Ive been promoting websites and doing search engine optimization for a long time. Im as guilty as the next person for watching Google’s algorithm changes, reading their data, watching Matt cutts videos and trying to keep up with the latest trends.
While many aspects of SEO have changed over the years, there are several things that have remained consistent and are the hard and fast rules when it comes to gaining those all important google rankings.
Content is king.
While its always been the case that content is important on your website, over the last few years Googles algorithm has been placing more and more emphasis on the quality, quantity and freshness of the content on the page. The days of thin pages with little content, duplicate or aggregated content are fast coming to an end.
Links are falling from grace.
Back in the days of pagerank and the google dance, SEO’s and internet marketers were falling over themselves trying to gain inbound links to their websites. Be it comment links, link exchanges, buying links or submitting to link directories, it was all about the quality of inbound links rather quantity needed to increase search engine position of a web page. Googles algorithm has become far more intelligent over the years, now inbound links are valued on many different qualities including relevance, quality, age, anchor text and location. Its now the case that bad inbound links can actually harm your ranking position rather than help it. Many SEO’S and marketers are now falling over themselves trying to disavow the links they had previously gained.
Faster is better.
With the unstoppable rise of mobile and tablet browsing over the last few years google is placing more and more emphasis on the download speed of a web page. If your page has a large file size or takes too long to download to the browser you may struggle to gain rankings in the modern search engine age.
Responsive or adaptable.
Again due to the rise of multi platform devices and screen sizes your web page must be able to adapt and display clearly on all platforms. Google has been emphasizing this more and more over the last couple of years and it may already have an effect on your rankings.
With broadband becoming faster and less expensive, modern internet users have become used to a rich internet experience, images, video and various other interactive components. Because google knows this and is always striving to give internet users what they want, it would be a brave webmaster who would not be including media in their content or design.
Authority and authorship.
Google is moving more and more towards using authoritative content to determine rankings. Combining authorship with various other signals Google can quite reliably determine who and which websites are considered an authority in any given niche. While this should not deter you from starting out in any niche, it may mean that it could take a while for your content to gain authority and in turn rankings when compared to similar content from a more authoritative source.
Recently Matt Cutts indicated that Google is moving towards using some social signals in its algorithm to determine rankings. Although he wasnt clear (he never is) on what these so social signals are, I feel we can be pretty confident that they include the Google+, Like and twitter buttons and the sharing of content on social media. Are these button the new links?
There you have it. As long as your web site is of good quality, is scalable and responsive, provides fresh, quality multi platform content users are willing to share and you dont take part in any spamming tactics you should be well on your way to those all important rankings.
Obviously there is a lot more to it than the above points but if you get the basics right you will be rewarded.