President Trump caught the attention of SEO Experts, claiming that Google is “rigged,” “so that almost all stories & news is bad” (sic). He claims that Google SERPs are biased towards “Fake Media News.”
President Trump is not alone in experiencing confusion as to how Google ranks websites. Google’s algorithms can be baffling. Algorithms aren’t static, requiring marketers to pay attention to the latest tweaks in ranking factors. Even we’ve told you how important it is to pay attention to updates and trends in search. But, we’ve also indicated many winning approaches for the long haul. And the foundation for a good site remains the same – you must adhere to the SEO basics.
As it has been pointed out to President Trump and the general public alike – Google uses hundreds of factors to determine a site’s place in the results page. And while the secretive nature of the algorithms can raise questions, those of us in the SEO game know that you have to stick to the SEO basics to earn SEO visibility.
So, SEO Experts, excuse us for a second as we give President Trump a quick introduction on SEO. Search Engine Optimization is the process of making changes to your website’s structure and content in order to increase your visibility within Google and other search engines. The higher your ranking on a SERP [Search Engine Results Page], the more likely your domain is to receive clicks [thus traffic and hopefully revenue]. Google uses algorithms to determine the results from a user’s query. Google also uses a machine-learning artificial intelligence system called RankBrain to sift the search results. As we have written, “RankBrain’s purpose is to bring more value to searches by connecting typed-in keywords, including long-tail keyword phrases, with similar keywords and phrases and therefore offering better and more comprehensive results. As an example, someone typing in a rather strange search phrase like “I want to find where flowers are in LA” would actually be offered appropriate results like those given for a more common keyword phrase, such as “flower shops in Los Angeles.” RankBrain is able to teach itself to make connections between similar phrases, and the goal is for it to be able to properly offer results even for search queries it has never seen before.”
The SEO basics that have rocketed brands to the top of search engines’ most prominent pages, for many years, aren’t out of style. Even though the top marketers and brands finesse the delivery of these fundamentals differently and they’re sure to be implemented in a more forward-looking manner in the future, these SEO basics remain pillars to grab hold of.
SEO Basic Tip #1: Make Your Site Friendly to Bots
In order to rank, Google’s bots need to be able to crawl your website. This means that the programs responsible for discovering content users want and need must find your site, and they have to retrieve the right information from it. If your website doesn’t show up properly for Google’s bots to find and crawl, and then index, guess what? There’s no way you’re going to show up on page 1.
Making your site friendly to bots is a crucial constant SEO best practice. This technical SEO tactic involves taking care that your website loads correctly, is available for bots to discover and has your brand’s photos optimally inserted. Visibility is key.
SEO Basic Tip #2: Focus on Site Structure
Along with ensuring proper website visibility, you must set up your site so Google’s bots can easily crawl it and pull the right information to help you rank. Your website structure is another technical part of SEO that will always be important. The layout of your site structure should make it simple for bots to extract the correct page title and description from your metadata, which is what will populate in your SERP listing.
You should always pay attention to structured markup and other tools like micro-formatting, which allow you to push specific kinds of content to users and have this content end up immediately in search engine results.
SEO Basic Tip #3: Produce Quality Content
How many times have you heard that “content is king?” It’s a phrase as vital to digital marketing as “location, location, location” is to real estate. Sure, it can sound stale after a few hundred go-arounds, but that doesn’t make it matter less. Quality content is a constant SEO best practice that has been the name of the game since the start and it won’t change.
All of Google’s algorithm updates are for one purpose, to deliver users the best content that solves their problems and makes them happier. Algorithm and ranking adjustments with regard to content should have confirmed to marketers that good content is: fluff free (not keyword-spamming and meaningless), in depth (usually 1000 words per page) and easily readable for native speakers (it makes sense, given the geographical location of the audience).
SEO Basic Tip #4: Build Networks Based on Trust
Getting websites to link to yours, trustworthy and reputable ones, has always been and will continue to be a sign telling Google, “I’m the real deal and users should know about me!” Networks of inbound links that you seek out and earn, through your quality content and upstanding presence online, show search engines that you’re a source of trust on the Internet. And, that you deserve to be ranked where people can see you.
Links matter. A lot. But not black-hat links that do nothing except proclaim that you “pay to play” and aren’t interested in contributing anything worthwhile online. Google continues to perfect its ability to penalize those who don’t create an honest link profile.
Google could roll out a new algorithm update every day (and some say it secretly does) and the move shouldn’t change the fundamentals on which you construct your SEO campaign. Classics are classics for a reason. They’re brilliantly designed. And, while they sometimes take on new life, their value is intrinsic.
If you are following these basics, tending to your site’s technical SEO needs, and creating useful content, then you know that there is no “rigging” involved. Only the hard-earned efforts of a sound website.
Contact Galileo Tech Media to learn how you can apply SEO fundamentals to your brand’s marketing campaign and see better search results.