Search engines, such as Google and Bing, are constantly changing and growing. They regularly release algorithm updates
and new ranking signals
to help users find the most relevant and quality websites. While it's important to stay up-to-date on new developments, you should never forget these five search engine optimization (SEO)
Timeless SEO Principles to Remember
SEO has evolved a lot over the past couple of decades, but certain principles will always remain the same. Regardless of trends, you should build an SEO strategy that's based on quality and relevance to not only drive traffic, but also keep visitors on your website
1. SEO is not done in one shot.
Though basic SEO should be established on your website early, it should never remain stagnant for long periods of time. Continuously updating your website with high-quality content is important for search engines and your users. You can also refresh old content to show Google that you’re updating your website, without it consuming too much of your time or resources.
2. Search engines control the game.
While the term 'SEO' stands for search engine optimization, the only thing you have control over is your own website. Search engines take into account these website changes, which can affect your search rankings, but if you don’t play by Google’s rules, it'll be hard for your customers to find you.
3. Focus on the right traffic.
While driving a lot of traffic to your website might seem like the most logical way to get more sales and a higher ROI, it’s not always the case. Having everyone see your website instead of targeting your ideal customer base can cause your website to have a high bounce rate, which ultimately hurts your rankings. You’ll also see a much lower ROI if you're targeting everyone rather than the right audience.
4. Content and UX are crucial.
Your website must provide relevant, high-quality content and a positive user experience (UX) to rank high in organic search results. This means your website shouldn't have plagiarized material, keyword-stuffed content, slow load speeds, confusing navigation, or broken functionality. Otherwise, your website will have little to no visibility in Google search results.
5. Black hat SEO never wins.
If you've ever worked with an SEO company, it's likely you may have heard the term ‘black hat’ when they were explaining a process they can’t use because it's deceptive and goes against Google's search guidelines. While black hat SEO tactics can lead to short-term gains, they put your website at risk of being blacklisted by Google or severely penalized.
Google is always cracking down on websites that show these types of activities, so it's best to err on the side of caution. Don’t ever allow anyone to perform unethical practices on your website!
Build a Strong SEO Foundation
Whether or not you've heard of these SEO principles before, it's essential to remember them moving forward and be patient with your SEO efforts. While black hat methods might show fast results, an SEO strategy built on quality will improve your website long-term with continuous growth — not just a quick spike.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in July 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.