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4 Things to Know About Behavioral SEO

March 3rd, 2009 | | Search Behavior

Behavioral SEO is something that will shake up a lot of current SEO practices.  Those who are watching the change closely will be able to maneuver quicker, those who don’t will find oodles of frustration.

Behavioral SEO to me was one of those things that you know is going to happen, but the implementation would drag and maybe – just maybe - it would start up by the time I retire.  Currently, it’s in the ad networks like Yahoo, and the results from this practice will spill over into the organic algorithms.  Like every other upgrade to the algorithms, business models and skill sets will need a good revamping.  Software will be upgraded and inaccurate blog posts will float around for years (except ours, of course).

One corporation back in the early 00′s spent close to 90K in SEO which amounted to specially crafted keyword phrases peppered around the entire site.  It’s amazing how an upgrade to a search bot can suddenly make 90K worthless.  And it’s going to happen again.

Behavioral Search is about getting search results based on your own specific behavior.  The results are unique based on the tracking history compiled by your cookies or some other Google Magic we know not of.  What this means is that you might type in “Windows” and you will get something about Windows XP, Vista or 7 – maybe even Ubuntu.  If I type in “Windows” on my own machine, I might get high energy efficient replacement windows for my home.

So what does this mean?

Well, first of all, rankings become mostly irrelevant.  SEO efforts to become number one for keywords won’t mean anything because your keywords will mean different things to different people and you won’t be able to target everyone all the time.  The rules are going to change and here are four things you need to consider to when they do:

1. Content is still king

There is no way around this.  I’ve seen people try to fake it for years, but this is the whole crux of the matter.  Either you have something relevant and meaningful to show, or you don’t. The quality of content will be noticeable as well as the frequency.

2. Linking will still be needed

In a way to prove that you do have something relevant to say, is when people refer to you as a thought leader or industry expert.  Again, this is not new but it does show that this whole process will be harder to fake.

3. Localization will stand out

Words, sentences and phrases that refer to local celebrities, locales and events will play a big part in search results.  Your IP location along with your cookies will give the search engines enough info to localize your results.

4. Research and Sales will be separate

Depending on your keywords you will most likely be able to see results based on where you are in a certain sales cycle.  If you are comparing dishwasher brands or looking for the right price, it will figure it out.

These tips may seem simple enough, but in a world where software tries to simplify the process and tweaks, tools and exploits are plentiful, these changes will make enough of a ripple that we’ll see previously horribly ranked websites gain some overdue exposure and some high ranking websites being shuffled out of the limelight.

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