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If you’ve followed Search Engine Optimization (SEO) trends for any amount of time, you know that things really are in a state of constant flux. With each new update that Google and the other search engine providers make to their algorithms, the landscape can change dramatically.
Google’s 2011 Panda update is a prime example of this phenomenon, as it sent many sites into a tailspin as far as their search engine rankings were concerned.
While you can’t always guarantee you’ll rank in a certain spot for the keywords in your niche, there are some things you can do to stay ahead of the curve and remain fairly stable in your rankings:
Focus on marketing, not on tricking the search engines.
You’re much better off in the long run focusing your website’s efforts toward converting visitors than you are in tricking the search engines into finding you.
Sure, you need to devote some energy and time to SEO, but ultimately you’re trying to promote a product, build a brand, or increase visibility for an idea. Focus on doing that, and let the search engine element be a secondary concern.
Keep abreast of the larger trends.
Google doesn’t operate in a vacuum. They have analysts constantly looking at how their searchers use the information that they’re provided.
What that means is that they understand the popularity, for example, of a trend like social networking. That’s a trend that’s not going to rise and fall overnight, and one that Google has incorporated into their search engine algorithms.
Does that mean having lots of Twitter users link to your site will always benefit your rankings like it does today?
Of course not. But by focusing on those longer-term trends, you can make decisions that will help for a long time, if not forever.
Create relevant content.
Google’s stated goal in providing search results has always been to offer the most useful and relevant sites to the user’s search. While SEO techniques have in the past been used to circumvent that goal, the fact is that today they’re much more able to provide relevant results than ever before.
As such, you want to start by making sure that the content on your website is truly relevant to the search terms that you’re going for. The days when a site would rank high for terms not really related to the site’s content via a number of SEO tricks are long gone.
Publish only well written content.
Google has increasingly become concerned with offering its searchers results that are not only relevant, but readable. As such, content riddled with grammatical and spelling errors will, on average, rank lower than content that’s well-written.
Not only that, poorly-written content sends a message to your readers that you’re not the expert in your niche that you claim to be. It weakens your authority, and calls into question your competence.
Well-written content is also much more likely to garner quality inbound links.
There was a time, long ago, when any inbound link was useful to your search engine rankings. That’s not the case anymore.
Today, inbound links are analyzed from a number of angles, including the page rank of the linking site, whether or not the linking site has similar keywords to the destination site, and more. You need to focus on getting links from other sites in your niche; preferably, ones that rank well in the search engines themselves.
Follow the published Google guidelines.
Google regularly updates their search guidelines. While those guidelines don’t go into specific algorithm elements, they can provide certain clues.
They’ll also help you to understand the type of content that Google considers to be relevant and well-written. Quarterly reviews of those guidelines can help to focus your content creation.
Utilize on page SEO.
There are some basic on-page SEO techniques you can use that have always helped with search engine rankings, and aren’t likely to change anytime soon. That includes things like choosing relevant keywords (and destinations) for outbound links, having some internal links, using image tags, and more.
Google’s devoted to providing its searchers with the most useful and relevant results possible. Rather than trying to trick Google into thinking your page is useful and relevant, the bottom line is that you need to provide something useful and relevant if you want Google to offer you to its users.