SEO used to be fairly simple. If you wanted your website to rank well then you simply wrote keyword-based content, tweaked your meta tags to target the right keywords, and built some backlinks. Voila! You ranked. Today, however, it’s not so easy.
There are challenges, but the basic principles are still the same. You still write keyword-based content, tweak your meta tags, and build back links. So what changed?
What’s changed is how you perform the tasks. Keyword-based content can succumb to two self-destructive tendencies. On the one hand, you can litter your content with too many keywords – called keyword stuffing – and render is senseless for human readers and flagged by search engines for gratuitous over-optimization. On the other hand, if you fail to include enough of your keyword in your content then the search engines won’t detect them and you won’t rank well for the keywords you want to target. It’s a double-edged sword.
With meta tags, Google doesn’t really pay a lot of attention to them for ranking purposes. They ignore your keywords tags, use your meta description for snippets but not for ranking, and look at your title tag just to see if it is consistent with your on-page content. You may get a nudge for a well-optimized title tag, but it’s not a big selling point for Google.
However, other search engines love those meta tags so you’d be a fool to ignore them.
And, of course, you know how back links are measured. Google has as many rules for analyzing back links as it does for analyzing everything else. You want quality more than quantity and get enough good back links with the right kind of keyword-based anchor text and you can influence your rankings immensely.
Is SEO as easy as it used to be? No, but it is extremely rewarding when you do it well and see the final results.