Insider Secrets For Great SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most used tools for anyone in marketing, but how many marketers actually understand it? Or go back and learn how to adapt to changes made in search behavior? The last few years have brought up some major changes to the way SEO works, and how to use it to its full potential. The changes made to Google’s algorithm, more use of anchor text within posts and increased security measures are all things that need to be taken into consideration for anyone looking to up their searchability, increase organic traffic, or even just have a better ranking on Google. Here’s what you need to know to become an SEO expert.
Just Starting Out
If you are just beginning your journey into the world of SEO the task at hand can seem daunting. Building a sitemap? Submitting a sitemap to Google? Where do you even begin? First things first, the sitemap is important to the general start of good SEO. You don’t necessarily have to update and resubmit your sitemap every time you publish new content, but it is a good measure if you ever put out any important updates or major changes.
The next change to think about is Mobile-First Indexing. In a mobile facing world, the importance of having a mobile friendly site is something you can’t ignore. Google prefers mobile responsive designs, so if you’re building out or re-designing your site, take that knowledge into consideration, especially due to the change that Google announced in November: the search results index will be prioritizing mobile results first. This change is still being tested, but the update is likely to happen. Another important thing to keep in mind is that AMP-enabled pages are treated as mobile pages as well, which will get them indexed first.
Once your site itself is optimized and submitted, you can start creating your content on the site. Anchor text, Some people argue that keywords are becoming less and less important, as in the very first days of SEO you could put as many keywords as you could possibly fit into a title or a post and still make it onto the front page of Google with that as your only SEO technique. That is a strategy unlikely to work today, as the technology has advanced far beyond where it once was. Now it is likely you will see top ranked pages all without targeted keywords anywhere in the content.
This is not to say that keywords are not important! Whether they are in a custom URL, in anchor text links, in a title of a post, or just located in your content anywhere, keywords can get your content to show up on a page that may or may not even be an exact match. Using a keyword research tool can help you find and utilize the most effective and relevant keywords for your content. But remember: top search terms only make up for about 30% of web searches, while unique searches that usually don’t contain popular keywords make up that remaining 70% of search traffic. Because of that large differential, it’s important that you use keywords from both ends of the spectrum, regardless of the diminished value of “Exact Match Domains” (EDMs). Branded keywords (keywords in the brand names of companies) can still be highly ranked even with the 2012 Google update against EMDs.
If you’re already well versed in SEO you probably already know that keywords, backlinks, submitting your site to a search engine, and having a fully mobile responsive site are the first steps to higher ranking and increased traffic. What else can you do to keep ranking higher to a bigger audience? With every year and with every update to the parameters of the search, what can marketers do to continue the process of establishing great SEO? As of 2017, what will make a difference is going to be increased security measures, post content and user experience optimization.
Security and SEO
In a world full of online fraud and theft, Google gives a slightly better standing to those who use higher security settings on their pages, for example: using HTTPS versus HTTP links. When you obtain a certificate to verify the extra security of an HTTPS page, you become a “trusted third party”. Essentially, with this verification you get three types of security: encryption, data integrity and authentication. The process to switching from an HTTP address to an HTTPS address can be tricky for someone without an IT background, but this Ahrefs blog gives a great and simple explanation of how to get started, covers more SEO benefits and explains how to avoid any SEO concerns that may arise during a transition.
The ideal content length used to be a short and sweet 500 words, but today, posts that are longer (around 2,000 to 2,500 words), and contain in-depth, comprehensive information are getting ranked higher and seeing increased traffic. The SEO trend Forbes says to watch for this year is dense content or posts that don’t have a specific optimized length, giving the most information in the smallest space needed, packing in the knowledge into a piece completely different than the small snippets or the huge novels of information we are familiar with. Remember also, as we shift into a mobile focused world that mobile content is usually shorter, and to be an authority on a topic does not always mean the need for long-form content. Consider using video and audio along with a transcript as a means to great SEO and mobile optimization.
The amount of time a user spends on your site is a vital sign of your site’s engagement rate and can indicate to a search engine as to how highly the site should rank. Important factors in getting visitors to stay on and interact with your site are loading speed, appealing content, and, once again, mobile optimization. If there is no traffic to your site it may not matter how good the rest of your SEO is, so make sure to keep your audience in mind as you move forward.
Ideas of what the future of SEO will hold will continue to change as the world we live in changes. Be sure to keep checking in to learn about what you can do to ensure your business’ success.