There are tons of webmasters who even today are trying to game Google. But the harder they try, the worse the situation gets. The point is clear – No matter how smart you think you are, it’s just impossible to game the Google algorithm. Particularly, after the release of the Panda and the Penguin algorithm, applying underhand SEO techniques only means risking the life of your website or online business. Therefore, it’s high time to not get caught in trends and start focusing on the specific needs of users.

Google is constantly refining its search algorithms. Whether you’re a large business or a small one, you need to strictly adhere to the latest webmaster guidelines as put forwarded by Google. Otherwise, you could easily see your site rankings go down or (God forbid) lose the rankings altogether.

If you’re really serious about your website being found in the search results and clicked, here are four pieces of advices to follow –

#1. Every Link Scheme is Bound to Fail
Though links pointing back to your website are significant even today, the ways of building links have changed. You can no more rely on spammy tactics like submitting your websites to directories, using article submission services, exchanging links with your peers (or co-bloggers) and buying links from high PR pages or websites. As a matter of fact, you should try to ‘earn links’ on the basis of the quality of your website. Therefore, avoid any kind of link schemes that you may have in mind, as it will only lead to facing penalties.

#2. The Days of Obsessing Over Keywords are Over
The modern-day SEO is no more about stuffing content with keywords. Google is focusing more and more on returning relevant search results. As soon as you fill out a page with money-keywords, you’ll send Google a signal that you’re not attentive to the needs of the users. What you should actually do is pay attention to the intent of the user. Rather than repeating keywords, you should let them flow naturally into your content.

#3. The Separation of Search and Social Has Ended
Gone are the days when social media and search rankings were seen as two different things. Today, it’s just impossible to separate social media from search engine optimization. According to Google, social cues (such as retweets, Facebook likes and Google +1s) are strong signals to evaluate the quality of a website or the content that it features. It is, therefore, important to understand that social signaling has got to play an important role as far as the ranking of your company website or blog is concerned.

If you’re about to plan a SEO strategy or restructure it, you should never forget to include a social aspect to the same.

#4. Content Reigns Supreme
No matter how wonderfully you design a website, it will fail to make an impact if it lacks high quality content. The modern-day SEO strategy should always revolve around content that the target audience is badly looking for. Of course, it will involve some extensive research to identify the specific needs or the day-to-day issues of the target audience. But that’s the only way to create problem-solving content that Google favors in its search results.

Bonus Tips
Always look at SEO as a complete strategy. Once you’ve worked out a powerful strategy for search, you should execute it effectively. More importantly, you should analyze the results and see where you’re headed. Depending on the initial results you see, you should optimize your efforts even more to achieve your goals and obtain better rankings in the search results.