You understand the importance of getting your website ranked highly on Google and other search engines, and therefore you know why SEO, or search engine optimization, is a necessary component of digital marketing (or possibly you take it on blind faith, but that’s another blog post).
Even if you don’t perform your own SEO efforts, it can be helpful to stay up to date on the latest SEO news, and to understand some of the factors that can help your SEO initiatives be truly successful.
Good UX (User Experience)
There was a time when it didn’t much matter what your website looked like or how well it actually functioned, at least not in the eyes of the search engines. Those days, however, are long gone.
Now, Google looks at the elements of user experience, like load times, bounce rate, and mobile device compatibility, as ranking signals. If your website isn’t well-designed from a UX standpoint, it’s time to revamp. Your site needs to appeal to both the search engines and the actual people who are navigating to it.
Google is increasingly employing machine learning to learn about users’ search queries. Awkward keywords like “pizza Tucson AZ” are falling out of favor, and keyword phrases such as “where can I find Sicilian style pizza” are taking over. The Hummingbird algorithm helps Google better understand long-tail and natural-language search queries, which further emphasizes the importance of mobile device optimization.
Quality Over Quantity
SEO professionals have long understood that quality content is important to both real readers and the search engines, but they have struggled to understand what content length is most effective. For a while, shorter, more concise pieces were valued, and then some content marketers began to experiment with long form blog posts (2,000 words or more). They seemed to garner better results…to a point.
Now, experts believe that content length is largely irrelevant, as long as what’s in that content is high quality information and not the same old recycled fluff studded with keywords.
SEO for Mobile Apps
Apps that were previously just extensions of desktop websites are quickly becoming the apples of Google’s eyes. Not only does Google crawl internal app pages, but it also has started to rank the entire apps higher in search engine results pages. Traditional websites are now competing with apps for those coveted page one ranking slots.
Structured data markup, aka schema markup, is a way of displaying helpful information in brief snippets that allow searchers to get answers directly on the SERP, without even clicking through to the website.
For example, let’s say you search “how long to boil an egg.” You may see the answer to your question directly on the results page, with a link underneath. By clicking on this link you’re taken to the site for more in-depth info. Google is prioritizing sites that implement schema markup, because it really likes these so-called “rich answers.”
Have you used any of these techniques in your SEO strategy? Share in the comments!