• Learn SEO

What You Need to Know About SEO

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 4 min read


If you’re just getting started working in SEO, then there are a few basics that experience tends to teach you right away. However, if you’re trying to avoid making these mistakes early on, we’ve put together this guide to some of the best practices in the SEO industry so that you can hit the ground running.

Always Focus on Your Content

You’ve likely already heard people say that content is king when it comes to managing your site’s SEO, but it has to be good content. There are far too many sites that are saturated with poor-quality content, and the people running those sites often spend their time wondering why they’re not getting the results they want.

If you think that stuffing your content with keywords and throwing relevancy to the wind is a good SEO strategy, then I regret to inform you that you’re taking an outdated approach to SEO. Google’s algorithm has gotten smarter, and it’s getting smarter still by the day, especially when it comes to determining if content is relevant or not.

You have to put quite a bit of research into determining what people are looking for when they search for content in your niche. You have to think like a customer. Determine what they want to read through research and tireless effort and your SEO strategy will soon turn into a self-sustaining cycle.

Backlinking is one of the most significant factors that affects a site’s SEO value, and Google is aware of the weight that these links carry. Unfortunately, far too many sites rely on low quality links that can sometimes border on spammy, and even if you have quality backlinks, Google is now looking into how you got those links.

If your links are paid for, then they will likely not count towards your SEO ranking unless you’ve found paid links that Google has not yet discovered. When you consider that it’s some people’s jobs to find out whether or not your links are paid, you’ll be pretty unlikely to get away with it.

Relying on paid press releases that are stuffed with keywords as anchor text is quickly becoming a strategy of the past. These are now being defined as the paid links that we mentioned above, and they will no longer have a positive impact on your site’s SEO ranking, ensuring that legit links don’t have their value diluted.

Keep in mind that Google has nothing wrong with promotion through press releases, but they have emphasized that they don’t want this kind of promotion to influence a site’s SEO values. Hopeful as some site runners may be, it doesn’t look like Google’s going to backtrack in this area anytime soon.

That being said, press releases aren’t useless since they can still get your brand attention from online news outlets, bloggers, and journalists. However, if you’re looking to boost your SEO ranking, you’ll need people to naturally discover your business and write about it of their own volition.

Free Your Site of Technical Problems

Google knows that site visitors don’t want to have to deal with a buggy mess when they click a search result, and that’s a huge part of why technical issues can ruin your SEO ranking. For example, ensuring that your site loads as quickly as possible plays a larger role in SEO than you might expect.

If Google notices that people aren’t staying on your site because it’s taking too long to load, that will impact your site’s SEO values. However, load times aren’t the only technical problems that can be a thorn in the side for business owners and site runners looking to take their SEO game to the next level.

For example, if your site has broken links on it or a bad content management system, then you’ll likely end up dropping ranks when it comes to your SEO. Also, remember that Google’s always looking for new technical issues that may affect a site’s SEO, so if your current issues aren’t tanking your ranking, they may do so in the future.

Be Ready for Huge Shifts to the Algorithm

There was a time when a change to search algorithms was relatively unexpected, and over time, it seems like an ever-changing algorithm has become the new normal. This is a large part of why SEO experts who have been in the industry for so long have had a hard time adapting to this new way of doing things.

Some experts argue that this ever-changing way of approaching search algorithms has been spurred on by the larger number of users on a range of different devices. Instead of mainly desktop and laptop searches, search engines are seeing a huge influx of users on mobile devices.

This means that fluidity and the ability to predict changes to search algorithms is now a huge part of being an effective SEO expert. Unfortunately, there’s no simple way to learn this other than simple intuition and experience in the field.

Vary Your Keywords and Don’t Stuff Them

Focusing exclusively on keyword optimization may seem like a golden strategy. After all, if keywords are the backbone of a search engine, then why shouldn’t you try to make the most of them? However, many recent changes to search algorithms are a little less logical than you would expect.

This is because the algorithm can tell when you’re overusing a specific keyword, and newer search algorithms care less about a specific term appearing over and over again. A better approach to keyword optimization is now using a larger number of interrelated keywords in a natural and fluid manner.

SEO experts have coined this as the “less is more” approach to optimizing keywords, and you can see how this works for yourself by using a tool like Clearscope. As you stuff more and more of the same keyword into a piece of content (beyond a certain point), your ranking will start dropping.

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