Eternal SEO: Timeless Search Engine Optimization

Over the next few months, I’ll be writing a book, post-by-post, here on my website. Please join me on this journey as I share with you my ten years of experience building world-class websites search engines love. This first segment talks about what you can expect from this journey. Enjoy!

True SEO begins and ends with the best content

The best content will always win. 

Allow me to repeat that: the best content will always win. 

One more time: the best content will always win.

The end. Thanks for reading my book. 

Oh, wait. One more thing, before I let you go. Let’s talk about how you can write the best content, and how you can put it online in a way search engines can understand. 

Historically, search engine optimization (SEO) has been treated like a gimmick. It’s been the content creators versus the ever-so-mysterious, all-powerful, multinational-corporation-gatekeeper-run algorithm. SEO mavens have been addicted to the hack, the shortcut, the quick win, and the temporary ‘current’ state of SEO. It’s why you see so many books titled SEO in [insert year here]

Each year, search engines grow smarter. Each year, search engine optimizers try to outsmart them. Every following year, search engines move on to a new version of their algorithm, closing loopholes and bettering their ability to serve their end-users: people who just want to find the best content. And every following year, search engine optimizers have to re-write their gimmicky content, or fall to the bottom of page rankings.

Bad SEO’s downside

Entire companies have gone bankrupt overnight when Google has upgraded how they recommend content. Those companies’ investments in hacks like keyword stuffing, link networks, and clickbait were all for naught in a world where Google just wants to provide the best results to the right searches.

Gimmicks and hacks are unsustainable. Technology, especially complex algorithms being written by search engines like Google, Bing, Baidu, and Yandex, has come so far that it’s nearly impervious to malicious content creators. 

How search engines and SEO are changing

What’s changed? Our ability to store and understand massive amounts of data. Your mom and pop cheese shop’s blog can have a post which says the word “cheddar” 300 times, but it’ll never outperform a food blog’s review of the five best cheddar producers. Why? Because Google can see what users do once they get to your page. If you stuffed it with the word “cheddar” because you wanted to be ranked first whenever somebody searched for the word, it’s very likely users aren’t going to like content which reads like: “Cheddarn Good Cheddar makes the finest cheddar-based cheddar cheese you can find from a cheddar shop.” What do users do when they don’t find what they want? They go back to Google and they continue clicking on links, or they adjust their search and try again. Modern analytics allows Google to see and store what someone searched for, what they clicked on, how long they were on that site, if they viewed any other content on that site, when the came back to the search results, what else they clicked on, what they did on those sites, and if they ended up searching again for something else. All of that data tells a clear story about whether or not your content served the needs of Google’s user.

Yes, think about that for a moment. Google cares whether or not you find what you’re looking for. Their search engine is a product, delivering a service, and they know you’ll start searching elsewhere if they stop providing the best search results. That’s a good motivator to constantly improve.

Let’s break the cycle. Let’s finally admit that search engines are destined to become mind readers, and write our content accordingly. This doesn’t mean you need to be the Jane Austen or Amanda Gorman of cheddar, but it does mean there are some very clear and simple steps you can take to make your content more useful to your visitors than other sites in your niche.

What you’ll learn from Eternal SEO

Let’s talk about what you’re going to learn from this book, other than the simple takeaway that the best content is going to win. We’re going to start with some soul searching. One of the ways you can deliver the best content to the correct audience is to make sure you have a complete understanding of who you are, what you do, who your customers are, and how they want to find you. Then, we’ll dig into what quality content looks like and how to avoid falling into the trap of SEO gimmicks and hacks. As a part of this, you’ll learn about how search engines work, the ways they’re improving, and what the future will bring to search science. Finally, once we have those basics down, we’ll touch (gently) on some technical details about websites and how you can use the technology better than your competitors. No code necessary. And we’ll finish by talking about some free tools and resources that’ll help you write the best ‘forever’ content Google and your customers, alike, can love until the end of time.

By Ben Garves

Ben Garves is a digital product expert, author, entertainer, and activist. His portfolio of thought leadership in digital marketing and web experiences has included major clients like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, eBay, and Facebook. He’s also a freelance health and fitness journalist with over 400 stories written since 2018, a podcaster with 200 episodes to his name, and runs a YouTube channel with over 100 fitness and activism-oriented videos and live streams. Ben has founded the Fitness is for Everyone™ initiative to raise awareness about social injustice in both racial inequality and socioeconomic disparity in access to quality fitness and nutrition options around the globe.

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