Search Engine Optimization Guide - The New Rules of SEO

There have been cries by many former search engine optimization "experts" claiming that SEO is dead and that it is no longer possible to help your website rank better in Google results pages. While personalized search results and almost real-time ranking algorithms have certainly changed the way marketers approach SEO, the art itself is far from dead.

In fact, for those who are willing to change with the times and accept the new realities of search engine marketing; it is now possible to get exposure to your website and the content you create for it faster than ever before. The key to success in this new paradigm is to toss out some of the old rules you've been taught and start fresh with an open mind. There are a few things that haven't changed and are unlikely to change anytime soon.

Here is a quick guide to help you master your search engine optimization efforts:

Content is King

Fresh, unique, and well written content remains the cornerstone to any search engine optimization effort. This is a must and there is no point in wasting your time in engaging in any other SEO related activities if you don't have great content.

Links Are Still Important

Inbound links from high quality trusted websites still count and help your content cement its own reputation for quality. With that being said, it doesn't quite work the way it did a few years ago. Gone are the days where you could build 1,000 links using the same keyword phrase as anchor text and be rewarded for it.

Attempting that technique now is one of the faster ways to ensure that your content will not show up in search results at all. Now before you decide to try to use this tidbit against your competition and spam link them into an online black hole, Google and many of the other major search engines have already considered this and are one step ahead of you.

Some of you may have noticed that search engines are giving more weight to indirect and upstream links that are much more difficult to manipulate. Here's an example: Let's say you write an article about to promote your website and submit it to an article directory with a link back to your website. Naturally, the article will attract some inbound links on its own from a variety of other websites. The anchor text and reputation of these linking websites and ones even further upstream can now have an impact on where your site ranks in search results. Notice that I said anchor text and reputation of the linking website. The search algorithms do this to filter out the effects of thin and poorly created websites and blogs built for the sole purpose of building link count.

How Sites Link

When links occur naturally, they include a blend of anchor text links, website title links, and plain URL links. They also generally include a mix of links that do and do not contain the "no-follow" tag. If you are attempting to build your link profile using only links that pass "link juice", you are going to write your own ticket right out of the very rankings you are attempting to achieve.

Don't Forget Your Outbound Links

I think I just heard a collective gasp from many of you! What do you mean outbound links? Are you crazy? Google has figured out that most spammers and marketers of the things they consider junk, have a fear of letting visitors leave their sites and have developed what I call "outbound link phobia". As an additional tool to help them clean out the sites that offer little in the way of value to searchers, the sites you link to from your website are now a factor in determining the value of your site.

If your site has a lot of fresh and unique content and links out to other trustworthy, related sites that do the same, the search engines will feel reasonably certain that your site offers value. On the other hand, if your site is thin on content and the only outbound links are to single page affiliate sites; your chances of never showing up in a search result increase dramatically.

Search Engine Optimization Done Right

While many have complained that the search engines are making it impossible to improve your ranking and gain exposure for your site, you have to ask yourself if this is really the case. For those whose goal is to take shortcuts, try to find a way to beat the system, and get rich quick; you will find that SEO is an extremely frustrating task. If you are willing to accept the fact that search engines are now rewarding quality content and giving searchers something with real value instead of spam; your search engine optimization efforts will pay off and in some cases, do so in a very big way.

SEO is alive and well and for those of you who are willing to grow and change as technology evolves, you will put yourself in a good position to profit and grow along with it. Many of these new rules and standards not only apply to organic search optimization but also to pay-per-click marketing as well. Having success with Google Adwords requires the same quality content that organic search results pages rely on. As you gain some experience and improve your results with a few high quality Google Adwords tips, you will find that your PPC skills will directly translate into helping your search optimization efforts and make you a well-rounded online marketing expert.

One of the best ways to improve your SEO skills is to perfect the key elements of a successful PPC campaign. While they may not seem similar at first, you will quickly see how they are closely related in terms of landing page quality, CTR, and visitor response. In today's world, change comes quickly and only those who accept it and adapt their methods and techniques at equal speed will survive and become search marketing experts.