8 SEO fundamentals for marketers and developers
Over the past 18 months or so, Google has made big changes to its algorithms.
So what does all this change mean for online marketers who use SEO techniques?
SEO experts agree that creating high-quality content, still is the best SEO practice. "What was important to do years ago is still important," notes Cyrus Shepard, senior content producer for Moz and formerly the company's lead SEO practitioner.
In our opinion there are some considaration you have to make about SEO today:
3 Pillars of SEO: Content, Links, Social Media
Your business should be focusing its SEO on three "pillars" of sorts: Content, links (particularly earned inbound links) and social media "likes," retweets, +1s and other endorsements of your content, DeMers says (founder and CEO of AudienceBloom.)
"Search engines are placing a much heavier emphasis on the combination and unification of all of these elements," DeMers adds. "The presence of any single element plays a negligible role in the ranking algorithm. However, when all the elements are combined, there's an amplification effect in the rankings."
As a result of the need to unify all these aspects of online marketing, DeMers believes that SEO professionals are morphing into "online marketing professionals," adding, "SEO as a vertical has disappeared and is now simply 'online marketing.'
Here are 8 fundamentals we need to be aware of if our business is looking at a healthy web presence.
1. Content Is King—But Good Content Rules
"Online marketers should be focusing on quality content publication, both on and off their websites," DeMers says. "Content can be text-based, visual-based, or audio-based, or even a combination of two or three. The bottom line is that search engines want to deliver high-quality, valuable content to users. If you want your content served up in search results, it better have those attributes."
2. Links Should Be Earned, Not Bought
Google encourages organizations to earn links though endorsements instead of paying for them.
In the past, some marketers have embedded keyword-rich anchor text in hopes of boosting their chances of being found in Google.
Now, Google has taken a tough stance against this practice, treating anchor text links in press releases as unnatural. "What this means is that Google is stopping unnatural link building from press release distribution," notes the blog of press release syndication company Business Wire.
The post continues: "John Mueller, one of Google's lead Webmaster Trends Analysts, talked in a recent video hangout about the way Google will look at press releases. Mueller said, 'When [press release issuers create a link to] themselves, we do not consider that natural. Promoting is perfectly fine, but it is not considered a natural link. We are looking for an external person to say, 'I am recommending this website or article.'"
3. To Improve Social Status, Use Google+
There is an high correlation between Google +1 "likes" for a Web page and that pages search engine rankings.
Sharing content on Google+ has definite SEO advantages.
Shepard says. "Google uses Google+ to discover new content, and Google tends to index anything shared on Google+ quickly." In addition, Shepard points out, Google+ posts are much easier for Google to index than some content on Facebook and Twitter, if for no other reason than Google owns the Google+ social network.
4. Make Sure Your Site Loads Quickly
Faster website response time can lead to a better user experience, which can lead to increased social sharing and lower bounce rates.
5. Fixing Technical Issues Is Important
Jill Whalen, SEO consultant at High Rankings, says that after Google's Panda and Penguin updates in the last year and a half, fixing technical issues has become "more important than ever." These issues, she says, run the gamut from bad content management system setups that create duplicate content to a site-wide navigation that's basically invisible to search engines. "Whatever your specific technical issues, now's the time to fix them. If they're not already hurting your site's SEO performance, they likely will be after a new Panda or Penguin update."
6. Focus Less on Keyword Optimization
When you optimize a site or content for specific keywords you want to rank for, Whalen says, it's easy to focus "too much on those specific words and end up putting them in too many places on your pages and within the website as a whole." But this isn't as helpful to search engines as it used to be. "In most cases, this will actually lower your rankings and traffic for those specific keyword phrases".
So she recommends using a variety of words in your content instead and keeping in mind her new SEO mantra: When it comes to keyword optimization, less is more.
7. Use Structured Data Where Relevant
As Google's Webmaster Central Blog wrote : "If Google understands your website's content in a structured way, we can present that content more accurately and more attractively to Google users. For example, our algorithms can enhance your search results with "rich snippets when we understand that your page is a structured product listing, event, recipe, review or similar. We can also feature your data in Knowledge Graph panels or in Google Now cards, helping to spread the word about your content."
Schema.org is a good place to get started with, and learn how to use, structured data.
8. Future of SEO Means Change Is 'New Normal'
Many SEO experts see Google's changes as the "new normal."
DeMers says online marketers should be paying attention to mobile SEO, social signals and "brand signals." DeMers also recommends using responsive website design and techniques such as CSS 3 Media Queries.
Social signals are rising as a ranking factor, DeMers underlines. Brands that don't participate and engage in social media networks "will soon be at a distinct disadvantage in the search engine rankings."
Finally, "brand signals" unify DeMers' aforementioned three pillars of SEO: Content, links, and social media. "Good brands that deliver great user experiences typically have strong signals in all three areas, and search engines are looking for a strong presence in each of these areas," he says. "To show strong brand signals, it's important to develop an online marketing strategy that incorporates all three pillars."
original source: http://www.cio.com/
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