Making sense of SEO – 2017 edition

The rules of SEO are changing continuously and that tiny little fact is making many SEO “experts” (and none) crazy. So let’s see where we are at the moment.

The rules of SEO are changing continuously and that tiny little fact is making many SEO "experts" (and none) crazy. So let's see where we are at the moment.

Do you struggle to make sense of SEO?

Well, you’re not alone (if that’s any consolation at all). So for the sake of what I’m trying to do with my blog, which is helping people in digital-need, here’s a recap of the current state of SEO.

Let’s take a step back: what is SEO all about?

First off, in case you’re not sure why you clicked on this article, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This, in my humble opinion, is confusing for some, and misdirecting for others. What it actually does stand for is Optimizing Your Website To Appear In A Good Position In The Search Engine Results Page. But I guess that OYPWTAIAGPITSERP would be harder to remember.

So basically SEO is a list of actions that you can take both right on your website (on-page SEO) and on other places on the web (off-page SEO). The good news is that the more actions you take the better your SEO is going to be. The bad news is that neither Google nor any other search engine will tell you exactly what they’re looking for and what you should work on in order to better your SEO.

If you’re looking for Local SEO tips, check out this article.

Let’s see a few examples for on-page SEO


Any SEO expert gets excited when he hears the term keywords. Basically a keyword can be either a single word or phrase which would be the general concept around which your page or article are written.

You can determine a list of keywords to insert into your text, by researching what people are searching for online, using tools like Google’s Keyword planner,, or even Buzzsumo.

The current state of Keywords for SEO?
Well, we hear that keywords are not very important for SEO ranking anymore.

Does that mean you can stop using them? Of course not! You still want your article to contain the terms people are using, but it’s important to understand Google is using a whole different method on determining whether or not to show your article in the SERP.

Google RankBrain

Another hot subject today is AI, which is basically what Asimov was trying to warn us about. Google’s RankBrain is what any search engine really needs. It understands what’s out there and will give you what you’re looking for according to what you are looking for, and not what website owners want you to find.

The current state of machine learning for SEO?
This Machine Learning thingamajig has basically rendered keywords almost useless, since no matter how many of them you insert into your page’s text, what’s gonna matter is what your article is actually talking about, and what other people think about your page.

If Google, for example, registers a high number of visits, long retention rates and returning visits, it will comprehend that your website is useful, in some way, to the users. Thus adding the popularity element to your ranking page’s overall value, allowing it to appear higher in the SERP when a user looks for something your article talks about.

Author: Shay Stibelman

Digital marketing consultant in Milan, Italy. Born in Israel, raised in Germany by Russian parents. I help small and medium businesses get their digital marketing game on point. Perfect their website, landing pages, funnel marketing and social media strategies, in order to increase ROI and optimize that ever elusive marketing budget.

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