There are rumours and misconceptions all over the internet that SEO is dead. This could not be less true. SEO remains just as relevant today as it has always been. The only difference is that it is constantly evolving to keep up with the ever-changing demands of modern internet users.
Every serious business knows the importance of ranking highly for organic search, and they always keep up with the latest trends in search engine optimisation to enjoy better visibility.
In this article, we will explore 4 essential SEO techniques you need to pay attention to if you want to gain an edge over the competition.
User Experience and Visibility
User experience is possibly one of the most important aspects of your SEO efforts and you need to ensure that it is on point. There are many factors that contribute to a great user experience, such as fast-page loading speed, clear and understandable navigation, ease of use, and so on. If visitors who come to your website do not enjoy their time there, there is a small chance that they will not return. Actually, poor user experience is one of the main causes of page abandonment. Therefore, if your analytics shows visitors spending very little time on your website, then they are either not getting what they came for, or they are not impressed with what they see.
Your website should be able to not only attract the highest amount of visitors, but keep them for the amount of time it takes to make a purchase decision from your business, or become a subscriber, or whatever your target is for them to do. But these visitors aren’t going to hang around if they are not getting what they want in the best possible time, and with minimal hassle. Google has stressed the importance of user experience as a major factor in determining page ranking.
The following statement from Brendan Wilde, a marketing expert at Domain4less, sums it up perfectly:
“If you are serious about improving your website’s visibility, attracting more visitors and beating the competition, then everything, from your web hosting arrangement, to your website design and post visit follow-up should be channeled towards giving your visitors the best experience. Keeping in mind that your domain name also plays a role. For instance, a name like https://www.domains4less.co.nz tells those using the site that they will get a domain, at a price lesser than what they have seen elsewhere – and it’s also a name they can easily remember and notice when they come across it”.
Linking still remains just as relevant to SEO as it has always been. Whether you like it or not, your website needs links from authoritative websites to increase its credibility. This makes linking one of the more important factors for page ranking. Google’s aim is to provide the most relevant results to search engine users, but they also want to be sure that the ranked websites they are sending users to are credible. It also helps that users are impressed when they find links to your content on highly authoritative websites. Just picture a website like Forbes or the New York Times linking to a page or product on your website; that is a huge endorsement that no amount of money can pay for. In essence, work out a system that helps you build healthy, quality links to content on your website.
Your link outreach strategy should, however, not include black-hat techniques as search engines are getting smarter about uncovering websites using these link-building methods, and are quick to penalise them. When building links, ensure that the backlink is not only from a quality source, but that it’s relevant to the content. It is not a good idea to build links from a fashion blog when your website talks about medical technology.
Voice search is another aspect of SEO you need to pay attention to. In the last few years, the number of internet users consuming content on their smartphones has increased, and it is safe to say that the number will increase further. As a matter of fact, it is projected that by the year 2021, it will be 7 times its current number. What does this mean for businesses? It means that that traditional method of making a search query by typing on a keypad will become less and less common. Today’s internet users are always on the move. It therefore makes more sense that saying a search query, rather than typing it, would be a lot easier. So, it should come as no surprise that voice search will very soon account for a higher percentage of the number of search queries carried out every day. It has, in fact, already started as, according to Google, one out of every five searches is voice related.
To make this work, businesses will need to integrate long-tail keywords in their on-page SEO. Long-tail keywords have the potential to accommodate voice searches due to their conversational approach. For example, a regular SEO keyword will contain something like “bowling club huddersfield”, but to effectively optimise this for voice search, a conversational long-tail approach such as “the best bowling club in Lindley in Huddersfield” will work better. This has the added advantage of working for both traditional search and voice search.
Featured snippets have been around for a while, but have only recently been attracting attention as an effective SEO tool.
Depending on the type of search done, you may see a small summary at the top of the search engine result page that explains or answers the question typed into Google. This is called the No. 0 position in SEO. If you understand how important the first page of Google SERP is, you will understand how very important the No. 0 position is. Studies have shown that very few people go beyond the first 5 results on the first page; therefore having your content in this high of a position is like winning the SEO jackpot.
Before your content can appear at the No. 0 spot on Google SERP, your content has to specifically answer questions that people are searching for. Google identifies pages that answer an exact “how to” query, such as, how to operate a stick shift? How to buy car insurance in New Zealand? And so on. It then displays a summary of the answer as a featured snippet on the results page. Infographics, lists, and tables are some of the ideal ways you can provide answers that could make it as featured snippets.
As demonstrated earlier in the article, the SEO game is changing. The Google search algorithm is constantly being updated and it takes keeping up with the times to remain relevant online. Take a look at the above techniques and consider implementing them, and while your page rank will not rise overnight, it is sure to happen with time.