Overwhelmed, stressed out, confused? Don’t be alarmed, if you are attempting to navigate the world of SEO and social media, this probably means your on the right track! Anyone familiar with online marketing probably feels like Google finds pleasure in making our lives difficult. The frequent updates, the ever changing rules and the elements of the “unknown,” are just enough to keep the everyday marketer exasperated.
Add to that the fact that once trusted practices are losing value and being replaced by “new-school” methods. Just recently the popular practice of “guest blogging” was recently debunked by Matt Cutts who advised that any online marketer or business owner wanting to gain online rank through this practice should “stick a fork in it.”
Not to mention Google is taking over click thru’s. For example, a few years ago, a question like “When was Billie Holiday born,” would have provided a simple list of the websites related to her . Now, if you type in “When was Billie Holiday born,” the answer comes up at the top of the SERP (search engine result page) WITHOUT you having to click on anyones website to get the full answer. Why Google may give attribution to the website that provide the information, the likelihood of a user visiting that site has just reduced since the answer is provided on the SERP.
Based upon reports by moz.com domain diversity is decreasing, which means big organizations such as Zillow, Amazon and Walmart are continuing to gain rank while smaller websites are disappearing from results. In addition, reports by Dr. Peters of Mega Serp have shown that organic search results do not have as much presence and prominence as paid advertisement. Is this trend expected to increase? If it involves more money for Google, then it probably will.
Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
But what does this mean for us, or for anyone learning about Google, search engine and SEO? Do the incessant changes and updates suggest that things are spinning out of control? Is the “online sky falling” or can change be seen as an opportunity for us to adapt and grow? For anyone hoping to survive in the competitive world of online marketing, the later would have to be the choice.
Based upon the webinar hosted with Cyprus Shepard called “How to Survive the Google Tornado, Winning the Future of SEO and Search” there are 6 ways we can dominate the online world and see change as an opportunity to succeed.
1) Keywords to Concepts- Because Keywords Still Matter
With the recent of Hummingbird update the focus has moved from keywords into long-tail phrases that answer specific questions. A recent poll from Moz.com showed that 50% – 80% of traffic comes from keywords we don’ try for. Still, every search begins with a keyword, so they do matter– not to mention Google makes a considerable amount of money selling keywords and keyword groups. These keywords need conceptual context to rank. So instead of stuffing the best keywords randomly within a text, we should consider answering as many questions as possible, and naturally incorporate these keywords in our content. Doing so will be beneficial to the audience and help create a positive user experience, lending to a longer page visit and a lower bounce rate.
2) From Links to Endorsements.
Believe it or not, Google does not really care about links. Links are simply a proxy and one of the ways they can determine authority and importance. What they REALLY care about are endorsements( also known as votes). Links are votes that Google uses to gage relevance. That being said, not all links (votes) are created equal. Links deemed to have low editorial endorsement can be devalued, discounted, or even penalized. Facebook and Twitter Links we share don’t add SEO value because Google cannot crawl these sites.
3) Webpages to Authority
Google is shifting towards identifying “authorities” and promoting those identified as the “the expert” in a particular field. SEO is so much more than just using the right keywords. One way Google establishes authority is through Google authorship– they are looking for real people who can provide information! So we need to be those people who can answer the questions– as many questions as possible in our expertise! The more questions we answer the more users don’t have to go elsewhere. So we should begin to publish regularly about our subject matter. Search identities are expected to be a big topic probably by 2015.
4: Markup and Metadata
Ensure all of your content is marked up correctly so that it is easily recognizable by Google. If you do so, Google will be able to scrape up description and important information about your business without having to visit your website. Markup your data all the time.
In addition, social sharing is much easier when you markup because Google, Facebook and Twitter all support data metatags. Since there is a high correlation between social sharing and ranking, this will be to your benefit. Google tends to reward sites that have the right schema markup.
When it comes author photos, contrast is key! Colors don’t matter as much as contrast, but avoid black and white or mellow colors, the goal is to stand out! When people are searching for you online, they are making decisions about you in a millisecond– try and grab their attention.
Google is moving towards mobile design. Everything starts with mobile then they transition to desktop. It is easier to expand your design by starting with mobile and moving over to desktop. Things that work on mobile will often work on desktop as well.
6: From Page Views to Satisfaction.
Do visitors like your site? How is the user’s experience when they visit your page? Consider measuring the following:
*time on site
*pages per visit
If visitors are staying on your site, that is a good indication that they are having a pleasurable experience. Work extremely hard to reduce the bounce rate when possible by making your site user friendly.
One thing that can affect bounce rate is the amount we link out to other sites. Many SEOS are scared of linking out because doing so could increase their rates. However, if visitors view your website as a resource, they will be more inclined to visit your site when they need relevant information. You want to be known as the authority.
We should also make sure we “obsess” over speed. Process speed is very important as this aids in creating a more positive user experience.
For more SEO tips click here or to see the entire Moz webinar visit: http://moz.com/webinars/winning-the-future-of-search-and-seo
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