Why SEO Basics Still Matter + Evergreen SEO Tips

A, B and C blocks on a table.

Now more than ever, it seems the world is changing. Not too long ago, I spoke about tipping for SEO and digital marketing, which is causing high-growth companies to drive even faster.

And then, of course, Google changes an average of 12 things per day in Search, and websites are being impacted for things they aren’t even doing wrong.

Yet with all these changes, the basics of SEO remain the same. It is important not to lose sight of the fundamentals that we know make a difference. They make a difference in Google’s ranking algorithm and make a difference to businesses trying to remain relevant and competitive online.

That is why SEO basics are the foundation of any successful website. Let’s look at this idea in more detail.

What Is an Evergreen SEO Strategy?

No matter what changes are thrown our way, a basic and dependable approach to SEO helps a company’s online presence weather those changes.

That approach includes the following SEO principles:

  1. Beat the competition, not the algorithm
  2. Focus on a whole-SERP SEO strategy
  3. Optimize to be the least imperfect

1. Beat the Competition, Not the Algorithm

There are countless ranking signals in Google’s algorithm, with thousands of updates made yearly to Search. So it’s safe to say that no one will know exactly what the search engine algorithm is looking for.

We do the best we can with the information that’s available to us and the wisdom we have from years of practice, success and failure. We stay on top of developments and test them over and over again.

However, instead of focusing on every little algorithmic possibility, we instead focus on our competition. Our competition is the content ranking on Page 1 of the search results. And we discover that competition through keyword research (more on that later).

For more, read:

2. Focus on a Whole-Serp Strategy

With keywords in tow, you will be able to see what types of search engine results are most prominent for those queries. You will prioritize your SEO and content development efforts there.

For example, some search queries will have more prominent video results, images, or perhaps featured snippets.

Google search engine results page for the query "how to get kool aid out of carpet."
Google SERP for the query “how to get kool aid out of carpet”

In other words, don’t just focus on the “blue links.” When you approach SEO and content development by understanding which features Google believes are the most relevant for a query, you evergreen your SEO program.

For more, read:

Optimize To Be the Least Imperfect

Analyze the content and the webpages that are ranking for your desired keywords. What are they doing well? What can you do better?

As mentioned, the goal of SEO is not to try to beat the ranking algorithm, which is infinitely large. The goal of SEO is to beat the competition. And the way to do that is to be least imperfect compared to the competition. Every website is imperfect against the Google algorithm. And when Google evaluates which pages to serve in its search results, it chooses the least imperfect compared to others for that search.

For more, read:

What Are Some Basic SEO Strategies That Get Results?

Here are five basic SEO strategies that are proven to get results:

  1. Keyword and audience research
  2. Information architecture aka SEO siloing
  3. Quality content
  4. Technical and on-page optimization
  5. Linking practices

1. Keyword and Audience Research

SEO keywords are single words or short phrases that represent the search queries that people use in a search engine. Once you have identified your keywords and explored the intent behind them (i.e. what a person is trying to accomplish when they use them in Google), you can do the following and more:

  • Identify and speak the language of the target market
  • Create useful content for your target audience
  • Communicate to Google that a webpage is a relevant match for a query
  • Drive more qualified traffic to appropriate webpages

For more, read:

2. Information Architecture aka SEO Siloing

How you organize the content on your site matters for search engines and users. SEO siloing builds relevance for a website and positions it as an authority on a topic. It also helps website visitors navigate the content with ease, and get complete answers to their questions.

For more, read:

3. Quality Content

Google wants to display the most useful content to its search engine users. So quality content is likely the most important ranking factor to get right.

For more, read:

4. Technical and On-Page Optimization

The performance of your website matters to website visitors. That is why you need to make sure that the site provides a good user experience. You do this through technical SEO practices that optimize the back-end of the website.

In addition, you want to help Google understand what a webpage is about, and this can be accomplished through on-page SEO.

For more, read:

5. Linking Practices

How you link to other webpages matters in SEO. There are three primary strategies in linking:

  1. Internal links: How you link to pages within your website
  2. Outbound links: Which websites do you link to
  3. Inbound links: Which websites link to you

Graphic illustrating the difference between internal links, inbound links and external links.

Each type of linking strategy has its own best practices. It is important to strive for quality and relevance with every link.

For more, read:

Without the basics of SEO, websites suffer when Google changes things or we experience economic or market downturns. This results in knee-jerk reactions that end up costing businesses more in the end than an upfront investment in evergreen SEO strategies.

Looking to add an evergreen SEO strategy to your company plan? Talk to us. We can help.

FAQ: How can I implement an effective evergreen SEO strategy to stay competitive in an ever-changing digital landscape?

With search engine algorithms frequently changing and competition intensifying, adopting an evergreen SEO strategy is essential to remain competitive in the long run.

