SEO is ever-changing. The old adage of a Google’s algorithm taking on many an iteration isn’t just buzzy digital talk, it’s the truth. SEO continues to evolve, and techniques we used last year, or even yesterday, are being questioned as strategies become outdated and obsolete. As with everything in digital marketing the most effective way forward is combining common best practices with new strategy pivots to help your SEO game. With that, I want to discuss the most current methods to help you with your SEO strategy so you don’t feel left behind.
1. Keep your content updated and unique
Updating website content frequently lets Google know that your site is worth its attention. Create a content schedule so you can continue to update your site.
Don’t just start slamming the keyboard rapidly to fill your site with words, though. Remember to be unique and relevant, providing high-quality information that demonstrates your expertise in your products and services.
Questions you can ask yourself before proceeding with a new piece of content are:
What answers do I look for?
What would I need to know before I can make a decision about engaging or purchasing?
How can I solve the user's problem?
What question would a user search for to find your site?
User experience comes into play here; use the right imagery and videos to accompany your relevant content and the natural and user friendly journey through your website takes place.
2. Focus on Local SEO
If you’re a local business, local SEO is a strategy-must to dominate search rankings. Local SEO is a sub strategy that focuses on localised terms and helps users in your location find you.
46% of Google searches are linked to something local. This is a clear indication of the importance of working on ranking for localised searches.
The activities around local SEO are all about increasing visibility, growing engagement levels and increasing leads and sales with the local community.
The SEO work focuses on search terms that are based on your location and terms like “near me”.
There is data showing that 78% of location-based mobile searches result in a purchase made offline. 28% of these searches will result in a purchase that day.
To focus on your local SEO, consider implementing the following:
Claim your Google My Business listing (if you haven't done so already)
Manage your reviews
Consider locally orientated keywords
Prepare high quality content that revolves around the community - if you've recently sponsored a local sports team or been involved in a community event, writing content around this is a great way to optimise your content for local search
3. Optimise for user experience and mobile
UX is not a direct ranking factor (yet). It is, however, important that your user experience is optimised to positively impact and improve engagement and authority and influence where a website will ultimately rank.
Google’s algorithms are looking at user signals so that they are able to provide their audience with the most relevant sites for their searches. Signals such as time spent on site, content engagement and site revisits are all strong indicators of quality.
With over half of all searches being conducted on mobile devices, your website's mobile responsiveness is essential and beneficial to the user experience. Mobile optimised sites are also favoured by the Google search engine crawlers.
4. Use social media to your advantage
Social media is an advantageous and cost-effective marketing tool. Social media has no direct impact on ranking, however being active on these platforms inadvertently assists in improving your ranking.
One simple way to best utilise social media in your SEO strategy is to share your website’s content via these platforms. The key here is to focus on quality content over quantity. This will improve your chances of your content being shared. The more your content is shared, the greater chance it'll be used as a backlink by another website.
Backlinks boost your SEO and increase your authority, leading to increased ranking, quality traffic and more leads.
5. Don’t try to cheat the system
As tempting as it is, tactics such as buying back-links, using hidden links and invisible text are quick ways to get your site penalised or, worse, removed from search engines.
Spam based techniques might gain you some quick rank moving in the short term, but they don’t work in the long-term. Great SEO is a long game.
Paying for links is actually a violation of Google’s guidelines, including activities such as commenting with spam links, participating in link farms and hiding links with invisible text.
Invisible text is putting written copy (as well as links) onto your website or keyword lists that are the same colour as the page background, making it "invisible" to the human eye but not to the search engine crawler. Web crawlers have been onto these particular black hat tactics for a time now, so avoid at all costs.
It might be tempting to use these quick and easy black hat techniques, however in my experience the quick gains are quite often detrimental in the long run. SEO takes time and effort to improve results.
6. Don’t Keyword stuff
A great misconception is that stuffing content with keywords is great for SEO. Nothing could be further from the truth. Keyword stuffing is a big mistake and is also considered a spamming technique as mentioned above.
Quite often this mistake is made when the site owner is more focused on improving content for the search engine than they are for their human audience. If your content is unreadable it is off putting and disengaging. It also provides no ongoing benefit for your website if you are thinking long term.
Keywords can be included naturally throughout your content without being "stuffed” and without potential penalisation from Google.
7. Don’t Plagiarise your content
Duplicating content on your own website won’t get you blacklisted, but it certainly won’t help you either.
Copying content from an external site is also not recommended and search engines are clever enough to pick up on this.
SEO requires a long term approach, taking time and requiring continued consistent effort. Positive results can be seen within three months, however you will most likely see the true benefits of your activity within the three to six month period. Keeping these simple tips in mind will help give you a leg up in your SEO journey.
The easiest step you can take is to keep your content up-to-date, unique and fresh. Regular blog updates are the simplest way to do this.
Focus on local SEO which will help you tap into your nearby community for customers.
Social media is an advantageous, cost-effective tool and is easy for you to get on board with.
Ensure your website and all its pages are optimised for mobile and a smooth user experience.
Don't try and cheat the system with black-hat spamming techniques - they won't pay off in the long term.
Keyword stuffing and plagiarising content is not an efficient tactic.
If you're looking for some help with any of the above techniques, feel free to reach out to our SEO specialists for more information.