Search engine optimization has gone from the simple idea that you should have some keywords and links on your website to something that’s technical, complex, and often time-consuming. Not only is there Google’s core algorithm to think about, but also ongoing changes to the way different ranking factors are weighted… not to mention pressure from your competitors who would like to take a top search engine spot away from you.
Lost in all of this is one tiny detail: SEO is actually getting simpler over time.
It might not seem like it at the moment, but Google is essentially concerned about one thing – quality search results. And even though that’s often broken down into technical factors, it really comes down to a simple “eye test” as to whether your website makes a good search result or not.
To give you a sense of what we mean, here are a handful of things Google is prioritizing in its search engine listings more and more heavily these days:
Google doesn’t just want to deposit visitors on your website and leave them there; it wants to know what happens after they’ve clicked through to your pages. Are they staying and reading your content, and following on to other topics? Or are they clicking away immediately and moving to the next result? Visitor behavior says a lot about quality, so make your site easy to use and understand.
As any experienced search engine optimization practitioner could tell you, inbound links pointing to your website aren’t worth what they once were. But that’s not the same as saying they don’t have any value, particularly if they are from very high-quality sources, or high-ranking pages within the same industry. Junk links are next to worthless, but links from established sites with a high reputation help enhance your credibility.
Social media isn’t just for trading family photos; it’s becoming the most popular way for friends and colleagues to share information, advice, and referrals. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that Google is taking a closer look at social links and how those can indicate quality content. Having a strong social following can improve your website’s visibility already, and will likely be a key factor in search engine optimization going forward.
As the web has grown and grown – with tens of millions of new pages being added every single day – Google and the other search engines have started placing a higher priority on identifying content that’s fresh, or regularly-updated. After all, searchers don’t want to find results that are no longer informative or relevant. Updating your pages (and even popular blog posts) can be a great way to show Google that you’re publishing quality material.
Along with current content, Google is also demonstrating that it likes longer, more in-depth search results (since these tend to be more valuable to its searchers). So, don’t be afraid to go a bit longer with your blog posts, adding bulleted lists, details, and extra sections when they can help a reader to learn or understand more.
Search Engine Optimization
There is a lot to know and learn about search engine optimization, but the real “eye test” of quality is whether visitors find your website useful and credible or not. The better your pages are for people, the more Google is going to like them. That might be the best search engine advice you can get, and it’s simple enough for anyone to follow.