Search engine optimization — that process by which you maximize how many visitors come across your web site by making sure your site ranks high on a search engine’s list of results — is as integral to your online presence as having a web site is. While the rules and regulations of SEO are continually shifting as search engines increase their efforts to provide their users with better and better experiences, reliable SEO practices are still in place and can be utilized if you understand what they are and how to implement them.
If you’re committed to better search engine optimization, follow these six enduring secrets of good, solid SEO and you’ll be sitting pretty no matter how many changes Google and its cohorts go through.
Know Your Keywords
Keywords are at the heart of every search engine optimization strategy, which means doing research on the searches your potential customers are most likely to conduct is essential to achieving consistently high rankings. Knowing your keywords and using them well will always result in better SEO. Get up close and personal with your Google Analytics reports in order to understand how people find your site so you can maximize what’s already working. Create a keyword development strategy that is useful, on-target and never spammy (Google refers to this as keyword stuffing). When choosing the keywords you’re going to use throughout your content, however, be sure to keep the following tips in mind:
- Be specific but not esoteric.
- Don’t optimize for single words; aim for phrases and word strings.
- Get help when you need it.
Aim for Great Content
Fresh, informed and well-written content will always yield better search results than tepid, off-the-mark and old content will. In order to truly optimize for search engine rankings so that you’re never penalized by Google, provide your readers and customers with copy that enriches their lives. If you’re a lousy writer, or you don’t have time to do the writing yourself, hire a professional who can ensure your copy is always compelling, detailed and rich.
Be Ever Social
How much you participate in social media can affect your search engine rankings. Retweets, Facebook Likes, posting photos on Instagram and more all get weighed when it comes to rankings. While these social signals aren’t the heaviest lifters when it comes to SEO, they’re still significant enough to warrant your attention. Post, tweet, document and interact regularly, and your rankings will get a boost.
Make Use of Multimedia
Content is king, but content doesn’t just refer to text anymore. Sites that make use of multiple media offerings experience higher rankings than copy-only sites do. To that end, make sure your website has a photo gallery or two and plenty of video, and be sure to provide cutlines for every photo and video, too. Remember, user experience is the most important factor in search engine algorithms, and the more ways a user has to interact and browse on your website, the higher a search engine is likely to rank it.
Optimize For People
Everyone has come across a website that was clearly written for spiders and bots instead of people. These sites are only trying to get the attention of search engines in order to draw in traffic made up of people who are mostly going to be annoyed that they clicked on the link that brought them there.
For the most part, search engines are figuring out how to dial back this annoying practice by penalizing sites that aim more for search engine attention than human attention. To that end, optimize all your content for real people. Not only will it keep you on the level with the search engines with whom you’re trying to rank, but it will also make for happier customers, followers and readers.
Update Your Content Consistently
Fresh content is always going to rank higher than stale content on any search engine, and regularly updated content will keep your customers and readers engaged more readily, too. By putting forth the time and energy to routinely update your content a few times a week, you’ll maximize your search engine optimization, and provide a natural reason for people to check back in with you on a regular basis.
Search engine optimization has been undergoing changes since its inception, and that trend is likely to continue as long as the Internet exists. While staying abreast of the changes is important to maintaining good rankings, those changes can also be tricky to follow. By following these six enduring secrets to better SEO, the changes that appear on the horizon won’t slow you or your organization down, no matter how complicated they are.