Google is like Pinocchio; they both want to seem more human.
That’s what Google wants you to do. Because that’s what your human audience wants too.
Become an expert on something and share well written content about that something.
But people (and Google) care about more than the naked content of a piece; we also care about its presentation. Is it easy to skim for quick grokking? Is it easy to categorize? Is it easy to find on your site? And so on.
Imagine this article without headlines. No paragraphs. No images.
Images are worth some amount of words. Right? Especially if we mark them up well with alt attributes and avoid web-image mistakes. If nothing else, an image might make your page look better and/or encourage readers to linger longer.
Good headlines help human and robot readers quickly understand what’s in a document. Sub-headlines break up long sections of otherwise more-boring-looking text with contextual cues about what follows.
Link to relevant related content on your own site with good anchor text. Good intralinking strategy will help Google and readers learn more about you/your topic.
Invisible-ish bits are important too. (Because they’re not invisible to Google.) Learn how to write and use great titles and meta descriptions. Learn about microdata and some specific ways obscure bits of markup can help you succeed in Google.
Maybe those last two links are more “SEO 201” than SEO 101.
What else can I do for great SEO?
Plenty. UX plays a big part in SEO. Tune your website so it’s fast. Remove hurdles between visitors and the prize at the end of the tunnel. (Shorten the tunnel?) Run multivariate tests to figure out what works. Stay relevant. Integrate your social efforts with SEO and otherwise encourage people to connect with you and your excellent website. Backlinks are key.
And if you’re serious about ranking well for important keywords, your first foot forward is good keyword research. Yes. Keyword research. Those last two keyword research articles are almost a decade old. Don’t bother reading them. They’re there to underscore that “Stay relevant.” note.
…Some say video is the future of SEO. Don’t worry, there’s plenty you can do to optimize video SEO, too.
Dan Dreifort consults on UX and SEO for small large businesses, large small businesses, and non-profits. He doesn’t love working with large large businesses because he likes to quickly affect change. Is it ironic that those with the deepest pockets are often the slowest? Maybe.