December 27, 2010 | By:

Why Your Website Has Stopped Working For You

In an ever-changing world, it’s becoming more and more apparent that if a business stops evolving, it may as well just move out of the way. As a business’s online presence moves more and more to the forefront of what makes or breaks a company, it becomes increasingly impossible to escape the need to keep up with the competition who are getting more active in their digital marketing efforts.

With the introduction of Google’s new web indexing system, Google Caffeine, traditional search engine optimization as we know it is being redefined and changed. This can be a good or bad thing depending on how a business reacts to the change and how its online presence is currently optimized versus its competitors.

With Caffeine now in full-swing, many SEO “gurus” are being challenged, and have to reevaluate what they know about SEO and how it affects their customers. Newly developed Google algorithms have created some surprises for those who are used to traditional SEO practices. These people are finding that the previous generation of “tricks” are no longer working at all or are not working to the scale that they used to. One of these new changes is that older domain names will take precedence over newly registered ones. Another big change is that the time that it takes for a site to load is now a factor when Google is prioritizing search results. Those with a faster loading time will be indexed ahead of those with slower loading time. This creates an environment where flash based websites as well as sites with large images or unnecessary content may lose out to their competitors. Another consideration of site load time is where the site is physically hosted, how fast the data-center is, and how overloaded the server is. All of these factors now play a more important role than ever before.

Huge changes have also arrived with the way that search results now become tailored to the user. Google is creating a much more dynamic and rich way of showing results based on what it believes the user wants to see. The user’s IP address, previous searches, cookies and physical location are all taken into consideration and used to create a unique search experience for that specific user. This concept challenges the “We have to be #1″ goal of previous SEO endeavors.

The amount of activity on a business’ site has become another large factor that will help a site’s organic (non-paid) ranking. Sites that are consistently updated will always outrank sites that have been static and collected dust for long periods of time. A site that is updated shows a larger amount of activity and search results usually cater to sites that the search engine believes are more active, and therefore, more relevant. This factor creates an ideal environment for a business to use their blog as a major provider of keywords and activity, which can boost a site’s ranking. In a dynamic search environment, a blog is a great tool, providing constantly updated and highly relevant information. One of the keys to increasing organic ranking is to take ownership of one’s blog.

In light of all of these huge changes in Internet search, backlinks, or inbound links, remains one of the most important and reliable tools to maintain a higher ranking than the competition. A website which relies completely on organic search results and traditional SEO to bring in hits will see inconsistent traffic and traffic falloff as algorithms change and search engines progress into the future.

Lastly, one gold standard that must not be overlooked as a reliable source of increasing traffic to a site is to practice paid search engine marketing, or SEM, like Google AdWords. SEM is especially important for anyone who has just introduced a new name or website. It can help a company or site to instantly become more visible than competitors with minimal investment, if done correctly. This involves setting a daily budget and choosing specific keywords targeted at a particular area of interest. SEM can also help a company or website that is already well-established to increase its ranking. SEM is a major factor to consider and if implemented properly, can provide huge gains and ROI.

In the never-ending battle of site ranking, the fight becomes more and more challenging as search engine algorithms change. It is important to fully optimize a site with fast loading, quality content and not fully depend on old SEO tricks. Remember that traditional backlinking and SEM can greatly improve rankings. A site’s blog is also an incredibly powerful, user-friendly tool that can be used to update a site with news and relevant content to increase ranking and SEO. It is important for businesses to keep pace with the ever-changing trends in online marketing in order to remain relevant.

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