SEO isn’t a tool to cheat or ‘trick’ the search engines. The purpose of SEO is to communicate to search engines what type of website you have, so they can recommend it for relevant search queries.
What Search Engines Do Like
Search engines serve first and foremost the users, so they focus on giving the most relevant search results to them. Considering that there is a countless number of websites online, search engines do employ an algorithm to determine relevancy. How is this determined? The actual selection algorithm is unknown, however search engines do check for the following:
- Content: This is evaluated depending on the text, titles and descriptions you have on your website. Search engines use it to understand what your website is about and what user needs does it address.
- Performance: Search engines regularly check if your website is working and the speed of loading pages. Also it checks for mobile device compatibility.
- Authority: This is a check for quality — does your website serve high quality content and if so, what other external websites might be linking to your website.
- User Experience: Finally the website needs to be accessible to users and easy to use. How does the site look? Is it easy to navigate around? Does it look safe? Does it have a high bounce rate?
What Search Engines Don’t Like
While search engines use crawlers to scour the internet, it doesn’t mean that tricking algorithms will work. Shady tactics and tricks to get ahead in the search results have often had a negative effect in the long term on a website’s performance. Things that search engines don’t want to see on your website:
- Keyword Stuffing: Filling pages or your content with keywords without any contextual meaning will be quickly spotted.
- Purchased Links: Search engines have a strong stance against any link building in exchange for money and they usually penalize websites for this.
- Poor User Experience: Offer the user an enjoyable experience while on your website. Make it easy to navigate and less cluttered. For example too many ads might irritate or make it difficult to find your content. As a result the bounce rate might increase significantly and affect your overall search ranking. If you have over 80% bounce rate with content on your website, chances are something is wrong with the on-page user experience.