- SEO. The white and black hats
- The king and the 3 princes of SEO
- Content: The cornerstone of any SEO strategy
- E-A-T. The factors that will determine the potential of your ranks
- What any strategy should contain
SEO. The white and black hats.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a very complex process that is used to grow the traffic that a site gets from search engines. There are three main types of SEO. Each type has a specific purpose and all of them are needed in any SEO strategy.
- On-site SEO. It represents all the modifications made to the content on the site. These modifications have the role of convincing a search engine’s algorithm that the information contained is relevant to those that search certain keywords. The process itself can be very complicated but you can get a general idea here https://moz.com/learn/seo/on-site-seo, where you can find some fundamental knowledge about on-site SEO.
- Off-page SEO. It represents the optimizations made outside your site. Search engines use all the information it can get from the internet. For example, it uses the links that point to your site to find what impression others have about your site. Avery good source from where you can learn about off-page SEO is this article written by Neil Patel.
- Technical SEO. As the name suggests it represents all the technical optimization made to the site. This aspect is easy to understand but harder to implement. Two of the factors that the Google algorithm uses in 2020 are the speed of your site, meaning how fast it loads and how mobile-friendly it is. Although there are many such factors, these two are the most important ones.
White and Black Hat methods:
Apart from these three types of SEO, you should know about the methods used for SEO purposes. There are two types: the black-hat ones and the white-hat ones. This article is only about white hat methods, but below you can find a short explanation about the black hat methods.
Google’s algorithm is a program that has the role of showing the most relevant results in every search. Because its goal is to help its users it will show only those pages that do so. This means that if the algorithm decides that your site is the most helpful for a certain keyword it will show it as the first result.
Unfortunately, the complexity of the algorithm allows the emergence of certain loopholes. By making uses of these loopholes a site can reach the first page in Google’s search very fast. The methods used to do this are named “black hat methods”. Although they can offer very fast results, they are also short-lived. All loopholes are discovered very fast and they are patched in a short period. As Neil correctly affirms: ”Some people are in it to make a few grand quickly while others are in it for the long haul.”
These methods are used by those that want to make a quick buck but all the work they have done is wasted after the patch is done. On the other hand, the white hat methods use optimizations that conforms with the algorithm’s rules and they have the role to help it understand the value, relevance, and importance that the information has for those that search certain keywords.
These tactics have the advantage of working in the long run. As long as a site continues to bring more and more value to its users its rank will continue to rise. Although there are many factors taken into consideration by Google’s algorithm, all the updates made in 2019 proved that there are four of them that have importance far greater than the others and the majority of the White Hat methods started to focus on them.
Google updates the Search’s algorithm daily, but most of these updates are small ones. Only a small fraction of them have a significant impact and these are the ones that are announced and explained by Google. In the last years, there was a trend that has been observed in these updates. The focus of these updates was to increase the importance of content (which became the most important factor and is used in all white hat SEO strategies). Also, three more factors are almost as important as the content. They are expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T). This trend is expected to continue in 2020 because it brought very good results to google.
The king and the 3 princes of SEO
Every white hat SEO strategy developed in the last two years focuses on these four factors. The most important one is the quality of the content. The difference between its importance and all other factors has given him the nickname of the king of SEO. The nickname is accepted by every SEO expert and any SEO strategy that does not focus on it will obtain unsatisfactory results.
Why is high-quality content so important?
Google Search has only one goal and that is to help its users to obtain the information they are looking for. To do its job better it will always deliver the results in the order of its relevance and usefulness. To do this correctly it must give a large amount of importance to the quality of the information on the sites.
Any persons that want to implement an SEO strategy should keep in mind the importance of quality content. But how do Google’s algorithms decide if the content is of good quality? Easy, it does not. The people on the internet decide it and it only takes their opinions and uses it. For example, the number of visitors a site has and the amount of time they spend on the site tells google how engaging the site is.
On the other hand, what the algorithm decides by itself are the other three factors that are almost as important as the content. The expertise, authority, and trustworthiness are very important in the final decision taken by the algorithm.
The expertise represents a very important factor, especially in the health industries. If your site does not prove its expertise, then the algorithm will harshly penalize its ranks. This happens because Google wants to avoid dangerous information from harming its users. In the past, many sites presented wrong information in a believable way and influenced its audience to make wrong decisions. Because of this, you must prove that you know what are you talking about.
Authority represents the influence you have in the industry. Many people may have expertise in a certain field but only some of them are well known. Most of the time those are the ones that set the standards of the industry. The more sites (that have expertise in your field) acknowledge your site the more authority it has.
Trustworthiness is similar to the authority but different as well. They are similar in the fact that they are based on the opinion that others have about you. But they are different because trustworthiness does not consider only the opinions of those with expertise but the opinions of everyone. The best method to measure this factor is the reviews that your site and brand have. To many bad reviews can make Google consider that the quality of your content, services, or products is bad.
Content: The cornerstone of any SEO strategy
How you should create the content of your site depends on the industry you are in and the audience you want to attract. But there are some guidelines that you should use when creating the content of your site because they are valid in all industries.
What does high-quality content look like?
When you create an effective SEO strategy make sure to make a complete SEO audit of your website to identify its flaws and potential. Also, make sure that your content follows those rules:
- Educational. Make sure that your content contains useful information. The more viewers that learned something new from your content the better it is for you because the chance that they will come back for more is high and people like to share the new information that they learn.
