5 SEO Principles I Learned Over The Years

I don’t consider myself an SEO expert, but I have been in the trenches for many years already, and managed to build some fairly successful websites when it comes to search engine traffic, with a couple of them breaking the one million monthly visitors mark.
Over this time I came across many SEO tips and tricks, but those come and go. On the other hand there are some basic principles that never change, and I want to talk about some of them.
1. ClichĂȘ as it may sound, content is still king.
You probably already know this, so I won’t waste too many words on this point. But yeah having unique and useful content is still the cornerstone of any SEO strategy. Without it no sophisticated SEO tactics will be able to drive a lot of organic traffic to your website.
2. You have to partner with Google, and not compete against it.
When trying to optimize your website for Google you have basically two approaches to follow: you either co-operate with it or you try to out-smart it.
Out-smarting it involves trying to find loopholes in the algorithm, ways to trick the search bots, methods to artificially increase your rankings and so on. The so-called blackhat SEO. In my opinion this is the worst approach you can follow, as it might work in the short term, but in the long run you’ll probably have a lot of headaches.
If instead you play along with Google you’ll be building a more solid asset out of your websites, and in the long term you’ll receive a lot more traffic from it. 
3. Understand Google’s business model
In the previous point I talk about partnering with Google, but what does that mean in practice? It means that you should understand Google’s business model and support it with your websites.
Essentially Google makes money by serving search results that match exactly what people are looking for, and by serving ads both on those search result pages and on partner websites that have content matching the search queries.
In other words, if you want to rank high in search results you need to make sure that your content will match and satisfy the needs of whatever your visitors might be searching for on Google. If you get this part right half the battle is already won.
4. Unique and useful content is not enough
As I mentioned in the first point, having unique and useful content should always be the first part of your SEO strategy. Even if you have buttloads of high quality content, though, this alone will not be enough to drive organic traffic to your website.
Why not? Because simply writing and publishing that content on your website doesn’t mean that Google will know about it, let alone trust it. You can achieve this will the point below.
5. Get people talking about your content/website
The second half of the SEO equation (the first one being having unique and useful content) is to get Google to know and trust your content. Without getting technical, you can achieve this by getting other people to talk about your content and website.
For example, if you write a highly articulated post explaining what caused the latest financial crisis it’s likely that many financial bloggers will link to your post, people interested in finance will share and like your post on Facebook, others will retweet it, so on and so forth. Google tracks all those mentions, and it will figure that your content is probably top notch. The result is that your post will rank high when people search on Google for related terms.


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