SEO is a constantly adapting beast. If you want a website or other online marketing communications to appear on the first page of Google’s search rankings, you need to keep on top of the rules. And the rules and onsite ranking factors don’t stay still for long.
At one point, endless keyword-stuffed copy was enough to propel you to the top of the list. Now, quality rules the roost. But what exactly does this mean for businesses, web designers and marketing professionals?
1) Social networking has changed the way we use content.
We share photos, links, video content and anything else that engages us on a daily basis. We want to be entertained and informed in short bites but get enough detail to encourage us to share with our friends. And Google recognises this new phenomenon by adding additional ranking factoring to sites with social media profiles.
This means that content must be tightly written and use media that grabs attention. If your content goes viral, it has the potential to convert people to loyal followers and paying customers.
2) Link building needs to be credible.
Backlinking that isn’t relevant to your website or content from low-quality sources could be considered spam by Google, thanks to its Panda updates that have been rolling out since the start of 2011. From now on, all marketers should view paid links with caution and consider (a) the credibility of the website to be linked and (b) the value and relevance of the link to their target audiences. Anyone using spam link building software should probably set fire to their computer or at least practice your ‘acting dumb face’ for when your boss asks you why your site has disappeared off the web.
High-quality blogging, guest posts and quality PR and article distribution are several ways of building better backlinks. Businesses and marketers also need to think harder about how they can encourage credible sites – charities, educational establishments and formal information ports are great examples – to link to their sites. Even in these cases, you should ensure that the anchor text used for the links is varied to keep Google happy.
3) Quality now demands multiple content management skills.
So what does Google want these days? To hit the first page of searches, your content must be unique and actually be useful to the reader. The title must be keyword friendly but also appealing and attention-grabbing. Oh, and you need to generate fresh content on a regular basis.
These factors explain the increased demand for good copywriting. People who are skilled in writing great copy will make the piece look interesting, read well and stick to the appropriate ratio of keyword use while maintaining the marketing slant that is required.
4) People are becoming more content savvy.
The above factors have certainly raised the game when it comes to meeting searchers online expectations. They are looking for short paragraphs, content that gets to the point and highly informative headings that gives them an idea of the copy’s subject before they spend their precious time reading the full page.
Online content needs to borrow from the principles of tabloid journalism to be noticed. High impact words need to be used at the top, great photos and graphics are essential accompaniments and the human element – ie, personal stories or case studies – will entice people to read more.
5) Technical architecture remains important.
The following are some on-page features to include:
- >Relevant and search-friendly URLs
- >Keyword rich H1, H2 and H3 tags
- >Keyword rich file name descriptions and accompanying captions for photos and images
- >A mobile-friendly format for smartphone and tablet addicts
- >Good internal links that take visitors to the pages they want
- >A sitemap.
- >Meta title and description
If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that SEO strategy and practice will continue to evolve as businesses and marketers respond to search engine demands. SEO may seem daunting, particular to smaller companies, but sticking to the above principles should at least provide a basic platform to get your content marketing heading in the right direction.
RAD SEO manages full SEO campaigns which include content marketing. Contact us to find out more.