- Engaging. It does not matter in which industry you are because engaging content will help you in all of them. If your content is not optimized to be engaging many of your site’s visitors will another solution for their needs, one that will not bore them and will satisfy their feelings as well. This applies in any industry, what differs are the methods needed for each industry. For example, in some industries engagement can be created through a funny story, in others, by shaping the content to make the reader think, to engage their mind.
- Practical. The best way in which you can make visitors remember your site is by offering a solution that can be applied in practice. While using the knowledge in a practical way, their mind will accord more importance to the source, your site will become the “place to go” for every problem encountered in that field.
If you want to have success online then you must understand the importance of the content that you produce and invest the biggest amount of your resources in the content. Because the competition is high online the quality of your content may not be enough. You will fight online against competitors from all around the world and if you want to get in the top of the search engine result pages (SERPs) then you need both the quality and the quantity.
Types of content
The quantity of your content must offer some diversity as well. A site that has text and videos will always win against those that have only text or only videos, provided that the quality of their content is relatively the same. There are 3 popular types of content from which you can choose from:
- Text. The value of the text in the online environment can’t be undermined, text content can be used in many ways, from content through which you can build E-A-T to landing pages and sales pages that have the role of converting the audience gathered in leads and/or customers. But keep in mind that “text” is the hardest way to transmit complex information.
- Video. Nowadays video is the best way to attract attention and the easiest method through which you can create engagement. The human mind exerts less effort while watching a video than reading a text and in today’s tiring world videos make it much easier to attract attention. This also makes it easier for viewers to understand complex information.
- Audio. Most of the time this method is wrongly used. You should understand that most of the time people do other activities while listening to audio content. Because of this, it is very hard to retain their full attention. In conclusion, the information presented through audio content should be as simple as possible because the more complex it is the less it will be remembered. If the content’s quality is high enough you will be able to attract the attention of the listener even while he does other activities but that together with complex information can be dangerous (for example if the listener is driving and he focuses mostly on you and very little on driving) and is not recommended.
Now that you got some understanding about the king, it is time to understand more about the princes of SEO. Expertise, authority, and trustiness combined are as important as content for your ranks.
E-A-T. The factors that will determine the potential of your ranks
It is easy to understand why Google gives so much power to these factors, but what are the ways through which you can increase your EAT in the “eyes” of the algorithm? The expertise must be proven, the authority must be increased and the trustiness must be kept.
How can you prove your expertise to Google’s algorithm?
The ways you should use to demonstrate your expertise depends firstly on the industry you are in. To put it simply, industries like medicine, nutrition, and law that requires degrees are much easier to prove themselves. They only need to be acknowledged by the institution in the online environment and to publish that proof through their bibliography together with their experience in as many relevant places as possible.
On the other hand, in industries that do not require degrees the best way to prove your expertise is through demonstrations. Their content should not focus fully on giving advice to the audience. A balance must be found between giving advice and proving expertise. On the other hand, the first category will have an easier time because they can focus more on helping their audience because their expertise is more easily proven.
A viable method in every industry is through the acknowledgement of high authority sites. This method also helps with the authority factor. How does this work? A simple example that should make you understand is. A gymnast can prove their expertise and increase their authority through their participation in gymnastics competitions. The higher the scale of the competition, the better.
How to increase the authority of your website?
The best method is the one mentioned above. What you should do is find the sites that have the highest authority in your field and find a way to get mentioned by them. There are many methods to do this.
For example, you could do it through articles, by publishing on these sites. Google’s algorithm will understand the value of your content and give the appropriate rank to your site. Your authority will increase in proportion to the number of articles and their quality.
Another subcategory of this is magazines. You can find important magazines in your industry and make some apparitions there. Most magazines also publish online and they should be your first targets.
Another method is through public speaking. You can increase your authority by going to live events and speaking on relevant things to your industry. Keep in mind that those that are published online are the most efficient ones.
How to maintain Google’s trust in your site?
This is the easiest factor because maintaining your trustworthiness requires the least amount of work. If you took care of the others then this one should come naturally. As long as your content offers correct information and the quality of your products and services is high, then you will not have trust issues.
The method through which google calculates this factor is mostly through reviews and comments. So, the more trust your audience has in you the more does Google as well. On the other hand, if Google’s algorithm considers you cannot be trusted then your ranks will plummet.
What any strategy should contain
Time has come to build a conclusion that you can use in 2020 for your SEO strategy. Your strategy should consider On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Technical SEO. You can either do it yourself or outsource the work to an SEO agency. Or, you can do a part yourself and outsource the rest.
No matter what you choose you must make sure that the cornerstone of the strategy is the content. You should be able to make the difference between the quality and now you should also understand the importance of the quantity.
You can also make use of your content to improve your EAT. You can showcase your expertise through text or video, build your authority by creating content for important sources and maintain your trust through correct and useful information.
Keep in mind that all the information in this article is just a small introduction to the SEO world. If you decide to do it yourself instead of outsourcing it, then you must make in-depth research, learn specific strategies and implement them through trial and error until you find those that work. On the other hand, if you decide to outsource the task then this is all the information you need to be able to differentiate between a white hat strategy, a black hat strategy and a fake (or bad strategy).
Ion G. Tudorache, Ph.D., is the co-founder of Gamit, a professional SEO company that will help you identify the best strategy to build your website’s expertise factor and increase authority. It will also identify and unleash your full website’s potential with the purpose to increase its traffic and maximize sells.