Reevaluate your SEO and emerging data strategy

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Jeannette Kocsis
Jeannette Kocsis

Search engine optimization (SEO) veterans know that change happens. Sometimes it forces us to rethink our strategy, as well as scrutinize our website architecture and technology. Of course, change also affects the rules of SEO, which is centered on three intertwining elements:


n Infrastructure. There's no point in optimizing a website to hold your content if search engine spiders can't reach it. This need continues to evolve as technology vendors realize that their sales will decline if their software or services are not search engine friendly. SEO specialists look at infrastructure first, because not everyone has the most recent server architecture.


n Popularity. Links have factored into search engine algorithms for years, which has spurred opportunistic paid linking methods including link farming (creating link-filled pages). 


Social media holds an infinite opportunity for search, but search engines initially did not take social media into consideration. Links on sites such as Wikipedia did not count, and neither did all those Twitter and Facebook posts.


The head of Google's Web-spam team, Matt Cutts, revealed late last year that the search engine is beginning to include limited social links in its search rankings. Bing, too, is considering how often a link is tweeted and retweeted, in order to determine results.


n Content. Of course, content is still the "king" of search. Whether you're driving a search engine spider, encouraging people to tweet or linking, no one is going to care if the content isn't good or relevant. This critical element has never changed, and probably never will. If content is valuable to someone, they will link, share, tweet or post it.


Marketers should enable their visitors to share and spread the word socially. Companies may be judged by the content they post and share, and this appears to be developing into a more significant part of search algorithms. Alternatively, in today's environment, the decision to forgo a company blog, Twitter account or Facebook page must be based on a strong understanding of brand priorities.


The old adage, "The more things change, the more they stay the same" holds true. No matter how emerging media changes or how technology evolves, our behavior and SEO continue to depend on content. If we think it's good, we will share it, allowing customers and search engines to find it. Only the mechanisms will change.


Jeannette Kocsis is SVP of digital marketing for The Agency Inside Harte-Hanks. Reach her at jeannette_kocsis@harte-hanks.com.
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