The series of "Panda" changes to the Google search algorithm that started in February 2011 have shaken up the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) world. The stated goal of the changes is to reduce the ranking of sites that post a lot of reused content, and reward sites with original content.
This change may have shaken up how marketers see SEO as well.
In 2010 when the "Marketing Sherpa Search Marketing Benchmark Survey" asked respondents from search agencies to pick the "most effective" SEO (search engine optimization) tactic, 83% chose “keyword research” as the top selection.
One year later, in the 2011 version of the same survey, there were some small changes. The name of the "top box" selection was changed from "most effective" to "very effective," and the mix of tactics changed.
But the biggest change: marketers now consider "content creation" as the top SEO tactic pulling ahead of last year's winner, "Keyword" choice.
In just one year, "content creation" has clearly moved to the top of the SEO agenda. Blogging, the tactic renown for pumping fresh content into websites, more than doubled in importance moving from 15% in 2010 to 31% in 2011.
While content moved up, several "traditional" SEO tactics showed big drops. “Keyword search” dropped from 83% to 43%, title tags from 50% to 42%.
If you want better SEO, think about your content!