Not that long ago you could boost your Google ranking for certain keywords by fly-tipping gibberish all around the web. It was a guerrilla war of information where the lower you sank in the pursuit of links the more you were rewarded.
We’re talking about keyword heavy articles on sites that existed for their own sakes, endless directories, and exploited link builders in the developing world joining the digital dots.
Well those days are now over, thank God.
As a copywriter who has always produced quality content, nobody was more pleased than me when Google decided that the rules of the game had to change.
Successive updates to Google algorithms mean that your site’s ranking is now boosted by quality new content, social media presence and the ability to be read on any device. Meanwhile, cynical search engine optimisation practices actually diminish your importance in the eyes of Google.
But don’t be unsettled. There’s nothing wrong with ensuring that keywords that relate to your business appear on your website and in its code. After all, if you sell bikes it is perfectly natural to use the phrase ‘bike sales’.
Similarly, you can still link to established directories like yell.com, without fear of damaging your website’s importance. Having links on other sites that Google regards as high quality will also help you to stand out. But make sure these sites are relevant to what you do.
In short, it’s about creating a natural link profile that leads web users to the quality content they seek.
If you are intent on proactively improving your chances of being found, then try to create a buzz on social media. Remember: the more people who mention you and share your content, the more important you become in the eyes of Google.
Finally, if you are in any doubt about what is good practice, simply check the Google Webmaster Blog for the most authoritative advice. This source is the ‘SEO gospel’, straight from the rule makers themselves.