Did you know that if you google “rules for SEO,” you get over 13.6 million results? While there is certainly no shortage of information on the topic, determining who you should listen to is often a challenging, if not mind-numbing, affair. Some “experts” will advise you to cram as many keywords as possible into a title, while others will offer an EXACT count on how many characters you must use.
The question becomes, how do you know what SEO advice to follow? While it is often difficult determining which SEO expert is correct, it’s very easy to spot the ones that are flat-out wrong -- just see if they break ANY of the Three Golden Rules of SEO.
Rule #1 Be Honest
The easiest way to determine if an SEO “expert” is a crazy person, is if they advise you to engage in dishonest acts. These acts can include jamming unrelated keywords into the title of your post or page, or telling you to write a misleading meta description of your content, so that users will click on the link.
This is a major no-no. In addition to being lame, this can bring about a wave of consequences for your post, website and even your network. Keyword stuffing can get you banned from search engines. Deceptive meta descriptions lead to increased bounce rates and lower site rank. The list goes on and on.
In short, it’s not worth it!
Rule #2 Write for People -- Not Robots
This rule should go without saying, but I see so many people tricked by SEO “experts,” that I think it’s worth repeating: write for people, not for robots.
If you notice that someone has a unilateral view on SEO, or if they insist on using the same keyword strategy for every post or page, it is time to walk away. Yes, putting the most important keywords towards the beginning of your title usually makes your content rank higher for those keywords. But, should you ALWAYS jam major keywords near the front of your title?
If the title doesn’t read well because you packed a ton of keywords into it or the flow is off because you were so intent on where the keywords were placed, then it's likely many readers will avoid the article entirely. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you’re number one on Google, if no one clicks your post.
Rule #3 Content is King
In 2017, it is content – not keywords – that is going to have the biggest impact on your site's success. Anyone who tells you otherwise is insane.
One word Google repeatedly uses when describing how rank is determined is “quality.” Be certain that you are creating original content and that you are providing something that is actually of value to the reader.
Most importantly, write about what you know. Don’t pick a random topic to discuss just because it is “trending” at the moment. People are smarter than that and will be able to see through your tactics. Just remember, if you are an expert in the eyes of readers, you will also become an expert in the eyes of search engines!
Deciding who should manage your SEO efforts can be a tricky situation, but determining who you should avoid at all costs is simple. Just keep in mind the Three Golden Rules of SEO:
- Be Honest
- Write for People -- Not Robots
- Content is King
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