When it comes to search engine optimization, many businesses are still unsure of what metrics to use to ultimately measure the effectiveness of their efforts and indeed, just how relevant SEO actually is with regards to their content marketing strategies.
Those who understand the importance of best practice in SEO ultimately maintain a greater competitive edge and benefit from increased visibility, greater brand recognition and improved conversion rates. This has also resulted in a booming industry of SEO agencies where competition is livid. The sheer amount of SEO companies has ballooned into the thousands over the years, making the process of choosing an SEO company both beneficial and challenging. Beneficial because competition forces the creation of better agencies, yet challenging because SEO takes some time to grasp.
With that in mind, the following article will address 7 critical tips your business will need to take on board in 2015 and beyond.
1. Engage in Mobile SEO
Google’s latest “mobile-friendly algorithm” is set to change the online landscape and from April 21st, 2015 will officially include responsive website usability factors and application indexing. This means that if your website isn’t optimized for mobile responsiveness, you will be losing out on potential sales.
The increasing array of mobile technology is changing the way consumers search for information online and if it isn’t already a core part of your SEO plans for the year ahead, make sure it becomes a top priority.
2. Optimize Title Page Descriptions
For years potential customers at various stages of the buying decision process have been relying on the information provided by title tags to make informed decisions about whether or not to click. This is the text that appears just after the heading in search engine results.
Companies such as Google, Yahoo! and others typically only allow for strings of text that are 50-60 characters long. If these are underutilized and underperform, they should be revisited and brought up to date.
3. Select Keywords by Commercial Intent
Many mistakenly believe that keywords are only effective if they are relevant to a user’s interests, however, a recent article from OrbitMedia reveals that persuasive keywords representative of commercial intent can successfully increase and convert traffic.
Using terms such as “buy now,” “free shipping,” “best” or “affordable” and including them within page headings and metadata serves to improve click-through rates and synergizes with what users are already searching for.
4. Consider Keyword Hierarchy
Aside from the need to keep keywords relevant, they need to be inserted throughout quality content in some sort of top-down structure before your efforts in SEO can gain traction with audiences.
One way to encourage traffic is to engage in cross-linking, directing potential buyers to your website from other external or internal sources via hyperlinks. In this way, you’ll be able to create a network of backlinks that consistently drive consumers towards your various online media spaces.
5. Shorten Your URLs
In the past, websites were limited in their size, scope and function and so long as you had secured a short URL for the homepage, nothing else really mattered. It’s now vital that all URLs be kept short and free of superfluous percentage signs and seemingly random numbers.
If you’re in the middle of updating your site with new information or have been adding to your blog or news page, take the opportunity to optimize your URLs as these will be key factors in determining page rank.
6. Focus on ROI Instead of Search Engine Rankings
While a first page Google ranking would be nice to have, it certainly isn’t achieved overnight. Placing a time limit on your efforts can undo a lot of the progress you’ve made, especially if you pull the pin prematurely.
Track your site’s analytics via Google AdWords or your preferred PPC campaign platform and if you tailor any of your SEO practices, ensure that you do this incrementally as large, sweeping changes tend to be less effective than smaller, more measurable ones.
7. Create SEO Strategies That Map to Your Audience
Lastly, the effectiveness of your efforts depends upon the strategies you employ as a whole. If what you come up with isn’t worth more than the sum of its parts, it isn’t going to be worth pursuing.
Do your research and focus on the new ways you can reach new audiences in neighbouring markets and fit your keywords to the content, not the other way around.
At the end of the day, SEO is an ever-evolving responsibility of businesses and it doesn’t look to be going anywhere any time soon.