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Everyone wants to get a high click-through rate and a good place in Google’s search algorithm. But, when it’s generally accepted in the industry that Google uses around 200 ranking factors to rank websites – and some of them are proven, some are controversial, and some are outright conjecture – it can be hard to know. what factors to focus on when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO).
So what is most important to Google?
“It’s content,” said Andrey Lipattsev, senior Google Search Quality strategist. “And, these are links pointing to your site.”
Related: 5 strategies for better link building and improving your SEO
I have heard people foolishly suggest that links are no longer important. There is a new way to do SEO, without links. This is wrong and it is dangerous advice. Keep in mind what Andrey Lipattsev said.
We tend to almost always come back to links because they feature a large and very important part of the 200 or so ranking signals, such as:
- The volume of external links you have. The more, the better.
- Anchor text for external links. Links with SEO-focused anchor text should be relevant to the target page.
- The quality of the sources of external links. It is better to get a link from a reputable news source or college newspaper rather than an unfamiliar blog.
Links have always been a valuable aspect of an SEO strategy, and many SEO agencies focus on building relevant links to get first page search results on Google. This is because there is a strong correlation between great SEO results (especially keyword rankings) and the quality and volume of links to a site.
Keep in mind, however, that while links can lead the pack, the content, Moz authority, and page authority have significant value and must be considered for any SEO strategy to be successful. .
Related: How to do an SEO audit of your website
Content Marketing and SEO
SEO and content marketing stand out from each other in several critical areas, but you can’t completely separate the two. SEO is generally narrower and more technical, while content marketing is broader and more holistic – much like a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not necessarily a square. Here’s how they converge:
- You can apply SEO more broadly by channeling its specific technical efforts into content marketing.
- The only way to ensure successful content marketing is to apply SEO techniques.
Another way to look at it is this: SEO makes demands. Content marketing meets these requirements. SEO spells out the requirements. Content marketing fills them up.
Related: How to create content worth sharing and optimized for search
2017 algorithm updates
In January, Google began implementing a penalty to punish aggressive interstitials and pop-ups that could harm the mobile user experience. Google also provided a rare warning of this update five months in advance.
There will undoubtedly be many more algorithm updates throughout 2017, but the success of your SEO campaigns will largely depend on the focus of your SEO strategy on links and content.