I've been working in SEO for several years now and I've seen some dramatic changes in how search engines rank websites. In 2011, the Panda update forced everybody to write unique content; in 2010, low quality content and links have been devalued more and more, and so on. Over the years a lot of things in SEO have changed, but some have stayed the same.
In this article I'm going to talk about ways to future proof your SEO campaign – that is have your hard work today pay off not just tomorrow but well into the future.
Obviously no one knows what the future holds, but these tips will act as a short guide for what most SEO firms and consultants are doing to make sure your campaign is future proof. Make sure you ask your SEO provider about what they're doing to work for you well into the future, and use this article as a guide on what you should be asking.
Link diversity is the key
Link building will likely be critical in SEO for the near future, and today diversity is key. Don't have all your eggs in one basket when Google updates their algorithms and devalues certain types of links. You should make sure you're getting a variety of links ranging from articles to guest blog posts to blog comments to social links to web 2.0 and so on.
Produce good content
I always warn my SEO clients to produce quality content, and such suggestion will not drop anytime soon. Search engines love ranking high fresh and relevant content, so try and write a few blog posts every week and you'll see quite a bit of traffic from those long tail keywords. It will also help obtain natural links from websites who think you have good content, which is always a huge plus in the world of SEO.
Stay White Hat
One thing that never changes is the people who think they can game the system by blasting out tens of thousands of low quality links. Make sure you stay white hat and don't spam sites – as a general rule of thumb any link is a good link as long as it isn't spam.
Quality > Quantity
Back in the mid 2000's, quantity was much more important than quality. You could blast several hundred junk links and get ranked for anything, but today you need relevant, contextual, high quality links to rank well. Don't just go for an SEO firm, but carefully select them accordingly to their location so to have a chance to liaise directly with them - possibly within face to face meeting - but also because their SEO packages offer, which should care more about the quality. Remember, not all the SEO firms are the same. Make sure you build quality links and you should be fine well into the future.
Always view SEO as a long term strategy
SEO takes some time to see results. Anyone who produces results overnight isn't going to sustain those results very long. You should always view SEO as a long-term strategy and do things to future proof your SEO campaign. If you want traffic now, turn to pay per click, but if you want long term results, then SEO is the way to go. Keep your campaign future proof by understanding that quality results take time to achieve.
While I don't know exactly what changes search engines will make in the future, these tips should guide you to start future proofing your SEO campaign. A quality SEO firm will already be taking these steps to make sure you stay ranked, but if you're using a lower quality firm it never hurts to reach out to them and ask them about the points listed above – it can make the difference between a great long term campaign and a short term flop.