SEO. Three simple little letters that can easily confuse and boggle the minds of marketers and small business owners alike. But the power of Search Engine Optimisation is certainly one to be celebrated. According to industry experts, to say SEO has “changed a lot” would be the understatement of the decade! The digital game has changed significantly for SEO in 2017 as technology continues to evolve and advance. So keeping up with the latest trends and information on how best to promote your business’ website online has become somewhat of a challenge against time; often, multiple updates are released in a single year.
SEO can help boost your organisations presence organically online. But it is important to understand how exactly it does this. Long ago, marketers and web developers were obsessed with link building and keyword stuffing. Now, a little more time, thought and strategy must be applied in an effort to see true results. In 2017, successful inbound marketing has seen a more direct approach to SEO be taken by focussing on the development of high-quality content.
The simple question is, however, what works and what doesn’t for SEO in 2017?
Myth #1 – Links are better than content
Building links are still really important for the health of your website, but it is not the be-all-end-all of SEO tactics. As briefly mentioned earlier, “content is king” as long as the quality of it far exceeds the quantity. There is no use in having many links directing to many blogs, news stories, products, etc. if the quality of the content is rubbish. Take the time and care to develop content that is valuable to your brand and your business before you go linking like crazy! As per the nature of content, it will gradually build more links over time as it becomes read, shared, engaged with and valued by the most important audience of all – your customers.
Myth #2 – More, more, more!
Modern SEO is all about providing quality over quantity. Adding to the previous points, the number of pages you have, content available, etc. will all build over time. As a result, links and lead generation will continue to build over time too. You must compel your audience to do something and react to your content.
Myth #3 – Having a secure website is not important
Who ever thought that they could just build a website, send it out into cyberspace and hope for the best clearly has no understanding of just how important internet security really is. SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is the standardised security technology that establishes an encrypted link between a web server and your web browser. Simply put, the extra little ‘s’ at the start of your website’s URL address (https://) stands for security. Google recently announced that in 2017 it will now be compulsory for websites to include SSL certificates on their sites if they still wish to rank in Google searches. Meaning if your website still relies on standard http://, your rankings could suffer as a result.
Myth #4 – SEO is all about ranking on Google
Yes, SEO is important for ranking. But rather than obsess about what position you place on Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERPs), be useful. In 2017, ranking in first place consistently is no longer the supreme objective. It’s fantastic if you do, but do not be disheartened if your website appears further down the page. The top three ranking results used to be the most important position to place. Now, a sharp focus is on rich text meta tags so that users can get an idea of what you are about and what you have to offer, before they click through to find out more. This means that the entire page listing is now favoured by users – and it should be favoured by your business also.
Of the same sentiment, meta tag descriptions may not directly affect rankings, they will encourage a high rate of click-throughs by users. Having a relevant, compelling meta description can be the difference between a searcher who clicks through to your page and one who clicks elsewhere. Include a call to action within the text to encourage users to act now and react to you.
Myth #5 – Give people information and forget about the experience
This myth is 100% BUSTED! User experience is paramount to the success of your brand’s presence online. It is vital that brands remember not to sacrifice user experience for lead generation. In fact, you will gain better lead generation results if your user experience is engaging, fluid and uncluttered.
Ultimately, the focus should be on your audience, always! Keywords allow brands to communicate effectively with their customer audience directly. Choosing the right vernacular to include in your communications and keywords is highly important if you want to get great cut through in the market (and rank well organically):
- Optimise your page for the user experience;
- Write the content specifically for the intended audience;
- Understand the intent behind your keyword choices;
- Match intentions to relevant, high-quality content;
- Inform the reader, not the search engine.
In one of our previous blogs, Content Based SEO for Blogging, we spoke about three very simple rules to follow for keyword copywriting:
Step 1 – Create a rundown of potential watchwords and expressions.
Step 2 – Plug them into Keyword Planner to help you get your thoughts and words flowing.
Step 3 – Select the most applicable, successful keywords.
You can read the entire blog and find out more about optimising your copywriting for SEO, here.
Search Engine Optimisation is the future…
Many digital experts have been as bold to say SEO should stand for something else: simply excellent online. If your business is creating remarkable content first and foremost, then you can consider introducing development teams to push your content online with inbound marketing and SEO tactics.
SEO is about the overall customer experience by web users. That experience starts with a web query. Hopefully, the better optimised your search tools are, the more likely you are to introduce your brand to the many millions (and billions) of web users out there. The better experience they have with your brand, from the SERP listing, to the quality and relevancy of content, the better your SEO will be.
Now that you’ve reviewed the basics of SEO in 2017 you’re ready to get started! Interested in learning some more helpful tips when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation and the Inbound Marketing? Download our eBook to learn all of this and more inside, The Inbound Marketing Methodology, here.