SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) started in the days before mobile phones and social media. The way that we use the Internet has changed and SEO has too. The industry began in the early 1990’s as companies made the connection between highly visible websites and better business. When SEO began, techniques were relatively simple, such as mapping 2 to 5 key words per URL and optimizing page elements such as title, headings and contents for these words. Nearly thirty years on from its birth, SEO has evolved into an ever-changing, complex set of techniques and successful businesses need to keep learning and responding to these changes to stay on top.
Now, every year, Google moves the goalposts by making changes to their algorithms. Why do they have to make it so difficult for website owners? Google does not care about your business, they care about the person who is using their search engine and their user. In short, they want the searcher to find what they are looking for as quickly as possible. Instead of grumbling, take a leaf out of their book – you should be prioritising the user too when it comes to your Digital Marketing. Just like search engines do, you need to ensure that your website visitor has a great experience by making website relevant and easy to use. That way, your visitor will love you, and Google will too! So, how do you do that?
With more people using mobile phones than desktops to search, businesses need to make sure that their website is mobile-friendly. This means having a mobile strategy: make sure the page loads fast; let people get to the page quickly (don’t add banners that they have to close) and; ensure that there is no unsupported content such as videos that do not load.
The aim of the game with SEO is user satisfaction. It is about quality, not quantity. One of the best ways to keep your visitor engaged and happy is by providing them with exciting, relevant, regular content. Aside from focusing on high-quality writing, there are a few increasingly popular ways of doing this including blogging, infographics and videos. Not only are these shareable, but they are usually topical, both of which Google like.
Last year, Google introduced Hummingbird, a big game changer in the world of keywords. This new algorithm means that keywords no longer have to be an exact match in order for your website to come up in a user’s search. In recent years, those implementing SEO techniques followed the movement of using long-tail keywords in order to meet the users needs. Now, the algorithm has become smarter, and the trend is focusing on shorter key words. While we are all bridging the gap, most SEO experts recommend using both short keywords and long-tail keywords.
Being ranked in the top ten by Google is not necessarily the prize anymore. Now Google are tracking whether people who are visiting your page end up becoming customers. Remember, it is all about the user. They are not just looking at your popularity, but whether you are getting a Return on Investment. There are lots of tools available to measure this.
Search engines are also monitoring how many people are talking about your brand. Previously, SEO experts sought expressed links, meaning links that brought readers directly to your website. Then, the more links that you could get out there, the better. Now, SEO is focused on quality, rather than quantity and links need to be relevant to the user.
Furthermore, Google are encouraging more informal links, gossip if you will, called ‘Implied Links’. This is where social media has developed a huge role to play in SEO. Even if your website is great, you also need to encourage users to talk about your brand on social media.
SEO is more sophisticated and refined than ever. Its fast paced evolution can be difficult to keep up with, but to keep your business booming, you need to commit to learning and planning so that you can stay at the top of those rankings.