If a considerable amount of time has passed since you last thought about your SEO strategy, chances are that it needs updating. In the world of SEO, there is no such thing as autopilot, because the rules of what works and what doesn’t are constantly changing. In fact, a strategy that would immediately boost search rankings just a few years ago may be detrimental to your rankings today. This state of flux is in part because SEO is still relatively new—internet advertising as we know it is only in its infancy, which means that the rules are fluid. In addition, the technology we use to access the internet is evolving rapidly, creating new methods of engagement that need to be accounted for. Amidst all this change, the ultimate goal of SEO remains the same: provide the best possible user experience with every search. To ensure that you are achieving this goal, ask yourself the following questions:
Are you optimizing for voice search?
As more people flock to their mobile devices (and away from desktop computers and laptops), they are embracing the convenience of voice search. Voice recognition technology has improved by great strides in recent years, making it faster and easier than typing. It also facilitates multi-tasking, which makes search much more accessible on-the-go. Here’s a look at what this means in terms of your SEO campaign:
- Voice search creates a conversational tone. When people use voice search, they aren’t as direct as they might be typing into a search engine from a computer. Instead of phrases like “Mexican food in Tucson,” someone might say “Where can I get good Mexican food nearby?”, because it feels more natural to speak conversationally. This means that you should think about long-tail keywords to target so that you can pick up traffic for these spoken queries.
- Local results dominate voice search. Optimizing for local results is essential for capitalizing on voice search, because people are often looking for services they can immediately access nearby.
Is your site designed for mobile use?
Mobile traffic has only increased over the past several years, to the point where it is no longer optional to have a mobile-friendly website. Here’s why:
- Search engines are looking for mobile sites. At the end of 2016, Google announced that it would be launching a mobile-first index that prioritizes mobile searches over desktop searches. This shift is only in response to the way that consumers are already searching, meaning that both potential customers and search engines are seeking mobile-friendly search results.
- Mobile users will click away from desktop-oriented sites. A desktop site may load on a mobile device, but it won’t look how it’s supposed to and will be dreadfully inconvenient to interact with. Faced with this potential frustration, users will likely click away to a competitor’s site that is optimized for mobile traffic. Not only will this drive down engagement when customers reach your site, but it can increase your bounce rate and hurt your search rankings.
- Mobile content should be simple and convenient. When designing content with a mobile user in mind, you should break up longer blocks of text with bullet points or small paragraphs, which make it easier to identify the most essential information. Buttons should be large and easy-to-click, and pages should be scrollable rather than forcing users to click through multiple links to get to what they want. In general, mobile users are typically ready to make purchase decisions, so your mobile content should be geared toward an “act now” approach rather than a research focus.
Are you using outdated keyword practices?
Keyword use has seen dramatic changes throughout the life of SEO. In the early days of search marketing, more was always better when it came to keywords, so it wasn’t hard to find pages filled with industry terms and jargon. It was not long before it became clear that this was doing little to help customers find what they want, so more nuanced keyword practices have come about. Ideally, keywords should be markers that pair your content with specific buyer intentions, but what is the right way to incorporate them for better search rankings? Let’s review the basics of an effective modern keyword strategy:
- Spamming keywords won’t get you anywhere. There is no magical proportion of keyword density that will make your content rank higher in search results. In fact, trying to fit more keywords into your content will probably make it seem scattered and hard to read, and this will only have a negative impact on your SEO.
- You should focus pages on a single service area. Pages that make too frequent use of a given keyword can be harmful, but it’s also important that your content does not become too vague or general. By organizing your site and your blog by service areas and associated keywords, you can ensure that content is focused and informative, offering just the right balance across every page.
- Long-tail keywords should be part of the equation. We mentioned long-tail keywords as they relate to voice search, and they are important to think about from a content perspective as well. When you think about the questions your customers might ask to guide them to your business, you can also think about the types of answers that will be most helpful to them. Shifting your focus to the customer experience and away from keyword density will only help you write better content and drive more traffic to your site.
Here at Pennington Creative, we are always looking out for new developments and trends in SEO so that we can provide the most effective solutions for our clients. We partner with both small businesses and marketing agencies to create all varieties of content, including blogs, onsite content, social posts, and downloadable eBooks.