We all know that SEO matters. What we don’t know, however, is what Google is hiding. Continue reading to learn four secrets that search engines are desperate to keep under wraps.
Good morning, online business owner. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to conquer search engines, namely Google, to make your site rank higher than your competition.
Here’s your top secret dossier for this mission not-so impossible:
Secret #1: Meta tags and descriptions are Google garbage, but can still help
Back in the old days (circa 2000), meta tags, particularly meta keywords and meta descriptions, were veritable search engine gold. These pieces of HTML were supposed to tell search engines what the websites were all about, and therefore help boost the rankings of those that were more relevant to the search query. But instead of using these powers for good, meta information became hotbeds of misleading keyword stuffing which led to high rankings for some pretty crummy sites.
In 2009, Google caught wind of these issues and announced that it would no longer factor meta tags nor meta descriptions into its ranking algorithms. At all. Thus, when it comes to bettering your search rankings, nothing you put in these areas will have any effect.
That not to say, however, that meta tags and meta descriptions are completely useless. When potential customers search for you, they'll skim through that information when deciding which link to click. If your meta description isn't well-written or relevant to what they're searching for, then you can bet they're going to head to another page. Also, even though keywords in your meta descriptions won't affect your ranking, they'll be bolded if they show up, which can really help your link stand out.
Secret #2: Links help, but powerful links are crucial
It’s no secret that link building is an important part of any SEO strategy – but what Google isn’t telling you is this: the real trick is getting powerful links.
For example, if you work to get 100 links to your site from a bunch of no-name bloggers, you’ve definitely done yourself an SEO favor. But if you secure just one link from a powerful site like The Huffington Post, you’ve got one heck of a boost.
In other words, it’s all about quality, not quantity.
Thus, continue to work to gather as many quality links as you can instead of fighting for every link possible. (Trust me, Google likes to watch you struggle here.)
Secret #3: Google+ has changed the rules
Most people know that Google wants to take power away from Facebook, and one of their strategies is to use their social network, Google+, to influence search results in at least two big ways.
First, Google+ affects your personalized search results. If you have personalized search results enabled on your Google account, when you do a search, you'll see if your friends have +1'd any of the results that show up.
And it doesn't stop there. In some bases, Google with actually promote certain content based on who's in your Google+ circles and what they've endorsed.
The second way Google+ is shaking things up is with Google Authorship, which is basically a way to link the content you write online with your Google+ account. Not only does it make it easier for people to find content penned by you, but it makes your link much more attractive by adding your Google+ picture.
In a sea of typical links, content with Google Authorship really stands out. The catch, of course, is that you have to have a Google+ page in the first place in order to reap any of the benefits.
Secret #4: There is no secret to SEO
The biggest thing that Google doesn’t want you to know is this: there is no secret to SEO.
The real "secret" to conquering search results is to create quality content that people want to consume and share. At the end of the day, Google is powered by people, and people crave content.
So, instead of focusing on mastering the latest SEO trick, spend time thinking about how you can educate and entertain your customers and community. Start writing content for people instead of search engines, and stop obsessing over what you think Google wants.
Good luck, online business owner. As always, should you be caught, I will disavow any knowledge of your actions.
This message will self-destruct in five seconds.
-Matt Winn, Volusion