Organic SEO Ain’t What It Used To Be, Part III

Review: Part I was all about Google’s algorithm changes since 2009 and what SEO was like, in brief, before those changes happened. (“Stuff keywords, build backlinks, rank anything.”) Part II was all about what those three practices look like today (“ignore keywords, earn backlinks, rank only the highest-quality sites.”) Today, we’re going to talk about the new parts of organic SEO; the things that 2009 couldn’t even imagine.

Social Media in SEO

It’s not that Facebook wasn’t around in 2009. So was Twitter. But at the time, the SEO world only saw social media as good for public relations and the occasional backlink. The idea that maybe one day Google would use social mentions as a ranking signal was a pipe dream. Today, not only do we know that the first few weeks of a page’s SERPs are almost dictated by social media, we also understand that, in many ways, SEO and public relations are becoming one in the same thing. Which means that not only is finely honed social media skill a key part of dominating the content marketing game, it’s a fine part of organic SEO as a whole.


The Drive For Constant Content

‘Freshness’ is related to the social media switchover as well, because — to keep it simple — for those first few weeks when social media is at its most relevant and other factors haven’t really kicked in yet, Google gives every page a ‘bonus.’ That freshness bonus helps the page rank significantly higher than normal, but it fades every day unless social media mentions keep coming in. (Normally, if a piece of content is powerful enough to keep getting social media attention after about a week, it will also prove to be powerful enough to earn backlinks on its own as well.) But because no one can really know ahead of time what will earn that kind of attention, the drive from SEO people is to produce new content regularly so that there’s always something you’ve put out there that is benefit from the freshness bonus and thus earning you some attention somewhere.


There’s a third element that here — the element of ‘search engine grammar’ — that is also new since 2009, at least to the understanding of the SEO world. But it’s complex enough that it deserves its own post. Check back in the next couple of weeks, and we’ll tell you all about it.