Google Advises SEOs to “Stick to the Basics”

As one of the head content marketing strategists here at LinkNow Media, I’ve long been pushing for one thing: keep it simple.

Whether that means writing content that people actually want to read—content that answers their questions—or getting links from authoritative websites, SEO in 2019 is all about simplicity. By sticking to the basics, we’ve developed an approach to web design and digital marketing that protects all our clients from the dreaded… algorithm update.

So, it was really nice to read, on a recent Reddit AMA, that Google’s Gary Illyes agrees with our approach! His advice? Forget all the tricks that help you game the algorithm (and put all your hard work at risk during the next update) and just stick to the basics.

What Does Simplicity Mean in Digital Marketing?

Everyone’s always developing new theories about how Google works. But what if search wasn’t actually as complex as people make it out to be?

That’s exactly what Gary Illyes explained during his AMA when he threw shade at Rand Fishkin:

“Dwell time, CTR, whatever Fishkin’s new theory is, those are generally made up crap. Search is much more simple than people think.”


But his point was that, although Google has developed “a PR-sexy machine learning ranking component [AKA RankBrain] that uses historical search data to predict what would a user most likely click,” the data it uses has nothing to do with each individual landing page. Instead, it uses months-old data from interactions with the search results page itself. Forget the rest.

When it comes to dwell time, click-through-rates, and the other buzzwords that SEOs throw around, Google’s advice is, as always, to forget about it. Get high-quality backlinks and create relevant content.


Illyes also made it clear that sticking to the basics means revisiting your site architecture, tags, titles, URLs, etc. As he explains in his straightforward, no-bullshit way:

“i really wish SEOs went back to the basics (i.e. MAKE THAT DAMN SITE CRAWLABLE) instead of focusing on silly updates and made up terms by the rank trackers, and that they talked more with the developers of the website.”

He then went on to emphasize that point again. When asked to state his favourite SEO conspiracy theory, Illyes wrote:

“I don’t have a favorite, they generally want me to crawl up in a corner and cry, because we don’t do a good enough job getting people to focus on the important things…


What is Crawlability?

When a new web page is created, Google sends out a bot to crawl through the site, combing it for relevant information that it can use to index the page.  The crawler goes through each website by following links. It makes a note of how each site is organized, which pages are relevant to which search, which pages are linked to other websites (with or without authority), and much more.

If the crawler is blocked from crawling your site, or if your site is not easily crawlable, Google will not be able to index it or rank it properly. Sounds pretty obvious, doesn’t it?

Which is why Illyes’ point is to stick to the basics! Forget trying to game the system. Just make a site that Google can easily index, with good internal links, correct page titles, stable URLs, etc.

Keep it simple!

Crawlable Websites Are the Starting Point at LinkNow Media

Of course, if you’re worried about how crawlable your website is, it helps to speak to the pros. At LinkNow Media we’re always ready to provide our clients with the tools they need to stay competitive online. All our websites are optimized for search from the get-go. All our content is developed with strong keyword strategies and conversion-oriented copy. We start at crawlability and then go the extra mile, creating beautiful, responsive, SEO-ready websites!

Got a question? Leave us a comment below or give us a call at 1-888-667-7186 to speak with our SEO experts!


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