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Google rolled out a ton of major updates in 2012. And unless you’ve got a lot of extra time on your hands, you probably haven’t been able to keep up.

And so, in this article, I’m going to outline The New Rules of SEO that I’ve been recommending to all of my private clients. These are the rules you MUST follow, if you want to get ranked in Google and stay ranking over the long-term.

Rule #1. Quality, Not Quantity

Focus on very high quality, not quantity, when choosing which keywords to rank for in Google.

When you think about it, SEO is only getting more competitive. There are millions of new websites and web pages created every year, but there are still only 10 results on the first page of Google for your “dream” keywords. And you really need to be in the Top 5, or you’re practically invisible.

So my advice is to pick your keyword targets carefully. Instead of going after 100 keyword opportunities at once, start by focusing on the 1 to 10 (max) very best keyword opportunities.

And here’s another key tip: start by focusing on longer, more specific phrases (known as “long-tail” keyword phrases). When you focus on these “long-tail” phrases, you’ll typically rank in Google faster and attract higher quality leads.

Rule #2. “Go For The Gold”

If you want to win the Gold medal in the Olympics, you need to be the BEST.
Obviously, you’d never win the Gold medal with a half-assed effort! :)

And it’s the same with SEO.

This is just common sense….and yet, most people don’t give SEO their best shot. Most people just slap some keywords into their web pages (in their Title tags, body copy, etc) and they expect that’s going to get them on the first page of Google.

But there’s more to it than that!

Most importantly, you need to give the searcher what she really wants. Why?

Well, beginning in 2011 and continuing in 2012, Google started to raise the bar for content quality, and began penalizing sites for mediocre content and bad user experiences.

These days, if you want to get ranked in Google (and stay on top), you should create the page you’d want to find at the #1 spot if you were searching for your keywords. Create content that deserves to rank #1, and everything else gets much easier.

Rule #3. “Play It Safe”

In 2012, Google really started cracking down on manipulative SEO techniques. And when Google rolled out these updates, thousands of business owners saw their rankings (and revenues) plummet overnight.

I don’t have space to go into all the details here in this article… so here’s the really brief version of the story:

For years, website owners and SEO companies had been using risky tactics, like building artificial links to their websites, to try and trick Google’s algorithm and get their website ranked higher. And until recently, many of these tactics were working surprisingly well.

But when you try to trick Google, you’re taking a BIG risk… and just like a fugitive on the run, it’s only a matter of time before those bad decisions catch up to you!

Here’s my advice: If you want to maximize your SEO profits over the long-term, play it safe and avoid risky tactics. When you play by the rules, you won’t have to live in fear of the next big Google update. You’ll KEEP your rankings, and you’ll make more money over the long-term.