For good reason, search engine optimization remains one of the best tools for online exposure even though it’s been around for over two decades. Fortunately, its utilization has matured with advanced technologies, resulting in significant benefits for entities that understand its versatility and then strategically implement it throughout their online campaigns. Below are some tips on how stay current and experience long-term results.
1) Quantity AND Quality
People feel the need to choose between quality and quantity depending on the circumstances. With SEO, quality and quantity bear the same weight. Sure, quality supersedes in terms of providing value to consumers, but without a large quantity of meaningful content, the fiber of the content itself is less effective. In the earliest days of implementing SEO, people would obsess over how many backlinks they had, how often they used their keyword throughout a campaign, and how many anchor texts (hyperlinked words and phrases) redirected to their site. While the excessive quantity mindset may have worked in the short term, lasting results weren’t seen if the links, content and keywords weren’t of significance to the audience. Every new SEO keyword, backlink or campaign strategy created must have substantiated worth to its target demographic.
2) Go Mobile
Mobile makes up over 50% of Google’s traffic. Now that an impressive share of consumers use mobile devices to browse the Internet and seek information about brands, their products, and any ongoing promotions, mobile-optimized websites, emails, banner ads and social media profiles must be implemented. If half of a given company’s traffic comes from smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, the optimization and searchability of these pages is tantamount to overall success of a campaign. In the next year or so, mobile will overtake traditional traffic sources and become the dominant channel and without a strong, mobile-driven presence, some brands will fall behind.
3) Join Forces with PR
An SEO campaign works best when it’s coupled with other marketing initiatives. Companies that effectively align their PR efforts with SEO strategy will experience a higher ROI and further develop their brand image along the way. Public Relations teams are responsible for news releases, speaking with the press, scheduling interviews and creating other forms of unique content that create buzz about their brand and communicate it to consumers to elicit a response. If SEO ties into advertising tactics on a public level, the right keywords will affiliate to a known brand name within a customer’s mind.
4) Social Media, Too
Similar to the above theory, pairing SEO with a social media strategy will receive increased engagement. Whether it’s through hashtags, slogans, or infographics, the keywords used within social media posts and other content marketing pieces should supplement the active SEO campaign. When consumers repeatedly see specific phrases and themes used on advertisements, blog posts and a company’s website, they will eventually associate those terms with the given brand. For instance, the phrase “I’m lovin’ it” probably reminds consumers worldwide of McDonalds without having to mention the fast food chain’s name.
5) Step Away from the Rankings
Keyword, link and website rankings were initially the cornerstone of the best word choices to maximize online exposure. Considering SEO has been around since the mid nineties, popular keyword phrases have become saturated and the amount of websites competing against each for the top spot has grown exponentially. Consequently, rankings from sites like Amazon’s Alexa Rating, Google PageRank, and Google Trends have lost relevancy because the top-performing words and websites don’t necessarily provide the best guideline for optimization. While companies can absolutely take rankings into account when strategizing, the results listed shouldn’t dictate the direction of the entire campaign.
6) Long Tail Keywords
For those who may not know, long tail keywords are essentially longer phrases or questions that may span 5-7 words rather than the traditional 1-2 keyword terms used. Long tail keywords reach consumers who have a specific need in mind and type in their search accordingly. Take for instance a newly married couple who has a child on the way and is trying to decide the best place to raise their growing family. If they turn to the Internet for advice, they’re more likely to search something along the lines of “best place to raise children” or “best states to raise a family” to find articles and websites that relate to their query. Although long tail keywords don’t have as high of rankings as shorter phrases, they still acquire viewership through relevancy.
7) Website Optimization
One of the best practices for any company advertising online is to operate in a constant state of optimization. Market trends emerge, evolve, and end at rapid rates, and technological advances force brands to change the mechanisms they use to reach consumers. As such, websites should be as fluid and adaptive as possible. Sites with a minimal yet precise amount of content will have high conversion rates (assuming the brand effectively drives quality traffic to their home page!). A landing page that performed well two months ago could already be outdated. Companies must diligently about the auditing and adjusting of their website to remain competitive.
8) Updated Backlinks
Although URL rankings have lessened in importance while site relevance has increased in the grand scheme of SEO, backlinks still play large role. However, the backlinks used on a company’s website, blog posts, and other online content formats should complement the brand’s mission. For example, an e-florist company should incorporate backlinks to sites with tips on keeping flowers alive longer, what type are in season, and creative ways to display them at home or during a celebration. The links used don’t necessarily have to redirect to the highest ranking page if they provide value to the visitor and encapsulate the e-florist’s overall goal. Also, updating the links every few months with new sites or more recent posts will support the brand’s efforts to stay current.
9) Vary Keyword Sets
As mentioned above, trends change quickly and without notice. Keywords not only grow saturated (and, therefore, weakened) over time, but they also lose popularity. A smart approach to keyword selection consists of choosing different sets of terms that are unrelated to each other. If a company markets to a diverse demographic or offers multiple services, they can differentiate their SEO phrases per category or target audience. Even more, they can use synonyms, slang, and euphemisms to expand reach and appeal to a larger pool of their ideal users.
10) Big Picture, Big Results
The last nine tips have underlined one thing: the profitability of an SEO campaign directly depends upon how effectively optimization efforts across all online platforms mirror the overall goal of a brand. New keywords, updated backlinks, revamped websites, and content marketing materials should stem from forward-thinking initiatives. SEO campaigns must be designed with the intent to increase a company’s ROI and develop a reputable brand in order to prosper.
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