Search Engine Optimisation or SEO has been changing gradually over the three decades since the web came into existence. Practices that got sites to the top of search engine rankings previously have been superseded and other so called black hat practices have been clamped down on.
Black Hat Practices
In the early days of the web the quickest, easiest and most cost effective way to get your website ranking well was to build up backlinks quickly. This spawned things known as link farms where you could sign up and get your website listed on hundreds on sites in minutes in exchange for you having a directory section on your page. This tricked search engine providers into believing that the site was important as so many other sites were linking to it.
However, a change in engine algorithms have now grown to identify topics and categories of sites so that they can now judge the relevance of the link. So, if you are a shoe shop and you have hundreds of links from casino sites they will not only discount these links but also punish you for it.
SEO Best Practices
Despite these black hat techniques backlinks are still very important to your site but this is a case of quality over quantity. You are better served to have a few links from relevant and trustworthy sites than hundreds of irrelevant links. This is very time consuming and frustrating as most of these sites are not open to being approached. There are ways around this though.
Unique and compelling content will not only entertain your visitors but also show the web that your site is on the ball, interesting and relevant. Try not to recycle or copy content as the engines will identify this as not unique and you will be ranked down for it.
3. Page Speed
More and more importantly the speed of your site factors in how well your site performs. There are several factors that slow down your site and addressing these will help user experience and overall ranking.
4. Mobile Friendliness
In 2018 an important milestone was reached as more web content was accessed on mobile devices, mobiles and tablets, than desktops. This is a massive game changer for search engines, designers and content developers as they have to start tailoring for the mobile market, which is time sensitive and space poor.
5. Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
Google especially has changed the way that results are shown on the page. Adverts used to be first, then followed by what it deemed as the most relevant results. Now they have introduced knowledge graphs, Google Business and Rich Snippets. Your site needs to be optimised for all these to stand a chance of featuring on the first page of Google.
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