As content creators, we’re keenly interested in people being able to find and read our content, which is why we just finished revising our online course, Achieving Top Search Engine Positions!
In this week’s email, we’ll tell you the key to long-lasting SEO success, and why we believe that it’s worth it for everyone with a website to take our course.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of making changes to a website in order to gain that website better rankings in search engines, and thus more traffic and the benefits that come with traffic (more customers, more sales, more newsletter subscribers, etc).
SEO has been around since search engines were first invented. Early forms of SEO were as simple as making sure that your website mentioned valuable keywords more often than other websites. With multiple websites all competing for who could repeat the same word the largest number of times, you can imagine the chaos that would ensue if this practice had been left unchecked.
Search engines are in the business of showing people relevant results when they search for something. In order to be able to do this, they need to detect and counteract tricks like the old keyword stuffing scenario described above.
As SEO professionals got more clever, search engines evolved from simply counting keywords to actually seeking to detect quality. Google’s approach when it was launched was to rank sites according to how many other sites link to them. Google called this ranking strategy “Page Rank”.
The idea of Page Rank is that inbound links are a good indicator of quality because no one will link to a bad website. But, as with keywords, search engine optimizers found a way around Page Rank too — they simply started exchanging links and building networks of sites that link to each other for the purposes of improving page rankings. In response, Google changed its ranking strategy to make this technique ineffective.
Today, Google has about 200 factors that it takes into consideration when ranking web sites, and they’re constantly adjusting their ranking algorithm in response to new tricks developed by marketers. The actual algorithms used to calculate rankings are secret, and there’s no guarantee that any trick an SEO professional does to a site will have a positive result.
So …. is SEO just black magic and tricks done by people who don’t actually have any idea whether what they’re doing will be effective?
Yes and No. There are a lot of people practicing SEO who still use questionable methods to increase search engine rankings. These people may actually be able to reliably improve a website’s search engine position, but their techniques are constantly being made worthless (or worse) as Google improves its algorithms. What happens when Google closes a loophole is that sites relying on that loophole experience sudden drops in their rankings that are very hard or impossible to recover from.
On the other end of the spectrum are people practicing SEO who are interested in creating great content that is genuinely useful to people and easy for search engines to classify and use. This type of SEO is why we teach our class, Achieving Top Search Engine Positions, and why we’re interested at all in the topic of SEO.
SEO can be distilled down to the following rules:
1. Don’t use tricks
2. Create great content
3. Make a technically superior site
4. Use social media
5. Be consistent.
Each of these rules could be an entire newsletter, and each of these is covered in detail in our course. If you follow these rules, you will get more traffic to your site, and the Internet will become a better place.