When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), people normally fall into one of these camps: 1. they have no idea what it is but know they need it; 2. they have a general knowledge of what it is but have many incorrect ideas of how to go about doing it the right way; or 3. they are SEO pros and the bomb at what they do.
If you fall into either of the first two categories, this post is for you.
With every search engine algorithm update comes a change to the way we think about SEO. Over the past decade, SEO has undergone a radical evolution. No longer can we stuff keywords into content and go begging others for inbound links to boost our SEO; times have changed. So how do you do SEO the right way these days?
Stop thinking of searches as exact keywords, search engines - Google especially - have gotten smarter and are more concerned with figuring out the searcher's intent when deciding what search results to serve up. Search is becoming much more intuitive based on your previous search history. This means your content needs to speak to specific topics and be effective, interesting and compelling.
Other things to remember about SEO these days:
- Voice search is gaining huge momentum, especially with the rise of mobile. So think about how people ask questions verbally with your long-tail keywords.
- Your content must be original and it must be more than just regular ole' blog posts. Think diversity: infographics, charts, quizzes, and more. The longer, the better, and the more interactive, the better. For example, articles that are between 1,200 and 1,500 words long get better ranking than shorter articles, but a text-based piece of content supplemented with infographics, images, animations, and video files will have more impact on search engine and traffic.
- If you're looking for what types of content people want the most, try great resources like LinkedIn groups or Google's Keyword Planner to see what people are talking about. Try tracking key hashtags for your industry and monitor the conversation on Twitter to see what people are interested in.
- Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that concisely explain the content of webpages; they're commonly used as preview snippets. Although Google has webpages, they're commonly used as preview snippets. And while Google has downplayed the importance of these descriptions when it comes to SEO, meta descriptions present a major opportunity to separate yourself from the riff-raff and convince searchers that your page is worth navigating to.
- Your homepage is the virtual gateway to your business - it's your chance to make a great first impression (or not!). Be sure to hit viewers with your value proposition simply and loudly. Don't fill it with content; you should have just enough to effectively explain who you are, what you do, where you're located (if you're local), your value proposition, and what visitors should do next.
- Inbound marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand. If you're late to the inbound party, inbound is essentially a holistic philosophy that focuses on efficiently turning strangers into people who want to - and should - do business with you. This encompasses a wide array of tactics and best practices, including content creation , conversion optimization, and leveraging social channels, among other things. SEO is a specific marketing tactic that focuses on improving a business's visibility in - and traffic from - search engine results. Clearly, SEO can help you immensely with your inbound marketing, particularly when it comes to attracting the right people to your site.
- Do NOT shrug off local SEO; it's more important than ever! What's local SEO you may ask? The geniuses over at Moz.com have a great U.S. local search ecosystem infographic for you to check out. Essentially, if your business information is incorrect at any of the major online business info providers, it can hurt you in search with the major search engines, even if the major guys have your info correct in their own database. And if you're not included in the databases of these major providers, your business is not going to rank as well in Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Moz also has a great chart of all of the top local SEO factors that is a must-see!
Have we given you enough to chew on when it comes to how to do SEO the RIGHT way and how to do it effectively? Stay tuned for more on this topic and many others by subscribing to our blog.
And before you go, check out our free SEO guide that offers tips on how to get on the right SEO track and how you can stay ahead of your competition.