4 Reasons Why SEO Is Getting Harder

4 Reasons Why SEO Is Getting Harder

Wearing my rose tinted glasses I was thinking the other day how easy SEO used to be a couple of years ago (obviously you had to know what you were doing!).

But as the amount of websites exploded search engines, and Google in particular, have responded by applying increasingly complex algorithms, such as Hummingbird, to improve search results, creating a “level playing” field, punishing SEO spammers while rewarding quality websites.

Now this does not mean SEO is dead, of course not, but it does mean practitioners have to be more alert and white hat, applying the new rules that Google et al want us to adhere to.

There are four specific evolvements that have made the art of SEO more challenging, so let’s take a look why SEO is getting harder…

Google Loves Money!

If you didn’t already know, the majority of Google’s revenue comes from advertising. This focus on “paid search” has made things tougher for those seeking to appear in organic search engine results which have always attracted more clicks from users.

Why SEO Is HardSEO specialists have always depended on Google Analytics for organic search insights, but the subject was oddly avoided at 2013’s Google Analytics Summit, which only reinforces the emphasis on paid search.

While Google continues to improve their Analytics, many of the reporting and calculations are related to paid advertising and the full picture of search performance has diminished. Keep reading and I will look at the “not provided” issue which highlights the problem.

Information and data are crucial to effective optimisation and management of a “user friendly” website in order to deliver noticeable results.

Google Has Stopped Providing

Secure search is now paramount at Google Towers. Up until the change anyone logged into a Google account that searched for a subject relating to your industry or product , would have their behaviour noted which could then be accessed via your websites analytics.

We could use this information to see what actual keyword phrases were used to find your site, golden nuggets of data, but no more.

In 2013 Google moved to a default secure search, the result being that over 90% of searched keywords were now hidden in Google Analytics as “(not provided)”

So what does this actually mean?

Reports reflecting behaviour related to search queries, such as keyword performance, were now unavailable to website owners and the SEO professionals they hired. This resulted in significantly less data to guide further optimisation and maximum performance. But don’t fret, it can still be found but requires a more savvy approach and, dare I say, a little more investment in a truly qualified SEO professional.

The New Look Search Results Page

I bet you haven’t noticed, but this month Google redesigned it’s search results page.

So what I hear you cry!

Well up until the change Google would place any “sponsored” results (paid advertising) on a pale yellow background so that it was obvious and separate from organic results.

They have replaced this with a yellow “Ad” icon which is much smaller in the context of the desktop display. On the mobile display it is more evident, but the practice has been implemented to promote more clicks on paid results in an attempt to shift historical user behaviour that prefers organic results over sponsored listings, I refer you back to my first point…

There Are SEO Providers And Then There Are SEO Providers…

Anyone professional that works within the digital space claims to have some level of expertise in SEO (especially web designers, ooh hush my mouth!). The market has become increasingly saturated with companies and individuals “claiming” to provide SEO expertise and services.

To the interested business this can be a problem as often they have little knowledge on how SEO really works which is why they are looking for help. They entrust their most visible brand to those claiming SEO expertise.

But often the reality is that many websites will be put at risk with detectable spammy practices that will be punished with significantly decreased traffic, performance reduction an, at worse, delisting from search engines.

Remember this…

A search engine algorithm does not care whether  bad SEO practices were intentional or unintended when ranking the website in their search results.

So there you have it, four pointers to understanding how the SEO horizon has changed and why any SEO professional worth their salt has to keep up with developments, reassess and implement to provide the  stellar service they claim to provide!

If you want further information or guidance on this subject, or would like a free SEO audit of your website, simply get in touch.

Find out more about the author John Wallace on Google+


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