Posted on February 09, 2015 at 17:18 PM
Keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of search engine optimization is like chasing a mythical unicorn; you’re not likely to ever see or catch one. With the updating algorithms that take place every few months, SEO marketers have been scrambling just to maintain best practices. Luckily, there are some consistent rules of thumb that still apply as we move into 2015, despite the evolutionary and drastic changes in SEO marketing as of late. Let’s take a look at some search engine optimization practices that you should definitely be implementing in your digital marketing plan this year. Don’t go into 2015 with a bag over your head.
Focus less on keywords and more on semantics. Google has long since caught onto black hat SEO practices, where marketers would cram non-relevant keywords in copy or paste tons of spammy links everywhere on their site. Today, Google’s Hummingbird algorithm has made marketers work hard to keep their content authentic and transparent. Instead of pairing up keyword searches to pages with those keywords, Hummingbird now looks for search intent as a way to give users results that are more relevant for what they are actually looking for. Be sure to create educational content that links to your products or services, navigational terms that are directly tied to your brand name, product or website, and transactional queries that help to convert users into a sale.
Keep your website URL structures consistent. As simple as it sounds, websites who are consistent with their URL structure rank higher. Rather than ending your web page URLS in a long string of letters and numbers that are automatically assigned in most cases, be sure to customize your URLs in a consistent manner. Many times, the long URLs with dozens of characters in gibberish have no keywords and are too long, making them rank poorly. Secondly, make sure you have no broken links or 404 errors on your website, which will also hurt your rankings. Overall, you need to make sure your page URLs are in working order and have the same type of structure.
Your website should not be a link farm. In years past, SEO marketers would cram as many links as permissible on a web page, or farm out as many links as possible to other sites, in order for the website to be better ranked by search engines. Those days are long gone, my friend. Today, too many links on a page, especially if they aren’t extremely relevant for the content on the page, will actually harm your rankings. It is now much better to have a few high quality links within your content that are relevant and timely. Editorial links, where your company is mentioned by the media or co-op businesses, are always high quality links. Inbound and outbound links should be a strategy in itself, sprinkling in article links with earned mentions on top 10 lists or other published information on the web.
Don’t let your search analysis be biased. When researching your ranking, most marketers simply do some local queries to see where they pop up in search engine results. Many times search results will be location specific, based on your IP address. Using your own computer and browser won’t give you accurate results when looking at results on a search engine because results are based on your search history, current location and other factors that are very specific to you. Even if you change your search location under Google Search Tools, your IP address is still set to your physical location. To get unbiased results, you’ll need to use a tool that gives de-personalized results, such as Moz or RankTracker.
Add secure encryption to your website. In an interesting twist, Google recently announced that HTTPS (secure encryption for websites) is now a ranking factor. This essentially means that websites using secure encryption may get a boost in ranking simply because their website is secure. It’s not going to shoot your website to the #1 spot on every keyword, but rumor is that the ranking factor may become stronger over time. There are costs involved with going HTTPS, such as getting your SSL Certificate and having permanent re-directs, so do your homework before adding this credential to your website.
As you can see, most of these tactics make sense, but not all are easy. To get the best results, be sure you have experienced SEO marketers handling these aspects of your digital marketing. Otherwise, you might wind up breaking the gears to your working website!