The Rules of SEO September 4, 1998 – Google startedGoogle quickly became number one for one reason: it aimed to do only one thing. While AOL was sending CDs about instant messenger and email, and Yahoo cluttered its homepage with weather, stocks and news, Google kept its cool and carried on with one mission: to become THE NUMBER one search engine.Since then, Google has gone on to do many, many, many, many other things successfully. With each new endeavor, the company maintains its core focus and has not let anyone come close to taking the title of best search engine.As quickly as Google started, business owners, bloggers and politicians realized the value in having their content come up first. Top ranking results mean that you’re credible, the best, the most relevant. Google quickly caught on and was likely not happy about this form of manipulation. In order to stay on top, Google was forced to make its ranking algorithm change. With each new update, Google penalizes those who do not play by the rules.The Rules of SEO1. Don’t automate. Google will catch on to your methods and penalize you. Getting off Google’s naughty list is far worse than getting coal in your stocking on Christmas. It’s possible, but could take time and money. A hard penalty could result in your business’ exclusion of all search results. Ouch! That’s going to sting a bit.2. No tricks. Cloaking is when your text is the same color as your background, allowing you to keyword stuff (another frowned upon) method of attaining top rankings. If you’ve come up with some way to trick Google, you’ll likely get caught.3. Don’t buy links. It can be tempting to pay a company to automate links to your website. Resist temptation. Google now knows where these links come from. Offshore SEO “companies” automate the link building process. If you didn’t climb to the top the right way, you’ll likely fall even faster. Link farms, poor quality back links, spam links and links from unrelated sites can actually harm your rankings more than help them.4. Consistency is key. Make sure if building your own online presence or hiring an SEO company that you stay consistent. Google likes to see regular, on-going varied activity. For instance, a blog that you post to once per year isn’t going to help your rankings. Posting 6 videos at once won’t wow the search engines. Post content, update directories, change data on your website regularly to see yourself gradually move up in rankings. What’s that? You want instant gratification? Pair your SEO campaign with a PPC campaign to hold you over for the big pay out. Once you achieve first page rankings, don’t quit. Make it difficult for a competitor to come in and outrank you.5. Be different. Besides having consistent activity online that links back to your website, you’ll need to do some things differently to impress Google, especially if you’re in an area of high competition. Look at your competition. Look at what they’ve done and what they are not doing. If the top ranking business for your desired keywords has 50 optimized videos, make sure you are adding new video content to your campaign. If they have a small website with only 5 pages of content, start writing or buying landing pages as a part of your strategy. Do what they’re doing and what they’re not doing and you’ll soon surpass them.Don’t let this overwhelm you. If you’re considering investing in marketing but feel overwhelmed by the rules of SEO, please contact us. We specialize in dental SEO and can help you reach the top. It will not be accomplished overnight, but it will be done right and will prove a substantial, positive return on investment. People rely heavily on Google’s first page for information. You owe it to your community to be found.