A great blog entry from "Lazy Marketer" Chris Rempel today on the state of search engine optimization (SEO) in 2012. It's called, "Here's What's Actually Dead in 2012." It covers the Google updates from last year as well as comments on Clickbank, online sales taxes, the open market for Kindle books and certain kinds of apps, etc.
Having studied 400+ sites with SEO tools, Chris has come to some conclusions about what works today at least on Google. I wanted to quote some of it, but before I do ...
What I've Said for Years:
Develop quality, unique content. Don't hire people for $5 to write articles that represent your business. And don't just swipe someone else's content. Keep someone on staff who writes well or hire a real writer whose native language is English (or whatever the language of your audience). Remember that you're not just trying to score a search engine presence. Your content has to win over human prospects as well. It needs to establish trust, entice desires, and convince the mind.
Keep the content fresh. I believe in static articles for key information that people need to access. You can build to your list of articles over time. But just as important is a more frequently updated blog that keeps people up to date on what your business is doing and educates them about your field of business ... and why you bring them value. Of course you can add a social component to this to keep it even fresher.
Build quality incoming links. Oops -- there's that "quality" word again. I'm not a big fan of "more." I'm a fan of "better." Experts have shown for a few years now that high-quality links do more for you than scores of low-quality links. Really get people talking about you by offering value. Of course that can include asking friends or friendly businesses to say a few nice things about you in their social networks (links), blogs, etc.
I've promoted quality for several years because remember that there are only three certain things in life: death, taxes, and changing search engine algorithms. (I think that's how it goes.) The purpose of search engines though (even if we think like Chris does that Google missed the mark on this last year) is to connect people to valuable content. Anything that tries to shortcut this is going to suffer at some point. So if you want to build for long-term success, quality matters.
This isn't to say that the process of building with quality can't change with time. Today we have video options that we didn't have in the early days of the internet. And now social buttons and social links have an impact on search engine rankings that they didn't have fairly recently. But my bottom line has always been fresh, quality content with quality referrals to your site. So now let's look at ...
What Chris is Saying:
Among other things, Chris points to a few elements that you might have very recently read. Such as ...
1) Every page you want indexed needs to be 100% unique and long-content.
Maybe it’s a bit excessive, but for my largest authority site yet (which I’ve been building for over a year now), my minimum word count per page is 550 words, and usually 600+. And we’re talking top-shelf content. This is definitely NOT $5/article drivel.
2) Freshness Factors Actually Matter Now.
I still hate blogs (ironically), but ... these days, more than ever, the “newness” factor based on things like POST DATE and RSS FEEDS (your site’s) is directly contributing to SERP placement. Most of you have probably already noticed this.
3) “Social Media” is (Unfortunately) Now a Part of Essential Linkbuilding.
Getting “likes”, “tweets” and all the rest of it is now a very real ranking factor. Additionally, so is your author tag (rel=”author” and rel=”me”). We knew this day was coming, and its arrival has been tumultuous, simply because it’s far from being a refined science like traditional backlinking (and it’s easier to exploit).
If you want to see more about what he wrote, check out his actual blog entry. I just thought it useful to show the credibility of 400+ site tests to confirm my push for quality and regular content. Partly because ME saying you need quality writing is awfully biased. (Don't you want to hire mccardellwrite?) But then ... I've said it for the reason that it seems to be awfully true.