It’s easy to fall victim to trends in search engine optimization (SEO). They’re quick fixes that sometimes offer temporary results, but ultimately end up hurting your site’s success.

If you want to improve your business website’s organic search engine ranking, you need to forget popular SEO tricks and shortcuts, and focus on creating long-lasting results. Take a look at eight SEO best practices that will help you build a website that appeals to search engines and people:

1. Create interesting content

Create useful, current, relevant and interesting content. When writing text for your website pages, consider what visitors want to know, not what you’d like to tell them. Put the customer’s needs first, and you’ll get the chance to say what you want after you cultivate loyalty.

2. Get social

Take advantage of social media and local review sites. The more online visibility your business has, the more traffic your site will generate. Social media and review sites (like Yelp® and TripAdvisor®) will help improve user engagement and credibility.

3. Be real

Write for people, not robots. Don’t follow keyword trends by awkwardly writing website content that includes as many keywords as possible. Write naturally and focus on your online visitors.

4. Don’t play tricks

It isn’t about working the system. If you try to fool search engines, your organic online success won’t last long. It’s best to avoid costly or questionable shortcuts. Do your research to find out if what you’re doing will truly improve your site.

5. Make friends

Boost inbound links from relevant, reputable websites and blogs. If you have a relationship with another business owner, suggest linking to one another’s site to help improve each other’s SEO ranking. But don’t link to just anyone’s website, or you might link to an untrustworthy site and diminish your credibility.

6. Research keywords

Research valuable, appropriate keywords. Use tools to find relevant keywords that online visitors enter when searching online. It’s important to know what your customers are looking for, and then to use that knowledge to deliver what they need.

7. Measure success

Track your site’s performance. With site analytics programs, you can track the number of visitors to your website, conversion rates, and marketing success.

8. Don’t copy and paste

Recycle, don’t copy. Search engines penalize websites that have pages with duplicate content. Avoid using another website’s content or having the same content on multiple pages of your website — be original, because that’s what you are!

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Also published on Medium.