Search Engine Optimization was always thought to be special skills allowing one to trick Google's algorithm. Today, it's now considered to be a multi-faceted discipline that transcends gaming the system. Google has accelerated this transition by helping users find information faster and promoting their own products at the same time.
Changes over the past few years has already shifted the perception of SEO, as we're no longer talking about just links, keywords and page rank. It's now more about branding and online content strategies. Google is also not just a search engine, as they are anticipating what searchers may now want. The addition of paid ads on top of the ranks has also lessened the power of a number one ranking. The huge market of link buying and selling has pushed Google to reduce the importance of inbound links.
Great marketing is important and will sell some product but having a great product is necessary to having long-term success.
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