SEO rules are nothing more than guidelines on how to approach your blogging projects. Success or failure depends on your objectives but in general these 10 SEO rules are everything you need to know to stay in the right track.
It is worth noting that besides small businesses the majority of people pursuing online success are bloggers. One of the most difficult tasks especially for beginners to blogging is identifying what works in terms of SEO and website promotion and what can get you in trouble. The plethora of SEO tips and advice on the web makes the situation worse because you don’t know who to trust and why.
From my experience if you follow the 10 rules below without exceptions, you are more likely to become a successful blogger in your niche.
Rule #1 – Make sure that your domain is ‘clean’
I added this as a SEO rule because sometimes this is the root cause of blogging failure. This happens when people purchase a domain without knowing the history behind it. When a domain is penalized by Google it is sometimes very difficult to recover and this makes your job harder. Beginners may lose their hope and give up believing that what they are doing is not generating any results while the real cause of the problem is the fact that the domain has a penalty.
Similar is the situation when your own domain is penalized after a Google update. In such cases it may be easier to forget about it and start clean on a new domain rather than trying to fix it by removing the imposed penalties.
Rule #2 – Create a professional looking website
I also consider this to be an SEO rule for the following reasons:
- A professionally designed website that is also SEO optimized is more attractive for users and search engines
- Design and user experience is now more important than ever
By professional design we don’t always mean that you have to buy a theme or hire a designer. I am sure that there are many free themes for your blogging platform that are optimized for search engines and with a bit of work on the design you can create a nice and professional website.
Even if you have to pay $50 to purchase a theme or a couple of hundreds to hire a professional designer, I don’t consider this to be something forbidden especially when you take your blogging seriously.
I personally use the WordPress platform for all my blogging and business websites and I use paid themes based on the Thesis or Genesys frameworks.
Rule #3 – Create a fast website
We are living a period where speed rules the web. All technology companies are trying to make the web faster and Google is leading the way by making their products faster and by adding speed as one of the ranking factors. Their goal is to help users find what they want in the fastest possible way, that’s why the produce fast pcs, fast browsers and they operate the World’s most popular and fastest search engine!
A fast loading website encourages users to visit more pages keeping them more time on the site. In addition, various studies have also shown that fast websites produce better conversions.
Rule #4 – Register with Google authorship
Post penguin 2.0 blogging is about trust and Google authorship is one of the ways to build website trust. SEO has moved away from link building and more importance is given to trusted authors and high quality websites.
Google authorship is a first attempt from Google to break the anonymity of the web and associate a human identity with the content available in their search engine. Their goal is to give more preference to content that is produced by experts and people who are trusted versus content that is published on the web without a valid identity.
To participate into Google authorship you need to create a Google+ profile and then associate your profile with every piece of content you publish online. If you haven’t already done so, I suggest that you read this tutorial from Google.
Rule #5 – Publish long quality content
It seems that both quality and quantity are important for achieving high rankings. If you regularly publish high quality content that is also more than 1500 words, you are better off than bloggers who publish mediocre content that is also short in length.
A number of people may disagree that content length is important for rankings but for some niches this is 100% true. My tests have shown that articles that spam over 1500 words are more likely to rank higher than shorter articles but the best way to find out if this is true or not is to check with your niche. Search Google for a number of terms and check the top positions. If the returned results satisfy the above rule then most probably these claims are applicable for your niche as well.
Rule #6 – Follow these 10 SEO Copywriting tips
When you are ready to publish your next blog post, before hitting the publish button make sure that you have followed these 10 SEO copywriting tips. Proper copywriting can help good content stand out or even make not so good content look better.
Rule #7 – Don’t forget about on-page SEO
You cannot refer to SEO rules without taking into account on page SEO. Under some circumstances I would say that SEO rules and on page SEO are the same thing but the way that the SEO industry is changing, makes it necessary to distinguish between the two. SEO Rules cover a more broad area that goes outside the boundaries of a website while on-page SEO is about the page itself and how to optimize it better.
Rule #8 – Socialize
Social is the new way to market your website. Social media marketing is an integrated part of digital marketing and one of the most efficient ways to promote your website and brand across the web.
Besides the marketing aspect, by ‘socializing‘ you are not only benefiting in terms of SEO but you also get maximum return from your promotion efforts.
Rule #9 – Be careful with off page SEO
This is not the right period to practice link building. If you still believe that SEO is about building links to gain rankings then you are living in the wrong decade! After April 2012 SEO has changed and the focus is once more into creating high quality websites and less into trying to manipulate Google algorithms.
Off page SEO is still important but the rules have changed and adopting practices of the past will get you into trouble. Instead of rushing into creating low quality links, purchasing link packages or hiring a fake SEO company, you better use your time and money efficiently by creating top quality content or assigning your web presence into a reliable SEO firm.
Rule #10 – Respect your audience
SEO is about the user and one of the things you need to do is respect your audience. In my view respect has to do with:
Providing accurate information – nobody can tell you what to write in your blog but if you provide information that is not accurate is like telling your readers not to trust you again
Providing up-to date information – nobody wants to read outdated news or information. Even if it is an old article, if there are new developments in the area it is your responsibility to update the page to reflect the recent changes.
Making your website accessible to a number of devices – You cannot assume that all users use the same browser or device to access the web. Some are desktop users, while others prefer to use tablets and mobiles. A website that respects their audience will ensure that the user experience is the same regardless of the device used.
As a blogger who is looking for the secret quick path to success, you may have read a number of techniques on how to promote your content and get top rankings in Google but the truth is simpler and pretty much what I have outlined in the 10 SEO rules above. Don’t believe in miracles or in quick fixes, concentrate on your work, ensure that you got the basic rules right and success will come if you are patient enough.