As we've already discussed SEO myths that live on, now we move into what SEO looks like today. The big key is content for the end user. In other words, Google is smart enough to know whether you are actually producing content that is good for the world or if you're just trying to trick the system. Google wants full, creative content with videos, images and lots of well written words that are organized properly [using header tags].
Other important factors this year are:
The first key to SEO writing is to write for the end user first, and then optimize that content for search engines. Additionally, Google wants you to brand your site clearly and cleanly — even in the title. Putting a bunch of keywords everywhere and not giving your brand a trusted identity is not good enough anymore and could actually hurt you. Keep your content clean, concise, and relevant so your users have a good experience, and the search engines will reward you for it.
Comprehensive Keyword Clusters
Google knows that "web marketing," "digital marketing" and "internet marketing" are all the same thing and they want to see all 3 on your page. Don’t think in keyword phrases; instead, combine your research into clusters and try to use as many options from that cluster as possible. By writing good content which uses a keyword and some or all of its synonyms, you'll be doing better than just trying to creatively fit a single phrase in an awkward sentence. They are also removing "stop words" like "the" and prepositions. So "marketing on the internet" is read by Google as "marketing internet" and is seen as a permutation of "internet marketing." Therefore, it will not necessarily be seen as less valuable than the exact phrase.
The functionality of a page is fundamental to a good search engine ranking. The architecture of the site, solid internal linking, short load times, correctly nested headers, image alt text, and relevant meta data all contribute to whether or not the site ranks well.
Having backlinks to a website has always been an important ranking factor, but the algorithms are constantly evolving to include only solid, credible links from reputable sites and to weed out the practice of link spamming. It has become even more crucial than ever to have a solid number of high quality backlinks.
Recently, user behavior on websites became a relevant ranking factor. Time on site, click-through rates, and bounce rate have always been measurable by Google Analytics, but it now appears that they affect search rankings as well.
What Should I Do For SEO?
A good SEO strategy includes a number of practices and techniques to make sure that people who are looking for the products or services that you offer, or information relevant to your industry, find your site before they find your competitor's site. This strategy should include:
- Building quality links to your site
- Developing and distributing high-quality, original content across a number of platforms
- Creating content that is shareable on social media networks
- Optimizing your website with appropriate keywords, page titles, content headings, and meta data, etc. and that this optimization is compatible with Google specifications
- Participating in social conversations to build engagement and brand recognition
- Managing campaigns to advertise on various platforms
- Tracking and analyzing traffic and user behavior and providing this data to you
- Constantly looking for ways to improve and stay ahead of the competition
Clearly, SEO includes a variety of practices that should be integrated in order to achieve a cohesive whole strategy. Rankings are based on a highly complex algorithm that takes over 600 factors into account; therefore, merely incorporating a handful of these tips will not be sufficient to rank well. To learn more about what practices you should include in your next redesign, download our white paper, "10 SEO Mistakes To Avoid During Your Next Website Redesign."