Search Engine Optimisation is a complex, ever-evolving field. To stay on top of the changes to Google algorithms, evaluate new tools, and test new techniques, can be a full-time job. However, there are some principles of SEO that have remained consistent since day one — and will probably always be effective. Here are five such principles. Use these as the key supporting pillars of your SEO strategy. Focus most of your efforts here, and you’ll get the best results.
The most effective SEO strategy is to produce high-quality content. Think about this from Google’s point of view. Their job is to fill the front page of search results with great content — that’s what makes people use Google and not another search engine. If you’re using questionable SEO techniques to get poor quality content onto the first page, they will eventually figure out what you’re doing and penalise your site for it. On the other hand, if your content is great, it’s in their best interests to find it and showcase it.
Your site will rank higher in the results if you have more backlinks, however, these have to be from high-quality sites. If you have links coming from spam sites and other questionable sources, it may even harm your rankings. So once you have great content pieces up on your site, focus your efforts on getting big sites and reputable brands to link to them.
Keywords are how Google links you to people searching for content. You should target your content pieces towards specific search keywords – for example, “effective SEO strategy” – and include those keywords three to five times in your article, in a natural manner. It also helps if the keyword appears in the URL of the page, the title of the article, and the HTML title tag. Don’t overstuff your page with the keyword — Google will recognise this as an attempt to game the system and penalise you in the rankings.
Google and other search engines use automated programs called “crawlers” to locate web pages and list them in their index. These crawlers have rules for determining how important pages are, using the internal linking structure of your site. This works in a similar way to external backlinks – have your best-performing pages, especially the home page, link to the sites you want to push up in the rankings. As with external links, don’t overdo this — if every article on your site links to a certain page, it may look suspect.
Testing, analysis and adaptation
Become acquainted with an analytics program such as Google Analytics. Use this to track your SEO efforts. These programs are fairly complex so you might want to turn to an SEO agency for help with this part. Analytics programs will answer questions like, what pages are doing well? Which pages are doing poorly? Does any particular topic attract a lot of backlinks, or get shared on social media? Does this suggest any further topic areas you could cover? Use the analytics to inform your future SEO efforts, and then repeat the cycle — test, analyse, and adapt.
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