Apr 15, 201510m read
10 World Changing SEO Tips That You Need to Know
SEO might seem like a foreign word to you, but with a little bit of research and work, you too can optimize your website search results. With SEO, you need to always stay updated with the ever changing Google updates. Between Hummingbird, Panda, Pigeon and Penguin it is easy to get lost. The basic idea is: do this, and Google will really, really like you. I’ve chosen 10 tips about SEO, based on the beliefs of Matt Cutts. Matt Cutts is one of Google’s leading developers and the head of Google’s Webspam team, and he is definitely someone you should listen to when it comes down to search engine optimization. Read, learn, implement.
1. Content is (Still) King
We throw the term “Content is King” around a lot. It seems like a bit of a cliche, something overused, that should be disregarded. However, it’s still quite true. We put such an emphasis on titles and keywords (an emphasis that I will also put later on, mind you), but the body of content should not lose focus. According to Matt Cutts, if your headlines are strong, make sure you back them up with equally strong bodies of content that support the headline. Google still searches through your content, looking to see that your content feeds the headlines. Also, high quality content is important for a competitive edge over others. You might as well use it. Focusing on content is the “White hat” approach to SEO that Google loves.
2. Know Your Audience
By knowing who you are talking to, you can optimize your keywords, which is an important SEO factor. You need to always think – what it is that your audience is looking for, and what words are they using to search for it? This way, your use of words needs to complement what your audience is looking for, and you can meet them in the middle. Your targeted keywords need to work with your niche – don’t pick popular keywords just because everyone else is using them. If you actually choose unique keywords, it will give you higher ranking. People who choose overused keywords will not be able to compete with popular blogs in the ranking. Focus on your niche, and make it unique. This is not only an SEO tip, but a business tip!
Another element in the keywords world is long-tail keywords. What the H is it, you ask? long-tail keywords are longer, specific sentences that you and I are more likely to use when we are searching for something. Here you need to think very specific and unique as well. If I want to buy a Red Velvet cake – my long-tail keywords would be: “order red velvet cake”, for example. So you should choose to be more unique and think of something like this: “delicious red velvet cake online order”. The idea is to choose something less competitive, that would actually get you the dedicated leads that will end up making a purchase. Less is more in this case – you want less random leads, but more deal closers.
One more interesting thing that Google does is Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) – this basically refers to the synonyms and plurals used in your keywords. If you’re a DJ for example. you will be using keywords like music and party. Google sees the keywords used and connects how they are related to one another. Using keyword semantics, Google decides what the website is – like when it reviews a website with keywords like apple, Steve Jobs and iMac – it knows the webpage is about Apple and not about McIntosh Apples. You can actually help Google understand the semantics of your site, by marking it up.
3. Link Building
Let’s start with what not to do: do not pay for links. Paid links is pretty much the fastest way to get penalized. Matt Cutts said Google used to be less watchful about those things, but now-a-days you really don’t want to get caught red handed. So if you want to have proper links, what should you do? The best and legit way to do things is just to contact people and exchange links with them. They add you to their blog, you add them to yours. Of course, make sure the blog is related and not totally disconnected from your niche.
Guest posting is also a way to get some backlinks. The idea that runs through anything that has to do with backlinks, is relevancy. Whether you’re guest posting or exchanging links, make sure that the content is in relevant places. Don’t let your content become spam. By guest posting you are also gaining exposure in new communities, and can gain more traffic to your website eventually.
Last but not least, find broken links, as usual in blog/websites in your niche, and if you have a similar post, ask to replace the link with yours. This you do by contacting the website owner and actually asking him about replacement. This may sound old school, but it works.
4. Brand Yourself
This could be considered another way to link build, but branding yourself is more about name building. Make an effort to get a mention or a citation on other sites. The idea is to get your name out there, and that it wouldn’t be coming from you, but coming from others talking about you. If you are a local business, make an effort to be mentioned in local websites, directories, and yellow pages. If you are an industry related website / product / company, make sure to be mentioned in industry leading websites and blogs.
If you deal with marketing, you would like to be mentioned in Hubspot, Social Media Examiner, and the likes. Gaining mentions is important for your SEO strategy, and it can take you a long way.
5. Report Plagiarism
Your online reputation is extremely important. If you see someone copying your content, and you don’t report it, Google might end up thinking that you didn’t write your original content. Google would end up punishing you for duplicated content, and that just ain’t fair. File a complaint with Google, its very simple and can be done through DMCA. Don’t start worrying, Google knows where the original content came from, it’s just important to let them know when you see such an offense, so it wouldn’t reflect badly on your site. Keep your website clean in the eyes of Google.
