SEO has undergone a lot of changes over the last few years particularly with the release of Google’s algorithms. The doomsayers have proclaimed that SEO is dead however, I do not believe that to be the case. Yes, you will find dozens of articles telling you all about the demise of SEO but by the same token you will also find dozens of articles telling you how SEO has adapted and how to make it work for you.
Previously, SEO was often just seen as keywords, linking and page ranking and whilst those are still a very important part of SEO, there is more to it than that. These days, SEO is more about branding and strategy. Having a multi-pronged online marketing strategy is key to success and this includes coming up with a suitable content marketing strategy. Google’s Panda algorithm has changed how content is viewed, it really does separate the wheat from the chaff and anything that does not pass muster, is dropped faster than a hot potato. So, when you are creating your content, make sure that it is written for human beings to read, that it is interesting and gives them something. Make use of a variety of keywords and key phrases and thread them into your content in a natural way.
Using links has also evolved, in the past the more links the better, however that is now very much frowned upon and Google will only reward sites that have high quality relevant links that enhance the site. Providing you adhere to Google’s rules regarding linking, you should stay safe but as the search engine criteria change over time, you may have to change your methods. It is a good idea to ditch links that do nothing for your site and disavow those that you don’t want.
In the past, keywords were one of the main staples of SEO and using lots of pertinent keywords throughout any text on your site was the way forward. Again, this has changed and whilst you can still use keywords, they must be used more carefully. Try to use a wide variety of keywords but use them sparingly.
Google will continue to make changes to their algorithms which mean that it is difficult to stay one step ahead. They are not doing this to be awkward or thwart your efforts, they want to give searchers valuable information when they type in a query which is why the content, keywords and links must be of the very highest quality and very relevant to your niche. There is no point in having content about yachts if you own a business that sells pet supplies, do you see what I mean?
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, refers to optimizing a website so that it ranks highly on search engine results’ pages, making it easier for users to discover. Local SEO, then, is the optimization process for local results — if your business is in Salt Lake City, Utah, for example, then a focus on local SEO for Salt Lake means that anytime a user searches for your particular business type in Salt Lake City, your business’s website is ranked as one of the topmost results on a search engine’s page.
Content marketing, on the other hand, is essentially the process of creating valuable content that is designed to attract and engage the user, ultimately generating leads and sales.
While the two strategies are often talked about independently of one another, content marketing and a local SEO campaign often go hand-in-hand. Here are five ways to combine them for optimal results:
- Keep a Blog
Keeping a blog is one of the most essential aspects of content marketing, and most businesses that have a strong online presence blog on a regular — even daily — basis. Search Engine Land even refers to the blog as the “secret weapon” for local SEO. However, while keeping a blog can be a great way to locally optimize a website for search engine purposes, and provide readers with great content, the effects of a blog can take awhile to come to fruition, and blogging requires a long-term commitment.
- Social Media is a Must-do
If your business isn’t already using social media as a way to reach out to your audience and attract new customers, then realize this: social media content can be key to building a brand and enhancing a local SEO effort. While you don’t need to be posting on social media 10 times per day to be effective, sending out regular Tweets and status updates (and mentioning location within those) can help to grow a business and an online presence.
- Images and Video
Content doesn’t just refer to the written word; instead, content is everything that’s written, posted, or displayed on or about a business website or business. As such, images and video are two of the most important types of content, but the two that most businesses forget about or tend to prioritize last. However, both images and video are known to attract a large audience, and when title tags and alt tags are optimized with great keywords and a local focus, both can improve search engine rankings.
- Cultivate Online Reviews
If you want to focus on local SEO, then you need to be cultivating online (local) reviews. Yelp and Google+ currently dominate the world of online reviews, so make sure you business is listed on both. Also encourage users to leave review of your services or products on your own website. The more reviews you garner, the higher that your business will rank when a user searches for products/services in your area similar to what you offer.
- Stay Consistent
According to a January 2015 article published by contributor Jason Demers in Forbes Magazine, the biggest problem with local SEO efforts is inconsistency. To clarify, Demers states that he’s not referring to inconsistency in a posting schedule or branding; rather, the inconsistency that may be bringing your organization down in terms of local SEO are inconsistencies in your NAP, which stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number.