There is a tendency to think that ranking well in Google is a big, mysterious, complex thing. It’s really not. I said years ago that Google doesn’t change the rules for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and that still holds true. Things change frequently, for sure, but most of those are just Google getting better at understanding content and clearing out spam.
At the end of the day, there are just three things you need to do to get 90% of the benefits of Google:
- Product great content.
- Don’t do anything stupid with your site (slow load times, get hacked, etc).
- Get others to reference your content, ideally with links.
That’s it. Those aren’t necessarily easy to do, but if you conquer those you’re all set.
Now here is a partial list of what you need to worry about to get the last 10%:
- Have great alt text on your images
- Use H1 tags for your titles
- Customize your meta descriptions
- Set up Google Search Console
- Set up Bing Webmaster Tools
- Submit your sitemap to Google
- Install an SEO plugin
- Create a robots.txt file
- Check canonical tags
- Add structured data / schema markup
- Organize topic clusters
- Optimize for Google AMP
- Set up goals in Google Analytics
- Disavow bad links to your site
- Add great tags
- Use solid categories
- Add social sharing icons
- Make your content a specific length
- Link out to other high-quality sources
The list could go on and on. Don’t get me wrong — those are all good things to do! If time allows, every one of those items can be helpful. I just see people get hung up on them far too often and make content generation a giant chore that scares them away.
Your goals will impact how your posts are shaped. If we’re doing heavy SEO optimization for a client, we’ll do everything on that list to get the absolute most we can out of every piece of content.
For most folks, though, just producing great content on a solid site would be a massive win. I have a friend that is constantly struggling to attract clients, but he’s written zero blog posts in 2021 (and very few in past years). He’s trying to come up with the perfect post and instead he hasn’t published anything. You don’t need to go nuts trying to blog every day, but consistent content wins. Don’t overthink it.
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