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What Are the Modern Website SEO Standards?

A modern website’s SEO standards look very little like they did when we first got into the game several years back. But rather than reminisce about the olden days, let’s look at what you need today to make a website rock.

Content
Content breaks down into a few different sections. First, it needs to be formatted properly, with proper spelling, grammar, and vocabulary. It needs to be concise, feature a variety of formats (i.e. not just 800 “top 7” lists), and yet be consistent in it’s quality and the material it covers across the entire site. The content must be high-quality in that it should cover the depth and breadth of the topic appropriately, and it should be very close to 100% original.

Content should also have elements that are stable, including company mottos and their ilk, but also content that is often-referenced or important to the site’s theme, and other elements that are updated or transient. This reflects that the company is both offering value and keeping itself up-to-date.

Code
The code must have all of the critical elements in the right place (no broken pages). It should also have all noncritical elements correct (no stupid errors). It must be as simple as possible, with no redundant code. It should also have perfect HTML semantics (i.e. no unclosed tags, tags nested properly).

Hosting
Hosting is simple: the site should be hosted by a service that has a fast connection, and as close to 100% uptime as possible.

URLs & Internal Links
The domain should be old and trusted, as should the homepage. Internal pages should range from older to newer, with ‘background’ pages like the About Us, Privacy Policy, and other similar pages being older and content being updated more frequently. Internal links should never be broken and should avoid redirects (though redirects are a very minor issue.)

Backlinks
Backlinks should come from authoritative sites within the industry or niche of your site. They should come from the largest possible variety of unique root domains, and they should be as old as possible.

Most SEO efforts go into that last heading, but in reality, backlink building should only be prioritized after the other elements are satisfactory.