SEO is becoming ever more important to the success of a brand online, and as Google becomes more sophisticated than ever, now is the time to make it your priority. Grayling UK's Ellie Schofield provides some pointers.
Gone are the days you can shoehorn a handful of keywords into your website and expect Google to praise your content. Users expect a seamless search and Google (rightly so) is looking to deliver just that, which is where the hard work comes in…
We enter 2016 with Google’s Penguin update looming over us and those who have their SEO strategy in place needn’t be as nervous as those who don’t. When Google’s update hits, we expect to see many casualties coming from the likes of those buying links or obtaining them through link networks to boost their Google rankings. Now is your chance to remove them. However, have no fear, Penguin is not all bad news. It will give those that have dropped in rankings a chance to buck their ideas up and get back on track, as Penguin will be up-dating in real-time, therefore you don’t have to wait a lifetime to be given a second chance and be indexed. We think that’s fair enough, right!?
There are no quick wins with SEO, it’s a long game and you have to be committed to achieve success. Take a look at our 5 top tips to kick start your SEO this year:
1.Keywords aren’t IT
Google has changed tack and is leaving a lot of companies behind. Shoehorning handfuls of company keywords into your website is not going to tick the correct ranking boxes. Google believes users no longer search for singular keywords but more phrases and themes. With mobile searches overtaking desktop in 2014, Google is concentrating on the likes of ‘voice searches,’ where users can create more detailed queries. You need to begin writing content based on what your users are searching for, rather than for what you want to be searched for.
2.How long do you go?
You have your theme, but what do you want your piece of content to look like? Searchmetrics recently found that content from the top 30 ranking pages increased in length by 25% during 2015 compared with 2014. You should be aiming for your content to sit at around 1,200 – 1,500 words, however, text length and relevance must go hand in hand. If you don’t feel you have enough to write about, don’t - or change your topic to do so.
Getting your users to your website is now only one element of the SEO game. Ensuring they are satisfied with your content is the second. Google is not only identifying how many users are landing on your site, but also what they are doing once they have left your site. Did they head directly to a competitor? Did they re-search? This again highlights the importance of ensuring you provide excellent user experience and have the correct content strategy and themes in place to capture the attention of your audience.
4.Let the social blur begin
Companies treat social media differently from their websites, sometimes prioritizing one over the other. However, according to Forbes, Google already has deals in place to make both Facebook and Twitter more readily indexed, meaning you will begin spotting social posts in your Google searches. With this in mind, and Searchmetrics’ recent report showing there is a clear correlation between high social engagement and rankings, social media is a must!
Mobile traffic has increased by a phenomenal amount, a clear sign that un-friendly mobile sites are unacceptable. With this in mind, Google implemented their biggest mobile update to date in April 2015, penalizing websites that are not optimised for mobile. To give us a helping hand Google has set up the ‘Mobile-Friendly Test,’ so go ahead and find out if your site passes the test. If it doesn’t we suggest you act fast.
So there you have it, five pointers to give you a great starting point. If you’ve invested budget in your website, make sure you invest in ensuring your target audience find it.