Not long after Google’s pioneering search engine came online, enterprising marketers discovered that they could game the system to gain an advantage over their competitors. The early days of search engine optimization (SEO) were rough and unruly, with many digital marketers exploiting weaknesses shamelessly and with abandon.
Google gradually brought things under control, both by laying out clear rules for sites to abide by and developing more effective means of enforcing them. There are still illegitimate shortcuts that can be taken to improve search results placement for sites and pages, but most of these subject the target to the threat of penalties and other sanctions.
Because of this, most experts agree that abiding by the rules makes much more sense for most businesses that want to make use of SEO. The so-called “whitehat” take on SEO can be quite effective, while avoiding all the dangers that come with the use of underhanded, forbidden tactics.
Working Toward an Improved Experience for Website Visitors
Google’s goal when it returns results to users of its search engine is to provide them with relevant, informative, satisfying resources. When marketers use tricks to improve the search results positioning of pages and websites, they are effectively working against Google.
The other option is to take Google’s guidance seriously and try to design pages that rise higher in the search results on the strength of their own merits. That generally means paying attention to important issues like:
- Content. Pages that are informative or otherwise interesting should naturally rank higher than those that are not. When the quality of the content on a web page gets improved, it will often rise higher in the search results quite quickly. In many cases, thinking about how existing content could serve users better will make the best course of action clear.
- Tags and other markup. Pages that are marked up properly are easier for Google’s automated tools to assess and categorize accurately. Fixing up the tags on a page can produce search results rankings improvements, as a result.
The Value of Working With the Good Guys
SEO experts who stick to approved tactics like these can produce results for their clients without subjecting their sites to the danger of de-listing or other types of penalties. In most cases today, it will be best to seek out this type of help with SEO.