High Rankings Forum on Search Engine Optimization Celebrates Four Years, Sees Significant Industry Changes

<p><strong>Framingham, Mass. &mdash; Aug. 15</strong><br />It&#39;s been four years since High Rankings, a search marketing company that optimizes Web sites, bringing in more targeted traffic, conversions and sales, launched its High Rankings Forum. </p><p>In that time, High Rankings Founder Jill Whalen has seen a marked change in the search engine and social media landscape. </p><p>Among the changes: how online success is measured, the emergence of social media and blogs and the trend known as &quot;link-baiting.&quot;<br /><br />A significant change is in the way success online is measured and monitored.&nbsp; </p><p>&quot;Really great Web analytics software has been introduced in the last few years, including the free Google Analytics, and these have enabled the search marketing industry to measure the things that matter most,&quot; Whalen said. &quot;For example, traffic and conversions actually help a company&#39;s bottom line, whereas up until recently, companies tracked less important metrics such as where pages ranked in the search engines.&quot;<br /><br />In a recent informal poll on the High Rankings Forum site, 26 percent of respondents cited &quot;how online success is measured&quot; as one of the top two changes in the past few years.&nbsp; </p><p>The other significant change is &quot;social media,&quot; which tied with &quot;how online success is measured&quot; at 26 percent.<br /><br />&quot;The term &#39;social media&#39; didn&#39;t exist when we started the forum four years ago, but its roots go back to the early days of the commercial Internet, with online social communities and chat rooms for virtually any topic you imagined,&quot; Whalen said. &quot;With the newer forms of social media, which we started commenting on back in early 2005, the stakes have changed from a business perspective. </p><p>&quot;There is ample opportunity for online marketers and businesses to leverage social media, as well as blogs, to connect with target audiences who frequent these sites.&quot;<br /><br />An interesting change in search engine marketing is link baiting, which can be traced back to an earlier trend of viral marketing.&nbsp; </p><p>&quot;When done correctly, link baiting is when an organization posts something cool, quirky or attention-getting to their site, as well as to social media sites, and then watches it gain popularity across the globe,&quot; Whalen said. &quot;We&#39;ve seen it done effectively in a variety of industries and it can be very useful in an Internet marketer&#39;s tool kit.&quot;<br /><br />In the forum&#39;s survey, link-building campaigns received high scores from more than 6 percent of respondents. </p><p>Usability (13 percent), paid search (10 percent), search engine communication with search marketers (10 percent) and on-page strategies (3 percent) rounded out other notable changes that have occurred since 2003.</p>

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