Many people feel intimidated by SEO as they think it’s hard to keep up with all the latest changes and updates in the field. This is true to a great extent; however, there are certain SEO fundamentals that haven’t changed that much over time. 411 locals dedicates today’s post to these main factors.
Google’s basic principles can be described as:
- Crawlability – Whether the search engine can find your content.
- Site structure – How the search engine organizes and prioritizes this content.
- Keywords – Define the topic of your content.
- Backlinks – How the search engine knows your content delivers reliable information on a certain topic.
And here is more about each principle:
Even if you have excellent content – if it does not generate search traffic, then the search engines don’t find it. Therefore, crawlability is one major factor for ensuring a strong SEO foundation.
So that your content can be found and ranked in the search results, the search engines should:
- Have access to the content or at least to those pages you want to rank.
- Be able to read the content
The latter is mainly a technical task, which, however, also has to do with having a good site structure. This happens through adapting the code and/or using an SEO plugin for sites that run on WordPress.
Besides being accessible and crawlable, your content should also help the search engines understand its hierarchy and relative importance. Structuring your site in a hierarchical way will result in an increased impact of your most important and profit-generating pages.
When a search engine visits a site, it tries to navigate the homepage and click on every link. Therefore, when a page can be reached with a single click from the home page or is linked to every page, the crawl bots will better see these pages and consider that they are more important. The other, not-so-important, pages will still have to be linked from somewhere to them, but they should get less emphasis and be further away from the homepage.
Here, we should ask the question whether the search engine can tell which your most significant pages are, just by examining the website structure.
As soon as your content is accessible to crawlers, you should make sure that the search engine gets an accurate picture of the topic of your content. This is where you add keywords.
Keywords should not be overdone, however, in order to create a great customer experience.
In terms of keyword usage, Google is looking for:
- Whether they answer questions that people have about your topic.
- Whether they use terminology also used by real people, and your target audience in particular.
- Whether a term is used the way a real person would use it (often referred to as “user intent” or “searcher intent”).
There should be only one keyword or phrase per page. Secondary ones could be included, but they should also be related to your primary keyword. A page should not contain too many topics.
The search engines have methods based on the idea of library card catalogs, and Google categorizes a page much like a library would do – using the Dewey decimal system. Which, in the end, all boils down to one topic per page.
This is when other websites link to your sites. It helps prove that you are providing correct and complete information related to people’s queries. The more others trust your content, the greater authority as an expert you have.
However, Google does not treat all backlinks equally when it comes to boosting a site’s rankings. The search engine weighs them differently depending on how quality and authoritative they are.
Here is more about the hierarchy of trust:
- Personalized recommendation: People who know me well also know what they can recommend to me.
- Expert recommendation: Experts can give valuable insight on a topic, even if it doesn’t always coincide with my opinion. Think movie critics, for example.
- Popular recommendation: If the percentage of people who ranked a movie is high, this means that a wide audience finds it appealing and it may also be a good experience for me.
- Negative association: If someone whose taste and personality doesn’t like a movie, for example, this means that I may like it.
Backlinks are the SEO version of movie reviews. And the same hierarchy matters.
What Changes About SEO
The SEO fundamentals we’ve discussed so far are SEO theory. But when we put it into practice, there should be used some tactics for the optimization of these areas. This is where we see many changes, on a regular basis. Google and the rest of the search engines are constantly perfecting their algorithms
Although tactics may change, the goal of the search engine has always been the same – providing the searchers with the information they’re after in an easy and quick way.
The quality test (EAT)
Google’s’ main goal is to deliver high-quality results, and this is why they make so many changes to their algorithm. This is why tactics stop working when they don’t create high-quality outputs.
Google has gotten better at enforcing quality criteria for website pages. These criteria are referred to by the search engine as EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). Let’s find out what they’re all about:
Your content should answer a question people have. And the answer must be good. It will be good if you provide more in-depth information about the topic than most people.
If you are someone respected and cited by others who are knowledgeable on this topic, you have authority – this depends on the value of your backlinks.
You generate trust if you are a person or business who is reputable enough to be trusted with the care for your users and their information.
The factors discussed in this post are the very basics of SEO, and they are SEO much simplified. In order to receive optimal results, you should trust true SEO experts, like 411 Locals, for example. Contact us today for assistance with achieving your online presence goals.