Over the years SEO went through some drastic changes thanks to Google's algorithm updates. Every time a big update was released, like Panda or Penguin, we saw a huge shift in rankings. Some websites were all of the sudden launched to the top of their SERPs, while some were completely filtered out by Google, becoming completely invisible for search engines. The fact that Google's updates can create such havoc is really important since you have to focus on those SEO aspects that almost definitely won't be changed in the near future. We'll show you some of the best ways you can use to future-proof your SEO and avoid losing your ranking literally overnight.
#1. Get Familiar with Google's Algorithm Updates
The single best way to predict how algorithm updates will shape the future of SEO is to get familiar with its past. Knowing exactly what Google targeted over the years may prove invaluable for setting up your own SEO strategy, the result being not having to worry about the ensuing chaos that might hit you or your business. You'll know what to expect, when to expect it, and to what extent the changes are changing search results. Also, even more importantly, you'll figure out some of the things that the Big G values and rewards for, like high-quality content, or great user experience. Knowing your enemy is half the victory, even though Google isn't exactly anyone's enemy. Or is it?
#2. Go Mobile Friendly
Mobile devices have taken over as the number one option when it comes to initial searches on the search engines. And the gap keeps getting wider, as more and more people use mobile devices every day. When Google released its Mobilegeddon update, it targeted websites that weren't optimized for mobile devices, but only for mobile device SERPs. The thing is that being mobile friendly is unlikely to ever become a bad thing, so you really can't go wrong with it. It's a no-brainer really, a no risk - high reward type of thing. Go with responsive web design, keep user experience top-notch, and you'll be all set for the future.
#3. High-Quality Content
Ten years ago you could write any gibberish in about 300 words, all while stuffing two dozen keywords in the headline, and you'd be able to climb the SERPs. This is because search engine algorithms weren't able to recognize the good from the bad, they only cared about keywords and links, even low-quality ones. But all of that changed and content is now an extremely important factor when it comes to organic search ranking. Through multiple updates, websites that had high-quality content always came on top, as they were rewarded for their diligence and originality. Today, if your content satisfies the needs of your visitors, Google will recognize it through a number of metrics, like time spent on a certain page.
#4. Evergreen Content
There aren't many businesses that succeed at creating the right content first time. They either do it to promote their sales or to highlight positive customer experience. While this is fine, this type of content doesn't last very long and it doesn't bring too much to the table when it comes to both visitors and search engines. Instead, you should focus on creating evergreen content, the type of content that you'll know is going to be relevant in a couple of years. Are you a pizza store owner? Cool, have an article written about different types of doughs and what are the best ways to achieve perfect crust. Like we said, the future is all about delivering what your visitors need, and evergreen content will do just that.
#5. Keep Your Reputation Unharmed
Reputation is already a minor factor when it comes to ranking with search engines, but it's likely going to become more important over the next few years. If your website is linking towards a number of low-quality websites, Google will recognize it and trust you less, thus decreasing your rank. The reason for this is obvious - when you're linking towards a certain website you're vouching for its quality and credibility with your own reputation. If the website is for any reason filtered by Google then you'll feel the consequences as well. This is why you always need to focus towards linking only towards websites that truly deserve it.
#6. Brand Names are Losing Impact
For a long time, brand names were a big factor when it comes to SERPs and they had way easier time to reach the top. However, with the shift towards mobile devices brand names started losing impact. Users are mostly using mobile devices to search for generic restaurants, stores, or monuments near them so it's only natural that the importance of global brands diminishes for certain search queries. This is why SEO Company Australia recommends focusing on products/services instead of trying to climb through your brand's name. Of course, increasing your brand awareness should always be the thing, but not for the needs of SEO.
#7. Be Trustworthy
Google has developed its algorithms so well that they're now said to be able to recognize if you're giving your users facts or false info. This is because Google wants its users to stop relying on external links for trustworthiness, which is why you'll always want to double-check anything you write on your website. It's much easier to spread a rumor than to write a fact-backed article, but you'll have to do it nevertheless if you want to be rewarded by Google.
#8. Don't Cut Corners
As we already mentioned, some black-hat techniques used to work really well when it comes to SEO, but that time is long gone. You can no longer abuse a loophole and expect to get on the top of the SERPs, mostly because there aren't that many. However, even if you do find a way to rapidly increase your ranking quickly, think twice about it because it might cost you in the long run if Google decides you've played dirty.
#9. Think About the Users First, Search Engines Second
The sole reason why all the updates from Google are hitting the SEO world so hard is because most of the businesses concentrated their efforts on satisfying search engines. Google has tried to increase the value of user experience through a number of updates, and the chances are they will continue to do so. If you focus on the keywords that your target audience is going to use, you'll inevitably satisfy both the user and the search engine. The same goes for your content, link quality, website speed etc. By satisfying your users you'll most likely be rewarded for it when it comes to organic search ranking as well.
#10. Respect Google's Rules
If you want to stay on Google's good side you'll clearly have to respect their set or rules. You can find everything from technical aspects to quality guidelines in their Google Webmaster Guidelines. By ensuring you're respecting those guidelines you'll also ensure to avoid their penalty, which is something you definitely want if you're looking for a brighter tomorrow. You'll also find the best practices that Google rewards, so it's definitely a must-read for anyone looking to improve their ratings.
Users are becoming the most important thing when it comes to SEO, and your strategy for the future should reflect it. Focus your efforts towards fulfilling their needs and being there for them (through quality Customer Service, or by being diligent on your social media accounts with replies) and you'll more than likely stay out of harm's reach. Google has the power to reward and destroy online businesses, so you should definitely try to stay on good terms with them.