E-marketing Strategy: SEO Is Dead. CDO Rules
Then, one day, something happened.
Using trial and error tactics, an unimaginable wealth of patience, and decades of cumulative man-hours, some clever Web developers again learned how to manipulate the Web to improve a particular page's search engine rankings. By figuring out Google's secret external-link ranking methods, and seeking out the important sites Google used to rank their own sites, Web developers were able to begin placing links in strategic places around the Internet in a way that changed Google's results. This practice has come to be known as link-building. (The practice of Google Bombing—wherein thousands of sites link to one Web address using the same keywords within the link, and thus skyrocketing that one address in Google's search results for those keywords—proved the concept.)
This is where the war has been stalled for the last few years. Web developers have been pushing SEO tactics and link-building strategies, and Google has been trying to fight them off. It's been a slow struggle—and one that has been confusing and expensive for those of us on the sidelines.
In March 2011, Google struck the first of two killer blows to the world of SEO. It introduced a new page-ranking algorithm into its system that took into account social and site-usage metrics. This is what's known as the "Panda Update"—named after the update's main developer, Navneet Panda.
The Panda Update allowed Google to rank pages by how many times a page had been "liked" on Facebook, or "tweeted" on Twitter, or "linked" on LinkedIn, or "tumbled" on Tumblr, and so on. This update also allowed Google to rank pages according to how long a visitor stayed on a site, how many pages were visited, and what actions were taken while there. For the first time since search began, a search engine could rank pages according to whether or not visitors found that page useful or not. The Panda Update brought us all into the era of intelligent search—powered by the collective intelligence of the massive crowds squawking online.