One of the first rules is that you should never take what anyone says at face value because what works for one site/niche isn’t guaranteed to work for another.
Another important rule is that what the larger websites do for their SEO isn’t always relevant for smaller sites starting out. Yes, Brian Dean can earn a thousand backlinks when he publishes a 10,000 word guide on how to build top tier content to earn links. That’s because he’s famous within the SEO field. People knowing. People link to him because they believe what he says is true. That play doesn’t work so well if you’re just a smaller affiliate website trying to earn a buck or two off of Amazon.
There’s some hard fast rules that apply to damn near anyone and damn near any site:
It really is important to create quality content.
How quality? That depends on the competition. If you’re entering a very low competition niche, don’t waste a whole lot of time creating content. Get what you need up and then move on to better things until you can gauge how Google is going to respond to that content.
It really is important to create backlinks.
Not shitty, easy to get backlinks, but quality back links from sites to have some decent traffic. Traffic is one of the best indicators of overall site quality. If a website’s generating organic traffic, there’s a really good chance that it’s in good favor with Google. In other words, it’s a link that’s going to provide your site with SEO value.
It’s also really imperative to do keyword research ahead of time.
This should be done for articles, but should also be done for an entire niche and/or website and/or competitors before you start launching a new SEO campaign. You need to know, or at least have a ballpark estimate, of how easily it will be to rank content in a certain niche. If you’re going after something that 15 other Fortune 500 companies are going after then it’s not likely that you’ll ever be able to rank well in that niche and no amount of content and backlinks, at least at a single person can create, is likely to affect that.
That’s really it. There’s a million other things that you can get into but if you do those three things well you’re going to be set up for success.