Google is constantly evolving and providing more intuitive search algorithms. With the ongoing changes it can be hard to keep up! A few of us at Frederick Swanston had the pleasure of attending a search engine optimization (SEO) seminar, presented by A.J. Punjabi, digital sales manager at Cox Media Group, to review the new ways of SEO.
The days of hidden keywords and backlinks to boost your SEO (think white text on a white background) are gone. With Google’s deployment of Hummingbird, we are now forced to do what we should have been doing all along, focus on user engagement. Hummingbird sorts more intelligently to understand search requests. For instance, it looks at question words (e.g., how, why, where, when) and provides answers, not results.
There are seven pillars to consider when you’re trying to optimize your site for organic search:
Think of your SEO score like a credit score and minimize your risk factors. A great tool to help identify these risk factors is validator.w3.org.
2. Inbound Links
The number of inbound links to your site helps increase your SEO ranking. Make sure all of your directory listings are up to date. Check yext.com to view and easily fix all of your listings.
3. Social Media
Search engines now incorporate social values (e.g., likes, shares and retweets) to determine rankings. Fun fact: YouTube is now the second largest search engine in the world.
4. Outbound Links
Not all outbound links are good links. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to link to good, relative sites, but stop and think of why you would want to lead people off your site.
Get your visitors to stay longer. How long are visitors staying on the page? Create an engaging pathway to increase time spent on a page/site. A great example is the form from lendingtree.com.
The trust of a site is equivalent to a site’s overall reputation and presence. Trust is hard to earn, but easy to lose. Keep your security certificates up to date and continue to update with honest, relevant content.
According to Google, 57% of marketers acquire new customers via their content. Create an editorial calendar and regularly provide relevant content in your own voice.
At its core, SEO is simple. We need to stop asking ourselves what Google wants, and start asking what makes a site interesting, compelling and fun.