principles of SEO

Written by Laura Farkas

Updated June 19, 2024

The Basic SEO Principles to Live By in 2024

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Many people talk a lot about the benefits of search engine optimisation, but they don’t really talk about SEO principles to comply with. If you want to understand what your SEO company is doing, you will need to have a basic understanding of what is happening in the background. Whether you are making changes to your website or are looking to start off with SEO services yourself, you need this guide. So let’s begin!

The Basic SEO Principles Set By Google

success principles for SEO 

No matter what your marketing agency says, the basic principles of SEO haven’t changed for a long time. It has always been about user experience, writing for your audience, and creating value. That said, the emphasis has been shifting for a long time, and you will find that some things are more important than they used to be. 

Of course, the changes were triggered by the change in the behaviour of the audience and marketers. The first shifts were around automation (believe it or not) back in around 2011. People were mass creating low quality sites, and they were trying to cheat the system. I am old enough to remember tools called “article spinner” which took the content you wrote and changed some words to synonyms randomly to make the articles appear unique. The success of these tools didn’t last long. 

This brings us to the shift in one of the main SEO principles of Google: unique, valuable, and informative content. 

SEO Principle No 1: Unique Informative Content 

The best piece of SEO advice I could give you is to create content that your audience finds valuable and informative. It’s important that you are tapped into the thinking of your ideal clients. Understand the pain points of your clients and address them. One piece of well researched content that helps people out is worth more than a hundred mediocre blog posts. Of course, you will have to apply SEO principles but the main thing is to be helpful. That’s what Google’s “EAT” or helpful content principle is all about. 

SEO Principle No. 2: User First, Search Engine Robots Next

Whenever you plan your SEO, you will have to pick the themes and topics you would like to cover inside your website pages as well as on your blog. Here at LMNts Marketing, we have a yearly content calendar that offers general quarterly themes to talk about on every channel, as well as a social media strategy and videos. We also have a plan to update outdated content on our site, and redo some of the pages. 

As a conclusion, as the behaviour of your audience changes, your website has to change too. 

SEO Principle No. 3: Mobile First

This principle of SEO has been out for a long time, however, it has become more important after each Google update. As the majority of people consume online content using mobile devices, it’s no surprise. It’s not only about display sizes and responsive design. It’s also about the speed of the site. What people browsing your site on a desktop would like to see is not necessarily what mobile users are interested in. They will probably not have that much time to consume content and read. 

They will also be less likely to stick around when your site loads slowly. So, in conclusion, Google has not introduced mobile first to make your job harder; there’s a logical reason behind it. 

SEO Principle No. 4: User Experience

We have talked about the importance of user experience and SEO so if you would like to find out more about it you can read the post. However, user experience is more than just making your site fast and accessible. You will also need to ensure that you are catering for people with visual impairments, your content is easy to read, well structured, and there’s enough contrast in the design. For example, we’ve changed the button designs on our website from red and white to black and white to comply with this SEO principle. 

User experience is also a part of your brand. If your visitors are able to access information on your site easily, they will think that your business is friendly and easy to deal with. However, if there’s no contact details or ways of finding out more, they will leave fast, and this will increase your bounce rate. 

How to Plan SEO 

plan SEO for success

Every good SEO plan starts with research and groundwork. While this is only covering the concept and not the trends, you will still need to make sure that you are researching the market, your competitors, and your buyers’ intent as well as the keywords. 

One of the most common mistakes people make when they try to plan SEO implementation or campaigns is that they go for the wrong keywords. If you’ve got a new site and want to rank for a highly competitive keyword with loads of authority brands dominating it, you are probably wasting your time. It will – at least – take time, and you might be better off going for low hanging fruit keywords. But they are not easy to find unless you know where to start. Let’s run through it right away!

Keyword Research

If you are wondering whether researching relevant keywords to plan your SEO are easy, the answer is no. While there are tons of tools out there, you will need a bit of creativity and might need to check several sites and pieces of information. Just because one keyword seems relevant, it might not be for your audience. 

Always take keyword research with an attitude of criticism; no matter how many AI tools are out there, you will have to use your common sense and your industry knowledge to select the most relevant keywords. 

