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The Latest SEO Trends and Metrics: What's Hot, What's Not

by Stephan Spencer  |  
August 19, 2008
  |  15,443 views

If you're not "living and breathing" search engine optimization, it can be easy to latch onto old SEO trends and metrics and focus obsessively on them, especially those few hot-button issues that get the most attention from the press or from your CEO.

It takes time and experience to stay on the cutting edge of SEO, and more than likely you don't have that kind of time, considering your other marketing efforts. So here's a quick update on what's hot and what's not in the world of search engine optimization.

What's hot:

  • Becoming a trusted contributor on social news/content sites like Digg, Propeller, Reddit, Mixx, StumbleUpon, Wikipedia, and Knol
  • Building your personal and professional network in online communities like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, Bebo, MyBlogRoll, and the blogosphere in general, and then taking advantage of the residual network effect
  • Link baiting—posting humorous/fascinating/contentious/controversial content that is a magnet for links
  • Truly understanding and leveraging the power of "Long Tail" dynamics

What's not:

  • Obsessively watching search engine indexation numbers and rankings on trophy keywords (like the one you know the CEO always checks first thing in the morning)
  • Worrying yourself sick over duplicate-content penalties
  • Relying on XML sitemaps to fix your indexation problems
  • The old-fashioned link exchange

Speaking of what's hot, a new generation of SEO metrics exists so you can keep track of your progress once you've abandoned the old thinking and adopted more modern strategies. Gauging your success solely on your positions in the search engine results is old hat.


New SEO paradigms, such as the "Long Tail," universal search, and personalized search, call for new key performance indicators (KPIs).

In addressing "Long Tail SEO," consider the following KPIs:

Brand-to-Nonbrand Ratio


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Stephan Spencer is the founder of Science of SEO and an SEO expert, author, and speaker.

LinkedIn: Stephan Spencer

Twitter: @sspencer

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  • by Rich Brooks Wed Aug 20, 2008 via web

    Great article, as always by Stephan. However, I'd love to see a follow up article on how to deal with poor numbers on some of these metrics. Or, are the same things we're doing to improve our out-of-date metrics going to help with things like index-to-crawl ratio?

  • by Tonya Wed Aug 27, 2008 via web

    I agree that gauging your success solely on your positions in the search engine results is old hat, but is that still the first step? Do you assume that we are coming up in Google searches already, and then these are the next steps? Are the old hat exercises still necessary, but you are trying to encourage us to go further?

  • by Monika Wed May 20, 2009 via web

    The article is really nice and insightful, but this certainly is once the initial steps are done. Without the SEO planning and index coverage and other steps one cannot achieve the results solely by the above approach.
    So what you mean here is obviously the next steps right?

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