Trying to understand what Google is looking for so that you can rank well using organic SEO is difficult.

It’s really difficult, but I’m going to tell you everything you need to know in this SEO guide.

Most people who attempt SEO give up because they fail.

Others achieve some success, but they aren’t really sure why or how to duplicate it.

People try and find shortcuts, tricks, and secret magic buttons that simply don’t exist.

They want fast SEO results that require little to no effort.

They get their information online from people they don’t know:

  • They take bad SEO advice from “gurus” who aren’t really gurus.
  • Listen to outdated ideas from “experts” who aren’t really experts.
  • Try “Black Hat” schemes that Google doesn’t like.
  • Pay for low quality services that will do more harm than good.

Then wonder why either their rankings don’t get better, or alternatively get worse.

If you try to find tricks, loopholes, and methods that Google already tells you it doesn’t like, the end result will not be success.

The truth is that SEO is a process that takes time and requires real work.

But processes, once you understand them, can be standardised and repeated like a blueprint.

And this gives you a massive advantage over your competition.

If you want to confirm everything I’m going to tell you below, take a look at Googles own search quality guidelines.

These are guides that they give to real people who spend their time grading how good a website is – in other words this is exactly what Google is looking for:

Google’s internal search quality guide.

How SEO Actually Works is GREAT News For You!


Because people:

  • don’t understand how SEO works,
  • and are too lazy to put in the necessary effort,

it leaves you with a golden opportunity if you do.

If you follow the good SEO practices outlined in this guide then you will be able to beat your competition for almost all of your keywords.

Once again remember it takes real work, but once you understand what you are doing you can standardise it, repeat it, and reap the benefits, which include:

Pros Cons
Algorithm proof rankings (no shady tactics)
Not a 5-minute job (requires learning and research)
Permanent results
Long term commitment (regular addition of content)
Difficult to beat you (quality wins)
Investment of time or money (if you pay someone to do it for you)
Deeper understanding of visitors = more ideal visitors
Hard work (it has to be done properly)
Put in effort once, reap rewards for years
No need to build backlinks

It might take you several hours to produce a page that will dominate the SERP’s but putting in this SEO effort is worth the cost since you’ll reap the rewards from it for years to come.

If you think about the Return on Investment of that effort or cost you’ll eventually be picking up customers at a cost of pennies each.

In the meantime your competition will be spending money forever buying backlinks and out-dated SEO gigs that will get them nowhere.

What SEO Doesn’t Work Anymore?

Things that don't work for SEO anymore

SEO tactics that worked even 5 years ago don’t work anymore, and yet many SEO companies will still talk about them, and base their SEO services around them.

These include:

  • Backlink campaigns
  • Social media campaigns
  • DA/PA (Domain Authority or Page Authority)
  • Word Count

This is all pretty obvious and we’ll look at why in a minute, but first let’s consider why these old SEO methods don’t work anymore.


Google understands what a page is about much better now than even a few years ago.

Back then they needed some way to work out relevance, and they did this by counting and valuing backlinks.

They refined the process over time, eventually using methods like “The Hilltop Algorithm”.

But it was a flawed system because backlinks are so easily gamed.

If anyone can go and build backlinks then how do Google know which are genuine? And is simply counting the number and value of backlinks an indication of whether the content on a page helps the visitor?

If it were so simple then all you’d need to do is have 1 more backlink than the top result and you’d replace them, but it clearly doesn’t work that way.

See what John Mueller of Google says about backlinks in the video below:

Social Media Links

Similarly anyone can create mountains of social accounts and promote and link to any website to try and influence the SERP’s.

Some people think that it’s a good way to drive traffic and hopefully sales, but generally speaking visitors from Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest and Instagram tend to be very poor at converting into customers.

It is particularly poor for B2B, and has practically no SEO impact at all

Website Metrics

Values like PA and DA (These are AHrefs measurements) are used by SEO companies to impress the gullible with how “powerful” their backlinks are.

A site like Facebook will have a very high score (it’s out of 100) and the claims are that a link from a site with a high DA, or from a page with a high PA will give your website a massive boost.

But it doesn’t work as discussed above.

Using the methodology below you won’t even need backlinks.


Some SEOs will tell you that you need your content to be a certain number of words.

But as with number of backlinks you clearly if the top result has an article of 1500 words, you can’t replace it by simply writing 1501 words.

There is no doubt that longer pages get you better results, but that’s because the pages that do the best end up containing a lot of words because they are delivering a lot of useful information.

If your content is just written to meet a word count then it will probably be 10% value and 90% filler, and this is not going to satisfy the visitor or Google.

What SEO Signals Does Google Want to See?


What SEO works for Google in 2022 and 2023?

Google owns:

  • Google Search (they can see every search query made).
  • Google Analytics (installed on 90%+ of websites – they can see every interaction between a searcher and a web page).
  • Google Android (they know who you are, where you go, etc).

So what makes more sense in terms of deciding which websites should rank the highest?

  1. Using outdated “game-able” measures like backlinks, DA, word count, etc, or,
  2. Measuring actual user data to see whether any given web page answered a user’s query?

It’s obvious isn’t it?

SEO does not now come down to technical values and numbers like backlinks and word count, etc, SEO comes down to whether a page helped a person by answering their question.

So the SEO signals Google values are:

  • Higher quality content than the existing pages
  • Pages that are clearly optimised for the topic or keyword
  • Clear interlinking between pages
  • Formatting

Remember that Google is a machine, it doesn’t know everything about every topic, nor can it fully understand the meaning of content.

