Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been an integral part of running online websites for over two decades. There are a variety of strategies tested to increase organic traffic and improve the ranking of websites on search engine results pages (SERPs). Optimizing keywords, creating backlinks, embedding media content, and maximizing user interaction have been tried and tested techniques that may not produce the same results for years to come.
According to Webris SEO, Google is in the process of changing its search algorithm again, which would affect many ranking factors. What does this mean for marketers and website owners? You now need to reevaluate and transform your existing frameworks to keep up with the changing SEO landscape. It’s time to use smart, albeit less common, search strategies to stay on top of your prospects and customers.
As the rules of the online hidden object game keep changing, here’s how you should play it to win:
- Focus on the definition
Start with the simplest, yet most neglected, SEO rules: using definition keywords. Why do people google a certain word or phrase? Usually the point is to find out the definition. Google picks up results from pages that have a clear definition of that word or phrase, and those pages include the top SERPs. When posting content, it is important to include a section that gives a clear definition of the topic being discussed. For example, use “What is link building?” As a sub-header, define and work out what link building is. Simply adding or optimizing your content can increase the likelihood of your page being hit by search engines the next time someone enters a link building request. Enter “What is Transformation Marketing?” On. at google and here’s what’s coming:
A slow loading page is the bane of every online user. No matter how great and well optimized your content is, if your website visitor gets bored and leaves because the page is taking too long to load, you will lose your chance of turning it into profit. Responsive web design should be of the utmost importance, especially if your target market includes the younger generation. The ideal loading speed should not exceed three seconds, even for mobile surfing. To do this, remove unnecessary third-party widgets, plug-ins, and scripts that could slow down your site. Unless you have age-restricted or data-sensitive content, your page should be free of interstitials or popups. High resolution images can also affect loading times. Hence, you should compress them or use next generation formats like JPEG 2000 or JPEG XR. This will prevent your website from getting stuck while maintaining most of the image quality.
- Optimize visual content
Images, videos, and infographics are great drivers of traffic, but only if you make them visible to search engines. Keywords are used in the search. Hence, you should optimize your visual content with text. Remember, search engines can’t read images, only words. One way is to add alt tags that describe the content or give it context. Even if an image doesn’t load properly on your site, the alt tag will appear in its place to provide information. Some examples of what you can use as an alt tag are the name, link, spec, or source of the content. It’s also helpful to put a caption under each visual element. The longer and more detailed the description, the better. The caption should always be anchored in relevant keywords to make it more user-friendly for search engines.
- Make URLs dynamic
A unified result locator (URL) provides the source for the location of your content. Users like URLs that are easy to understand and retrieve, as do search engines. Some websites use URLs that only contain the item number but don’t help anyone. Instead, use keywords to give users and search engines better visibility and understanding of your content. URLs should be kept as short as possible. It is not necessary to include stop words such as prepositions, conjunctions, articles, and pronouns. Search engines usually skip these words and only focus on keywords. If using long URLs doesn’t help, use hyphens instead of underscores because search engines cannot read them.
- Leave a trail of breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are text paths that indicate where a user is on your website. It’s usually located at the top of the page or under the navigation bar. For example, if a user is on the Contact page, the path will be Start> Info> Contact. As the name suggests, breadcrumbs allow users to track their way back to the homepage. This is especially helpful if you have a multi-faceted website that makes SEO difficult to implement. A little over a year ago, Google started processing breadcrumbs and adding them to SERPs. These text paths not only make it much easier for users to navigate, they also help search engines categorize content more efficiently. You should always keep your breadcrumb markup valid so that search engines can get the correct results from your website.
- Get rid of duplicates
The cybersphere is so large that sometimes it is inevitable to have duplicate content – even Google recognizes this. This is mostly unintentional due to the astonishing number of websites and blogs compared to the limited amount of content that can be published. However, there is one trend that is becoming increasingly popular these days and it is called content syndication. Many websites attempt to syndicate their content by allowing other websites – often large and authoritative – to republish or refer to it. Some websites are also republished on their social media channels for maximum reach. Duplicates can also appear on your website itself. For example, if your website has a “Featured” section that shows previews or snippets of full articles, search bots can mark them as duplicate content. Search engines are smart enough to understand the intent behind this, but there is still a risk that search bots will frequently skip over content. In this case, your content is less likely to get to SERPs.
SEO is always changing
There are no long term SEO strategies as the game is always evolving. Search trends and rules come and go quickly. However, this does not mean that the game cannot be won. It all boils down to adaptability and a renewed focus on key elements. Remember, you only have six seconds to give people a reason to worry, a reason to commit, and a reason to buy. But if they can’t find you, or you’re buried on “Page 2”, you won’t even get your six seconds.