How much have SEO principles really changed? The blog sphere, tech and marketing forums are full of posts talking about the latest changes to search engine algorithms, link building techniques, social media advice, all aimed at giving you new topics to worry about when optimising your website.
On reflection nothing has really changed since the start of search engine algorithms. SEO has always been, and is still about great content, error free, accessible websites, quality inbound links and general popularity (these days increasingly social media popularity). However SEO is no longer a stand-alone discipline. It affects all aspects of your business including content, development and marketing.
So, what gets your site to the top?
It has always been and still is about great content:
- Relevant Content
- Original Content
- Quality Content
- Fresh Content
- No Duplications
- No Content Dilution
Good Website Code & Architecture
Your infrastructure, architecture, hosting and your website code are affecting your rankings. Open your architecture to search engine bots, keep you code lean and error free. Crawlability and Indexation are both important to SEO success. Frequent errors, dead links and load performance issues will harm your rankings. Keep an eye on load speed – slower sites will rank relatively less well
- Search Engines penalise websites with too many crawl errors
- Search Engines penalise slow & partially inaccessible websites
- Search Engines delete unreachable pages from their index
Naturally, Search Engines do not like to show pages with errors in their search results – this is solely to shield their users!
Quality Inbound links
Inbound links are still key to achieve high search engine rankings - volume, quality, relevancy, frequency and age. Link building needs to be organic and ideally synchronised with on-page content development to achieve best results. Quality inbound links are hard to come by, especially for commercial sites. The most relevant sites are you competitors and they are not going to link to you! Link exchanges do not help SEO, link buying is ‘penalised’ by Google and ‘get quick’ inbound link building schemes don’t work. Google makes 400 algorithm changes per year – you get caught eventually.
Instead focus on:
- Quality Inbound Links
- Relevant inbound links
- Social Media sharing
In SEO everything is relative and nothing will ever be perfect:
- SEO is long-term, on going and never really complete.
- Best to do some ‘SEO’ every day as activity spikes are not good.
- Everything you do is relative to your niche, not to all the websites on the Web.
- Search Engines look at SEO metrics compared to similar websites, not ALL websites in the index.
- You can’t replicate exactly what your competitors do, you will be for ever second best.
- You will always be reactive to Search Engine changes. Search Engines don’t disclose their algorithms.
So what has changed in SEO over the past 15 years? Nothing really!