You know SEO, that most fabled of marketing techniques that can whisk you up search engine results without a care in the world – all you need to do is force feed your copy as many keywords as possible and link like crazy, right?
Wrong! Search engine optimisation has undergone a radical evolution. Thanks to Google’s Panda and Penguin updates and thousands of employees named search quality raters, websites that employ unethical SEO techniques like the sins mentioned above are being hunted down and punished. And don’t think that just because they’re human beings the process will take far too long for them to wheedle out your own site, because eventually their techniques will be passed on to even more sophisticated robots.
It isn’t just search engines that are responding to unethical and outdated SEO though, internet users themselves are too.
They’re now looking for content that speaks to them, that offers something of value in return for their visit and doesn’t take an age to decipher because it’s more keyword heavy than info savvy. They want ebooks, blog posts, whitepapers, on-site content and even videos that provide scannable, easily digestible tips and advice about not just your products and services, but why you’re so different to the millions of other businesses in your industry.
That doesn’t mean you should discount keywords altogether though. The careful and relevant implementation of just a few keywords in your main body of text and choice appearances in your titles and headers will go a long way in improving both search engine results and website traffic, especially when used alongside a host of other up-to-date SEO techniques.
First, put a considerable chunk of time aside to improve your website, ensuring that it’s user friendly as well as search engine friendly. Give the design a makeover that encapsulates all aspects of your branding, improves its navigation and boasts content that would make even the most seasoned digital marketers green with envy. You’d be surprised how much difference something like a responsive website can make to not just traffic retention, but conversions; modern consumers expect their user experience to be absolutely flawless or, that’s it, you’ve lost them.
Then there are social media channels.
Helping to strengthen your search engine optimisation efforts and vastly widening your potential to generate valuable new leads, social media is gaining momentum where maximising your bottom-line impact is concerned. Social media channels are also a great place to run targeted adverts, share your fantastic content, show off what great customer service you offer and demonstrate your expertise by commenting on industry blog posts. Who knows, you may even get invited to write a guest post, a sure fire way of getting your name out there and showing potential leads that you know your stuff while building quality links.
So there you have it – keyword and link overload = Google’s nemesis. Ethical link building and content creation = Google’s star pupil. But (and there is a but) this new SEO landscape isn’t for everyone.
Although Google’s new algorithms succeeded in penalising some of the most black-hat companies in the business, they also affected the rankings of some brands who’d actually done nothing wrong. Were you one of them? And what do you think will happen to the future of search engine optimisation?