SEO is an ever-evolving field. Just when you think you’ve got the rules down, along comes a whole new set in response to the latest Google algorithms or mobile search trends or web design principles. Trying to keep up with all these changes can frustrate any online marketer.
But the good news is the fundamentals of SEO are fairly constant — so if you’ve been following SEO best practices, you’re already ahead of the game. To update your strategy for the latest SEO rules, there are three areas you should focus on:
Here’s how you can integrate these three important segments into a modern SEO strategy that will help you gain a high ranking in organic search and a tangible return on your investment.
Content: Keeping Today’s Search Engines Happy
Search engines are focusing more than ever on semantic search — conversational or natural search results that match the way people talk. Google’s massive Hummingbird algorithm update factors semantic search heavily into the way it ranks pages, so the best way to improve your ranking is to publish semantic content.
As always, search engines are looking for content that is recent, relevant and authoritative. To meet these qualities and appeal to semantic algorithms, make sure both your foundational website content and fresh content, such as blog posts or articles on your website, are geared toward relevant, search-friendly terms that appear naturally in your text.
In addition to customer-facing content, don’t forget to optimize your metadata with page-relevant, semantic keywords. You can also place semantic markup code on your website back end with business-specific keywords to further reinforce relevance and your site’s findability.
Social: Driving Traffic from Social Media and Boosting Your Social Signal
Social authority is one of the important ingredients in the Hummingbird algorithm. The more people are talking about your business, the higher you’ll rank. It’s a logical sequence, and it’s also vital for any company to understand that if you want your online marketing to succeed, including social channels is no longer just an option — it’s a requirement.
A strong and active presence on one or more social networks serves to amplify your site’s SEO, along with your reach and visibility online. Social signals influence the organic results of search engines, through both the volume of mentions and the relevance of social content.
One of the easiest ways to boost SEO through social media is to make sure your business profiles are completely filled out on all of your social accounts, and that they include organic and semantic keywords. Any content you place on social media should be similarly optimized — and everything should link back to your primary business website. In addition, your website should feature social sharing buttons on all of your content, pages and blog posts, to make it easy for visitors to boost SEO by spreading your links.
Analytics: Driving Return on Investment
As every marketer knows, an effective campaign is practically useless when you don’t know why it was effective. Detailed analytics are a must for any SEO strategy today — you need to know where your visitors come from, what they do on your site, and how you can best follow up to convert them into customers.
Analyzing visitor behavior against your SEO efforts is a great way to see what’s working and what isn’t. There are plenty of automated tools and integrated features available to help you implement analytics on your website. Google Analytics is, of course, the most popular, and the major web hosting platforms have built-in analytics that are often powered by Google.
There are also tools and resources you can use to analyze the social aspect of your SEO strategy. Social Mention gives you real-time search and analytics for your chosen keywords across the major social platforms, and it’s free to use. Another popular free social program, HootSuite, provides analytics integrated with a multi-network social media management dashboard for powerful automation.
Following these modern SEO best practices will help you improve your search engine rankings, bring in more visitors and get more sales — and that’s what SEO is all about.