Google and Facebook have made bold algorithmic moves to bring valuable content to those who seek it.
The former penalizes brands that game the system while the latter is increasingly encouraging marketers to develop strategies that make our digital experience more meaningful.
Here’s one simple and proven way that you can use for all your digital marketing plans: Learn Google’s 4 Golden Rules. Let’s look at these in detail and how you can use each to assess your SEO plan for 2018.
۱٫ Don’t be evil
Not all businesses are good for the user, particularly substance abuse (drugs), pornography, and gambling. Now, you may not be any of these, but that won’t make you immune from getting backlinks from these so-called evil websites.
Check your backlink profile using tools like AHREFS. It’s a great tool to see all of the links pointing to your website. You may not have control of people or sites linking to you, but you have a way to remove your affinity with them.
Lest you want to feel the wrath of Google’s Penguin algorithm. You can get penalized and drop from SERPs.
How to disassociate your website from spammy and evil third-party websites?
You may want to do a strategy called disavow, and it’s pretty easy to execute. You can use Google’s disavow tool and upload a txt file containing the questionable domains. You can also find a more detailed guide here.
Be careful though, not all odd-looking domains are spammy. Disavowing them at face value may hurt your rankings.
۲٫ You search and found what you are looking for
The second golden rule of Google talks about content— valuable and meaningful content that answers the questions of the user.
In the old days of SEO, webmasters implement content with the goal of placing keywords strategically so that it ranks for that term and come out on top of the search results.
Imagine searching for “Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 1.” It hasn’t been released. But guess what, there’s 101% chance that you will see baiting titles in the search results, telling you about spoilers and other “exciting” “must-watch” and “must-know” “stuff” about one of the most popular series in HBO today. All the webmaster has to do is to fill a web page with such a keyword.
You might rank for it. But are you giving value to the user by doing such a cruel move, especially to die-hard GOT fans out there? Probably not.
Guess what, sooner or later, all-knowing Google will identify you. There’s a high chance you can drop from the rankings. Worst, you will get penalized or banned from Google altogether. And when you do, all those years, energy, and money you spent on building that website will be for naught.
۳٫ Build for the user
Rule #3 goes hand-in-hand with rule #2.
Building for the user simply means giving them a positive experience in using your website.
It is also connected to User Experience or UX Design, such as making your site easy to navigate using a few clicks.
It can also mean having a properly organized website and this is one of the first steps you should consider when building.
By preparing a silo or your site structure, it will be easier to do your keyword mapping later on.
۴٫ Don’t game the algorithm
Black-hat SEO tactics like link farms, keyword stuffing, and over optimization will no longer earn you badges as a marketer. They will no longer help you rank.
If any, these will hurt you. And when your site is so messed up, you will end up buying a new domain or worse, rebranding your business.
Other black-hat school tactics include:
- Use of private blog networks
- Duplicate content
- Comment spamming
- Hidden links
- Article spinning
Conclusion: Search engine optimization is one of the most abused disciplines in digital marketing. Fortunately, Google’s algorithms can now identify websites that still use black-hat SEO tactics and penalize them. Take the 4 golden rules of Google by heart, not just when you optimize, but for all aspects of digital marketing.