stuff a good amount of your targeted keywords within one 300-word piece of content, while still managing to keep it intriguing for your users. Google will now almost always penalize you for this type of content strategy.
Like your site visitors, Google is now interested in intriguing content. But there isn't currently a shortage of talented freelance writers who are happy to do the work at a low cost, so anyone can produce great content and upload it onto a webpage.
So the key now, for the SEO world, is found in creating a powerful network of content and leveraging every corner of the web to spread the word and garner eyes for your content.
In a landscape where content is produced and published at mind boggling rates, accomplishing this task requires utilizing another component of SEO whose prominence is growing rapidly: link building. Keep in mind, however, that link building does not carry the same definition that it did two or three years ago. While in the past, a few guest posts and a long list of directory submissions might go a long way in boosting your search rankings, today that practice will more than likely hurt your website rankings.
Below is an image of an optimal linking strategy.
In today's SEO world, content and web presence are the keys to success. The more domains your content appears on and the more people interact with that content, the greater the chance that your site will appear in Google's search results. With this being said, creativity in the types of content you create and how you choose to network and get eyes on that content is key.
Google likes to give extra brownie points to those who employ never-before-used linking tactics that offer added value to the reader (or viewer) of your content.