Take a look back to SEO in 2005. Make a list of all the do’s and don’ts we had at that point. Compare it with what you have today. Can you see a pattern? Probably not from a bird’s eye perspective. But if you dig deep, there is clearly an evolution path. Some frills shed, some wings emerge and there’s a beautiful pattern.
Keeping in mind that there had been so many changes and algo updates with Search Engines in the past few years, let’s take a look at where SEO stands today. What are the golden rules Google have for us this day and the days to come.
Forget about SEO, if you run a website, what should you be knowing and aware of as a responsible webmaster.
1. Forget SEO. Period.
There is too much emphasis on SEO these days, people are paranoid about it. That is so wrong. There is no magic keyword formula or linking pattern that can get you ranks. No clearly there isn’t. Forget about ranks, leave the work to the search engines. Instead focus on building a good website with a good foundation and structure. If you continuously work on it and make sure it can hold anything that is build upon from a scalable perspective, you’re job is done.
2. Build a website your grandma can figure out
Call her in. Open Internet Explorer, load up your website and ask her to figure out what it is all about. If she can do it, you’ve done a good job. Try to get better at it. Make it possible for her to figure the information in minimum possible steps. Better! Trust me, that is all that is there to making a great website. Litmus test.
3. Answer a question or solve a problem with your content
What is the purpose of your site? Is it to make money? Is it to get popular? Well, either ways, if it doesn’t solve a problem, if it doesn’t answer a question, you’re just being another brick on the wall. That’s why you got to find out a niche and be an expert at it. Clearly, you don’t want to be another mashable repeating the same old story The Post just published. Well, if you really want to, then find that extra bit of juice no one reported yet. Or else, you know – bland.
4. Give the website a personality
Think about it like a shop at the mall. You might be selling something amazing, but then are you making people happy as well? Happiness comes from a good experience, not because your product is awesome. Well, Apple has the best phones, but even they make sure that users get the best shopping experience, one they’ll never forget. Giving your website a good personality can help people like it even more.
5. Make it easy for the reader to identify you
Nothing like making your first time visitors go wow! In fact, this is something very hard to achieve. Users see hundreds of website a day and unless your website stands out and makes a difference, they are not going to come back or bookmark it or like it or subscribe to it. And all you’ve got is 3 micro seconds or so. Every additional second is a luxury and a clue that you’re doing it wrong. Give it a brand, give it some color combos that they’ll recognize you later on. That helps.
6. Open it up for discussion
Do not hide behind the veil. For every website, the first thing people do is hate it. That is how people think. And then you try hard and there might be that one thing that will impress them. So the more time you take to impress them will give you lesser chances to win adding up a bunch of reasons to dislike already. Give people a chance to vent out their frustration, or dislike your opinion, or add to your ideas. Invite them to do so. Don’t be preachy. The more eye balls, the better the chances.
7. Make friends in your niche
Real friends. DO not do it for the sake of links. But identify fellow webmasters from the same niche, contact them and talk on Skype, better yet call them. Talk about things happening in your niche, problems and opportunities. Many a times, people don’t open up to related websites considering them competition. But if you find a real potential guy, I recommend making friends with him/her. You’ll be surprised at how good an idea it can be. If at all you guys don’t make it together, you can always roll back. But that shouldn’t stop you from giving a a shout out.
8. Remember, Time is money
If there is one thing I can think of that I wish every webmaster put at the top of their to-do list is – Responsiveness. More like Swiftness. A swift and responsive website with great content is what every website should be. Every user should be delighted with the kind of speed with which content is being delivered to him at every click. If you’re doing it right, it can bring in lot of good will and trust. It may sound simple, but believe me, it is easier said than done. Value every second spent by a user on a website. Give him the best experience and the best value, or it’s a chance lost.
9. Let them know who you are
Put your face to your articles. People recognize people and not shapes or logos as much. You bring in lot of authority and trust when you’re putting yourself in front of things. People know you, they can identify you, it makes things easier to share and discuss and identify.Readers will talk to you, reach out to you and let you know what they think about your ideas, good or bad.
Well, these are some hints and clues I suggest. I’m sure there is a lot more out there. Feel free to add.