The Shifting Sands of SEO

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If you can imagine the internet as a desert where each web page, image, document and link is a grain of sand in a phenomenally large number of grains; trillions and trillions. Now that may not quite make up enough to fill the Sahara desert but in this comparison, the sand is piling up fast. A vast amount of data is being added to the internet at an astonishing pace!

Now we all want access to the most useful grains of sand – information of some sort – and to see them, we must search for them. In a similar manner to our desert model, the visible surface of the dunes changes continually.

The energy to move the shifting sands of the internet is supplied by the winds of Google and Bing. The continuous changes that these search giants make has a direct effect on which ‘grains of information’ are exposed. Like the real wind across an undulating desert, the shape of the surface is in constant flux. In a desert, a constant wind in one direction simply covers over the old surface with a new one, so in our analogy, old out of date information is gradually covered over by new information ; with changing wind direction however, the whole shape of the desert changes. There is a total rearrangement of the surface – the visible information available.

These changes in wind direction are the changing algorithms and ambitions of the search engines and they occur regularly. This is part of the reason why there is no simple menu for successful SEO. There is no answer as to how to reach the heights of the dunes at Google page one, position one and remain there indefinitely. Grains of information at the top of the dunes today may be gently blown down the sides and covered over as their information is superseded by “better” or “more valuable” information. Google states that it is “all about relevance.”

Add to that the potential for a strong change in direction (such as the latest Google Panda update) and your site can be buried in moments. This is why the canny SEO writer and analyst follows the winds of change very carefully and sensible website owners will not rest on their laurels when it comes to sitting atop the dunes. A constant effort to maintain relevance by massaging your copy and a healthy anticipation of the ever-changing winds of the search engines means you can sit atop the dunes. Make no mistake – waiting until you are already on the downslope with the wind able to change at any moment leaves you in real danger of being buried and its a lot harder to dig your way back out than it is to stay atop and ride the dunes!

So keep your copy up to date, keyword it for current and relevant search trends – keep your content relevant. Pay attention to these aspects and you can ride the shifting sands of the search engine results like a surfer riding the sweet spot on the crest of a wave!