6. Meta Tags
This may sounds really basic, but basics are as important as anything else I’ve mentioned here. Make sure your titles are optimized for SEO, and don’t forget your meta-tags, meta-description and optimizing your images. Like keywords, everything here needs to be specific to your niche and unique. Don’t use meta-tags and meta-descriptions that everyone else uses literally everywhere. Try to focus your tags and descriptions to your website and product. Those little HTML snippets are important to keep your website SEO and Google friendly. Google will seek out those tags and relevant keywords when reviewing your website.
7. Videos Raise Ranking
Video is underutilized when it comes down to SEO. According to Kissmetrics, if used correctly, video could be a powerful SEO contributing tool. If properly done, a video can generate many links to your site, and be shared socially. Like the Dollar Shave Club video – your video has to offer something to the viewer, and to evoke a strong emotional reaction. When planned and implemented correctly, videos can bring in a huge amount of links and social shares and become a big part of your SEO strategy.
Another important result of video is increasing conversions. If you have been online lately, you will see that most brands have a video on their landing page – check out Spot.IM for example. You can embed a video on your landing page or use rich snippets. Embedding a video on your site increases time on site, and quality conversions. Bottom line is – people prefer visual to text.
Rich snippets is an interesting concept – its about the viewer seeing your video before he gets to your site. When searching on Google now, you can see video search results like these:
Google is basically displaying your video and website information before you even clicked on the website. This is great promotion and something that tells users – come in, we have a video waiting for you. In order to have rich snippets, you will need to self host your video. Go here for more information.
8. Invest in Mobile
Yes, you probably know that Mobile overtook Desktop in internet access around the end of 2014. Some stats for you: 80% of internet users own a smartphone. Some of the emerging devices used to surf the internet are Smart TV, Smart Watch, Smart Wristband, and Game Consoles. A majority of consumers is multi-screening – accessing the same sites via desktop or mobile, so it’s important to maintain the same surfing experience in both devices. In Google Mobile Path to Purchase Report, they analyzed how people search for items they would like to purchase via mobile. The majority, 48%, uses search engines, 33% use branded websites and 26% on branded apps.
Your website has to adapt to these stats, and your SEO has to complement mobile usage. Mobile Search Optimization is actually a thing now. 43% of Americans use their mobile phone as their primary search tool. MSO is really important when it comes to converting clients. It becomes even more important when you’re targeting users who only use mobile. Google rewards websites that provide a good mobile experience. If you want to be found online, no matter the device, optimize your mobile features.
Some tips for mobile optimization from Webconfs.com:
- Mobile users use shorter key phrases/keywords
- Mobile search is mainly local search
- Current data rules in mobile search
- In mobile search, top 10 is actually top 3
- No long pages for mobile searchers
- Predictive search is popular with mobile searchers
9. Social is Not All That
There was a time when everyone said that an influential Facebook or Twitter account, helps your website SEO. Matt Cutts even said so at one point, but he changed it a few years later when he said that social elements do not influence the Google ranking algorithm. He went on to say:
“… there was an SEO that said, ‘OK, we see a lot of links on Facebook and those are the pages the rank well.’ But that’s correlation; that’s not causation. Instead, it’s probably that there’s something really awesome, and because there’s something awesome, then it gets a lot of likes on Facebook and a lot of people decide to link to it. That’s the sort of thing where the better content you make, the more people are [going] to like it not only in Google, but in Twitter and Facebook as well.”
Matt Cutts also denied the Google+ thought, that the more +1 the better the Google ranking because of the close connection. Industry experts still insist that social ranking effects Google ranking. Social media is important, hence the correlation between social and website ranking, but it is not the one affecting website ranking. Invest in your social strategy, in order to get shares and backlinks.
10. Site Structure
Last but not least is looking at your site structure. Search engines love websites that are organized and their streamline makes sense. No one likes to enter a messy room, and your viewers won’t like it either. Make sure your website is organized and provides a structured surfing experience. Google ranking is based on your time on site and bounce rate. If your website is pleasant, it will allow people to stay there for longer amounts of times. If your site navigation is confusing, they will leave in a matter of seconds. You can use a few simple tools to check if your website has a good flow. Start with an XML sitemap. In Neil Patel’s “17 SEO Myths…” article he writes: “XML sitemap is necessary if you want to build a crawlable site. Each time you create a new post or edit an existing post, the Google XML sitemaps generator will create an updated sitemap with your new pages and submit it to Google and other search engines.” Neil does say that this is not a guarantee for higher ranking, but it couldn’t hurt.
This may seem like a lot, but these are some things that you can do to make sure that your website has a chance to rise above the competition. Remember, this is search engine optimization. So you got to keep optimizing.