Google has come a long way since the beginning:
And the general approach is the same – you want to be at the top, but how you get there is quite different these days than it use to be. The Google Menagerie has trampled the search results multiple times, each time beating spam and less relevant results into the deeper recesses of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page), or even completely out of the results as particularly spammy websites and pages got deindexed entirely.
(The Google Menagerie: Penguins and Pandas and Hummingbirds, Oh My!)
Today, if you want to be found on the first page of Google, you must be QRST
Quality – Spun content, duplicate content, content that doesn’t pass a basic grammar check (I use Grammarly, personally) simply will no longer pass muster. The higher the quality, the more likely the content is to engage and captivate your potential customer/clients/web page visitors – you’re making a great first impression, and that’s always a good thing!
Relevant – This one is obvious, but if people are looking for advice on dating, or how to repair their 89 Dodge, they last thing they want to be looking at is pictures of your cat, Mr. Snugglemuffin, wearing cute hats. Relevancy is determined by a host of factors, including but not limited to the words you use on the page, description and alt tags on images, videos (especially YouTube videos) linked to on the page, and more. The more relevant, the better.
If you ever want to know just how relevant Google thinks your page is, here’s a quick hack: get an Adwords account, and set up an add for your particular page, targeting the keywords you think you’re relevant for. Feel free to bid low so that you don’t receive any clicks, and within a few days your page will receive a quality score. More here.
Shareable – Certain niches just aren’t shareable, and if you’re trying to stake your claim in the…uh…”male enhancement” niche, let’s say, then chances are people visiting your site aren’t going to be actively sharing your information on social media – but in general, your content should be shareable. To be shareable, your content must be Relevant and Quality, and also helpful in some way. It must give them something that the reader or viewer didn’t have before, and which they’ll want to show other people that they just got. A trick, a hack, something helpful often times does the trick – you know, like how to determine your quality score… <img src="http://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/72×72/1f609.png" alt="