Over the years, there have been some constant subtle changes in Search engine Optimization here and there over the years as SEO continues to grow as a category that most businesses focus on to drive leads, engagements, and sales as platforms like Google, Yahoo, and their ilk continue to evolve. It’s no secret that the rules that run how and why websites rank against each other are constantly changing. Whether you notice it or not, every algorithm update from Google sends little waves of effect all throughout the SEO industry, and if you don’t fiddle with your systems and processes, you’d be left for dead.
That’s why it is important to know the different ways SEO is changing or evolving. Sooner than later, these developments, no matter how subtle they are, will have a significant effect on website rankings and SEO as a whole. But knowing is just half the battle – what’s more important is having a profound grasp of these trends so your business can adjust your practices and processes accordingly.
Let’s start with the no-brainers:
#1: Keyword Research Still Matters
Once upon a time, keywords were (almost) all that mattered to SEO. I mean, write an article stuffed with 100 keywords and you’re good to go. Those days are long gone, but it doesn’t mean keywords don’t matter anymore. Google and other search engines (but just concentrate on Google) still look at keywords, but the process has become more complicated and well, more intelligent than just looking for the meaning of the words in context. Other things that matter are the placement of your keywords and the way your keywords fit together and other stuff we can’t totally comprehend. What’s more, single keywords are no longer advisable, hence the popularity of long-tail keywords.
There are more or less 200 factors for a website to rank well, and even if keyword search doesn’t have as much weight as it used it, it is still a factor. So don’t give up on the keywords, especially the long-tail ones.
#2: Engagement Metrics Matter
With the decrease of the significance of keywords came the increased relevance of actual engagement in your content when it comes to SEO. Meaning, you have to prove to Google that people are reacting to your content – commenting, sharing, asking questions, and so on. These actions mean the people find actual value in your website. In our case, we use these metrics to measure if we’re doing well or not:
- Traffic from organic search
- Time spent on site
- Bounce rate
- Page views
The best part is, all of these can be tracked with Google Analytics. Go ahead and try them, yourself.
Related: Confession of a Google Spammer
#3: Focus on Mobile Users
Again, I cannot overemphasize the importance of mobile when talking about SEO today or in the near future. Mobile optimized websites were the result of a Google algorithm that focused on mobile users and since then, mobile users showed no signs of slowing down. Having a website that is mobile-friendly has become the rule rather than the exception. Mobile isn’t going anywhere, and you should ensure the user experience for these users is as strong or stronger than desktop visitors. Everything should fit on the screen without the need for stretching or horizontal scrolling.
As per our practice, we create a mobile version of our website. Thanks to our talented developers and programmers, we have mobile responsive designs that allow the pages to adapt to the size of the screen they are displaying on. Here’s How to Manage Google’s Mobile First Indexing for SMBs
#4: Focus on User Experience
I’ve always believed that all businesses are services no matter the product being sold. Based on this premise, all businesses should focus on the user experience. At the end of the day, it’s always people who are going to use the product or service we are selling. That’s why it doesn’t come as a surprise that even Google is focusing more and more on the overall user experience itself. This should give us all the more reason to tailor our improvements in our processes with the customer experience in mind. So when we’re designing or improving our website, we can take into consideration some very simple but impactful design elements like:
- Accessibility for people who are differently-abled (those with audio and visual impairments)
- Creating buyer personas that would lead to better understanding buyers’ needs
- Creating valuable content that actually solves problems
#5: Create more unique and varied content
As a rule, it’s not enough that you produce quality content. It has to be unique, too. But wait, there’s more. Creating quality, unique content isn’t enough anymore. It has to be varied, too. Meaning, just making articles – no matter how good the quality and how unique they are – isn’t enough. Today, written content needs to do more than ever to stand out. Long form content of 2,000 words or more that is well-organized is a great start. But what will sustain your ranking is if you consistently produce content in other forms, such as:
- Video Blogs (Remember to stick to these Three S’s for Creating Viral Video Content)
- Interactive content
- (You can even make written content and categorize them into infographics, shareables, etc)
As technology grows, more types of content become available, and it brings with it a need to diversify your own work so you can stand out in the crowd. Learn these Five Elements of Quality Content (According to an End-user) to attract more visitors.
#6: Content Promotion
In case you haven’t heard, promoting your content on social media is a great way to gain new exposure and growth for your brand. Ok, social media itself isn’t a ranking factor, but Google is smart enough to look at it more and more for information on how useful your content is for visitors and followers. So, distribute your content in as many social media channels you deem necessary. Like they always say in lotteries, the more entries you send, the more chances of winning!
Here are some of the ways content marketing helps boost your SEO in today’s world and into the future:
- Social Signals – activity on your social media channels shows Google that your content is useful.
- Earned backlinks – these are achieved when people naturally link to your content because they saw it on social media.
- Increased traffic from social media channels – this results in additional ranking signals as people arrive and engage with your content
SEO is an incredibly dynamic industry that requires you to always be on your toes. By keeping these changing rules in mind, you put yourself in the best position to thrive. How about you? How do you adapt to the changes in the SEO landscape? Share your thoughts below!
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