This year makes 10 years that I personally have been optimizing sites. That being said it also marks a point where SEO is becoming a flooded market with every Joe Schmoe able to be an SEO professional and every large SEO firm hiring every Tom, Dick and Harry, not that I do not like large SEO firms, as SEO Image is on its way to being one. Nor does one need 10 years of experience, seeing as I had clients ranking in Top spots in 1999, however the SERPS were different then and so was SEO.
So here’s my recap and mini-trend info based on how I see it having 10 years of excessive hands-on experience (Yes, that means I still work on client sites) ranking clients for numerous extremely competitive terms.
SEO In The late 90’s
90% on-page SEO 10% link popularity, although most traffic in the 90’s came because we linked and traded links freely with related sites because that was a good percentage of the traffic most sites received then. Less can from search and banner ads were abundant.
SEO in the Early 2000’s
On Page SEO making 40% Link Popularity 60% probably more. The dawn of link popularity as being more important that on-page work, which included many sites interlinking and using subdomains. Large firms and companies that had all their client banned for creating interlinked networks that included hundreds of their clients. Also the dawn of shady SEO firms and tactics.
SEO in the Mid 2000’s
75% Link Popularity about 25% On-Page depending on the industry. The dawn of Social Media sites and people who seem to have endless time to socialize online. Search empowers more businesses and replaces the Yellow Pages in many households. Google triumphs over its competitors.
SEO In the Late 2000’s
80% link popularity, some cases 90%, about 20% on-page SEO dependent on the industry and the competition. SEO is mainstream and many sites are using it. Link building surges and links become a commodity and are brokered. The PageRank toolbar looses much of its value for ranking purposes but is still in existence for public viewing.
As social media sites get spammy and offer less original content, they may get devalued, after all, if you shopped online this past holiday season you probably found it hard to find retailers under the flood of price comparison sites and blogs that all review the same products. Regional control and browser based search results (via cookies) will all control the search results (see the next post). Link popularity will still be a heavy practice, but the valuation will make it even more complex as new algorithms and link determination factors will be utilized. On-Page will have more value and site size will be less important. Informational sites may loose value in comparison to exact match sites and sites that are NOT blogs with reviews of everything under the sun. Category (relationship) based search engine optimization will be integrated further and higher valued. Superior conversion based pay per click management will be more important.