Last August, Google swooped in with Hummingbird, altering SEO as we know it with an entire re-write of the search algorithm. The new metrics made for the the company’s biggest SEO update since Caffeine in 2010. Google renewed its goal to focus less on matching and more on understanding (and predicting) a user’s intent. Now, key words are out (out, not dead — don’t fret), and writing good copy is back in. Begone spammers; the age of acclaimed content is upon us. Get ready, because the SEO landscape is rapidly shifting underfoot; we’re now in the era where search is more organic, the algorithms think more like users, and SEO is more than words.
We previously showed you how to sabotage your SEO, and this week 2Checkout provides three sure-fire ways to stay on top of your SEO game.
DO Ask & Answer the Right Questions
PageRank algorithms used to evaluate sites based on words, which is why content creators went so crazy for listing keywords over and over once upon a time: sushi, Norfolk, take out, delivery, lunchbox. Going forward, results are ranked by the accuracy of answering the search question: where/who/what/when/why sushi(?) Browsers — whether mobile or desktop — now have the capability to pinpoint the time and location of content and will pull up the most relevant information. In this case, the query will be more likely to find data for local sushi restaurants and reviews; the latest news on sushi; and the Wikipedia sushi page. General fodder like Sushi.com will not be one of the results. So, rather than agonize over what is happening to keywords, ask a few simple questions:
1. Does my site answer a search query? Where can I get sushi for lunch?
2. Does my site provide specific, evolving information? Menu, specials, delivery, and hours
3. Does my site have a call-to-action? Order Here
With a well-designed website, your SEO will only change for the better.
DO Move to Mobile
Shopping is now on the go. In 2013, e-commerce saw a 30 percent rise in browsing and buying on mobile. So what does this have to do with improving SEO? Again, let’s move away from keywords and embrace that the new SEO rules call for accuracy, relevance, and efficiency — across all devices. If a website is not yet mobile-optimized, then page rank is going to plummet. “It is clear that sites that are not mobile-friendly will see a negative impact on their rankings in the mobile search results,” said Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team. “If your site is slow to load on mobile phones, Google is less likely to rank it.” Google cares about looks, and so should you. Websites that load up sleekly and smoothly — on everything from a smartphone to a smartwatch (only app-friendly now, but the web time is coming) — will also rise to the top of the ranks.
Social media is intersecting with SEO, and those businesses refusing to hop on the posting/tweeting/‘gramming/sharing bandwagon will fall behind. As Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+ grow more business savvy by the update, social media platforms are now recognized as a place where companies and entrepreneurs can both demonstrate their expertise (through video, interviews, and images) and build more meaningful relationships with their customers (through exclusive content, rich media, and special offers). For this reason, analytics teams and algorithms are relying more and more on shares, mentions, and the uniqueness of rich content. And Google is demanding that high-ranked websites have a heavy social media presence to keep up.