SEO techniques that have worked since the start of Google

“We want Google to be the third half of your brain.” – Sergey Brin, co-founder Google


From the start of the internet, website owners have wanted to be ‘number 1’ in the listings of a search engine … guess what search engines want!

SEO Techniques that don’t work

So there’s a conflict and this conflict created an entire industry of SEO experts based on trying to be ‘one step ahead’ of the clever and increasingly complicated algorithms that search engines had developed over the years to stop the SEO techniques working.  In the early days, this included such techniques as placing white text on a white background under the website that is full of search keyphrases … clearly an attempt to ‘game’ the search engines.  SEO companies have used tiny and hidden text, keyword stuffing, hidden links, link trading, directory listing, duplicated and automated content, clickbait, cloaking, Google bombing, and many, many more!

In truth – at some point in the last 20 years, all these ‘SEO techniques’ worked and helped you ‘game’ Google … but Google didn’t just watch this and accept it … they constantly developed and enriched their systems and indexing techniques to spot the cheats and punish cheats accordingly.

So – if you’re serious about trying to improve your SEO ranking then you need to simply follow the advice Google themselves provide – provide the information for your client in the way your client wants to see it!

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OK … the truth is – good, high quality SEO techniques actually comes halfway between the Google view (which is a little simplistic) and the ‘gaming approach’ that will get you blacklisted on Google.  You have to select a single keyword or keyphrase per page and then place this keyword in a number of places on the page to ensure that Google properly understands what the page is about – but not so much that you’ve gone over the top!

What are the legitimate SEO Techniques I can use

It’s important that you understand the three core areas that contribute towards Google reviewing, indexing and listing your site … these are covered in detail below (visible, technical and backlinks) but just remember, if you’re doing ‘something’ because you think it will ‘con’ Google then don’t:  Google has seen them all and hates them all … if you only do ‘things’ with an end client in mind, you won’t stray far from the path.

On site essentials for SEO Techniques – visible

  • URL’s of pages – the full URL will normally be your domain name with a specific page name – make sure your page name contains your keywords but also try to eliminate any pointless information (numbers or messy characters created by database systems)
  • Page title or title tag – often shown in the tab of your browser, make it relevant
  • Heading text – used within the page content itself – for instance, the text title above these bullet points ‘On site essentials for SEO Techniques – visible’ contains the keyword ‘SEO Techniques‘ which is the keyword for this specific article and is being displayed with an H3 (Heading 3) tag
  • Body text – technical elements include trying to emphasise or italicise your keywords to increase their visibility
  • Body text – provide and display genuinely useful information to the end user because their ‘spending time’ on your page improves Google’s perception of the page itself
  • Body text – amount or volume of content – Google likes lots of content as this helps their systems to ‘properly’ understand what the page is about … HOWEVER, users generally don’t and prefer a short version!  Here, this is a balancing act that you can only guess at, but a page with less than 300 words is generally disregarded by Google
  • Image names should ideally contain the keyword you are targeting – often, an image taken by a phone would be a combination of the date and time in numbers – not useful for Google, so renaming them to be keyword specific helps
  • Alternative (Alt) text – this is descriptive text shown ‘behind’ an image and essentially allows you to describe the image – again, use your specific SEO keywords to enhance your page
  • Links to outbound locations using keyword text – Google likes to see links as this stops a page being a dead end.  For instance, here’s a link (using keyword text) to Googles own guidance (a PDF download) on SEO techniques
  • Links to internal content – ideally, you should be linking to other pages of relevant content – for instance, on the Yorkshire Powerhouse website, we provide a guide to measuring search traffic using the Google Keyword Tool

On site essentials for SEO Techniques – technical

  • Image alternative text tags – as mentioned above, this is something that is rarely seen by an end user but an essential part of feeding appropriate keywords to Google
  • Load speed – the speed it takes for your site to load forms an essential part of the user experience.  If your site takes too long to load then this frustrates users and Google will punish you for it.  You can check your website page using the Google tool for page speed insights but you will need the help of a techie to put things right
  • Social sharing tools – Google likes to see you encouraging social sharing – if you look at the bottom of this page you’ll see the links to allow you to share this page through your own social network – please do!

Off site essentials – backlinks from keyword relevant

Google awards a score called a ‘page rank’ to your website and each and every page on your site.  The page rank is a score out of 10 and the higher your score, the higher you will get listed (assuming you’ve already established your keywords correctly as above).

The primary mechanism that Google uses to establish what score to award you with is based on the page rank scores of other websites that link to you … so, if no one is linking to you your score will be zero (essentially Google acknowledging you exist but no more).

Additionally, the Google algorithm has developed over the years to focus only on ‘keyword relevant’ links (ie. the linking site must use similar or related keywords to your own otherwise it will ignore the link as ‘worthless’ and potentially spammy).

With this clarity, it is obviously beneficial to develop as many links back to your website as possible from related sites … but, herein lies the main problem with modern SEO as this is genuinely hard, tricky and time consuming work.

Other essentials elements to Google visibility

Unique content: Google wants to see unique and original content and will down grade your listing if you publish content that’s already out there on the internet … yes, Google is checking that you’re not essentially plagiarising someone else’s content!

Regular updates: A website that never grows or changes is static … everything the internet it not!  As such, Google likes to see websites being updated and developed with new and revised content on a regular basis … cooperate and be rewarded with an improved Google listing

Building of backlink network: As discussed above, the development of a growing network of back links to your website is an essential part of organic SEO techniques.

SEO is the process of educating Google about your business … but Google are busy so it takes a lot of time to get noticed – genuine organic SEO development is a long, slow, unexciting process that we should all do because of the long term rewards.

Blunt thinking on SEO Techniques from Yorkshire Powerhouse
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