As I mentioned in Birth of Organic SEO, the search engine rules centering on gaining an audience for your website have changed. Google, in an attempt to stop dark hat SEO artists from gaming the search system, leveled the playing field and reworked its algorithms. Essentially, you need to now adopt almost a brick and mortar attitude of business: relevant content trumps gimmicks. If you want us to lead people to your front window, make sure that your display actually indicates the quality of your products or services.

The good news – you no longer have to rely on paying a group of quasi-hackers a monthly stipend to push your site’s rankings. The bad news – it’s back to basics by having to put in the time and effort to create a solid stream of content. You don’t need to be a coding genius, but it helps to be able to define various aspects of what ‘content’ – as relates to Google – actually involves. Let’s break it down to into 5 easy steps:

1. Create relevant content.

Yes, your business offers an amazing service or you’re an expert at something. Great. Unfortunately, this fact won’t bring up your search rankings unless you use the right words to tell your story. What are the right words? Well, the easiest first step is to think like one of your prospects. How would someone that is not in your business describe your business? Each sector has its ‘keywords’ and jargon and Google knows that. Most likely, these are words that people put into its search engine. Use them on your home page; but remember, use them with discretion. Don’t stuff keywords into every sentences of every article. Think elevator pitch: concise statements of what you do and the benefits of your product or service. Good rule of thumb: 3%-5% density ratio of keywords to content. Google can sense when you are stuffing the ballot, and punish you with lower rankings just as easily as rewarding you. Google loves fresh, unique and conscious content.

2. Appropriate titles and labeling.

Properly labeling your online content is one of the easiest ways to rank well for your targeted terms. Let’s say you’re a plastic surgeon and one of your keyword phrases is “rhinoplasty.” When you write a blog, press release or article on one of the benefits of undergoing a procedure for rhinoplasty – or on a topic that is directly related to similar procedures, work “rhinoplasty” into the title, headline and first paragraph. Fairly simple, yes – I get it. But, sometimes the tendency is to write cute titles that you think might get people’s attention. You’re not trying to get their attention, you’re trying to get Google to listen as you shout your message.

3. Develop a robust social media presence.

Social media is the vehicle, SEO is the driver. Today more than ever, Google’s search algorithms prioritize tweets and other social media updates over other forms of recent information. Why? Because there are over 1 BILLION people on Facebook, half a BILLION people on Twitter, 300 MILLION people on LinkedIn, and the list goes on and on. And they share worthwhile content 100s of 1000s of times every day. That’s why. Again, you’re trying to shout information out, Google wants to make sure that the largest number of people is listening – and if you use accepted platforms, you will be rewarded.