As search engine optimization has continued to evolve throughout the years, it has become an increasingly nuanced and precise discipline. With the rise of social media and the instant communication of Twitter, as well as the more precise analytics, SEO has had to modify itself to keep up. As this constant modification speeds up with the speed of online commerce, changes to the system invariably accelerate and become faster and faster.
The search engine optimization metrics that mattered in 2009 simply do not matter in 2011. The Google Panda update fundamentally changed the way in which search was conducted, and got rid of a number of black hat techniques overnight such as keyword stuffing, listing sites in bogus directories, as well as many other spammy techniques. However, there was still backlash from how to sites and wikis, who claimed that they were unfairly punished.
In response, Google, always the leader in the field of search engine algorithms, came out with the Freshness update in 2011, and also switched its infrastructure to a "caffeine" infrastructure, which allowed it to crawl and index web sites much faster than it had been doing. The combination of these two updates, caffeine and Freshness, changed SEO metrics yet again.
Below are the search engine optimization metrics that are the most important metrics in 2011.
– Unique social actions
Search engine optimization has been intrinsically linked with social media interaction. The major search engine algorithms, led by Google, view activity on social web sites as extremely high value, as it is the most difficult type of activity to fake.
You can expect even more increased relevance on social media activity as Google attempts to merge its Google+ social media platform in with its search engine results, giving each person their own personalized search engine results based on the recommendations of their social networks.
– Outside links
Outside links have always been an extremely important part of search engine optimization; however, the algorithm always seems to get tweaked with every algorithm update. Currently, types of links that matter the most are definitely one way links. One way links from high page rank pages are worth even more, and the highest links come from social media pages. However, you cannot have a number of links all from the same webpage or from pages with drastically different keywords from you, or your ranking will actually go down.
Keywords are very important both within the website and in the anchor text of the links that are pointing to the website. Although keywords can no longer be stuck onto a webpage, they can be used effectively to create a better optimized page by placing them strategically on the page and within the anchor text links that are pointing to that page. A new strategy that works well for keywords is to use variations in synonyms of around a specific keyword phrase. Search engine algorithms can pick up on these related words and will assign a webpage a higher rank if it has a number of different variations on a keyword.
– Site visits
Although the pure raw number of visitors to your website is a much lower metric than it was, it is still quite an important metric for determining the popularity of the website. What is also important these days is where that website traffic comes from. If it comes from websites that are related to yours, it is treated with much greater respect on the search engines than if it comes from places that are obviously not related to your website.