When you’re working in SEO, there are essential rules that you need to follow to produce the best results. Not only will following these SEO laws help you to ensure you do good work, but it will also mean you avoid getting penalized by search engines. Google sets out guidelines for webmasters to follow, with other search engines setting out their own rules too. Breaking guidelines might mean that the website you’re working on takes a hit in rankings, with a wide range of penalties up to being dropped from the search engine. If you work in SEO in any capacity, you should make sure you know some of the top rules that you need to follow.
#1 Make Pages for Humans, Not Search Engines
One of the main guidelines that Google provides is to design pages that are for humans and not just for search engines. What this means is that you shouldn’t just be thinking about the technical elements and the factors that Google’s algorithm takes into account when deciding how to rank a web page. In Google’s eyes, if you publish content that is engaging and informative for humans, it will also be ranked well in search engine results. Of course, that’s not going to stop you from trying to work out what the search engine is looking for and try to provide it. However, while you’re doing this, don’t forget that your primary audience is the users who are searching for your site.
#2 Don’t Deceive Users
Another rule to remember is that the actions that you take shouldn’t decide users in any way. This can include a variety of things, such as your meta description not matching the content that’s on the page, redirecting, or having hidden text or links. It’s bad practice to try and trick users into visiting a page that they’re not interested in or doing something that they don’t want to do. Anyone working in SEO who would do anything along these lines shows that they don’t really have the skill or the respect for the practice to do it properly. You should always be honest and transparent, as well as make sure that you’re keeping users safe.
#3 Avoid Tricking Search Engines
As well as deceiving users, you also need to avoid pulling any tricks on search engines to try and improve your rankings. Google suggests that the rule you should follow is whether you would feel comfortable explaining your practices to a website that competes with you or to a Google employee. They also suggest that you should ask whether it’s helpful to your users and if it’s something that you would be doing if search engines didn’t exist. This can partly be seen as an extension of the principle of creating websites for humans and not for machines. While you can try to give search engines what they’re looking for, you should do so in a natural and organic way that helps your users too.
#4 Make Your Website Unique
Looking at what high-ranking websites are doing well can be helpful, but one of the most important things you need to do is work out why your website is or will be unique. When you’re working on SEO for a site, you need to show search engines what it has to offer that’s engaging and valuable and why it stands out from other websites. This is how search engines like Google want to assess websites, even if they use a variety of factors in their algorithms to do it. It’s another reminder that you’re creating sites that are for users, even as you work out the best practices for giving search engines what they want.
#5 Don’t Take Shortcuts
They are plenty of shortcuts you could take if you wanted to speed up SEO, but they also tend not to be very ethical. Google warns against multiple practices such as automatically-generated content, some types of paid links, irrelevant keywords and keyword stuffing, and other things designed to boost rankings in search engine results. These sorts of things might save you some time, but they’re not worth trying if they end up resulting in Google penalties. As Google’s algorithm continues to get more sophisticated, it’s easier for them to pick up on these kinds of things.
Anyone who works in SEO, especially those who are just starting out, needs to be familiar with the laws that they should be following if they want their work to produce positive results.