Old School SEO: Whatever Happened to Proximity?

While having a conversation today with a dear first gen SEO friend, the discussion made its way to the topic of SEO today vs. the SEO of years ago. Specifically – we discussed how it seems much of the focus has drifted away from some truly fundamental aspects of optimization, particularly with regard to on-page characteristics.

For example, while links are, without a doubt, essential to the success of any SEO efforts at this point, the on-page content has become way too devalued in some circles. As a very specific example, the concept of “proximity” – the closeness, or “lack of distance” on a given web page between the words that comprise a keyword phrase of two words or more – has all but vanished from the discussion of SEO. It’s not too tough to see what’s getting a page ranked for “cheap tickets” when it appears in the top 10 in Google, but the words “cheap” and “tickets” can’t be found anywhere near each other on the page. Call the bomb squad!

While keyword-rich anchor text in external links is obviously an effective standalone short-term SEO tactic (and a lot of fun for “miserable failure” and “greatest living american”), it certainly does not build the foundation for solid, long-lasting results when the on-page content doesn’t take proximity – and a myriad of other factors – into account.

We rock Connies.

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