SEO Trends: What’s In, What’s Out?

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Enhancing your search engine optimization results used to be relatively simple. You’d research some keywords, write some blogs or articles featuring the keywords you selected, and then develop an aggressive back-linking campaign by posting these articles to other sites, especially sites like EzineArticles.com, with links pointing back to your site. If you still think this is all there is to SEO, you’ve been left in the dust by your competitors.

SEOmoz recently surveyed 112 industry experts about what SEO trends are being supported by search engines and what methods are having lackluster results. According to the report, keyword-stuffing and back-linking are the fastest-declining trends in search engine optimization.

Methods that are seeing better results revolve around social media and user engagement. Search engines are looking more and more toward social media signals, for instance, the number of likes, comments, and sharing. These signals are influencing rankings both at a domain level, globally improving every page’s search engine results, and at a page level, bumping content with significant sharing to the top of the search engine results page.

Better user interface design, including additional forms of content like videos, is showing marked improvements to search engine optimization. Search engines prefer sites capable of keeping visitors clicking around different pages in your site and those on which visitors stay on individual pages for longer periods of time. Videos are a good way to keep the time spent on a page high, but longer content, with hyperlink references to other pages on your site interspersed, is effective as well.

Other SEO trends seeing decreases in ranking factors are paid links, even on Google’s own AdWords program. It used to be the case that purchasing AdWords links would also add some points to your organic search engine results, but many experts are reporting that they’re not seeing the kind of results from this that they used to.

Google also negatively penalizes sites that over-engage in antiquated search engine optimization. Using too many keywords or creating too many backlinks has the potential to slap you with a penalty from Google, typically reducing your ranking on the search engine results page by 6 places.

Google’s overarching goal is to develop a search engine that makes its searchers happy, and to do this, it’s relying more heavily on signals from social media and user engagement data, rather than the methods that search engine optimization experts traditionally used.