I’ve said for years that Google doesn’t really change the rules too often. Certainly we’ve seen a few major shifts in the last 20 years (SSL matters more, mobile functionality is huge, etc), but most of what Google looks for has been exactly the same — high quality content that your users find valuable. That’s it.
Google’s John Mueller recently discussed this, with two short quotes sticking out to me:
“just make good websites and think about what your users are searching for”
“there isn’t all that much trick in search”
This isn’t a surprise. People are always looking for the secret way to rank better, and there just isn’t one. Every now and then you can find a way to trick Google and cheat your way to the top, but they always find a way to stop those. Your best bet, as it’s been for a few dozen years now, is to publish great content that people find useful, and you’ll find yourself slowing rising to the top of the search results.
You can read more about this and watch the full video from John over at Search Engine Roundtable.