SEO: What's In and What's Out

What is important for Search Engine Optimization changes over time—making articles that are just a year or two old already outdated (including mine).

Although Google and other search engines don’t give us a crystal ball, here is what seems to be working and irrelevant to your search engine results today.

What Works

Keyword Research. If you don’t know what people are actually typing in, how do you know what to optimize for?

Title Tags. These are still important for rankings as well as usability, since this is what people see both in the search results and when they bookmark your page.

Great Content. If you don’t have great content, you will never have long-term success with SEO. People stay on your site longer and link to your site when you have great content. Both of these things support SEO. Building great content rather than relying on constant SEO tweaks as search engine algorithms change is also a more durable SEO strategy.

Link Building. A link to your site is like a vote for your site. The more links in, the better. That being said, don’t waste your money hiring people to build inbound links. Google doesn’t count all inbound links equally.

Landing Pages. Building pages that are similar but optimized for different geographies can work. I admit, it’s spammy, but it still works.

What Doesn’t Work

Header Tags (e.g. H1). One of our best sites doesn’t use a single header tag. I’ve been saying for years H1 tags don’t matter, and now finally everyone is saying this, too.

Meta Keywords. This hasn’t worked since the late ‘90s, yet the only sign of SEO I see on almost every site I review is keyword tags.

Submitting URLs to search engines. If you make sure the search engines can navigate through your site, there is no need to submit the pages directly to the search engines. They will find them on their own.

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