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The evolution of SEO to Search Engine Marketing

Google started in September 1998 marking the beginning of the end for powerhouse internet indexing sites that were little more than lists. The founders of Google created computer programs that started to present search results based on relevance and importance.

Until then, getting traffic to a website involved being on the internet and the lists of websites. That led to huge value increases in domain names. Business.com reported sold for $7 million USD because at the time, being top of the search results was a result of owning the generic domain name for say Candy, Real Estate, Finance. Clearly that was not going to work because there was only one generic Candy.com and thousands of other businesses offered candy.

Google solved that issue by allowing website owners to choose what industry, topic or business niche they were in by presenting meta tags to Google computers such as "Business Finance". That meant that the owner of "DeadTadpoles.com" could compete for placement in search results for the term "Business", against Business.com, simply by adding tags showing "Business" as one of its services.

Evolution in SEO then left domain names to be used for branding instead of guaranteed placement at the top of search results through domain name ownership.

That change was fundamental to the growth of Google as the global leader. They were the first, they are the best and it is economically impossible to compete with them.

As Google changed the internet indexing business from basically a digital library catalogue card, to a system of meta tag interpretation. That led to a new business known as search engine optimisation in UK English countries or search engine optimization is US English countries.

People hired themselves out as experts on what Google does and made lots of money tinkering with website meta tags to make a website come up on first page.

The best advice is to deal with search professionals who provide high quality content and place it on high quality websites to earn the attention of Google search engines algorithms.

Some of the early SEO experts experimented and discovered ways to manipulate Google computer system programmers. They had early successes and allowed junk sites to be shown high up in results.

Google folks, of course knew what was going on and moved on to a voter system where internet users and publishers could link to sites that they wanted Google to use as valuable resources for a niche like "Germany Travel"

That led to people buying links in link farms, so once again junk sites were back on search result pages through exploitation of link creation.

Fast forward to 2015 and Google has a whole new set of rules. Lately Google advised that mobile device presentation was taken into account when determining which sites to show in results. That means bad news for old sites that are incapable of displaying properly on iPhone or Android devices.

Google is a service. It wants to help people find a product or service or an event, person or information. It rewards website owners who publish high quality answers to search questions. It is as simple as that. "Quality content".

For us at Rogers Digital we work with clients to research, write and publish high quality content on topics way down on a category tree. An example would be "Travel" as mentioned before. Travel keywords are valuable and currently bought by the highest bidder in paid search ( which is a totally different industry ). What is left for the little guy are niche topics.

The task for a business that wants to drive people to a website is to write high quality content about the establishment, its products, staff, benefits to guests, testimonials, location, prices or coming events and the have it published on their website or third party owned sites that have already earned Google's trust.

That then is what SEO is about. It is not trickery or magic.

It is in some ways a branch of journalism as SEO should be about offering the best writing with accurate facts derived from objective research so that it is the new best that Google has to display on its topic.

The problem is that today's best content will most likely be better than yesterday's best, so SEO is a never ending task. Information has to be updated AND strategies have to be altered as competitors react with their own SEO forces.

SEO for a travel website is not the same as SEO for an online hardware shop .... I could go on and list every business type but the message is clear. An SEO strategy concept must be tailor made for every customer.

Google can't be tricked and nor can consumers. Offer and wisely place the best content that you can afford to have created on your behalf and Google will present it to consumers and readers who will take notice of the source.

The Author

Greg Rogers is the editor of Businesses.com.au and the team leader at Rogers Digital