Whenever we work on SEO marketing projects, we start the initial keyword research then send over the plan to our clients. The reason being is that they know their industry and their customers better than we do; so they will know whether the keywords are relevant to what they offer and what their ideal clients are searching for. While we truly embrace automation and tools, human interaction is also important in the success of our marketing projects

Competition Research

While a basic SEO research will give you ideas about how competitive each keyword is you also have to check what the websites ranking on top are doing. We usually add competitors to our list and monitor their rankings regularly in our SEO marketing agency. Finding out who is ranking for your selected keywords and why will give you the ammunition to go in and do things better. 

The focus here is on better, and not on copying your competitors. If they have a free guide, you can create an extended version of it, focus on a scorecard or a quiz funnel, maybe a free download. Your content has to be better researched, more useful, and better suited to the needs of your audience than your competitors’ if you would like to rank above them in search engines. That’s how you plan SEO for success. 

The first step is to identify who your main competitors are. We usually start here. Asking clients will help us fill the gaps in the research. You search for the keywords you want to rank for and find who is doing well. However, you will also have to do some manual work. 

Next, you will have to check their online presence, not just their website. Have they been featured on other sites, magazines, online publications, do they have a popular podcast or YouTube channel? What do they post on social media? Do they have reviews and how good is their reputation? 

Once you know all the information about your competitors, you will have to collate it into a one page profile, based on your SEO research.  

Once you’ve got all the information, you can create a plan based on the content gap (things your competitor doesn’t cover on their site) and can start an SEO and content strategy. 

SEO Implementation 

implement keywords SEO

Once you have done your keyword research and have created a keyword allocation plan (we always do this first), it’s time to implement it. You will have to focus on the site structure, the internal and external linking, as well as the quality of content. We usually work on one page at a time, and wait until we cannot improve it further (that said, there’s always room for improvement later down the line). 

You will have to give your site a good structure, a logical flow, create useful and well researched content and – obviously – implement the keywords. After that, you can start with off page SEO. 

Search Engine Positioning Tools 

Of course, there’s always automation involved when you are looking to rank, but you’ll have to find the right balance. For example, SEO tools that offer to put your site links to thousands of sites will – at best – get you limited results. If you’re really unlucky, you will end up with links from spammy sites which will hurt your rankings and go against Google’s SEO principles. 

Earning backlinks is usually a much better option than buying them. It’s a kind of black hat SEO method that can do more harm than good. 

To check work to be done you can use MOZPro which gives you access to keyword research, tracking, audits, and backlink analysis. For more advanced features, you can choose Ahrefs of SEMrush. Remember that all the search engine positioning tools use Google Search Console data, and your account needs to be connected. The main difference is the level, depth, and detail of interpretation of data, and the way platforms display it to you. 

What Is SEO Management and Why You Need It

You might think that once you’ve implemented an SEO strategy and followed the SEO principles it’s all easy. However, let me break it to you: it’s just the beginning. Maintaining your rankings with fresh content is just as important as getting things right the first time. 

Working with an SEO agency will give you structure and and detailed roadmap to plan SEO campaigns. You can target more keywords to increase your SEO traffic, improve your content, and get more links from authority sites. 

SEO management is one of the highest return on investment opportunities in digital marketing. Don’t underestimate the power of search. 

Easy Guide to Follow The Principles of SEO

Being honest, helpful, and authentic is one of the main SEO principles of Google and it has been in place for a long time. If you try to cheat the system and find shortcuts, you might go fast in the beginning, but will surely pay. I remember back in the 2010s when people used all kind of software to trick search engine spiders. Some of them came to me for a quote (I was freelancing at the time) but decided to outsource the project overseas. Soon enough they found that they got banned from search engines. 

Just because you want to go fast, it doesn’t mean that you can break the rules. A good marketing agency will go at your pace, create a detailed search engine optimisation plan, and get you there. A company that promises fast results might be dangerous to deal with. Especially if it is super cheap. Get in touch for a free consultation below or check your SEO score for free. 

Sources:

https://developers.google.com/search/docs/fundamentals/seo-starter-guide 

https://www.semrush.com/blog/how-to-do-seo-competitive-analysis/

https://moz.com/seo-competitor-analysis 

https://zapier.com/blog/best-seo-tools/

https://www.webfx.com/blog/seo/seo-principles/ 


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