No matter how you look at it, the SEO landscape is changing.
It used to be that you could reach the number one spot on Google by using your target term repeatedly on your site, but Google got wise to this and reduced the importance of this element as a factor.
After that changed, backlinks became the focus – the more websites you could get to link back to your page the better. But Google found people were cheating that system too and changed their process again in order to ensure the best results were rising to the top.
So given these two factors are now less important, how do you ensure your website ranks high in Google search?
Here are some key tips to help you on the path to SEO success.
1. Keywords are still important
Despite Google putting less emphasis on keyword volume, Google’s system still relies on keywords to establish what your website is about and how to relate it to relevant search queries.
The thing that has changed in this regard is that it’s less about volume and more about context – Google tried to work out whether your page is a good match based on the terms people are using and whether related sites have provided backlinks to yours, boosting your page authority.
So how do you use keywords now? In order to maximise your chances of showing up in search, you need to understand what people are searching for, what exact terms and questions they’re asking, in order to meet that demand.
You can do this by researching how people discuss your industry on social media, or by using keyword tools like keywordtool.io and Google Trends. Using these data points, you can get a better idea of the searches and search terms people are using, which will help inform what content you can create that answers these queries, which, ideally, will help you rank higher when people go looking.
2. You need to go to them
Having your own blog is important in SEO terms – it enables you to create content related to your industry which provides Google with more context as to what your site’s about.
But if you want to achieve higher recognition and boost your brand authority, you need to go where your target audience are already active.
Social media is the obvious one here – more and more people are increasingly active on social platforms, so understanding where your target audience is and building a presence there is important, but in addition to this, you can also look to reach your target market by guest blogging on the sites they’re already reading.
There are various ways to research this – one way is to use a tool called Followerwonk which analyses Twitter profile. In Followerwonk, there’s a tool called ‘Compare users’ which enables you to enter up to three Twitter profiles to cross-check. You can establish who you want to reach based on geography, interests, the company they work for, etc. Once you’ve got a list of three people you’d ideally like to get your content in front of, enter them into the compare tool and you’ll get a list of all the Twitter profiles all three of those people follow.
If any of them are publications, there’s a pretty good chance that if you get mentioned on or in them, you’ll reach your target consumers.
3. Establish relationships with top sites
Even if you can’t guest blog, you can still work to make connections in your field which can help spread your business message.
Once you know which publications or companies you want to target, follow them on social networks and engage with their content to boost awareness of your business.
You can also join forums and groups and answer relevant questions.
These efforts can go a long way towards establishing your brand presence and getting more visitors – and ideally, more relevant links – back to your page.
SEO is a highly technical and complex field, but the basis of the process is that Google wants to highlight the most relevant search matches to each user when they go looking. Google determines relevance by seeing how many people visit your site, by the content on your pages, by the websites that are linking to yours.
Building your brand presence within the relevant communities, and with relevant readers, can help solidify your status with Google, boosting your SEO performance.
If you need help with your SEO process, get in touch.