Google’s recent algorithm changes point to a more organic, natural results page. And that can only happen by assuring there’s a person behind the content.

Is Google killing off-page SEO? I believe, at-large, the search engine is doing just that.

To explain my assertion, let me first tell you about my relationship with search engine optimization and how I came be educated about the industry.

Years ago, as a freelance copywriter, I wrote for various print publications. Sometimes being given credit, other times, ghostwriting. In the mid to late 1990′s, assignments began listing certain instructions not previously included. Instructions like repeating the key phrase “x” number of times and making sure it was in the title as well as one of the subheadings.

I didn’t know what keywords were, so I had to find out. What the online publications were doing was the first form of Web 1.0 search engine optimization. Repeat a keyword often enough and that was considered to be advantageous.

Of course, over the years, that changed and assignments had other instructions related to making the copy more search friendly. And in order to have my assignments accepted, I had to comply. Moreover, I wrote content for website designers and they always told me to do this and that. Little did I know that I was learning SEO in the process. In retrospect, I amassed a great deal of knowledge being on the front lines, so-to-speak.

The Assault on SEO

Let’s talk about the last few years, in particular, about the world of organic search. Google has made a number of large changes to their algorithms. These changes, the search engine repeatedly states, is to better serve their customers. And that’s unarguably true.

Big G and Bing wouldn’t stay in business if their products did not deliver results–forgive the double entendre. No business stays in business if it doesn’t do business according to its customers’ needs. And search is no exception to that inescapable rule.

Like any other business, the search engines can be victimized by unscrupulous parties. And for years, there have been individuals and companies which exploit certain aspects of their algorithmic signals in order to gain higher organic ranking. Those exploits haven’t gone unnoticed and are being corrected in an aggressive fashion–that’s the effective killing of most off-page SEO.

The New Way of Optimizing for Search

The proof is in the pudding, or rather the Panda. And that is the basis for my declaration. So, let’s go through a short list of the moves taken by the world’s largest search platform which bolsters my predication.

  • Keyword density is useless, if not outright harmful. Repeating key phrases does nothing, if not annoy readers. And keyword stuffing, now penalized explicitly by the Penguin update, is an invitation to trouble.
  • Quality content is rewarded now more than ever. Panda was released in February of 2011. Its central aim was to rid Google’s index of “low quality” sites. And it did just that. Social media and news organizations benefited most, while sites thick with ad copy dropped dramatically–the conclusion is obvious.
  • Related search terms are a must. SEO teams refer to it as “Latent Semantic Indexing” or “LSI”. And when all the fancy jargon is set-aside, it means people intuitively search with different terms for essentially the same product or service.
  • A name and face to go with content is being required. Google Authorship isn’t a suggestion, it’s a necessity. Simply put, it identifies a real person is creating the copy.
  • Keyword laden domains no longer have an advantage. The EMD update might not have affected a ton of sites, but it closed the loophole from the day it went into action.
  • Every Google account subscriber is asked to sign-up for Google Plus. The search engine weighed-up social shares last year and downgraded backlinks; that’s not a coincidence.

Repost from:

written by:

Owen E. Richason IV