Search engine optimization is a practice that requires a fair amount of guess work.

After all, Google is pretty stingy with details about how they really want things done. Not only that, but SEO best practices can change dramatically overnight. (If you don’t believe that, then you weren’t impacted by Penguin or Panda.)

In the rush to keep up with all these changes, some webmasters are leaving behind useful practices, and taking advice from questionable sources. That’s point Eric Convino makes in a very interesting blog post on titled, Reinforcing the Obvious.

Covino’s meditations on links building and SEO are food for thought for anyone who has been bitten by Google’s latest updates.
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A Complicated, Confusing Business

From the get-go, Convino makes it clear that, when it comes to SEO, we are living in very complicated times. Between updates; a huge selection of SEO tools; and a lot of questionable advice, many webmasters are forgetting what really works. Here’s what he has to say about throwing out the baby with the bathwater:

The truth is many of the age-old underlying tips and techniques are still the cornerstones of successful SEO campaigns, despite all the talk of brands, links, social signals, domain names, content, and all the rest.

In short, he suggests sticking to tried and true SEO techniques like good keyword selection, technical fundamentals, and link building.

Link Building is King

Penguin fundamentally changed the nature of link building, not the fundamental value of link building. Quality content is just one part of a much bigger picture, he says. But without a conduit for sharing, it might as well not exist at all:

One cannot ignore what has been obvious for the past 4 years…which is this:

* You can rank not great content with links
* You cannot rank great content without links (putting aside sites with built in readership)

Don’t Try to Figure it All Out

Convino also suggests that webmasters step away from what he calls, “the Matt Cutts Decoder Ring.” Cutts isn’t hiding secret advice in his blog posts and video, or anywhere else.

Trying to decipher additional meaning from his words just adds clutter to an already crowded space.

What it All Means

Convino doesn’t buy the mantra that content (or anything else) is king. He suggests that SEO practitioners stick with what’s really working today, while keeping an eye on what’s going to work tomorrow.

How do you find worthwhile SEO advice? Share your thoughts on our SEO Forum.

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