SEO is an aspect of internet marketing that is constantly changing, but it is also the same. SEO is the practice of investing the time, work, and effort required to get a website in a higher organic position on Google. And while this is one of the most obvious and simple things we can say about SEO, at its core it just keeps changing.
One of the best ways to look at this would be to look at a zoomed out history of the internet for the past 20 years. Much has changed and little remains the same. SEO and email are probably two of the most enduring aspects of the internet two decades later.
But even though the process of search engine optimization is over two decades old, it is still a process that not many people, website owners, and businesses can truly master.
Today we’re taking a look at some of the most important things to keep in mind as you try to hold your own in the SEO world in 2021 and beyond. Read through the recommended practices, expert tips, and resource guides listed below to improve your efforts and results.
Google is SEO … and they make the rules
As mentioned earlier, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization – this is the process of putting the necessary work and effort into serving the needs of Google and how they rate and rank websites in search results. And while the SEO concept mostly focuses on link building, the algorithm created and managed by Google is constantly changing.
In fact, there are now over 200 different factors that Google considers when ranking websites on Google, according to Hubspot, and thousands of updates have been made to this algorithm over the years.
This is important to note as there are many websites, marketers, and link builders out there who want to try the system and improve their rankings quickly. Most of the time, these are just wasted efforts.
Google has everything you can think of to make sure their rankings are more accurate than ever. And as long as Google can deliver the best search results and value to its audience, Google will continue to be the best and biggest search engine in the world.
The Billion Dollar Industry of SEO
Getting listed on Google’s first page for every search term is quite a unique and amazing task. There are currently more than a billion active websites and blogs on the internet and fewer than 10 organic rankings on the first page of Google. With search results so limited, everyone is looking for their own spot.
For the most part, companies and brands of all sizes outsource this type of work to SEO agencies. And for good reason, because a company should focus on its services and products, and outsource marketing and advertising to those who specialize in them.
But the world of SEO and the business and services associated with it are also changing drastically. We can see this clearly by looking at one of the most popular SEO services, which traditionally focus on on-site technical SEO, keyword research, and link building – but not also on site audits, reputation management, social media mentions, and more.
And it’s not uncommon for agencies to now also promote pay-per-click marketing services – for those customers who simply don’t have the SEO basis they need to achieve their organic goals in a timely manner.
While Google generates billions of dollars annually with its search engine and paid positions, they have also paved the way for billions more using SEO services that are also offered by millions of agencies and freelancers.
Great content will only get you so far
Great content is the foundation of everything on the internet. Because of this, people visit a website, search Google, and even browse endless feeds and updates on social media.
When you break it down, there really are only three reasons someone might use the internet or search for something on Google: to find information, to buy something, or to be entertained.
And in each of these cases, they’re all delivered through original content – and that’s what Google looks for when it comes to delivering the best content to their audience through search results. It’s also not just about creating the best content for your audience, it’s better content than what’s already out there.
As you can imagine, with over a billion active websites on the Internet, every possible topic has been written and discussed multiple times. The difference between a site ranking on Google’s first page for a topic and ranking on page 10 often depends on how that content is packaged and served.
However, if you ever attend an SEO conference or talk about “marketing gurus” about a website’s online ranking, they often say “focus on creating great content”. While this may be true, it is only the basis for ranking content in Google.
Think of your website like a pizza. The bread would be the content and the sauce would be backlinks while the cheese would be social media. Without one of these elements, you simply won’t get the same result.
You can write the best content ever, add it with the most beautiful graphics and even videos … but if no one links to that content or shares it on social media, how will it ever be found? You will not.
How to get the most out of your SEO efforts
At the end of the day, Google and the concept of SEO are going nowhere. What will change are the many different ways that people continue to search for and consume content – while also affecting the ranking and optimization of websites.
With so many different moving parts and ever-changing key factors, it’s important to make sure that you focus your efforts on the right spots. That means avoiding the quick tips and tricks to get rankings up overnight and focusing on the SEO best practices that keep working year after year.