There has been an increase in the popularity of search engine optimization (SEO) in recent years. In fact, many businesses are now turning to SEO in order to capture a greater share of the online advertising market. If you want to improve your chances of ranking high in search engine results pages (SERPs), you’ll need to understand the basic concepts behind search engine optimization. First and foremost, you need to make sure your website is optimized for search engines.
Back in April, we started discussing 4 essential methods of building SEO on your website and where the industry predicted we were heading at the end of the year. Today, we dive into another four.
More Essential Search Engine Optimization Methods
5. Conversational Keyword Phrases
Google rolled out Hummingbird (the update before Penguin) way back in 2013, which allowed the opportunity for semantic search – which seeks to deliver the information queried by a user rather than have a user sort through a list of loosely related keyword results. So instead of the algorithms focusing on one or two word keywords, it can handle more “conversational” phrases made up of those words.
For example, users who were limited by results when search for “digital agency” “social media management” could now search for “digital agencies who specialize in social media management.” This allows more accurate results for the user and offers them a better experience (that they will return for). This means that your site has to be ready to handle these phrases, unique as they might be. There are ways to find out how people are searching for and finding your sites within analytics and there are many ways to help predict how users will be searching, but we’ll have to dive into another time.
6. Link Building
Link building is one of those words like “meta tags” that used to be the end-all-be-all of search engine optimization that has fallen out of favor with search engines, but digital marketers still feel like they need to have them. They are still figured into the core algorithm, but not nearly as heavily. Instead, Google adjusted what they consider a backlink. Now, search engines focus more on the page content that referred to your site, taking into consideration the relevance and popularity of that site. It especially weighs brand mentions and will tag your site as “linked” even if they don’t actually link you there.
So, if a beverage distributor gets a mention on a website or blog from Snapple, that will give their position an incredible boost, as they’re relevant to the industry and a popular player in it. Whereas, if that same distributor gets a mention on Chevrolet’s website, it will get some points for it being from a popular site, but not as much because it’s not relevant to their industry.
In the past, it didn’t matter who the links came from, so companies would just try to get links out to anywhere and everywhere that link back to their site and whoever had the most won. Now, Google is penalizing sites who don’t take the quality over quantity approach. This is also why social mentions are so important.
While it’s always been standard faire to make sure your images are tagged correctly, video is now practically required on your site as well. Because of Google’s ownership of YouTube, this is not going away any time soon. Luckily, Google recognizes this and rewards you by including the popularity of that video (as long as it’s hosted on YouTube) in with figuring out the popularity of your website. The more places you can get that video in front of people, the better.
Finally, it seems that Google is switching it’s focus on analyzing your site for elements that will impact your ROI. It all ties back to Google’s overall business model of advertising. If users are searching for solutions, they’re seeing ads served up by Google. The more convenient it is for those users to find their solution, the more they’ll return to Google for their search results. If the site’s that they are finding aren’t ultimately translating their traffic into leads and sales, then Google will want to show them sites that will (and hopefully click an ad or two along the way).
We’re seeing similar methods when you consider it as part of the overall user experience that is being stressed by search engines more and more every month – they’re putting a priority on responsive sites to make it more convenient for mobile users, they’re putting a priority on accessibility to make it more convenient for users with additional needs, etc. Consider your audience and whether your site is delivering the best possible experience to them when you’re developing strategies.
As we’ve mentioned many times, search engine optimization is a constantly evolving industry, and one that you can’t afford to not be taking seriously when it comes to marketing your web presence in 2015. As new strategies and technologies emerge in the not-so-distant future, it’s important for you to be ensuring that your site is not only compliant with what’s happening in the search engine space, but that you’re more knowledgable and ahead of your competitors.
If you are interested in learning more about search engine optimization and search engine marketing, please reach out to us – we’d love to talk with you more!