Developing your SEO strategy means considering a number of factors. First of all, you need to know what people are searching for, which means that you must be aware of the keywords and key phrases that are being searched for in your niche. This is where doing a thorough keyword research project before you begin your strategy will pay dividends. You can then make use of this research to make the most of your website’s content and HTML coding so that it is associated with specific keywords and phrases within your niche. It is however, important to note that you should not overuse keywords within your content.
Another aspect that needs to be addressed is linking. Having lots of inbound links that are relevant to your niche and that are from highly rated sites are valuable. You should from time to time, do an audit on your site so that if there are any dubious links, you can remove them or disavow them because these links are damaging to your site.
Social media is now an important part of any SEO strategy because of the traffic that is brought to your site. Choose 1 or 2 platforms that you know your customers/clients/followers use so that you can interact with them. The relationships that are built using social media create a lot of back links as well as inbound links.
When you are creating your content, remember to write for a human audience rather than for search engine spiders. If something is interesting to read, it is likely to be shared and this leads to an increase in traffic. Writing interesting content can be quite hard work so do make sure you are writing about something that you are enthusiastic about. Your enthusiasm will be spilled over to your audience and they are more likely to return to read more and share your articles with their friends.
The ranking or position of a website on the search engine rankings is determined by a number of factors. The algorithms used by the search engines to weed out undesirable sites will be the same ones that determine what is a desirable site. This is why you need to be aware of linking and keywords so that your site does not fall foul of the rules. The algorithms will analyse meta tags, keywords and links to determine whether or not your site is of good quality and relevant to the search being conducted.
Getting your website and content to rank in the search engines has always required a keen understanding of SEO guidelines and best practices. It’s also required a whole lot of work in order to properly carry out these best practices.
2015 is no different. The SEO landscape has changed over the past year, and staying on top of the changes and knowing exactly what they mean – practically speaking – is the key to higher rankings.
Following are 5 of the biggest challenges you’ll face this year as you attempt to get your content ranking in the search engines.
1. Recalibrating your keyword strategy: Semantic search has overtaken keyword search
In the past, keyword research was the foundation of any SEO strategy. It would look something like this: Using various keyword tools, you would find high-volume, low-competition keywords, and then include these keywords on your site in a variety of ways. And while on-page SEO remains an important way of letting Google know what your content is about, this strategy alone isn’t likely to get you very far.
Since the release of Google’s Hummingbird update of 2013, semantic search has overtaken keyword-based search. Google’s algorithms have become increasingly sophisticated, evaluating queries based more on user-intent and less on the specific keywords that are used.
Despite Google’s emphasis on semantic or conversational search, many (many!) business owners remain stuck in the pre-Hummingbird mentality and practices (“Plug your keywords into the Yoast SEO plugin and you’re good to go!”). This year, a challenge for business owners will be to learn new ways of optimizing their content for semantic search:
- Focusing on answering questions; particularly questions mobile-users may be asking.
- Offering helpful supplementary information along with your base content: info like reviews, maps, travel info, etc.
- Creating content that aims to provide all relevant info on a particular topic or theme. In this way you’ll be including a wide variety of thematic keywords rather than potentially over-optimizing for a few specific terms.
2. Optimizing properly for local SEO
While nearly every business has an SEO strategy of sorts, local SEO optimization is still being underutilized by many businesses and brands. The fact is that 50% of mobile users who perform a local search visit a store within one day. In other words, if your site and content aren’t ranking in local search, you’re missing out on a huge influx of wallet-in-hand visitors.
We also know that 46% of searchers now use mobile exclusively for product research. Think about how and when you do your own product research: On the bus ride home? While you wait for a business meeting to start? On the way to the store? Mobile technology is everywhere, and businesses that aren’t optimizing for local search – along with a mobile-first mentality – are going to suffer. I wrote about this in more detail in my article Why Every Entrepreneur Should Focus on Local SEO.
3. Shifting your mindset from link building to relationship building
An important element of the SEO of previous years was requesting and acquiring links from a variety of sites; years ago, many businesses found success through the use of automated directories, article marketing and link exchanges. Keyword-rich anchor text for internal links was another popular strategy used by many sites; in other words, linking to pages on your site using the keywords you hoped to rank for.