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Jumping on the SEO Bandwagon, and Why the Tried and True Methods are the Best

Posted by drew on Aug. 25, 2014, 6 p.m.

SEOs are typically up-to-date people. They browse blogs, check social media, and keep an eye out for any news that might help them in their job. So when search engines announce things about new factors to their ranking algorithm, the community gets excited. Recently, Google announced that making your site more secure by adding an SSL certificate would provide a slight ranking improvement.

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Right on the heels of this announcement, SEOs the world over began looking into implementing an SSL certificate on their sites. “I need the green padlock and HTTPS,” they mumbled to themselves. But do they really need those things? Let’s think for a moment about how strong this ranking factor actually is in the grand scheme of things.

Even in Google’s announcement, they refer to this ranking factor as, “a very lightweight signal--affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high quality content.” This language is similar to their announcement about page speed as a ranking factor.

In April 2010, Google announced that site speed would be a new ranking signal in their search algorithm. But just like with SSL certificates, they want to downplay the practical impact, saying, “While site speed is a new signal, it doesn’t carry as much weight as the relevance of a page. Currently, fewer than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed signal.”

And still, even though Google admits these are both low weight ranking factors, SEOs scramble to improve site speed and get an SSL certificate. These are both good things to work on, but are they the best use of time for an SEO department? I would argue that SEOs tend to focus on the novelty of things, which causes them to jump on the bandwagon of issues like this, rather than remember the basics of SEO.

But what are the basics of an ethical approach to SEO?

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High Quality, User-Centered Content

Consistently producing high quality content is one of the best things you can do for your SEO. If you show search engines that your site is a reliable source of information, quality products, and customer service, they are more likely to rank your site highly.

Also, you should remember to make your content user-centered, rather than search-engine-centered. Creating content for real people improves user experience and shows search engines you are not trying to game the system. With the dawn of Google Hummingbird, the Google search algorithm can understand and interpret more human language. This means your user-centered sites will be rewarded in the search engines and with users.

Ethically Obtained Links

Links are a very important ranking factor for search engines. Because of this, black hat SEOs have found ways to automatically build links, skirt around the search engine guidelines, and trick the algorithm into thinking they are more authoritative than they really are. Some of their tactics are link farms, comment spam, and spam blogging.

Often, they resort to these shady tactics because building a quality link profile in a legitimate way is a time consuming project, but it is well worth it. Google will continually update their search algorithm to penalize links that were not earned naturally, so unnatural link building is really a short-term solution to something that deserves long term attention. If you actually invest in a content marketing strategy, earning quality links that drive meaningful traffic to your site, these links will continue to provide more and more benefit to your SEO as time goes on.

 

It might also be worth discussing what should go into a content marketing strategy (or what I even mean by the phrase Content Marketing), but I think I’ll save that for another post at another time. If you are interested in an ethical SEO approach, contact Fusionbox, a Denver SEO agency.