But over many years and trillions of searches it has identified what makes a web page likely to be a good one.

You can imagine this yourself by comparing 2 pages in a language you don’t read, like say German.

  1. Page 1 is 800 words in one block of text.
  2. Page 2 is 1800 words with formatted paragraphs, headings, subheadings, lists, charts, tables, images, etc.

Even though you can’t understand what those pages are saying, which do you think would be the most useful content?

This is what Google is looking at, coupled with user behaviour, and we need to make sure our pages follow that structure.

What SEO Does Work Today?

The SEO strategy that works today is to follow the guidance from the topics we’ve already looked at, and to avoid the ones that don’t work.

As you can see it requires a lot of thought, hard work, and knowing what you’re doing, but the benefits are:

Pros Cons
Algorithm proof rankings (no shady tactics)
Not a 5-minute job (requires learning and research)
Permanent results
Long term commitment (regular addition of content)
Difficult to beat you (quality wins)
Investment of time or money (if you pay someone to do it for you)
Deeper understanding of visitors = more ideal visitors
Hard work (it has to be done properly)
Put in effort once, reap rewards for years
No need to build backlinks

This means you need to create content that genuinely answers the searchers query, and that is higher in quality than the existing content.

This means using careful formatting and plenty of the following:

  • A Heading focused on the keyword or phrase
  • Subheadings (keyword targeted)
  • Content list
  • Bullet points
  • Numbered lists
  • Images
  • Tables
  • Charts
  • Videos
  • Quality useful content
  • Internal links
  • External links

The page we create needs to be better quality and more useful than any other page out there.

In terms of the SEO elements we can control on the page you have:

  1. The URL
  2. Title
  3. Meta data
  4. H1
  5. H2’s
  6. H3’s
  7. Content
  8. Internal links
  9. External links

What you need to do is to carefully combine the 2 lists above and produce a blueprint that will allow you to create the best quality content over and over again.

It’s hard work but once you’ve learned what you’re doing and spent a few hours producing content based around these SEO considerations, you’ll have a strategy to produce high ranking content.

Then you need to regularly create content.

The more pages you have, covering as many keywords as possible, coupled with regular new published pages equals a huge increase in visitor numbers and sales.

If this is combined with carefully created conversion rate optimised pages then the sky really is the limit.

The bottom line is you need to either put in the effort yourself, or pay someone to do it for you.

There are no “easy” shortcuts, but that is why you can win – your competition can’t be bothered.

How to Create a Successful SEO Blueprint

To create your standardised, repeatable process you need to:

  1. Understand your product or service (per page)
  2. Understand who your client is (Ideal Client Avatar)
  3. Identify the right keywords
  4. Identify what the existing pages have missed
  5. Identify things not well covered by existing pages
  6. Understand your call to action
  7. Construct your content layout and conversion optimisation

Product or service

Salespeople have been told for years to sell the benefits of a product or service, and back it up with features.

You see this on almost all websites selling products – lists of features and benefits.

But this is very old school selling, and it doesn’t help us with creating SEO busting content.

Instead you need to really think about what problems does the product or service solve, and form your thinking around that.

This helps you to clearly identify the needs of the visitor.

Ideal client

Once you understand what a person looking for the product / service is looking to solve, you can identify your ideal client avatar.

This means working out who is the perfect person you’d like to get on your page (i.e., most likely to buy), and what they are trying to solve.


By understanding the previous 2 steps you now have a much better idea of the kinds of keywords they might use to make a search.

So rather than trying to rank a page for a general keyword, you aim to match the page and content to your ideal client and what they’re looking for.

You build the page around the keywords most likely to lead to visitors who will buy.

Missing information

To create the content you can look at the pages that rank right now, and think about what they are missing on telling the visitor.

What vital information they will want to know is missing?

Make sure you cover it.

Not well covered

There may also be topics that are not well explained or covered, these are ideal areas for you to create the highest quality content available.

Call to action

Think about what your ideal client wants, how you can solve their problem in a way that will appeal to them, and prompt them to take some form of action.

This doesn’t necessarily need to be to buy something right there, it could be to get in touch.

Content blueprint

Once you have created your page and added the appropriate headings, etc, save the layout as a template or blueprint so you can follow the same structure again.

This doesn’t mean it needs to be laid out exactly the same way, but rather you can have at least a certain number of headings and subheadings, bullets, numbered lists, etc.

Make sure you think carefully about linking to pages within your website (internal links).

You want to have more links pointing to more important pages, from an SEO perspective this is telling Google and other search engines that we feel this page is an important part of our website.

This helps search engines work out the structure of your site and the hierarchy of pages.

When you do this you can create high quality pages that will rank very well in Google without the need for backlinks or other questionable tactics.

Want More?

Learn how to win in Google without backlinks or other complicated SEO:

Work With Us

We only have time to work with people who are serious about improving their turnover through SEO and who understand there are no magic shortcuts.

If you want to win in Google and are prepared to commit to a real, solid process that works then let’s talk.

Rather do it yourself?

Feel free to read through our SEO guides and advice to learn everything you need to know.


SEO Experts are based on the West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire border we work with businesses in Bradford, Leeds, Keighley, Skipton, Harrogate, Ilkley, Halifax, and Huddersfield, as well as nationwide.