Search engines are more sophisticated than they were a handful of years ago. They are getting smarter at understanding a user’s intent and the information that will be helpful to their search. If you are only focused on keywords, it’s time to broaden your thinking. Keywords are part of a larger SEO strategy that includes optimized content, website security, usability, content length and more.

As a tech savvy person trying to keep up with the latest SEO trends, here are the SEO basics that you should be familiar with.

Most and Least Important Ranking Factors

Google does not share the details of their algorithms. The only ways to know which ranking factors impact the algorithms are by taking Google’s word for it and learning from third party research. For instance, Moz Inc. found that the SEO ranking factors with the biggest influences are:

  • Mobile friendliness

  • Page’s perceived value

  • Usage data

  • Readability and design

The factors predicted to decrease in impact are:

  • Paid links

  • Anchor text

Mobile Search Optimization

Searching for products, services and information on mobile devices is becoming the norm. Consider that 15% of all internet traffic comes from mobile. This number is expected to increase, as mobile commerce is growing 300% faster than ecommerce.

Optimizing your site for mobile search is vital. Consumers expect your site to be fast, efficient and enjoyable to use across devices. Google also rewards websites that are optimized for mobile. If you don’t take the time to optimize your site for mobile search, you are likely to disappoint visitors, raise your bounce rates and be penalized by Google.

User Intent

Search engines are more effective at understanding the intent behind a search. To accommodate this improvement, content should be written in a natural language. Make use of long-tail keywords. They are easier to rank for and can drive in a highly targeted audience.

When doing research for topics, think beyond keywords. While you may want to rank for certain keywords, it’s more important to build a longer term content strategy that centers on the words and phrases driving traffic to your site.

Longer Content

According to research gathered by HubSpot, long-form content generates more organic traffic than shorter content. The ideal length for articles is 2,000+ words. Long posts take time and research to write, but there are ways to extend the length. Illustrate points with examples or stories, explain why readers should care about the topic and address all questions your audience might have on the subject.

Voice Search

More users are relying on voice search to find the information they need. The appeal is that it’s fast, easy and hands-free. To make your content searchable through voice, design and produce content with words and phrases that people might say. Include long-tail keywords in this natural, conversationalist tone.

SEO is constantly evolving. Using the same strategies from year to year may not create the impact you are looking for. By keeping up with the latest trends, you can put together effective SEO campaigns that will embrace success.