When it comes to SEO, you can’t cheat the game. There are no shortcuts — no Mortal Kombat master cheat codes to skate to the top of search engine rankings. 

There’s only one way to truly dominate SEO and level your competition: Consistently create high-quality content that’s helpful and relevant, that earns links from reputable sites that confirm your domain authority and relevance. 

And that takes planning, strategy, and good old fashioned blood, sweat, and tears.

The rulebook for SEO changes every day. But some plays remain solidly consistent: A well-optimized site will get more and more traffic over time. That means more leads and sales. It’s the only way visitors will ever be able to find you — how they will even know you exist. 

Here’s how to master the kung fu of SEO and dominate Page 1 rankings like a Search Engine Samurai warrior.

The 3 Pillars of SEO

Before we get into the real ninjitsu of SEO, you need to first understand the 3 pillars:

  1. Link Juice Authority
  2. Content
  3. Indexed Age

Those 3 pillars are the foundation for Google’s PageRank — its original algorithm for optimizing content. 

Google crawls the entire Internet with web spiders to determine which sites are keyword optimized, how those sites are linked and the relevant quality of those links, and how long that content has existed on the Internet.

Link Juice Authority

SEO Link Juice

Link juice authority describes the quality and volume of links that have been created over time. It refers to the strength of a site — how important Google considers that site to be. The New York Times, for example, delivers more link juice than your local rag. 

Google determines the link juice according to Domain Authority (DA) and Domain Score (DS). This is developed and measured overtime: You won’t see instant results in real-time. Like most factors in SEO, link juice takes time to build — it snowballs as you build momentum. It can take weeks or months to see real results.

Content

Quality matters. The SPAM days of SEO are long gone. Years ago, you could churn out low-quality content loaded with keywords and hope to fool the search engines that you somehow had the goods. But today you need to be the very best — consistently deliver high-quality content that’s relevant, helpful, and engaging to the visitor. Don’t just throw anything at the wall to see what sticks — plan, strategize, and invest in absolutely stunning content.

Indexed Age

You don’t have much control over this one — unless you have a time machine. But on the Internet, age counts. And certainly other factors like high-quality content and strong links can surpass age overtime. But it’s important to keep in mind that results aren’t instant. Google takes some time to let you into the club. But keep creating high-quality content, build those links, and over time you’ll rise up the ranks.

SEO Google’s E-A-T Medic Update

Understanding Google’s E-A-T Medic Update

Great content and quality links are important, but so are credentials: who you are — and if you have the knowledge and authority to actually know what you’re talking about. Google asks for ID at the door.

In 2018, Google rolled out its “medic update” emphasizing expertise, authority, and trustworthiness — better known as E-A-T — as major factors to establish ranking. Google doesn’t want to just deliver an entertaining or click-baity answer: It wants the right answer. People are relying on this info, after all. You better know what you’re talking about.

Google evaluates the reputation and credentials of the content creator — especially when it comes to information that carries real-world consequences. This info falls under the umbrella “your money or your life” (YMYL): content related to medical needs, financial planning sites, or anything that could affect the status of one’s happiness, health, or wealth.

State your qualifications upfront: Are you a doctor, therapist, or financial advisor? Include a bio that clearly lays out your credentials. Show off any awards or certificates you’ve received. Be as accurate and unbiased on your website as possible. Demonstrate your authority by guest blogging on other sites. Let Google know why you’re an expert on the subject.

Have a Slick Website? Technical Aspects to Consider

In addition to great content, you need a website that’s properly designed: secure and accessible, quick loading, and mobile friendly.

Security & Scanability

First, you need an SSL certificate that lets Google know your website can be trusted. Once upon a time, this applied mainly to sites that took credit payments online. Now it applies to pretty much everybody who isn’t a Russian hacker.

Google also needs to be able to visit the site and easily scan the content to understand what it’s about. To make your website bot-friendly, you’ll need:

  • A website created with a well-coded website builder
  • A robots.txt file to show Google where it can and can’t look for your site information
  • A website sitemap listing all your pages

The good news is if you run a WordPress site, the Yoast SEO plugin already provides a sitemap. You can also use an online sitemap generator.

Fast Loading Page Speeds

Page Speed for SEO

Next, you’ll need to make sure your site loads fast and slick, as measured by page speed — a leading SEO ranking factor. For impatient users, that spinning rainbow wheel is a clear sign to vamoose. 

Sites need to be able to load quickly not only on desktop but mobile as well. 
You can improve page speed by enabling file compression with apps like Gzip to reduce the size of your CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files that are larger than 150 bytes. You can also optimize the length of your code using CSSNano and UglifyJS. It’s also a good idea to reduce redirects, leverage browser caching, and optimize images into slicker file formats.

KeyCDN’s Website Speed Test, Google PageSpeed Insights, and Pingdom are handy website speedometers to measure page speed.

Mobile Responsive Design

You should also design your site to be mobile-friendly. If it doesn’t perform well on a mobile phone, you’re stranded at the back of the line of search results. 

More than half of all global web traffic comes from mobile devices, according to Statista. And Google maintains a mobile-first index — meaning it draws results from mobile-optimized sites first. You can test whether or not your site is mobile friendly with Google’s Webmaster Tool.

First, make sure your site has a responsive design theme — meaning it automatically reformats to fit the screen of any mobile device. If your theme isn’t already mobile responsive, you can add this line of code into each page’s <head> tag:

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0″>

Avoid large chunks of text — keep it short, sweet, and scannable. This is good advice for web driven content in general, but it’s especially important on mobile devices.

Keep any forms, such as for content offer downloads or contact pages, simple and succinct.

Content Domination: SEO’s Secret Weapon

The goal of SEO is to get your site ranked first: ideally on Page 1 since 95% of people never bother with Page 2

But ultimately it’s more than just rankings that will level your competition. Increased website traffic is nice, but you don’t want just any traffic — you want the right kind of traffic. That means landing the visitors best positioned to buy your product or service. 

So yes, you want to be sure to have keywords in your content — the actual search terms users input into Google to find you and your competition. But most importantly, you want that keyword-rich content to actually be helpful and engaging. Answer key questions or solve problems your consumers face every day.

SEO Strategy in Marketing

With every passing month, Google is getting better and better at evaluating content quality. They want to reward the good stuff. Don’t skimp — don’t wimp out. 

Is there already existing content similar to what you’re creating? Make sure yours is better — push the line, elongate the point, create super-sized pillar worthy content that defines a subject. 

Because when you rank at the top with content that crushes your competition, you are the source everyone turns to. And that means better leads, increased sales, and ultimate web success. 

When it comes to dominating the web and SEO — deliver nothing less than a flying roundhouse kick and lightning-fast 1-2-3 punch. There’s no room for sissies.