By Casey Parrett
We all search online several times a day, or more likely several times an hour. But what determines the order of your search results on Google, and more importantly, how can your company rise to the top of those results?
It’s all about Search Engine Optimization, SEO for short, and how the algorithm that Google uses to rank search results can change without warning. In 2016, there have already been multiple changes and we all must adapt in order to maximize the number of visitors to our websites.
“Search engine rankings are continuously getting smarter and companies need to tweak their practices to match the technology if they want their results to rank higher,” said Joe De Falco, a marketing account executive at CMA. “SEO techniques that worked in the past are no longer as effective.”
Here are several of the top changes you should keep in mind:
1. Keywords are no longer key.
Keywords were once king when it came to SEO. While they are still used and important to help your target market find you, there are now more effective ways to attract online traffic. Evaluate your website and ask yourself, “When someone searches online, will my content meet their specific need?” Google still uses your title pages and content, but keywords are merely part of a more extensive algorithm. The algorithm understands more complex searches. If your content and keywords answer questions searchers are seeking, users will be directed to your website. Instead of one or two words, you can now use three or four word phrases that are specific to your products or services. For example, instead of only using “dog” and “food” as keywords, search engines will now understand “hormone-free dog food.”
2. People are speaking, not typing.
More than ever, people are using voice commands to conduct searches via smartphones and tablets to ask questions that they previously typed out and searched on their computers. We tell Siri, “I’m hungry,” and she generates a list of restaurants in the area. We don’t need to type “list” “restaurants” “nearby” into a search engine to get this information. We simply pull out our phones, hold down a button and talk to Siri like we would a friend. In doing so, we use everyday language, so your website needs to offer content that’s responsive to questions.
3. We are a mobile society.
When you are watching “Game of Thrones” with your spouse and neither of you can remember what shows or movies Kit Harington appeared in before he was Jon Snow, you reach for your phone and search for the answer. We expect instant gratification. We satisfy this need by using smartphones. Search engines now penalize websites that are not mobile-friendly with lower rankings in search results. Because of this change, it’s imperative that your website is mobile-friendly.
4. Longer content is better.
Yes, we have shorter attention spans, but when it comes to SEO, search engines rank longer content higher in results. You may be used to writing content that runs 200-300 words, but if you write more in-depth and publish content that is 900-1,200 words, the content will rank higher in search engine results. In-depth content will position your company as a thought leader in its industry and your company’s web clout will rise as a result. Keep readers’ attention on longer content by using lists and bullet points. Bold your headings so the readers can skip sections in which they are not interested, but still read sections with relevant information. If it’s appropriate, include pictures, gifs or videos to maximize engagement.
5. Your website should be organized and easy to use.
It is also important to have an organized website that users can easily navigate so Google can find the information it seeks more easily and add you
These tips highlight some of the biggest changes in the algorithms search engines use. Adopt these principles and your website will be well on its way to the top!
Casey Parrett writes about marketing and social media at CMA. If you would like to learn more about how SEO can help your business, contact us at 800-852-4269 or email us at email@example.com