SEO Evolution: Past, Present and Future of Search Quality

Google Web Spam lead Matt Cutts draws mixed reactions in his post regarding their search quality results. This has been in relation to several complaints that Google is not doing enough in handling spam more specifically serving low-quality content farms in its result pages. Rand Fishkin also posted early December about anchor text spam and how the Google team is blindsidedly doing nothing about it.  

Of course you could game Google Rankings, but the question is, how do you play it without anybody noticing? The winner is he who plays the game discreetly…   - Jim Rey

Spam: Gaming Google Rankings

Another SEOmoz blog post sprang up regarding "organized spam" using automated KW anchored links from forums, blogs and hacked sites. This generated a lot of hype since the author cited of using spam for criminal activities (fake goods or no shipment at all) What's even more interesting is that the site has its ranking held up for about 6 months now without Google taking appropriate action. It's only a matter of time before these sites get de-listed in search engine index.

Of course you could game Google Rankings, but the question is, how do you play it without anybody noticing? The winner is he who plays the game discreetly, sticking his rankings virtually forever in the results or until his competitors figure out the trick under his sleeves.

Demand: Better Search Quality

I may tend to agree to some points but Google is still the best search engine out there. It is obvious that the SEO community is catching up faster than Google's top-notch engineers; otherwise we would have not heard any of these distress calls. Clearly, developing and updating new search algorithm is a lot more complex compared to gaming its own search results. The internet community has huge expectations, but the least we could say is "thanks and don't be evil". 
 
As the netopia's demands of better results increments, perhaps it’s time for a new "Google" to step up. A group of new people to revolutionize the digital world just as much Yahoo started search, then Alta Vista.. then Google. Would there be a smooth transition? How would SEO professionals respond to a god-like search algorithm serving the best search results possible? Let us try to examine the evolution of SEO. What has been, what is now and what will become of search quality..
 
The new technology which Tim Berners-Lee developed was on a brink of collapse just five years later. Finding good results was very frustrating that anyone who won't end up in "porn" or "gambling" sites for his homework research is lucky.    -  Jim Rey

THE Past: The Age of Meta Tags

There was once a time where search engines are totally dependent on On-page elements, particularly meta tags. Metas are html sections specifically catered for search spiders. Search results were very easy to manipulate that Info seek, AltaVista, Lycos and other search engines that time are filled with spam.
 
The new technology which Tim Berners-Lee developed was on a brink of collapse just five years later. Finding good results was very frustrating that anyone who won't end up in "porn" or "gambling" sites for his homework research is lucky. Some were making big $$ hits while others are hopelessly seeing it slowly fall in ruins.
 
It was not then long that Inktomi, started a radical idea of using off-page factors such as anchor text to score results. An on-going and similar research study in Stanford by two young PhD students later perfected the idea, using the complex interconnection of the web, in the form of links, to cater the best results. 
 

The Present: Rise of the So-called SEO Experts

Links are the primary recipe served in any ranking site's SEO dish. The mouth-watering thought of links equals traffic, traffic equals money, and links equals MONEY is very tempting,..so we go ahead and outsource so-called "SEO Experts" from the far east.
 
I have several colleagues who market themselves as "expert" just knowing the "Basic SEO Concept" that Google rankings can be achieved by high PR KW-anchored backlinking. Simply said, anyone who knows how to use the computer can do SEO. Their services are nothing exceptional:
·         Forum posting
·         Comment posting
·         Article submission
·         Profile Linking
·         Social bookmarking
The same SEO Experts are dubbed by site owners and forum moderators as "Spammers". These people are on a mission of building text links for their buyers which are mostly deliverable on a tight schedule. This forces them to post low quality (spammy) comments.
 
But, do we really need SEO Link building experts to help promote our money sites to draw more search engine traffic? For some, especially for those with limited SEO knowledge, yes. Does this work? Yes, this is how the game is played and for now, its working. With this coarse method, sooner or later your competitors would be eager to check your links and file a Google spam report with an evil grin.
 
What site owners would be looking forward is how to establish topical authority by virtue of content not links.

The Future: Topical Authority and Content

This is how Google defines the best results. Anyone with a query would love a relevant content coming from topical authority. Thing is, Google is highly dependent on their prized "PageRank" algorithm to measure authority.
 
Time will come when Google or some upcoming PhD math whiz will come up with a revolutionary idea of quantifying authority. Search results will only issue out age old domains or verified topical authority. A time in which the link building game will no longer play a vital role in SEO. A time in which site owners will be requiring experts in each field to write content instead of outsourcing for a $5 article. What site owners would be looking forward is how to establish topical authority by virtue of content not links. Instead of analyzing competing links, practitioners would be more concerned of gathering trends, researching and writing the best content.
 
Soon, a search for dog training will not brought up a review or "secrets" site with several affiliate redirects to squeeze sale pages which are set up by a 35-yr old affiliate marketer who knows nothing about "dog training". This search would instead brought up sites by actual professional dog trainers offering free tips online.
 

Preparation: The Wise Practitioner

This evolution of SEO is an eye-opener. We learn that each stage have different levels of filtering out the best of quality for search results. We can't go back and optimize for the past. We can't chase the present with every day changes. It is best to prepare for the future and be ready to face on what lies ahead.
 
As each day advances, I call forth unto you to claim quality content.. for this is where the future of SEO will lead us. It is not now, but we are slowly getting there.

Related posts:

  1. How to Rank in Google Place Results
  2. Yahoo-Bing Search Update & the Best Linkdomain Replacement
  3. Introduction: A Research Study on Exact vs Anchor Text Variation in Links
  4. Findings: A Research Study on Exact vs Anchor Text Variation in Links
  5. Finding the Most Relevant Contact for Link Request

This is a DoFollow blog. Comments providing helpful insights are highly encourage. Please don't spam. Thanks!

  1. Hi its very nice tips. SEO persons must have to see this article…

  2. Finally a dofollow blog in my director. Thanks for the good content.

  3. A great article. Once again ,like every SEO article should, it points down to the same mantra:
    content
    and backlinks

  4. I think future belong to "Content to Person linked contents" . it means content with no real author will never get top even with back links and rich keywords.

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