You often hear that SEO is always changing and you need to stay on top of it or you’ll get left behind. This is partially true. That’s why in Episode #3 of The SEO Life podcast I’ll be explain what’s changed SEO, what’s going to change in SEO, and lastly, what won’t change in SEO.

Let’s jump in.

First, let me explain what’s changed in SEO.

There are three core areas that have changed since I got started in SEO back in 2011.

Change #1 – Content Quality Standards

The first is content quality standards. Before Google’s Panda algorithm, you could rank with pretty much any garbage content you want as long as long as it was optimized for a target keyword. Quality didn’t matter much. This has changed dramatically.

The other big update that smashed low-quality content (mainly thin content) was the EMD update. This update targeted exact match domains that had low-quality or thin content. In short, it devastated many niche site builders who didn’t take content quality standards seriously.

There’s no other option at this point than to create quality SEO content and pages. It’s the bare minimum you need to compete in Google. Sure, you’ll find some low-quality pages ranking from time-to-time, but overall, the content quality across almost every vertical has improved as a whole.

Change #2 – User Experience (UX) Quality Standards

The second big change, which is more recent are User Experience (UX) Quality standards. Many website owners don’t take UX seriously, but they should. It doesn’t matter if you can rank well in Google if you searchers are bouncing of your website because of the poor user experience. Your user experience is what will determine whether they stay or go.

If the majority choose to bounce, then I can assure you Google is tracking this and it’s a negative signal against your website. I believe UX signals will become a larger part of the ranking equation overtime.

I’ll stop preaching, but you just need to take your site’s User Experience seriously because it will not only help your SEO performance but it’s a good business initiative as well because a strong user experience can increase your lead volume and sales.

Change #3 – Backlink Quality Standards

The other big change, which almost everyone knows about, is backlink quality standards. Back in the day, you could build pretty much any type of backlink and use aggressive keyword-rich anchor text and you would rank very quickly. This is NOT the case anymore.

In short, you need to try to get backlinks from websites that are relevant to yours and you need to use natural anchor text. Keep in mind that not every backlink needs to be a 100% match as far as relevancy. That’s why I created the concept of the Relevancy Pyramid to make this concept easier to understanding. Imagine placing each of your link prospects into a pyramid.

At the top of the pyramid, you have your most relevant link opportunities. For example, if you are a coffee business, then coffee blogs would be in this section. Since your pool of perfectly relevant opportunities will be limited, it’s at the smallest part of the pyramid, which is at the top. And you can imagine how the rest of this works.

Your link opportunities get less relevant as you go down the pyramid, but there are also more opportunities. I always focus my effort at the top and work my way down. In most cases, you’ll almost never get the bottom of the pyramid, which are going to be opportunities that are not relevant at all. One thing to keep in mind is that your link opportunities should be high-quality. Meaning, although the prospect may not be relevant, it should still be a legit website.

Okay, so those are three big factors that have changed in SEO. But now the question is: what’s going to change? Well, first, anyone that acts like they know what’s going to happen tomorrow, in a month, or in 5 years is purely speculation. No one knows what the future holds. But, there’s enough information and visible technological advances that can help make some educated guesses.

Study Voice Search and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

With that said, I believe the biggest change in the SEO world is voice search. Then when you pair that with Artificial Intelligence and you’re have quite the potent combination for disruption in the SEO world and world in general.

All I can say is to study voice search and AI. I will say my biggest concern as far as SEO is when Google has the capability of responding to a question or search query without needing any other resources. For example, let’s say someone searches “how to get rid of yellow mold from mulch”, which is a legit problem I’m dealing with at my house at the moment.

Any way, I predict that Google will eventually be to respond to this search query and it may be something like “According to MulchPros, you need to do X, Y, Z.”. Now this is amazing for users if they don’t even need to open a computer or even type on their phone. But it will murder organic search traffic. Any way, I don’t want to get too futuristic with this episode, but just take some time to study Voice Search and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Now the original question from this episode was is it true that SEO is always changing? Well, based on what I’ve said, it seems that way. Google’s algorithm is constantly changed and improving and companies like Google are bring new technologies to the marketplace. But let’s step back and think about the fundamentals.

Do you know the Phil Jackson, who’s considered to be one of the greatest professional sports coaches of time, used to make Michael Jordan practice bounce passes? Michael Jordan, the guy who eventually won six championships and is considered the greatest basketball of all time, practiceed bounce passes. Why? Because Phil Jackson wanted him to remember the fundamentals. SEO has fundamentals and these don’t change.

The funny part is that I’ve already mentioned them in this episode:

You need to create incredible content that solves your target audience’s problem BETTER than your competitor’s do.
You need to care about User Experience (UX) because it’s what keeps searchers on your website and what will eventually lead to conversions.
You need to focus on building relationships with people in your industry, which will eventually leads to relevant, high-quality backlinks.

Content, experience, and relationships. These are the core pillars of successful long-term SEO campaigns. Sure, backlinks in general may become less important in the future, but building relationships with people who have influence in your industry will always be a good use of time.

So, I think I’ll call it quits here. I hope you got some value out of this episode and please subscribe to get access to future episodes! Thank you so much for listening and we’ll talk soon.