Are you confused about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? If so, you’re not alone. Some believe SEO is history and no longer important. Others say it’s more important than ever. But what’s the reality? Is it obsolete or is it essential to successful marketing programs? We’ll break it down for you in this post.
First of all, SEO is not obsolete. It’s more important than ever. However, outdated SEO methods are obsolete and need to be replace with new SEO tactics.
The ongoing updates and changes to Google’s search algorithms are the very source of confusion for many of us. But the changes aren’t arbitrary. They are created both to improve search and to close loopholes that spammers are exploiting. It’s our job to keep up.
SEO spammers work diligently to abuse SEO to their own advantage. They break all of the rules. As a result, they ruin SEO tactics for the rest of us. For example, if your long-term care residence has an excellent reputation and receives frequent referrals, a “black hat marketer” might attempt to mimic your brand with similar words or phrases—all in an attempt to draw consumers to their sites instead of yours. Perhaps an app marketer might bid for paid GoogleAds with the name of your app just to scoop up your customers behind your back.
Fortunately, Google is smarter than the black-hat fraudsters and is constantly evolving its methods to thwart them. But it’s important to keep an eye on your social media and report any black hat activity directly to Google.
Here are three examples of SEO tactics that have evolved from old-school to new-school methods.
1. Aim for High-Quality Link Building
In the old days, companies could guest post on other websites all over the internet, dropping their site link along the way like breadcrumbs. The more links they had, the higher they would rise on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Back then, there was no regard for the quality of the sites to which companies would hitch their wagons. More was always better, and that was the point. That was then. Now, you can still benefit from link building. But you need to link to legitimate, high-quality websites.
Here are a few tips to stay on the right side of Google:
- Aim for quality over quantity. Today, one great link is better than 100 low-quality links.
- Link to relevant websites. For example, do they rank for keywords that are important to your company?
- Link to authority sites. The more authority a website has, the more link juice it can pass on to other sites.
- Create reciprocal links. These are links that are both from your website to a quality site, and from the quality site to your site.
2. Create Useful, Quality Content
Gone are the days of generating tons of low-quality, “content-farm” copy — a common practice in the past. Today, content has to be excellent, add value, and engage visitors.
Google has made it abundantly clear that providing quality content that answers users’ questions is the way to get rankings and engaged traffic. In fact, Google saves the first SERP page for companies that provide their visitors with quality experiences.
As a result, the content of a site is crucial when it comes to ranking now. Here are a few tips:
- Create Newsworthy Content. Google has developed algorithms that rank companies with the best content higher. Content that inspires real engagement gets a significant boost on search engine results, as well.
- Make Your Content Credible. Use original links, research, reviews, citations, and testimonials to build authority.
- Compose Useful Content. B2B and B2C customers go online to learn things about your strengths, your solutions or your quality rankings. So give them information they can use. Build content that’s instructional and helps solve problems.
Keyword “stuffing” used to be de rigeur for ranking. Now it will just get you demoted on Google. You can thank black-hat users who abused the search tactic. This doesn’t mean keywords aren’t important. They are. But it’s how you use them that matters. Stuffing has been replaced with proximity, density, frequency, and prominence.
- Keyword Proximity. Place your keywords in prominent areas of your web pages. Also, keep them a reasonable distance apart.
- Keyword Density. Manage the proportion of keywords to the total number of words on a webpage. A basic rule of thumb is anywhere from 2% to 8%. Hint: place them where they sound natural and make sense
- Keyword Frequency. Monitor the frequency with which specific keywords appear in your text.
- Keyword Prominence. Keyword prominence refers to how close to the beginning of the web page, sentence, title, H tag, and meta description your keywords are placed. They should be placed as high as possible.
In a nutshell, SEO is not dying, but it is just getting smarter. And so should all of us. It’s important to dedicate the time, effort and resources required to optimize your SEO strategy.