Search engine optimization has always been a tricky thing, especially for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
On the one hand, it can be confusing. The rules of the game are always changing.
On the other hand, it can be dangerous. One wrong move, and you're confined to the penalty box for who-knows-how long.
On yet another hand, it can be complicated. What in the name of Matt Cutts is a disavow file, and how do you make one?
Thankfully, SEO doesn't have to be confusing, dangerous, or complicated. The advances in Google's algorithm over the past few years have made SEO a bit easier.
Just a bit.
You still need to give your SEO a decent amount of attention. SEO doesn't take care of itself.
Fortunately, over the past few years, as SEO has evolved, I've kept a list of the SEO techniques that work, regardless of how the search engines are changing.
These techniques are designed to eliminate frustration, confusion, and danger.
What are "Evergreen SEO Techniques"?
Evergreen SEO techniques are tactics/techniques that have withstood all the algorithmic changes that Google has implemented over the years.
Since the primeval dawn of search engines, SEOs have devised "techniques" for pushing their websites higher up in the search results.
Internet search turned into a game of whack-a-mole as SEOs got creative and Google engineers got stricter with the rules. Each outsmarted the other, pushing the search algorithm to a heightened state of complexity and ingenuity
We're now at a place where "tactics" and "techniques" are nothing close to the link tiers and keyword stuffing of yore. Instead, we rely on a methodology that won't rile up the algorithm, and that will satisfy the user.
This methodology we call "evergreen." It's not going to go out of style. It's not going to get penalized. It's always going to work.
And the best part? It doesn't require any wizard-like knowledge or super-technical skills.
1. Make a great website.
As unsexy as this sounds, it's the crucial foundation for everything that follows.
Your website is the basis of SEO. Without delving into the hows and whys of technical SEO, let me provide a few recommendations that will get your SEO off to a great start.
- Choose a reputable hosting company. Bluehost or GoDaddy are recommendable.
- Use Wordpress as your CMS. It's the most widely used content management system, because of its cost (free), simplicity, versatility, and reliability.
- Select a reliable theme for your website. Predictability and trust are important no matter what you are doing. Websites are no different.
- Make your website as fast as possible. Speed is one of the most influential technical factors in search ranking. You can test the speed of your website using a free speed test like Pingdom or Google's PageSpeed Insights.
- Make sure your website is mobile friendly. A mobile friendly website is usually responsive. Check your website's mobile friendliness using Google's mobile friendly checker tool.
- Create an XML sitemap. Sitemaps are like a quick-reference guide for the search engines. They will look at your sitemaps in order to understand the best way to index your website. If you are taking the DIY approach to creating your website, you can use a Wordpress plugin to generate your XML page.
- Use a title tag for each page you create. Your title is the name of the page as it appears in search results, helping both users and search engines understand what that page contains. The title tag is the single most important onsite SEO feature. Most of the time, your page titles are created automatically, which means you don't have to worry about whether or not you have one. Yoast, a Wordpress plugin, helps you optimize title tags.
If you work with a developer or website manager, they will be aware of each of these elements and how to use them correctly.
If they are unaware of these SEO features and how to implement them, you can install Wordpress plugins that will do the job.
2. Give the user the best experience possible.
SEO is all about the user experience. The most important part of search engine optimization isn't optimizing for the search engines at all. It's optimizing for the user.
Giving your user the best experience possible requires that you know your user.
Learn as much as you can about your target audience. Find out what they fear, what they crave, what they want.
Then deliver it with your website content.
Giving your user the best experience possible requires that you engage your user.
Engagement refers to the way that visitors interact with your website. If they suddenly leave (bounce) or don't take action on your website, then you have failed to engage them in the right way.
Here are some of the best ways to engage your users:
- Be generous with your visual content. Gone are the days of websites with just text. Today's website users crave a rich, visual experience. Adding relevant and attractive images to each post and page will make your website far more interesting and engaging.
- Use different types of content. Use variety when it comes to the types of content you use. Infographics, videos, apps, images, quizzes, white papers, and original research are all types of content that will satisfy your users and keep them engaged.
- Ask them to take action. Any action is appropriate here -- playing a video, social sharing, entering their email address, etc.
SEO has always been about really great content.
The more, the better.
Keep a continuous velocity of new pages, great articles, additional videos, and more of what your audience wants.
Low-quality content is one of the primary reasons that websites don't rank well. Don't allow the rush for quantity to reduce your quality.
If you can produce content at the highest level of quality, you'll succeed at SEO in the long-run.
SEO doesn't have to be confusing, dangerous, or complicated. But it does require your attention.
We can't ignore SEO and hope it will fix itself through some algorithmic magic. Thankfully, there are tried-and-true methods of optimizing your website. Investing in SEO is time and resources well spent.
What SEO methods are you working on right now?