Changing Trends in SEO
Were you ever led to believe that a celebrity was dead when really they weren’t? Premature obituaries are nothing new, but they certainly shake things up a bit. Remember when 2008 news reports circulated that Miley Cyrus had died in a terrible car accident? Or how about when Macaulay Culkin had supposedly been found dead in his apartment last year? Thankfully, both Cyrus and Culkin are safe and sound.
It’s true that you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet, including obituaries. So when it comes to news articles and friendly advice columns talking about SEO and its peaceful death, you’ll just have to trust us on this one. SEO is not dead. It has changed. But it is far from dead.
What Started the Rumors?
Where have the rumors come from in the first place? For the most part, they are greatly exaggerated claims because SEO has changed dramatically from when we were first introduced. For those who don’t want to roll with the punches, they claim that SEO’s reign is over. The trouble is that making such a bold statement confuses people into thinking that SEO is no longer important or worth investing in. But it is.
SEO may no longer be the end-all answer to your traffic woes, but it is still crucial that you optimize your website for the search engines. The single most effective way to optimize your site is by contributing quality, relevant content. The content should read naturally, not be stuffed with keywords and not duplicated from other sites (or your own). SEO is not just about great content, though. Other factors include good site architecture, strong links, a well-ordered sitemap and more.
The next time you come across an article declaring that the war on SEO is over, move on. SEO has changed dramatically, but it remains a critical part of your site’s success.
Let’s take a look at some of the top trends in SEO and how they can be applied to your website.
Target Low Keywords
In the past, SEO involved stuffing content with as many keywords as could fit. Then it transitioned to including popular keywords, but a little less in quantity. Today, the trend is to optimize your content with some popular keywords and some low keywords. Low keywords are those that receive much less search traffic.
You may think that low keywords won’t bring you much traffic, but they’re actually quite successful in capturing a niche-specific audience. Plus, there’s far less competition for them. For keyword research, use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or Wordtracker.
Hire a Dedicated Writer
Gone are the days when you could hire out a pool of cheap writers to cover your content. To excel in quality content, you should have a dedicated writer or two to handle the bulk of your articles. Why? One writer will ensure that your brand’s voice is kept consistent and that all content is of similar quality. Plus, a good writer will shape and guide content, not just write words.
Write Longer Articles
To maximize SEO content, write articles that are around 1,000+ words in length. Some shorter articles are fine, too, but the longer, in-depth ones are ranked higher by Google. Make sure that all longer content is broken down into short paragraphs and bullet points. Insert images, quotes, charts, short videos, etc. to make the content more lively and break up text. Don’t forget to optimize headlines and titles with good keywords.
Seek Inbound Links
Creating great content is only part of the SEO equation. The content must be found and shared in order for it to be considered valuable. The best way to get your content shared is by building a team of influencers and then encouraging them to share your best content. The more the content is shared, the more visibility it will have and the better you will rank for authority. This process takes time, but it’s something to strive for. For inspiration, check out these content writing ideas from the Content Marketing Institute.
Other ways you can build links is by:
Promoting your content through social media, advertising, emails, etc.
Writing for online publications
Registering with industry online directories
Reaching out to influencers
Asking related blogs and articles to link to your content
Reviewing competitors to see the link sources they’ve found
Be Visible on Social Media
SEO is an integrative approach, and social media plays a role in it. Don’t forget to give some attention to the visual appearance of your brand. Your followers’ news feeds are stuffed with content, so you need to find creative ways to get their attention. It’s been proven that images result in more likes, comments and retweets. Just be sure that you’re consistent with the images you post as far as colors, fonts, icons and logos that are used.
Identify Your Influencers
Your brand influencers play a big part in reading and sharing your content. You need to find ways to tap into this audience so that you can discover who they are, what interests they have, what pain points they share and more. When you have identified who your influencers are, you can build content directly around them. This will help you shape relevant, valuable content that is destined to be shared. How-to posts, listicles and infographics are some of the most widely shared forms of content.
Measure Your Efforts
In order to improve SEO, you need to have some benchmarks. In the past, all websites had to do to measure SEO was determine where they were ranking with the search engines. These days, tracking and measuring SEO involves more. Start by setting up your brand on Google Analytics and tracking various metrics. Collect emails in exchange for content. Tie your efforts into marketing automation software. Use call tracking software that tracks organic searches.
Don’t believe the hype. SEO is NOT dead. It has changed and will continue to change, so it’s important to be open to this evolvement. The more you roll with the trends and keep on top of the best practices, the better off you’ll be in your SEO efforts. The main thing to remember is that SEO is not a single practice but an integrative approach that involves good content, solid link building and a valuable presence on social media.