SEO or search engine optimization has evolved hugely in recent years.
In recent years Google updates like Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird and Fred have all focused on improving the search experience for Google users. The days of kids being able to launch keyword stuffed sites using link wheels are long gone thankfully.
However, this also means that if you are a legitimate site or business looking to increase your visibility and ranking high in Google is more complex than ever.
Given that search engines still generate more traffic than social media SEO isn’t something that you can avoid. Let’s take a look at how you should promote your website in 2017.
If you’re unsure how to process your SEO data then you could do worse than looking at this guide from Acuity Training which gives you detail on how to use Excel to understand what is going on.
What are New Practices in Modern SEO?
1. Fresh ContentDifferent search engines use different algorithms so for any given result they won’t show the same results. However given Google’s dominance everyone tends to understandably focus on what Google’s algorithm prefers.
Fresh content is a ranking factor in Google SERP. This means that you should aim to update your site regularly with fresh content. This is why many companies already include blogs in their company websites to be able to add content frequently.
2. KeywordsKeywords are still a key ranking factor. Without the correct words in a page there’s really no way for a search engine to understand what the page is about. The days of duplicate content, and keyword stuffing are behind us thankfully but equally you do need to include your keywords a few times to help Google understand what you page is about.
To avoid a spam penalty, the keyword for every page should not exceed 1% of the page content.
Many SEOs use the rule of thumb of ‘once in the title, once in the first paragraph and once in the last paragraph’.
Backlinks are another key part of the Google ranking algorithm.
Links from good quality websites will help your site rank in SERP, but good quality is the key here. This is not a numbers game and it is quality over quantity that is key.
Your site can rank high even with a single link as long as the link comes from a very high-ranking site.
4. Site DesignIncreasingly Google is using user metrics to influence how it ranks sites. If it can see that 95% of searchers who go to a page immediately leave then that tells it to down rank that site as it’s not helpful to searchers.
A key part of keeping searchers on your site is design. If it is attractive, clear and uncluttered people will enjoy being on your site and stick around. This tells Google that your website is helpful to them.
Using modern tools like Illustrator creating an attractive site and nice background is very simple so this is not something to be skipped.
5. Site SpeedGoogle has gone on record saying that site speed is a ranking factor so be sure that your website loads quickly. You don’t need to be the fastest website out there. Just ensure that you are quick enough that searchers don’t click away.
There are plenty of free tools out there to help with improving your site speed, for example pingdom.
More recently there has been a big debate about if mobile speed is a Google ranking factor. Just recently it was confirmed that Google will be using page speed as a factor in mobile. See here for more details.
Bonus infographic for visual learners:
ConclusionSEO practices will change as Google continues to update it algorithm. However at heart it is simple to rank well in Google. Just keep in mind what a searcher wants and you’ll do well.
Google’s aim is to get users to the information that they’re looking for as quickly as possible. If you quickly provide high quality, easy to read and nicely presented information you won’t go too far wrong.