There was a time when search engine optimization was more of an icing-on-the-cake online marketing strategy than a necessity, but those days are over. In 2016, if your website is not optimized, you are going to lose out on substantial web traffic and revenue – that is a fact. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to better ensure that your site is positioned for success.
Here are five crucial SEO strategies to help you to take your online presence to the next level.
#1. Create Consistent Content
The most mandatory, effective step that you can take to increase your search engine ranking is to produce quality content, and lots of it. Google’s spam algorithms are more advanced than ever, and they will only get more sophisticated as new algorithm updates are introduced. Instead of trying to fool the major search engines with keyword cramming and link farms, create relevant content that people genuinely want to view. Engage your audience with videos, pictures, and well-written articles. If you don’t have the time or skills to create content yourself, hire someone who does.
#2. Generate Quality Backlinks
In the past, every link was a good link. Today that is definitely not the case. In fact, links from irrelevant, sketchy, or spammy websites can actually result in your website being penalized. The best links are those that you earn organically, by creating excellent content that people want to share, so strive create content that answers a need — and do it better than your competitors. Before long, you’ll see the links roll in. Additionally, reach out to authoritative websites, and ask them to link your relevant content. Think of each backlink as a vote for your website. When Google sees that multiple reputable websites are ”voting” on your website by linking to it, your clout rises and your ranking follows.
#3. Multi-Platform Access
In 2016, computers are no longer the only way to view websites. Millions and millions of people rely more on their mobile phones and tablets than they do their desktops and laptops. If your website is not responsive on every type of screen possible, you are missing out on a massive audience that will never bother trying to visit your website again. As you might assume, this is naturally going to diminish your search engine rankings.
#4. Key Words and Phrases
Keywords are the core of SEO, but the strategies of 2010 won’t get you very far today. Of course, you still want to decide what makes your company unique, and use specific keywords that let you carve out your own niche. But now more than ever, it’s important not to over-saturate your content with your chosen keywords, as this may hinder — rather than help — your rankings. Instead, focus on variety. Use multiple variations of your keywords, and include plenty of synonyms. Google now uses semantic search algorithms to scope out user intent, so this is your best shot at ranking prominently. For instance, if you’re selling vinyl records, make sure that your content includes key terms like “vinyl albums,” “vintage records,” and “vinyl music.”
#5. Be Prepared to Change Your Strategy
Sometimes the best strategy is being prepared for the unknown. Many of the SEO Practices of yesterday are no longer usable today. SEO as a whole is about the journey, not the destination. You should be prepared to reevaluate current strategies and implement new ones as needed. Google’s Penguin and Panda updates are scrutinizing websites more carefully than ever before, so avoid any black hat techniques, even if they seem harmless. What works today could become the spam of tomorrow, so stay focused on quality and the rest will come naturally.
Czrolyn Clarke is an SEO specialist and freelance writer from Boston, MA. She has contributed to numerous online publications, including Coalition Technologies. Her main focus is helping local businesses to understand how powerful the Internet is as a marketing tool. When she is not in front of a computer, she enjoys Red Sox games, wine tasting, and exploring the city with her dog.