Search engine optimization (SEO) is just as important today as it ever was. Many online marketers have jumped on the “SEO is dead” bandwagon, but I assure you it isn’t dead.
While SEO isn’t dead, it isn’t quite the same in practice as it used to be. The search engines (especially Google) have changed the way they index web pages so often, and so drastically, that true SEO doesn’t resemble anything like what it used to be. But it’s still important.
There are three mainstays to good SEO that I would hasten to say aren’t likely to disappear any time soon. I call these the three prongs of your SEO fork. They are:
- Meta tags
Let’s talk about those.
SEO’s used to talk about keyword densities and other mysterious keyword principles. For the most part, true search engine optimizers haven’t been concerned about keyword densities for almost ten years now. But keywords are still important.
Few marketers would dare to stuff their content with keywords, but if you don’t target keywords that you want to rank for intelligently, then you likely won’t rank for them. That means understanding something about how the search engines rank web pages for those keywords. I’d say you definitely want your primary keyword in your page title (or headline), a couple of your subheads, and some other key places on your pages. But you don’t want to stuff your content with keywords as that will defeat the purpose.
Meta tags are page elements you can’t see when you look at a web page. But the search engines see them. It used to be that you wanted to include your targeted keywords in your meta keywords tag. Most SEOs would say that’s a waste of time today.
What isn’t a waste of time, however, is crafting a good meta title and meta description. While focusing on these tags isn’t perfect, you can influence the search engines to some degree.
That is, Google has been known to ignore meta descriptions for ranking purposes, but not always. The same with meta titles.
When it comes to links, there are two types of links that are important for SEO purposes — inbound links and internal links.
Inbound links are links on other websites that point to yours. Internal links are links on your website’s pages that point to other pages on your site. I won’t say you should focus on building links that are keyword-based or keyword-targeted, but you should do a fair amount of that. The main thing is to employ natural linking patterns that lead visitors to your website and that clue the search engines on what those pages are about.
Keep this in mind: SEO is not an exact science. However, it is important to think about.