If you’re reading this, then you probably do know about Search Engine Optimization – or SEO as its more commonly known. But, for many of you, you’ve probably learned or picked up much of your knowledge, over the past few years. And that means some, most or almost all of that you know, is no longer relevant.
We don’t mean to sound harsh. But things, or should we say Google, has changed a lot in the past 12 months. So, in order to help you get back on top of SEO and climbing up search engine rankings again, we want to share a few details with you.
Google Is On to Your SEO Tactics
We know there are other search engines out there that people use. But, the fact remains that Google is still the most popular. Statistics from Net Market Share show, that as of April 2017, Google held 77.43% of search engine use. So, when it changes any policies or rules, people need to know about it.
Google and other search engines have cottoned on to websites’ use of keywords, creating backlinks and other practices in the name of climbing up the rankings. And they’re no longer rewarding sites that feature that kind of content or marketing behavior.
That means you need to develop your website in the way you would if you weren’t always thinking about search engine rankings! Easier said than done, we know. But, once you start doing that, the search engines, Google included, will begin rewarding you by… you’ve guessed it. Raising your site up the search engine rankings!
Of course, talking about a more naturally developed site and doing it, are two different things. So, let us give you a couple of pointers in the right direction.
Don’t Create Content With Only SEO in Mind
Search engines still analyze and ‘read’ your website. But things like keywords and links don’t count for quite as much as they used to.
One reason for the change is because users search for things in a very different way than they did in the past. Gone are the regular single word searches. Instead, they’ve been replaced by whole sentences and full questions.
A second reason that we’ve already mentioned, is that Google doesn’t want websites to create content for Google. Content should be created for users. So, keyword stuffing, hiding and adding links like there’s no tomorrow, no longer really work. In fact, if Google and other search engines think that’s what you’re doing, you’ll be penalized and moved down the rankings, instead of up.
Instead, create content that your target audience and existing users will read or view. Interesting, relevant or entertaining content is what you need to put on your site. Of course, some of the keywords associated with your business will no doubt feature. But, provided they’re in there for the benefit of the content and not to woo Google web crawlers, they will be a positive addition.
If you stick to creating content – be it written, imagery or video – that your users and potential users want to engage with, then Google will approve. The rewards for that approval are to be higher up the rankings, which is exactly what you’re after.
In the past, desktop computers and laptops were the number one way users engaged with the internet. But that’s now changed. Mary Meeker hit the mark with her 2008 prediction that mobile web usage would overtake desktop in 2014. And since then, mobile internet use has continued to grow, while desktop and laptop browsing popularity wane.
With that in mind, Google and other search engines have raised the importance of having a website that’s also optimized for mobile. That doesn’t mean your desktop website ‘fits’ a mobile screen. You need to work harder than that (mobile optimization on topf of your SEO effrots) for Google and your user’s approval.
Instead, what you need to have is a website that comes in a variety of sizes and formats, suitable for the different ways people use the internet. It can’t be just about fitting things in, but also breaking the text up, having smaller images and sites that are easy-to-navigate regardless of how or where users view them.
One way to do that is, instead of creating your new website for a laptop then optimizing it for mobile, flip that round. Create your website for mobile first and then make the changes required for laptops.
As with the well-written natural content, creating websites with mobile in mind is something you should do because most of your audience will view your site that way. And remember, your website has to be created for your customers and potential customers and not to impress a search engine or your IT team.
Broaden Your Marketing Strategy Horizons
Now you know a little more about what Google wants and doesn’t want, you’re hopefully thinking more about what your customers and audience want. This is exactly what Google and other search engines like and will reward.
Now’s the time for you to think outside the online box and try a few different marketing strategies to generate new customers and keep your existing ones happy. Luckily, you can get some online genius help with that.
Google has some new tools that help you understand the relationship between mobile searches and real-store entry and purchase. Use that analytics insight to work out the best areas to do a leaflet drop, run a competition or post billboards.
By combining online ingenuity and old-fashioned advertising techniques, you could find you’re onto a winner in both online and real stores – where relevant. And, by wooing your customers in a variety of ways, both online and out on the street, you should gain the added bonus of reaching a bigger audience.
And that’s something most businesses are trying to do and need to do, in order to grow their customers and their profits.