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Ditch These SEO Ideas

Best practices for SEO have changed over time. So, it is not surprising that some concepts that used to be important are not so critical now.

Here are several ideas that you can let go:

  • You need a lot of pages. The quality of your content is more important than the number of pages that comprise your website. Search algorithms no longer assume that page volume is an indicator of a site’s authority on a topic. Quality of content is far more important than page count.
  • User experience is secondary to SEO tactics. No SEO tricks are more important than a great user experience. Pay attention to your analytics for indicators of user happiness at the site. Factors like page load time, bounce rate, time on page, and page views per visit indicate a good user experience AND help your search ranking.
  • Images aren’t important. Images are important to the user experience and to SEO. Search engines can’t see images on websites so it is important to give each an alt tag that lets the search crawler detect what it is about. Descriptive titles and captions are an added bonus. Further, using keywords in the image file name can help with your site rank.
  • Q&A doesn’t help. Question and answer and numbered steps have risen in importance with the Google snippet feature. A featured snippet is shown on some search result pages when a question-based query is used. Since these types of queries are becoming more common, this is a great opportunity to get attention.
  • Domain age matters. Hanging on to a longstanding domain so you don’t lose search engaging ranking. Don’t worry.  Factors like quality content and links to your content are more important to page rank than the age of the domain.

All of the nuances become less important if you keep this rule of thumb in mind: provide a website that is easy to use and addresses the needs of your target audience and your website will rank well for applicable searches.

Voice Search Rises

Voice-enabled search, enabled by virtual assistants and other voice-powered technology, is growing. Content marketers need to shape their content to remain relevant to the changes this brings.

Google Home, Siri by Apple, Cortana by Microsoft, or Amazon’s Alexa all enable voice searches. In mid-2016, voice search represented 20 percent of queries on Google’s mobile app and given the popularity of voice-powered tech that number will only increase.

SEO for Voice Search

There isn’t just one approach to SEO for voice. Google Home uses Google data, Siri uses Bing data and Alexa uses Bing and Amazon data.

Keyword research is important. Know the questions people are asking/searching to find the information you have to offer and incorporate them into your keyword strategy.

Strategize for the Featured Snippet

When you type a question into Google, the first result is often a featured snippet, a short summary of the answer pulled from a third-party site. For Google-enabled voice search, the single answer provided is the featured snippet. So, being represented there is a win for both types of searches.

Target any keywords that already result in a featured snippet in your space and that you already rank for on the first page.  Make sure you present the relevant content in a list (<ul><li>) format with a H@ title.

FAQ Pages Matter

FAQ pages provide great content for voice searches because they pose and answer specific questions. A strong FAQ page that speaks to the questions you know people are asking can help your voice SEO.

5 Tips for Improved Search Engine Optimization

Everyone with a website has the same goal – to be found by people looking for them either specifically or in more general queries about products, services and needs. Here are five ways to improve the changes your website will be found by your target audience.

First, it is important to note that some aspects of search have fundamentally changed.

The First Search Results Page Has Changed

The traditional goal was to be in the top 10 results for specific keywords or search terms. That doesn’t work anymore.

Search engines now give real estate to more than results. There are maps, quick lists of advice, ads, and more. Even if you are in the top ten, your listing may not be on the first page.

Add to this, the impact of personalization.

Impacts of Search Personalization

Google and other search engines now personalize search results based on the location, device and search history of the person doing the search. This means that the same search performed by different people may yield different search results. Bottom line is that search rankings will differ so there is no such thing as earning a consistent search rank.

In this changing landscape, there are things you can do to support your SEO.

Tip 1: Use Google Analytics to Support SEO

In addition to visible page elements, there are background settings that impact SEO.  Log in to Google Search Console regularly to check for errors and incomplete settings. Clearing these ensures that the Google search crawler will get the best results for your site.

Tip 2: Keep Up with the Way People Search

SEO is about more than catering to the whims of Google. You need to keep up with how your target customer searches. Gone are the days of searching using logic to include or exclude words and phrases. Most searches today are informational queries formed as a question.

Search practices have shifted away from exact keyword optimization. “Long-tail” variations formed as phrases and questions are regularly searched. These commonly change by location.

Your content needs to match this way of thinking about information. Address the questions that your target audience has in mind and address the phrases they commonly use. You will improve your search results.

Tip 3: Pay Attention to Your Content

Search engines want to be the conduit to the best content. Offer the best content and you will do well. Easy!

Make sure you are providing quality content. Offer enough detail to be meaningful. Address questions and concerns. Keep it all updated.

Present the most important information first, at the top of the page. Make sure that your page speaks to the needs and interests of your target audience.

If you are a great source of information, trust me, you will rank well.

Tip 4: Practice Link Quality Control

Links to your website are still among the most important ranking factors. Focus on the quality of links rather than the quantity.

Not all links help your SEO. Be careful about who you allow to link to you. If the does not provide quality content that you are proud to be associated with, you don’t want to be linked. You can disavow links within the Google Search Console.

Tip 5: Make Your Home Page Helpful

Your home page does not need a lot of content for your site to rank well. Include enough content to state who you are, what you do, where you are location, and your core product or service. Couple that with a call to action that lets visitors know what to do next. The other pages of your site can do the heavy lifting of providing deep content to address all of the interests of your target audience.