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If you listen to the SEO experts, then you know that the industry is ALWAYS about to experience a significant shift. Usually this is just an algorithm update from Google, but sometimes it’s bigger than that. Sometimes, people predict changes that will truly alter the fundamental techniques that we have traditionally used to do business.
The newest predicted trend in the ever shifting field of search engine optimization is co-occurrence. This topic has been heavily debated lately by several SEO experts and the conclusions drawn from these discussions could have a major impact on the (perceived) future of the industry.
Some are saying that anchor text, the traditional SEO staple, is dying. An insightful post on seomoz.com about the topic jump started this theory. Basically, Google is always looking for more efficient ways to deliver users relevant results, so instead of just looking at links (which can be easily abused and faked) they are going to start looking at co-occurrence.
Co-occurrence is when sites rank for terms despite not optimizing for them. This happens when the name of their site co-occurs often with the relevant keywords. This appears to be a more organic way to do things and follows with Google’s love of quality content. It’s easy to spread backlinks and anchor-text; it’s harder to write pages of original, unique copy that surround the brand name with relevant keywords. It can be done, heck it IS being done, but it’s a little early to declare anchor-text dead. More likely, co-occurrence will just be another weighting factor Google uses to supply results.