An evergreen SEO strategy focuses on core principles that remain effective regardless of algorithmic shifts. The key is prioritizing beating the competition rather than chasing after ever-changing search engine algorithms. Conducting thorough keyword research to identify and understand your competition is the first step. By analyzing what content ranks on Page 1 of search results for your target keywords, you gain valuable insights into your competitors’ strategies and areas for improvement.

Adopting a Whole-SERP approach is a crucial aspect of a successful evergreen SEO strategy. It goes beyond focusing solely on traditional blue links in search results. Instead, consider the various features that Google deems relevant for a specific query, such as featured snippets, images, videos, or knowledge graphs. By understanding which elements are prominent for your target keywords, you can tailor your SEO and content development efforts accordingly to maximize visibility and engagement.

Optimizing to be the least imperfect compared to your competition is another fundamental principle of an evergreen SEO strategy. Instead of obsessing over trying to outsmart the ever-changing ranking algorithms, concentrate on delivering the best possible user experience and content quality. Analyze the webpages that rank for your desired keywords and learn from their strengths. By providing more value to your audience and addressing their needs comprehensively, you increase your chances of ranking higher in search results.

Implementing evergreen SEO strategies involves five proven practices:

  1. Conduct comprehensive keyword and audience research to understand user intent and create targeted content.
  2. Optimize your website’s information architecture using SEO siloing to establish authority on specific topics and improve navigation.
  3. Prioritize producing high-quality content that caters to your audience’s needs, as it remains the most significant ranking factor.
  4. Ensure technical and on-page optimization to enhance user experience and facilitate search engine understanding.
  5. Adopt effective linking practices including internal, outbound and inbound links to build authority and relevance for your website.

Mastering the art of evergreen SEO is essential for staying competitive in the ever-changing digital landscape. By focusing on beating the competition, understanding user intent and delivering high-quality, valuable content, businesses can create a solid foundation for long-term online success.

Step-by-Step Evergreen SEO Strategy Implementation: 

  1. Conduct comprehensive keyword research to identify relevant target keywords.
  2. Analyze competitor content that ranks on Page 1 of search results for your chosen keywords.
  3. Identify areas for improvement and potential content gaps in your niche.
  4. Develop a Whole-SERP strategy by considering different types of search engine results for your target queries.
  5. Prioritize content creation that aligns with your audience’s search intent.
  6. Implement SEO siloing to organize your website content and establish topic authority.
  7. Optimize website navigation for user-friendly access to relevant content.
  8. Focus on producing high-quality, valuable content that addresses your audience’s needs and queries.
  9. Ensure technical SEO practices to improve website performance and user experience.
  10. Optimize on-page elements such as meta tags, headers and content structure.
  11. Utilize internal linking to guide users to related content within your website.
  12. Employ outbound links to reputable sources that support and complement your content.
  13. Seek quality inbound links from authoritative websites in your industry.
  14. Monitor and analyze website performance and rankings regularly.
  15. Continuously update and improve your content to remain relevant and valuable.
  16. Stay up-to-date with industry trends and algorithm changes to adapt your strategy.
  17. Leverage social media and other promotional channels to drive traffic to your content.
  18. Encourage user engagement and interaction with your content.
  19. Monitor and respond to feedback and comments from your audience.
  20. Continuously evaluate and refine your evergreen SEO strategy based on performance metrics and changing market demands.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the BruceClay.com website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

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9 Replies to “Why SEO Basics Still Matter + Evergreen SEO Tips”

Thanks for this amazing blog about the niche. It is a very informative topic for people new to the marketing industry.

Doing the basics well is crucial to any SEO project. Great article.

Well-written!
We, at Digiinovix, believe that no matter how many changes in algorithm go and come, backlinks creation would always remain important. Be it directly or indirectly. Hence creating quality backlinks, relevant blogs and overall catering to the niche client base would boost SEO.

Thanks, everyone, for your comments!

Great post Jessica.
The basics are often overlooked, and a recent Youmoz entry I posted emphasized the importance of SEO basics as I doubled traffic and sales with four easy improvements.

SEO Youmoz article:
http://www.seomoz.org/ugc/four-seo-basics-that-helped-double-organic-traffic-and-sales-overnight

SEO’s will always matter because Google cannot control everything.

What a great and thorough post. Thank you for breaking down the SEO basics. I really like your visual guideline for the framework of SEO. I have certainly found that having a checklist also works well before you begin any work on your site.

That’s a good point that SEO is not a “one and done thing”. If you want to continue to perform well, you need to continue to work at it and keep up with industry and search engine algorithm changes. If you are still using outdated tactics, it can harm the success of the site.

I think that in order to understand the basic SEO, we need to understand human behavior as well, the purpose of optimizing a website is to rank high on search engines so that people are able to search you, click on your link, read your website, eventually do what you want them to do.

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