As inbound marketing evolves, so must our strategies and tactics. And while the core concepts of search engine optimization are generally the same, the evolving nature of the web gives way to new developments that businesses must understand and leverage in their marketing efforts. For SEO, some of these more recent developments include search engine algorithm updates like Panda and the increasing importance of social search.
To give marketers a handle on how each of these new developments factor into an overall SEO strategy, we’ve updated our most popular SEO ebook, Learning SEO From the Experts: A Step-by-Step Guide, with the latest information and takeaways from social search and the Panda update. Here are the top 4 themes covered in our updated ebook, which offers actionable steps from search engine optimization experts to improve your SEO. You can download it here for free.
1. Keywords Are Still the Foundation of SEO
Whether you know it or not, your website is already targeting certain keywords. Search engines extract these keywords from your on-page text, headers, page titles, inbound links, and other factors. However, you might not have made a conscious decision to target those keywords. Even if you did, you might not be monitoring your rankings or have a sense of how good your chances are of ranking well for those keywords. This is why keyword research is important. It lays the groundwork for your entire SEO strategy.
2. On-Page Optimization Is Critical Yet Overlooked
On-page optimization is a critical but often overlooked aspect of SEO. The problem with doing only on-page optimization is that there is a glass ceiling to it. Search engines rank websites according to their authority and relevance to the search terms as well as their authority on the web. On-page optimization creates relevance, while building inbound links generates authority.
Even though off-page optimization offers more SEO benefits, on-page optimization is really the first step to SEO improvement. Off-page SEO is about building inbound links from relevant websites. But how can search engines deem your pages relevant to your keywords if you have not even made it clear to them what your page is about?
On-page optimization is basically about two things:
- Picking the best keywords around which to base each of your pages.
- Making it as clear as possible to search engines that your page is relevant to those keywords.
3. Inbound Links Play a Powerful Role in SEO
While on-page optimization is a good first step, you will ultimately get much more leverage by having links from other sites to yours. Inbound links used to just be a source of referral traffic. Now, they influence your search engine rankings as well.
Google was the first search engine to use links as a significant ranking factor. They viewed a link from one site to another as a ‘vote’ for the target site. The more votes you have, the more authoritative your site is considered.
Specifically, there are two main benefits gained through each link:
- Better SEO authority of the linked-to page and increase in authority of the site as a whole
- More relevancy of the page for the keywords that are used in the link’s anchor text
Note that not all links pass value. Webmasters can add a ‘nofollow’ attribute to an outbound link in order to achieve this. Links from some popular sites such as Wikipedia and many social media sites like Twitter, for example, are all nofollow. The way to verify whether a link passes value is to check its HTML. This is achievable in different ways through different browsers but is generally doable.
4. Social Search Is Important But Still Young
Inbound links are quickly becoming a broken metric. At the same time, social media is quickly escalating as a ranking factor for search engines. While inbound links still matter and are a decent factor for judging the authority of a website or page, social media provides search engines with key data points that they have long been lacking.
Look around you. Social media content is everywhere. You have probably taken countless breaks from reading this ebook to tweet, check Facebook, or organize your Google+ circles. Social media has created both an opportunity and a problem for search engines.
Thanks to social media, the web has more fresh and timely content. This is great for search engines. However, it also poses some challenges. Inbound links are a good measure of authority, but they are slow. In a social media world, a relevant piece of content on a subject could become outdated in minutes.
Social search is young. It can’t even crawl yet. A lot is going to change as Google, Bing, Microsoft, Twitter, and companies that we haven’t even heard of yet battle in the years to come. One thing that won’t change is that search is only going to continue to get more personal. Social media will be the major source of data that drives search personalization.
As a marketer, your priority need to be building reach across social media sites to be well positioned for more searches to a more personal and social world.
Are you properly optimizing your website for search engines? Do you know how to effectively leverage social search? For more specific tips and tactics, download our newly updated SEO ebook today!
< Auteur: Pamela Vaughan