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What Do Search Engines Really, Really, Really Want?

What do search engines want?

What search engines want is something entirely different than what many site owners believe. Nor are many site owners willing to do, learn or put in the necessary effort to gain results.

I am always asked about how to improve rankings and get on the top page of Google. Pretty much the same questions I've been asked for over two decades. Over two decades? Yup. And guess what? My answer hasn't changed all that much.

The only big-time changes, which are more like additional considerations, have been the addition of social media and mobile. And the fact that most markets are saturated.

Are you up to the challenge?

First things first. Know that it is challenging, if not impossible, for new sites to grab the above-the-fold, top-page rankings on Google. Especially considering that Google now fills those slots with paid advertising.

Think about this… What will make your website better than the websites that have owned those spots for years? And what are you willing to do to accomplish that?

Having a website is not a set-and-forget type of thing. “Working” your website is never-ending and requires your commitment in time, effort and money to do what is necessary to compete.

If you're not gonna go all the way, why go at all?

~ Joe Namath

So, how do I get search engine rankings?

Here are just a few things to start with…

  • Have something to offer in a better or unique way than the hundreds of thousands of other sites already online offering the same.
  • Have a website that is well designed overall, thought out to cater to your customers (not your ego) and grown over time.
  • Create unique quality content not to be found elsewhere that provides value to your site visitors. Consistently.
  • Create accurate and unique title tags for each and every page.
  • Write accurate and unique description tags for each and every page.
  • Craft content that caters to site visitors first and search engine crawlers by default. Default being that well written focused content is naturally “SEO'd”.
  • Link to other relevant content on and off your site when there is an opportunity to provide additional details or research for your site visitors.
  • Gain one-way inbound links to your site from other websites because your stuff is so good and one-of-a-kind it is worth linking to. Very difficult to accomplish by the way.
  • Your site is SSL secured.
  • Your site is responsive.

By continuing to apply the above, your rankings will improve — over time. There are no tricks, submission engines, software, or work-a-rounds to avoid what needs to be done by you.

Nor will long lists of keywords to be “added somewhere” provide great rankings. (Are you keyword stuffing your tags?) Keyword phrases should only be used logically and prudently throughout your site and in informative and relevant content.

Search Engine Ranking Shortcuts?

There are none. I've lost count of the number of clients over the years who threw good money after bad to some gimmick, “guru” or “solution” that only served to cater to what they didn't want to embrace and then provide negligible results. Under the guise of fast, easy, and tremendous results, of course!

Don't work it and you won't earn it!

Most of these “solutions” do not include:

  1. Quality properly optimized content.
  2. New fresh content added consistently on a regular basis.
  3. One-Way inbound links from trusted sites.

“SEO” is what it is, and we have no control over that. All we can control is how we manage our websites when armed with search engine guidelines. Unfortunately, no silver bullets, magic pills, scripts, or programs negate understanding what is involved and the work required to accomplish relevant rankings.

What do search engines want?

They state that they want to provide the most accurate and relevant results for the search queries presented to them. As a result, you can read precisely what Bing, Google, and Yahoo! expect from your site:

Yes, I know, sometimes search engines are better at some queries than others. However, technology is a never-ending work in progress.

Some search engines are better than others, more transparent than others, while some are more about ad revenue. Each has a right to decide their business model — just as do you. However, one thing is clear; your business model should not be contingent on search engine rankings alone.

Search engines really want the good stuff — so give it to them.

Good things come to those who work their asses off and never give up.

~ Unknown

At your service,

WordPress Consultant Judith