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Search engine optimization practices have gone through a lot of changes over the years. Early on, webmasters stuffed their web pages with keywords and used meta tags extensively. It was not uncommon to view source on a page and see the meta keywords tag stuffed with hundreds of keywords even if most of them didn’t appear on the web page anywhere. And those pages ranked for those keywords too.

When Google came along, they created an entire economic system based on backlinks. Inbound linking became a new kind of currency – and spam.

Umpteen million algorithm changes later, Google looks at links in a totally different light, meta tags are pretty useless (especially the meta keyword tag), and hardly anyone knows what constitutes effective SEO any more. The game has completely changed.

But has it?

The key to ranking in the search engines has always been quality of content. Yes, you might have built inbound links, wrote impressive meta descriptions, and made sure your page title had your primary keyword in it, but the search engines still focused on the content. Was it any good and did it solve a reader problem? That’s still the case today. Quality content will win out every time.

That’s not to say that search engine spam doesn’t still exist. But if it’s spam, it will eventually disappear from the SERPs. Focus on quality. It’s the only real SEO that’s left any more.

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