Let me prefix this by saying that I am not a Search Engine Optimization Expert. I'm also not an active Search Engine Marketer. I do know the search space. I worked for many years at one of the first search engines, I have extensive understanding of the industry and its history, I have read The Google Story and The Search (both fine reads) and I'm deeply entrenched in watching search results and how they've changed over the years. I've even spoken a handful of times at Search Engine Strategies conferences in Toronto.
I don't have a gripe with people who do search engine optimization or search engine marketing - they are valuable allies (and I have many friends in the space). I would welcome people like Andrew Goodman from PageZero and the author of Winning Results With Google AdWords or Chris Moore from SearchAnyway to chime in with their insights.
When I first started Blogging in late 2003, I started to notice that the more content I Blogged about the higher up in Google search engine results certain keywords would appear. By early 2005 I was convinced that I could get almost any two to three word keyphrase to the top five position in Google's organic search results in under forty-eight hours (with the caveat that this was not a highly competitive term or one for the adult or gaming verticals).
In the past couple of months, I've noticed another shift. It's getting harder and harder to get top-level positioning with a Blog posting.
I'm starting to think that the tubes are clogged.
My guess is that both companies and search engine experts realized that Blogs do possess several of the key elements that search engine ranking algorithms liked and that by creating a Blog and stacking it with fresh content, constantly updated and strategically linked all backed with web design that was SEO-friendly would be a far easier route than trying to optimize a standard website. Couple that with the social media insanity - where everyone and, literally, their cat can and do have a Blog - and the real state of search engine optimization is going to be facing some huge hurdles as this content lengthens the long tail.
So how does a company get to the top of the search engines in this day and age? My guess is Marketers, search engine experts and others are all scratching their heads as they balance both paid and organic search results to optimize the chances for increased success.
There's a little part in my brain that wonders if anyone not on the Black Hat side of SEO is cursing out the social media tsunami we're now confronted with. Through Blog postings used as link bait to millions upon millions of fresh Blog posts being created and linked to each and every minute, all of this is having a huge effect on the results of search engine optimization.
It's no longer a game of beating out your competitor's website to the top of the search results. It's become a veritable guerrilla war that needs to be fought Blog posting by Blog posting... and more and more people are starting Blogs, linking to each other and creating new and fresh content at an unimaginable pace.
What are Marketers going to do if they can't get their clients to the top of the search engines - even if they are doing everything right?