It's Not Your Father's SEO
Your website has likely been updated or redesigned dozens of times since the mid 1990s, and hopefully your search engine optimization strategy has evolved with the times. If you’re still using the same tips and tricks that worked like a charm back when search engines first started cataloging the web, you’re doing it wrong. Here’s a quick rundown of the new trends in search engine optimization—and what you should be doing differently.
Quality Over Quantity
Back in the day, websites would try to generate as many incoming links as possible to increase their SEO clout. In fact, some businesses even paid cold hard cash to get listed in link directories, or paid for backlinks coming from obscure sites.
Google soon caught on to the shenanigans, though, and even created a penalty box to stop these bad behaviors. That’s because the search engine behemoth’s goal is to provide the best results possible for its users—rather than being beholden to the businesses that are tricky enough to make it appear as though their site’s relevance and value is greater than it actually is.
Anyone who is paying money for links had better wise up. Quality over quantity is the name of the game, so if you want to work on link building for your business, try to get links from sites you’re proud to be associated with, and that are highly relevant to the topics you’re covering.
Link Building Vs. Social
As the value of willy-nilly link building continues to plummet, some online marketing firms are starting to use the terms ‘content marketing’ and ‘search engine optimization’ interchangeably. While it’s true that creating great content and sharing it on social media has incredible impact, maximizing reach requires creating separate and distinct strategies for both SEO and social.
For example, someone looking for health information is far more inclined to use search engines to research their specific condition, or that of a loved one. However, they are unlikely to share the results on social media. Conversely, funny videos, memes, and listicles—and even things like recipes—are likely to be shared on social if they are engaging. Readers are far less likely to search for them. A smart approach is to do research on specific key words for search, but to also allow easy sharing. Each specific piece may be shared in different ways. By analyzing that data, you’ll be able to make modifications for your unique audience over time.
Long live guest blogging!
Guest blogging used to be a slightly more legitimate way to build links, and one that was completely free. Since then, Google has really cracked down on the practice, and many sites have taken note and created no follow links, killing any SEO benefit of these posts.
This isn’t to say that guest blogging is ineffective for building your business, attracting leads, and getting your name out there organically. It’s just not all that effective for SEO juice. Being aware of that can help you determine how to best spend your time.
Security may become a factor
So far the changes have been minimal, but adding HTTPS and SSL to a website can give you a minor SEO boost. Although Google has stated that quality content is far more important than this feature, there is some indication that it may become a bigger factor in the future. These settings protect your user’s privacy and safety online, but you’ll need to make sure Google knows you have made this change so it doesn’t inadvertently harm, rather than help, these efforts.
Google is always tweaking its algorithms, and it’s worth paying attention to new developments as they take place. Above all else, creating compelling, quality content that speaks directly to the people you’re trying to reach is key. This also makes it easier to keep up with new changes by making slight modifications rather than having to start over from scratch.