Rankings and Google have been the talk of online marketing industry for fairly long.
Before all the Google algorithm updates, when it was all first starting, in order to rank high on Google, all you had to do was to create links and include keywords in your content as much as possible. At that time no one actually had been paying attention to content quality. But then Google got smarter and decided that delivering quality and value to the readers is very important. Therefore they started to update the search algorithm. By now there have been many changes in it.
And to the newcomers, now more than ever it may seem that ranking high on Google is highly complicated. Especially when they learn how many algorithm updates and signals are there; how many rules there are to create backlinks, do keyword research and the list would have no end if I continued listing those all.
So, yes, generally it is complex which is the reason some people think optimization is hard to master. I’m not going to lie to you; it is a little hard, but I can assure you it is for the better. Just think about it, without those updates the competition would be much more fierce now. Anyone could make thousands of fake links and embed lots of keywords into their content and get away with it. As a result, you would be left with millions of competitors to go up against, fighting for the first place on Google search. Fortunately, after the updates, those who really care about their readers/users and provide quality and value through their websites have a real chance of getting on top of the search results if they try to do so.
Well, if you are a novice and are afraid of websites which have already mastered SEO, then don’t be. Let me give you a starting point.
Healthy link building
How does a healthy link differ from an unhealthy one? NO manipulation: this is the definition of a healthy link. If your links are relevant and provide value to the readers as well as quality then you are good to go.
Andrew Dennis from Search Engine Journal says there are 3 essential ways to build links which won’t get penalized by Google.
- Content – This means investing time in creating unique content and having links to each piece of content produced. Your content, including text, photos, videos or any other type of content provided, should be original and have high quality. Link building by content can be done both on your own website and in guest posts.
- Research – Do some research to find out where is your brand name mentioned without linking it to your website and make sure to find a way to get your links up there. Also, find recourse pages and directories which are relevant to your topics and get your website mentioned there.
- Communities – This one talks about bringing your network from the offline to the online world. Let’s say you or your company is part of an association, takes part in a contest, gives an interview or partners up with some other organizations. Any of these cases are great opportunities to get your links put on their websites.
When we compare long-tail and short-tail keywords there is at least one obvious difference that cannot remain unnoticed. As you might have already guessed that’s the length; short-tail keywords consist of 1-3 words and long-tail keywords consist of more than 3 words. So what? Does it anyhow affect the search results? YES, indeed it does! Well… I mean, it kind of does.
Look, it may not directly affect the rankings but here is how it works.
Generally, long-tail keywords are what we use to get the traffic we need. Just think about it; when searching in Google we all are eager to find answers to our questions which are as specific as possible. And that is exactly why we use many words when searching for something. Let’s say you need to make a video to present something at work. You don’t really have time to shoot the video yourself and you are not exactly enthusiastic about paying someone else to do it either.
So you go to Google and ask it as you would have asked a friend “How to make a video?”. But see, Google’s not a person and if you just ask it “How to make a video?” it will bring you many options of things which might not be what you need. For that reason you try to make your query more specific such as this one here, “How to make a video presentation online”, and it’ll bring you the list of platforms where you can make videos online. Or if you go ahead and be a little more specific than that, “How to make a business video presentation online” Google will bring you the list of online platforms which not only help you make video presentations online but also provide with specific business video toolkits that will ease your work.
When choosing keywords it is more efficient to focus on long-tail ones because otherwise, you can’t really be specific enough to target the audience that really needs your services. And after all long queries are what people use to search for things. Moreover specific long-tail keywords have less competition so it will be easier for you to rank high on those ones.
Freshness is one of the most important factors to be considered when discussing high rankings. Everyone likes things to be fresh, right? So does Google. Therefore, if there are two pieces of content and one of them is fresher than the other, Google is definitely going to choose the fresher one. Fresh content shows that your website is relevant and that it can keep up with the changes in the industry.
However, keeping constant freshness and updating the website might turn out to be a challenge for many. That’s only because many think that in order to keep the website fresh you need to constantly update your products or services. But that’s not necessarily true. Blogging, for example, is a great way to keep your website fresh while having a chance to provide original and quality information to your users. A few blog posts a week will do the trick.
Everything I have mentioned above is just a quick way to get started. Remember that there are still lots of details to consider if you want to master SEO. But it is not as hard as it may seem, so there is no need to be driven away by the complexity of SEO.
And the last but not least is the important factor of being humane. Sometimes when you focus on pleasing Google by technicalities it is easy to forget that the reason you create content in the first place are people. So make sure your users like your content because if they don’t, it doesn’t matter how hard you try to please Google, you won’t get high rankings.