Posted by Murray Sye
on Thu, Apr 2, 2015 @ 09:52 AM
Gone are the days of desperately stuffing your web content with keywords in the hopes of ranking at the top of a Google search.
SEO (search engine optimization) is of course still relevant today, but is continually evolving. SEO algorithms are in constant flux. Google – the most recognized and most used search engine in the world – has instituted several changes, such as Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, which have left marketers scrambling to implement new strategies.
Marketers need to keep up with the times and be adaptable if they want to find success within the ever-changing landscape of SEO.
Old vs. new
In the old days of SEO, marketers created content for search engines. These efforts, which often employed a clunky writing style jam-packed with keywords, were not necessarily geared toward people. Often, the main focus was to get people to visit a site just so it could rise to the top of the search pages. Once a visitor reached the site it may very well have been filled with garbage.
Nowadays SEO must create content that provides a real value to the audience. Google favors sites with compelling original content. It's no longer enough to simply lure people to your website for a single visit. You want them to linger, actually read your content and even interact with it. You want to build relationships.
The belief is that if you produce compelling, interesting content an audience is sure to follow – which can hopefully be parlayed into future customers.
In the new SEO, keyword density is not overly important, but keywords still have a role. Instead of packing your content with them you should take a more nuanced approach.
Title tags still need to be optimized. To rank higher in Google searches it helps if your meta title, meta description and URL all contain the same keyword phrase.
And a focus on long-tail searches can also bring impressive results. A whopping 70% of search traffic comes from long-tail keywords according to Quick Sprout.
In addition to stellar content, a positive user experience is essential to creating optimal SEO results. Page load times are crucial to new SEO. No one's going to wait around for your website to load – no matter how pretty or well-written your content.
And don't forget to be mobile-search friendly. Considering that 80% of internet users own a smart phone, according to GlobalWebIndex, a responsive design is vital to new SEO.
SEO can be a complicated business, but fortunately there are plenty of tools at every price point – to make your job easier. Here are some of the best SEO tools out there:
- Google Keyword Planner
This free service from Google shows how people search. It can help you find keyword search volume and hone your keywords so they're more specific and show up higher on the Google results page.
Moz has numerous free SEO tools, including ones that identify content and link-building opportunities, track day-to-day changes and fluctuations in Google rankings, and give some social media analysis. If you want more bells and whistles you can upgrade to a pro plan ($99-%599/month).
- Raven Internet Marketing Tools
Raven Tools offers a 30-day free trial for link-building tools and SEO metrics. Pro Accounts start at $99/month.
- Google and Bing Webmater Tools
Why not check with the source? You can use these tools to check for problems that reduce search engine results and lower your rankings.
- Google PageSpeed Insights Tool
Use this tool to fix issues related to usability. Simply plug in your website address seconds later out pops suggestions and fixes.
Don't forget social media integration
These days, social media is as important as SEO for many companies. Of course they're not exclusive to one another. Social media is a key component of SEO even though it's still not technically a ranking factor in Google.
Social media is a great way to share your content and do some quality link-building.
Not all social media platforms are created equal when it comes to SEO. Not surprisingly, Google Plus is a special case, as its content can appear in Google search engine results.
SEO will likely go through further permutations, so as a marketer it's important to be informed of the latest changes.
In today's SEO, one thing's for certain. You should focus on providing useful, entertaining content that people actually want. If you do consistently, you will likely gain loyal site visitors.
Written by Murray SyeMurray is the CEO and Creative Director with the award-winning
Toronto HubSpot agency partner, WhiteSpace. You can
connect with Murray on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.