How to Rank on Google With All the Changes in the SEO World

by Kym Merrill

It’s a wild time to be in search engine optimization right now. AI is changing the way people look for information and use the internet, and making appearances in search results–and everywhere else on the web. The Google trial has revealed many secrets about the search engine’s inner workings. And if that wasn’t enough, the Google leak has changed everything we know about search, revealing the ranking factors Google has kept secret for so long. It’s changed everything about the industry.

And yet, nothing has changed.

Here’s the thing: at Kite Media, we are firm believers that your fundamental SEO practices should not be dictated by the algorithm and its constant changes. At its heart, there is one goal of SEO, which is to build a website that helps users accomplish their goals. That’s Google’s goal as well, and all of its algorithms are designed to help identify the websites that do that. The algorithms may change, but the end goal doesn’t.

Serve Humans, Not Machines

The core principle of SEO should always be to serve humans first. Search engines like Google strive to deliver the best results for users, which means that focusing your website on user satisfaction will naturally align with the goals of search algorithms. Here are a few ways that you can prioritize human-centric SEO practices:

  1. Quality Content is King: Content that is informative, engaging, and relevant will always resonate with your audience. Write for your readers, not for the search engines. Understand their needs, answer their questions, and provide solutions to their problems. This will naturally lead you to create the rich content that search engines love as well. 
  2. User Experience (UX) Matters: A seamless and enjoyable user experience is the key to keeping users on your site and engaging with your business. This includes fast loading times, mobile responsiveness, intuitive navigation, and a clean design. It should be easy for users to find the information they need, purchase the products they’re looking for, or otherwise seamlessly accomplish their goals. A well-designed site UX is also a site that will pass all of Google’s technical expectations. 
  3. Accessibility for All: On-page technical elements like image alt tags, clear page structure such as headings, and more serve users by providing accessibility, especially to the visually impaired. Ensuring your site is accessible to all users is the right thing to do (and may be legally required of you as a business). It’s a bonus that search engines also use these elements to understand and rank content. 
  4. Natural Keywords: Users are sick of reading keyword-stuffed content created for machines. Answer their questions thoroughly and thoughtfully and you’ll naturally incorporate the keywords that will help you win in search engines as well. 
  5. Compelling Meta Descriptions: Write meta descriptions that accurately describe the content of your page and entice users to click through. Make sure that they find exactly what they expected from the meta description. This will encourage users to click on the website and keep them on the page, which we now know are ranking factors. 

Algorithms Change, Google’s Goal is the Same  

It’s important to remember that while Google’s algorithms may change regularly, their goal doesn’t. They want to provide a good user experience so that users continue to use their product. They are getting better and better at determining which sites are good and useful to users, and which aren’t, and the algorithm changes simply reflect that. It’s a waste of time to try to cater to an algorithm that could change tomorrow and ignore your users in the process. We’ve seen too many sites that find a black hat hack that helps their site to rank well for a minute, only for them to be penalized and lose those rankings when Google catches on. You absolutely should follow the best practices of SEO, but mostly because they are the best practices for users too.  

At Kite Media, we focus on building great sites that rank well because they serve their users well. We’ve been working with local service businesses for over 10 years. We’ve mastered building beautiful, functional websites and implementing tactics that help users accomplish their goals (researching and booking a service), so our sites rank well because they work well. And because they are well-designed, they not only continue to rank well but also convert users into customers — which we know is the real goal of SEO for business owners. 

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