The past years, a complete new industry arose around one topic. Getting internet pages ranked higher in Google. The reason is obvious. Internet is a multi billion dollar industry and getting found is the most important issue to get any products or service sold.
In the beginning it was fairly easy, make sure you had the right metatags and keywords in your content and Google immediately gave you a higher score. That does not work anymore. First they ignored the keywords an later they decided to change the description of an article based on what the user actually is searching for.
Other search engines however still take notice of that, so keep doing it if you want traffic from them. But don't put too much effort in it.
Microformats based on schema.org is something they still take into considerations, since it tags content to relevant topics.
But the most important things are, links to other sites and comments. Not any links or any comments. But links from sites with high pagerank and comments related to the content of the articles. So just saying hi, or comment with advertising has no use at all. So don't do that. Link spamming has no use either, most sites have a no-follow policy to avoid people just commenting with links.
But the best of all is quality content. Answers to questions people have in the world. Google wants people to get answers from their search engine. The answer itself cannot be qualified by the engine, so it does not necessarily will be a good answer as long as a lot of people take interest in the answer. That is good enough for Google to take the answer in consideration to put high.
So sort of a democracy on knowledge. A bit strange, since knowledge is not based on common believe but on hard facts. Google has not yet found out, how to get the facts straight.
I wrote an article on how this could be acheived. Maybe they should read it
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