Can SEO Strategy Survive in the Modern Digital Age?
Ever since the dawn of the internet, one of the fundamental areas for optimizing a website has been through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Perfecting SEO strategy campaigns has always ensured a high amount of traffic is generated and makes for a very attractive website.
However, for the last few years, online marketing blogs have been littered with epitaphs for SEO. Is it really game over for SEO?
Is Social Traffic Overtaking Search Efforts?
Social signals are becoming important metrics and indicate what people are looking for, but they don’t provide direct weight to any SERP rankings.
What becomes fascinatingly clear is that SEO and social need to work together.
It turns out it’s all about the links.
For example, you’ve just tweeted a link to your new, engaging and content rich blog post and it gets 100 retweets – this opens up a huge audience to your blog.
Some of this audience may even mention your work in their blog and link to it. These links build up as a result of the initial social signal and search engines can’t ignore it. And it’s here that SEO comes into play.
Your content may be amazing, but who’s going to generate a real buzz by tweeting about your Superbowl blog? An ex-player? Or your friend Jim who sells insurance?
The answer’s pretty simple – the guy with authority. SEO, therefore, has a great opportunity to start incorporating social signals into SERP rankings by building relationships with online authority figures.
Hummingbird Means That SEO Needs a BIG Rethink
Google’s Hummingbird algorithm was launched in September 2013 and has caused shockwaves through the SEO industry.
It’s part of Google’s obsession with giving their users exactly what they need, so how is SEO going to adapt?
SEO is going to have to start attending language classes as Hummingbird loves to work with the same semantics your audience uses when writing.
Short keywords are going out the window as long-tailed keywords are welcomed into the SEO party and provide users with what they want e.g. “which is the best 5 star hotel in New York” will become more valuable than the vague “best hotel new york”.
However, humans are impatient creatures, so you need to make sure they can reach this amazing content quickly of they’ll head elsewhere.
This is why Hummingbird gives real weight to site loading times – the faster your site, the higher you rank in the SERP.
It’s no longer about just optimizing your content, you need to make sure your site is running like a well oiled machine. Structural design elements are going to steadily become a very important factor of SEO.
How Is SEO Shaping up in the Mobile Landscape?
Google has gradually started adjusting their mobile rankings in order to give users the best possible mobile experience.
This presents a whole new world of unique optimization challenges, but with the majority of online traffic now going through mobile devices, SEO can’t ignore it.
The first thing you need to do is minimize your site’s URL types. It’s really irritating to waste time being thrown from a desktop URL to a mobile URL.
Google feels this anger, so poorly designed mobile sites will start slipping down the mobile rankings.
The best way to combat this is by investing in responsive design which uses just one URL type. This means your website looks just as pretty on a desktop, smartphone or tablet; load times are reduced, visitors are happy and your site ranks higher.
Looking great though isn’t enough, your site needs to really solve problems.
People use their mobile devices for local queries and Google wants to answer them.
Imagine you run a burger restaurant. The majority of your trade will be local; you want your site to capture this passing trade. Google My Business allows you to start optimizing for local SEO, but you also need to to include local keywords in content and encourage users to leave online reviews.
Do this and your burgers will soon sit at the top of the local SERP. However, your burgers can’t just rely on typed search.
The teen demographic is embracing voice search, so it’s time to literally ‘listen to the kids’. This means that a world of hands free web interaction is coming and is likely to become a way of life.
Google recognizes this and has invested heavily in Google Voice Search to provide searchers with precise answers. To optimize your site for this traffic, your content needs to incorporate a more conversational tone using long-tailed keywords.
Can SEO Survive? Yes, but It Must Adapt
SEO still has a place in optimizing your website and this can be done in a number of ways. A conversational tone which presents users with the answers they need is becoming very important.
Matching this with a voice of authority can also help shoot your content up the search rankings.
Then, of course, there’s the world of mobile devices which require fast websites and an understanding of voice search. Embrace all these changes and people won’t be able to resist trying to buy your fully optimized site.