What you need to know about SEO in 2009

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  • March 13, 2008
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

Have you ever noticed that by the time a search engine optimisation strategy becomes widely used it has become largely useless?

If so then you might also have noticed that early adopters of certain techniques benefit from “grandfathering” of the effects of the strategies while newcomers are unable to see the same benefits.

For example a site that exchanged links 5 years ago now sees good rankings because of these links while anybody building similar links this year will not see anywhere near the same effects. The same applies to article and web directory links, paid links and almost any other link you can think of.

By the time most people start using a strategy it has stopped working. Early adopters usually get to keep the positive effects of the technique (sometimes as a result of self reinforcing authority) while those just learning about the strategy end up chasing their tails.

How can we learn from this?

The key is to start using SEO strategies before they become popular. The only way to do this is to either take a very lucky guess at what signals Google might use in the future (such as bookmarks) OR to try as many aggressive organic marketing strategies as possible in the hope that some might work.

Google has been using PageRank for years and there can be no doubt that within the next 18 months social data will start to become more integrated with the natural search results. Google already uses personalised search so they are building up a history of the sites you like and the sites you don’t. If Google buys Digg, del.icio.us or Facebook this dataset is going to become huge.

What can we do?

  • Create ideas that can spread & encourage users to spread them
  • Become the viral marketing leader in your niche
  • Build a presence on social networks such as Facebook
  • Encourage your users to bookmark your sites in browsers & on web services
  • Use buttons to let users share by email
  • Increase the number of RSS users
  • Build links from socials sites, forget about nofollow

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