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More and more, I’m seeing top-notch SEO experts – people who have been the top leaders in SEO and Internet marketing for more than ten years – saying that chasing keywords is no longer an SEO best practice. That just doesn’t seem right, but I’ll have to agree with them. If you want to rank well in the search engines going into 2013, I recommend focusing on high quality content without the keyword spam.

What do I mean by that?

Jill Whalen has an article at SiteProNews listing 18 former SEO best practices that could now work against you. I think this is a very important list.

Right in the middle of her article, however, is this paragraph:

Today, and for the foreseeable future, SEO is much less about optimizing for specific keywords, and much more about technical issues, social signals, and the overall trustworthiness of a company and its website.

Pay attention here because this is real important. The emphasized phrases are mine.

Trust: The New SEO

If you aren’t optimizing for specific keywords, then what are you optimizing for? Answer: Trust. That’s it. Your new buzzword going forward is trust. That’s the new SEO.

Does that mean you can’t use keywords? No, not at all. It does mean that your keywords should not be the focal point of your content. The needs of your readers should be the focal point of your content with the end goal of earning and building trust at the forefront of your thinking process.

In reality, this is the way it should have always been. Keywords can get your site ranked, though going forward this is questionable, but they won’t build trust in your brand. Only high quality content that meets the needs of your readers can do that.

Forget about stuffing keywords into your content, building back links with anchor text, and other manipulative SEO tactics. Just write great content. That’s your new SEO strategy.

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