I keep reading SEO articles on and on for years now and basically what I read is the following: given the latest Google-Dance, Panda, Penguin or whatever update, the new search results will penalize black-hat SEO, link-buying, not relevant content, bad websites, and so on and so forth…
I have been working in the SEO and online marketing industry for a while now and I really don’t understand how SEO could achieve the relevance it has gained over the years: maybe it is due to the general ignorance that surrounds the business, thanks to which a whole industry of SEO experts continues more or less easily to make a living?
For all of you who do not have a clue of what I’m talking about, it’s about having your pages rank high in Google search results! With WordPress and other platforms being already Search Results Optimized and giving you access to a whole lot of SEO tools, what you need is Unique, Original and Worth-linking Content! And this is not the ultimate truth I’m telling you: it has always been like that, long before the Penguins and Pandas or any other exotic animal took the scene! It’s not a revelation when they tell you that Content is King! It’s a sheer fact, and it has always been like that!
You will never have the number of quality links Wikipedia has for your website and most probably you will not rank no. 1 for “London Hotel”, for example, nor can you necessarily meet all of the other criteria the Google algorithm takes into consideration, but you may be the main producer of “Olive Oil Fueled Motors”, or the biggest expert for what concerns a specific IT topic. That’s what you should write quality articles about, that’s your niche and in that niche you should work on spreading the word about!
The above screenshot is the evidence that quality content can rank really high in Google SERPs: in this case, a small blog with almost no inbound links like this one is ranking even higher than music-giant iTunes for a particular search thanks to the relevance of the content!
1. Content is King!
– Yes, that’s true and that’s what you should be looking for, be it a written text, pictures, a video, or whatever may be interesting and relevant to somebody.
2. On-Site Optimization
– Optimize Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, structure of the URL, internal Links, Alt Attributes etc. Yes, this is the basics, but there’s really no big deal to it!
3. Get Social!
– Of course you will have to promote your content on Forums, Social Networks, Blogs etc., this will cause virality and back-linking from your niche and community.
4. Get a Blog!
– It’s not the blog itself, but the content and the freshness of it that makes the difference: relevant and updated content is an important factor for ranking!
5. Get Links!
– Back-links represent a crucial ranking factor, but Off-Site Optimization is an utmost delicate issue that can be rather counterproductive. In the ideal case, your content should spontaneously gain Authority Links by other blogs and websites: that’s why it is vital that your Content is Worth Linking!
6. Avoid Black-Hat SEO!
– You should of course avoid Black-Hat techniques, such as hidden content and cloaking. In the best case, they will only bring short-term results and imply the risk of being banned from SERPs. Once again, this is not new, it has almost always been like that!
7. No Link-Buying!
– Of course! Those link-building practices that brought websites to gain tons of links every day must be avoided, in order to avoid penalization: this is a fact today just like it was 6 years ago!
8. Be User-Friendly
– Have a Clear, User-friendly Website and optimize it according to your content, the rest will follow…
9. Integrate Videos and Graphics
– Optimize your website with visual content. You probably will have realized already that correctly optimized videos are most likely to rank well in Google SERPs. This is a fact almost since Google acquired YouTube, years ago. Also, pictures can drive traffic to your website via the Google Image Search.
10. Avoid Duplicate Content
– Sounds pretty obvious, but there are still guys out there, who profess this like it was the latest Penguin Update and obviously it is not!