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Treating Search Engines Like Your Significant Other

DATE PUBLISHED: February 12, 2013
 

On Valentine’s Day, how do you make your special someone happy and feel loved? There are tons of outlets willing to impart their wisdom about the best way to do this. However, when it comes down to it, you know your special someone better than most.  You can rarely go wrong with honestly expressing your feelings and doing something unique and thoughtful for that person.

SEO strategy

The same applies to optimizing your website so that it appeals to Google and the other major search engines.  Think of Google as your significant someone.  Your website content will really please Google if you keep your strategy honest and genuine for the end user.

Google and its counterparts are constantly trying to outsmart the marketing community’s strategies to raise their rankings.  Although they may not come out directly and say it, they recognize that SEO professionals are constantly trying to “game” the system.  With the introduction of each update, SEO marketers push back with their own modified strategies.

This constant back and forth means that no webmaster can rest on his or her laurels.  To extend the metaphor, your website’s love affair with the major search engines requires constant honesty and finesse in order to maintain the ardor. 

In 2013, your strategy for maintaining a high search engine ranking should include:

Diversity: Google has realized that many websites rely on a handful of strategies to climb the rankings.  In response, they have broadened the parameters of how to determine if a site is a quality one or not.  You should utilize a wide range of techniques as well as considerable variation within each technique.  For example, don’t use a single phrase to anchor links; the search engines will quickly pick up on repetitive phrasing and label it spam.

Incorporate structured data: Google’s Panda and Penguin updates may still haunt you, but in its wake you should be organizing the content on your site with these new search parameters firmly in mind.  Not only are page layout and data structure new critical components in rankings, but they are also intended to improve visitor access.  Easier navigation and better layouts will make your content more accessible and improve your conversion rates.

Brand visibility: Although this is not strictly SEO, it has begun to influence website creation.  With link building taking a serious hit in 2012, more authentic brand building has taken front and center.  As many of the links that websites used in 2012 to leap up the ranks became pointless, the role of high value, quality links that showcased a website’s lead role in an industry have gained importance. 

Content is King: Continuously producing content is essential, and will greatly contribute to getting more quality links, mentioned above. Google’s ever-changing algorithm is continually getting smarter and learning how to weed out which articles are actually good and helpful for the end user and putting them higher up in the rankings.  Tactics like “keyword-stuffing” in blog posts and your website content are no longer fruitful.  You have to be honest with your content.  Produce information that the end user wants to read and Google will reward you for that. Producing helpful or informative content on your social media platforms also helps SEO.

According to Brafton, “92% of marketers say that content creation is either ‘very effective’ or ‘somewhat effective’ for SEO.” 

There is little doubt that the internet is evolving from the Wild West into a more civilized environment.  The steps that Google took to mandate quality website building is another step on the road to a more responsible and attractive Web, with the key lesson being: Don’t build for search engines, build for the end user.  It will solidify your relationship.

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