Search engine optimization, or SEO, has been an internet buzzword since the early 2000s. However, that’s exactly why most SEO strategies is essentially ineffective when it comes to improving your search engine visibility in general, on Google in particular. Several years later, SEO proves to be an ineffective means of improving your overall Google rank.

The source of the SEO method is based upon how easy it was to establish rankings on Google, bringing your website to the top of the search bar with little effort. Today, with updated algorithms continuously flowing from Google’s analytics team, the search engine is much smarter than any SEO tactics a business may consider employing. And if you’re not careful, playing the SEO game could land you at the bottom of the search pile.

Quality, not Quantity

When Google first launched, search engines were driven off of key words. When writing content, the goal was to broadcast your desired buzzword or catch phrase as many times as possible in different blogs. Essentially, a blog with the same word pasted repeatedly could achieve a high ranking, but Google now penalizes sites that use “keyword stuffing.” Google’s algorithms are smart enough that synonyms and related terms, will trigger the search engine. When you write well, and write often, you have no need for keyword saturation in your content. Google – and consumers – want a user-friendly experience. That starts with strong, valuable content.

As you measure quality, also consider the content of the links you include that direct users towards your site. Too many unrelated links from low-quality sources can trigger the algorithms built into Google’s system. It’s better to have fewer links from reputable sources, designed with great content in mind.

Risk of Penalties

The danger of utilizing outdated SEO strategies is that they can draw a penalty from Google that could hinder your efforts to improve your reach. Google is clear about wanting a user-friendly experience, and manipulative methods to increase your site’s ranking have severe consequences. At the very least, Google will drop your search engine rank, but it’s also possible that your entire site could be removed from search results. This eliminates any dishonest attempts at visibility, and is also very harmful to your business and marketing strategy.

Rank Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Pay little or no heed to companies that promise a quick-fix SEO strategy using backlinks; otherwise, you are likely to find your site blacklisted by Google. Distributing good content on your website, blog, and social media pages is the key to rising in the ranks, but you must recognize that it will take time and dedicated energy. This style of improving rank is also what is best for a successful company, because as you develop quality content, others will link to it as a resource – and that’s the kind of “backlinking” you really want (not the black hat, build 90 inbound links to your site from spam sites service some agencies still offer).

Consumers want to see engaging and intelligent content, not simply buzzwords – and so does Google. You are much more likely to build an audience with authentic writing and relevant content than with links.

Do what you’re passionate about, and forget SEO. If you are answering questions people want the answers to, providing high quality information, and