Changes to Google’s algorithm have the ability to make or break businesses. Google is sending out the signal that you should worry less about the current SEO trends, and more about producing great content, and that they’re “leveling the playing field” for sites that don’t pay as much attention to SEO. Obviously great content is a positive, but at the same time, Google is showing us each month all of the changes it is making, and all the while, providing tips about how to do certain SEO things better.
According to Google, these are some things you should not do in your SEO efforts:
- Having no value proposition: Try not to assume that a site should rank #1 without knowing why it’s helpful to searchers (and better than the competition )
- Segmented approach: Be wary of setting SEO-related goals without making sure they’re aligned with your company’s overall objectives and the goals of other departments. For example, in tandem with your work optimizing product pages (and the full user experience once they come to your site), also contribute your expertise to your Marketing team’s upcoming campaign. So if Marketing is launching new videos or a more interactive site, be sure that searchers can find their content, too.
- Time-consuming workarounds: Avoid implementing a hack rather than researching new features or best practices that could simplify development (e.g., changing the timestamp on an updated URL so it’s crawled more quickly instead of easily submitting the URL through Fetch as Googlebot).
- Caught in SEO trends: Consider spending less time obsessing about the latest “trick” to boost your rankings and instead focus on the fundamental tasks/efforts that will bring lasting visitors.
- Slow iteration: Aim to be agile rather than promote an environment where the infrastructure and/or processes make improving your site, or even testing possible improvements, difficult.
On the flipside, this is what Google says you should do:
- Do something cool: Make sure your site stands out from the competition - in a good way!
- Include relevant words in your copy: Try to put yourself in the shoes of searchers. What would they query to find you? Your name/business name, location, products, etc., are important. It’s also helpful to use the same terms in your site that your users might type (e.g., you might be a trained "flower designer" but most searchers might type [florist]), and to answer the questions they might have (e.g., store hours, product specs, reviews). It helps to know your customers.
- Be smart about your tags and site architecture: Create unique title tags and meta descriptions; include Rich Snippets markup from schema.org where appropriate. Have intuitive navigation and good internal links.
- Sign up for email forwarding in Webmaster Tools: Help us communicate with you, especially when we notice something awry with your site.
- Attract buzz: Natural links, +1s, likes, follows… In every business there’s something compelling, interesting, entertaining, or surprising that you can offer or share with your users. Provide a helpful service, tell fun stories, paint a vivid picture and users will share and reshare your content.
- Stay fresh and relevant: Keep content up-to-date and consider options such as building a social media presence (if that’s where a potential audience exists) or creating an ideal mobile experience if your users are often on-the-go.