Just when you’d thought you mastered the SEO game, the rules change again.
Such is life and technology. The latest is that keywords are no longer the little demigods they once were. The newest way to drive traffic to your site is via “the user experience”.
A recent study on the future of Search Engine Optimization by Seattle SEO consultants, Moz, Inc, showed that paid links and anchor text have decreased in impact (by 55% and 49% respectfully). The biggest projected SEO factors going forward will be mobile-friendliness (88% impact increase); evaluation of a page’s usefulness (81% increase); the overall look and readability (67%); and the time users spend on the site (67%). All well and good, but how do you go about optimizing your site now? Read on for the newest ways to navigate those messy SEO waters.
1. Gazillions of single keyword references are out.
Like a lot of us, Google has grown smarter with age. Where it was once necessary to make references repeatedly in order to get your point across with this search engine, (for example repeating “Best RV Parks” awkwardly in numerous placements on your site), Google finally gets the message without all the repetition, and can even interpret searchers’ intentions without them spelling it out. Now users can simply type in a few RV references, and Google will make the semantic connection and deliver those parks.
Search engines are now able to project what words viewers expect to see on topics they’re searching. When you include those words in your articles and posts, search engines consider it authoritative content on the topic. If you sprinkle trailers, full hookups, and pull-through sites throughout the copy, it tells Google your site is a good match for this search.
Another thing to keep in mind when composing your content is that search engines have figured out people now use three to five word queries in order to find specifically what they’re seeking. Aim for multiple words related to your topic to cover the ones users are likely to use in their search. There are several good online tools that can help you determine likely keywords, such as Google’s Adwords Keyword Research Tool (https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool).
2. Go for the post-click.
Search engines have grown so smart, they can even scrutinize how viewers are interacting with your site. One of the ways they do this is by looking at whether or not they’re going back and clicking on the results on your site. As stated above, the user experience is king right now with Google. The thinking goes, if the user is hanging around on your site and clicking away on it, they’re probably getting the results they want. And Google considers that a good experience. To sum it up, clicking is good, but post-clicking is better.
3. Longer is better.
While short used to be the way to go when it came to content length, today 1,200 to 1,500 word posts and articles are performing best. Lengthier content is getting more traffic and ranking higher in SEO, especially when it comes to subjects and terms your competitors use. Given that longer articles can be difficult to digest, it’s a good idea to bullet key points, and use subheads.
In coming up with longer content, it might be tempting to stuff keywords, but don’t do it. This is a mistake and can get you in hot water with the search engines. As always featuring original content is a good way to drive traffic to your site. It’s just one more way to attract visitors, and have them stick around to read the content and share it with their friends and colleagues on social media.
4. Looks count
Presenting original content does not just apply to the words on your site, but the images as well. Simply having a lot of images used to be the winning ticket in SEO, but now it is having unique images that’s all-important. Even using stock images with unique content around it will help draw traffic to your site.
Also important is making sure the images you choose are high quality and relevant to the subject at hand as well as the content on your website. This is not only vital for tapping into search engines, but for your human audience as well. According to research, it is the images that will ultimately win over your audience.
5. Keep it mobile
Smartphones are being used more and more in place of laptops and desktop computers these days, which makes it more important than ever that your content be searchable on a mobile platform. Also, Google must be able to comprehend the content within the application to rank it accordingly. Checking out your content on your smartphone is highly recommended.
Optimizing your website may seem a bit overwhelming, especially when the rules keep changing. But it all essentially boils down to remembering and respecting your audience. It’s a good idea to put yourself in the place of the person viewing your website.
How would your content appear to you as an unbiased viewer? Does it appear natural? Is it providing useful material? In the past, you may have focused on presenting the information on your site that you wanted your audience to know. Now you need to give them the content they want and need in order for them to find you in the first place. Doing that will be the real game changer in your SEO ranking.