According to Moz, Google changes its algorithm 500-600 times per year.
Essentially, this means the landscape of the most popular search engine changes daily. And if you don't live and breathe SEO, it can drive you nuts.
That's why I've compiled a handy little list of search engine friendly tactics you can implement from here on out without worry. From now until the end of time – or the end of the Internet (God, please no!) – use these tactics to stay on top of your competition.
#1: Write for People. Not Google. Once upon a time, web writers wrote for Google in hopes of ranking higher, paying more attention to keywords than people. And their websites did rank higher – until they didn't rank at all. Write with the intention of making an impression on people – not search engines – and you'll never have to worry about the next Panda rollout.
#2: Build Rapport. Not Links. An outside link directed at your website counts for nothing if no one clicks on it; and the only time people click on links is when they form a relationship with the content. Once a relationship is formed, links in various types of off-site content (guest blog posts, Google+ posts, Facebook posts, etc.) become appealing. With rapport, links act as gateways to opportunity – not manipulative keyword-laden anchor text designed to traffic "link juice."
#3: Give. Don't Get. Take it from Bob Burg, author of The Go-Giver – a man who has acquired wealth and success through giving rather than getting. While Burg is not an SEO specialist, I think he would agree that giving information via online content and opportunities via social media contests are more effective than saying "please like this" and "please retweet that." This falls in line with the first law in The Go-Giver, the Law of Value that states "Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment." Offer value and you'll receive more "likes," "tweets," and "traffic" than you would otherwise. And in effect, the worth of your website will soar.
#4: Code Like a Minimalist. For search engines, the simpler the code, the better. This doesn't mean your website should be bare text. Not in the slightest. People respond to attractive design and are more likely to stay on a pretty page than a bland one. What having simple code does mean, however, is having a page that only has what it needs to function properly. So, for instance, after doing some development work on an existing page, make sure you "sweep up" any code left behind from the previous design. It will make your page load faster and make your page as appealing to search bots as it is to eyes of your visitors.
#5: Use Google Authorship Everywhere. You would attach your name to an article published in print, right? So why aren't you taking credit for content published online? If you write and publish content online, attach a face to pages that come up in Google's search engine result pages (SERPs). One web content publisher reported a 35% increase in traffic after experimenting with his Google+ profile image – the image that appears next to your link in Google SERPs after authorship is added. Thirty-five percent. That's monumental.
Now, as I reflect on this list after reading it just like you have, I realize some things:
- I realize search engines – specifically, Google – is more human than ever.
- I realize webmasters with hearts void of "rank seduction" are the masters behind websites listed on page one of SERPs.
- And finally, I realize manipulators will perish and people-focused people will prevail.
It all sound so human, right?
Which is why I can't come up with a cheesier and more honest way to end this post than to say, "Go human, or go home."