Forget the Algorithm: 16 Ways to Get Your Business to the Top of Search

Forget the Algorithm: 16 Ways to Be SEO Friendly

Getting your website ranked higher through search engine optimization (SEO) is pretty important, but how does it really work? So many of us focus on “beating the algorithm” to get the coveted high rankings, even though they change all the time. What does it take to get to the top and stay there? We asked 16 entrepreneurs for their best tips on working SEO to their advantage. This is what they had to say.

“Trying to take advantage of SEO can be a challenge, thanks in large part to constantly changing algorithms that emphasize different aspects of your content. Given these frequent changes, how can you create SEO-friendly content that lasts?”

How to Be SEO Friendly

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Create Industry-Leading Useful Content That Fills a Need

“Don’t just create content to create content. Create content that solves a problem, explains a solution or answers your customer’s questions. Invest in quality research and design to present that content to your customers in a way that isn’t boring, is easy to navigate and is better than anything else on the topic.” ~ Shawn Schulze,

2. Write to Connect With Your Customers, Not Search Engines

“The biggest mistake we see comes in writing for search engines at the expense of the customer. Remember that while the copy gets them to the front door, if they hate what they find when they walk in, they’ll leave. Since Google takes customer experience into account when ranking, a site that continually turns off visitors won’t rank well long term, even if the content is perfectly optimized.” ~ Jeff Jahn, DynamiX

3. Ensure Your Content is Mobile Friendly

“To keep your content SEO friendly, ensure your website is mobile responsive. Compress heavy image files, remove flash videos or animations, disable intrusive pop-ups and make sure all titles, tags and descriptions are optimized for mobile devices. Additionally, all content should provide value, but also be easy to consume.” ~ Kristin Marquet, Creative Development Agency, LLC

4. Don’t Just Focus on Keywords

“Keywords are obviously an important part of the algorithms, but loading your content up with keywords is the opposite of what you want to do. Focus on fulfilling a need for your customers and answering their questions via your content. While the content can and should be centered around keywords, the quality of the content is what matters and will help it stand the test of time.” ~ Kristy KnichelKnichel Logistics

5. Go Above and Beyond

“What can you do to blow away all of the other search results for your target keywords? If it’s a list, create a custom list plugin with as much additional information about the topic that you can find. If it’s a difficult subject, create videos and mix them into the content. If it’s simple, perhaps the topic isn’t broad enough to create amazing content for. Go above and beyond and see how Google will reward you.” ~ Ajay PaghdalOutreachMama

6. Just Create Amazing Content

“The days of gaming search engines with little hacks and tricks are over. Google is far too advanced for that now. So what’s the secret to modern SEO? Just create amazing content that your audience is looking for. Simple as that. Sure you have to follow basic fundamentals like a responsive website, fast page load times, etc. But don’t get hung up on tiny details or trying to game the system.” ~ Jeff CayleyWorldwide Cyclery

7. Don’t Forget to Link

“Adding internal links not only shows your authority in a particular sector, but it can also lead to more posts that offer additional value. A string of value-added posts can make it easier for search engines to interpret your primary themes. External links to evidence-based, reputable source material show that you are a subject matter expert that is able to support your information with other outside facts and statistics. Be sure not to go overboard with the linking. Only link to internal or external sources that make sense. They should add something to what you are offering. Excessive linking can cause you to rank lower in searches.” ~ Blair ThomaseMerchantBroker

8. Keep Creating Relevant and Fresh Content

“One of the biggest challenges with content marketing is creating fresh content on a regular basis. This is even more important than keywords or any advanced SEO tactics. Google favors sites that consistently publish new content that addresses readers’ needs. Don’t neglect other factors such as keywords and backlinks but consistency is the most important factor.” ~ Shawn PoratScorely

9. Optimize Your Thinking

You search for content every day. Next time take notice of what you’re typing into the search box. You’re either typing in words, phrases or questions. Now apply that approach to your content. Keywords are important, but the way you phrase your title and h2 tags should encompass the question, then the phrase, then finally keywords that you’re trying to hit — in that order.” ~ Stanley MeytinTrue Film Production

10. Create Evergreen Content

“Providing SEO content is an investment that will render results three to six months down the line. By making it evergreen, you’re ensuring that your content will always be relevant. It’s information that can pop up in search engine results for years to come as long as the product you’re selling is still in demand.” ~ Patrick BarnhillSpecialist ID, Inc.

11. Bring Value to Every Piece of Content

“It cannot be said enough, don’t focus on SEO tricks, focus on value. The more you generate value for people, the more likely you will be to rank for the content. Yes, you need to have the right kind of distribution for the content and an effective strategy to engage any potentially relevant and influential blogs that may want to reference you. Otherwise, you must focus on value.” ~ Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

12. Keep Audiences Engaged Over Time

“Extensive research is often the key to creating content that will keep your target audience interested and entertained. Creating content takes more than just writing ability. It also requires a level of expertise in your subject matter and knowledge of industry trends. It is unlikely that any singular piece of content will be a permanent resource for your audience, but regularly churning out insightful, consistent and up to date pieces will keep audiences engaged over time.” ~ Zohar Steinberg, token payments

13. Enhance Social Media Management

“Sites like Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin rank very high in search engines. Maintaining and updating your businesses’ social media profiles is an easy way to piggyback off the giants who have mastered the art of SEO.” ~ Cassie PetreyCrowd Surf

14. Focus on Retention

“With SEO algorithms shifting constantly, it can be a Sisyphean task trying to update every piece of content to each change. What I focus on is providing excellent SEO when content is first published in order to drive up exposure and then attempt to retain as much of that exposure as possible through engagement strategies. This ensures that my content doesn’t have to be consistently SEO friendly to last.” ~ Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy

15. Don’t Overthink the Technical Side

“Much like how truly SEO-friendly content is all about adding value (not tricking the algorithm), your approach to technical optimizations should prioritize fastidious organization. Is it easy for visitors to find any and all content? Are your pages, written content and media files as simply organized and as clearly labeled as possible? Optimize to the readers, not search bots.” ~ Ryan WilsonFiveFifty

16. Allow Length to be Your Advantage

“Everyone repeats the same thing: “Forget about ‘The Algorithm.’ Just write for your audience.” However, “The Algorithm” adds more weight to longer content than your audience does. Plus, “The Algorithm” loves to see synonyms of your keyword. Longer content will automatically have more keyword synonyms. Longer content (with additional keyword synonyms) will appease “The Algorithm” and your audience.” ~ Christopher TedderClinger Holsters

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The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.