The world of search engine optimization has changed as Google and other search engines have taken steps to cut down on cheaters. Because their goal is to provide users the best possible experience the websites and seo services providers who aren't playing by the rules have been punished in recent algorithm updates.
You may know about Google Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird, they've made an increasing amount of headlines as service providers and site owners have had to scramble to react and regain ranking. Without going into full detail on the updates, suffice it to say the world of SEO has changed drastically since the first Panda update in 2011.
If you're not sure why your website isn't ranking better you should check your search engine optimization campaign against these 9 lessons.
Lesson 1 - Thin Websites Will Not Rank
Google is looking for authoritative websites with substance. If you've spent little time developing engaging and rich content for your visitors you can expect to find yourself well down the rankings for your target keywords.
Lesson 2 - If Your Content Is Stale, Your Rankings Will Continue To Drop
Who wants to read old content? Google doesn't think anyone does, and they're constantly indexing sites to search for new goods. If you want better results spend some time refreshing your messaging and adding new resources.
Lesson 3 - Usability Matters
No one likes to be confused or tricked when they visit a website, visitors are looking for something and it needs to be easy to find. If your website isn't easy to navigate with clear calls to action for resources and information it won't rank well. That includes mobile and tablet viewing, your website better be responsive if you want to compete.
Lesson 4 - Link Building Services Are Dead
You may have hired a Denver SEO services firm previously, and their strategy may have been to build you a bunch of back links. While that may have sounded good it most likely wasn't executed properly. Instead of building quality links that really help your ranking they likely built lots and lots of really crappy links from fake or irrelevant websites. This kind of link building isn't only dead, it's severely penalized so make sure you check your site and remove the trash. Sometimes less is more.
Lesson 5 - Nobody Likes Spam
No one wants to get spammed, whether it's your inbox or your web viewing experience. Because of this Google wants to protect their search results by shielding them from sites that spam it up. If you want to litter your site with banner ads and pop up windows you position yourself as a web-whore, and you'll be appropriately moved down the rankings.
Lesson 6 - Stuffing Your Site With Keywords Is Stupid
Your content should speak to visitors, not robots. If you've listened to poor advice about loading as many of your target keywords into your web pages it's likely made your site nearly unreadable. Quick rule of thumb, if it doesn't read well to you it doesn't read well to visitors. Quit loading your pages with awkward keywords in place of enriched content that illustrates what you offer and how it helps your prospects make buying decisions.
Lesson 7 - To Rank Well, Your Website Has To Respond Well
Responsive design has skyrocketed to the top of the priority list with the rise of smart phones and tablets. With up to 40% of search engine traffic coming from mobile devices Google is putting more and more weight to responsive websites. Websites that respond well to their visitors regardless of device will reap the spoils of the best search results position, and those that don't will drop like rocks.
Lesson 8 - A Good Strategy Needs To Be Contextual
Hummingbird says you need to be more conversational with your search terms, you should be getting found for search phrases instead of regional keywords. For instance, instead of optimizing for 'inbound marketing Denver' our agency might focus on something like 'inbound marketing companies in Denver'.
Lesson 9 - Inbound Links Need To Be High Quality
While building thousands of cheap and irrelevant links is definitely the wrong way to go, earning quality inbound links through guest blog posts and testimonials from sites with great authority is a fantastic goal. It's harder than cheating but it's also more rewarding.
Now You Know, So What's Next?
Real simply, it's time to go back to basics. Start with these three simple but fundamental steps to crafting a best-practice search engine strategy.
- Build A Solid Keyword Strategy
- Optimize Your Website
- Add Building Blocks of Fresh Content
If you need help, we're here for you and we have a ton of free resources to aid your progress.