Search Engine Optimisation is a difficult nut to crack. Just when you think you have it all figured it out, Google releases another killer update and your website tanks. Luckily it’s not all a tale of woe. With a bit of effort, you can get your SEO efforts back on track and stay ahead of the game – and here’s how.
This is the bit where I remind you of the benefits of publishing great content. It is no longer possible to get away with poorly written, illiterate content. Readers don’t like it and nor does Google. Search engines will penalise your website if you publish bad content. It is never a good idea to rip off anyone else’s content either.
Always focus on user experience. Google takes note when people spend a while on your site. It knows that if people don’t get the results they are looking for, they click away, so if readers are sticking around, you must be doing something right.
Go longer if you can. Longer content performs better in the search results, but don’t forget to break it up with sub-headings, images and bullet points. This creates a better user experience and makes the content easier to scan.
Link building has had some bad rap in the last few years. For a long time, webmasters put lots of effort into building back links. Any links were good in their eyes, even if they linked back to seriously dodgy sites that bore no relevance to the main website. The Penguin update soon put paid to that strategy. Literally overnight, thousands of websites were nuked.
Today you should still build links, but be careful which sites you link back from. If Google sees any dubious patterns in your links, you will be hit with a Penguin penalty.
Don’t Overdo the SEO
We all know about keywords. Targeting the right keywords is good. Keywords tell the search engines how to classify your website. If you pick the right ones, your website will appear in the search results for a particular query. If you target the wrong keywords, you’ll be waiting forever to see any results.
What you shouldn’t do, however, is overcook the goose. Using too many keywords is not good SEO practice. Text stuffed full of keywords is like a big red flag to Google. Write your content for humans not machines and insert keywords naturally.
Mobile is the new way forward. Half of all search queries come from mobile devices and Google is increasingly favouring websites that have been optimised for mobile. Mobilegeddon was rolled out a year ago. Almost immediately websites were ranked based on whether they were mobile friendly.
The criteria for being mobile-friendly is simple: websites need to display properly on a mobile device, have no Flash, and have links spaced well apart so users can click them easily. Luckily Google lets you know if your website is not up to scratch, but if you want to be proactive, use Google’s handy check tool.
SEO is continually evolving, so you can’t build a website and then sit back for a year or two. To achieve success with SEO, you have to keep trying different things. Read up and be aware of what’s happening in the SEO world, as this can be really helpful if you are new to SEO.
As long as you give your readers a good experience, they will keep coming back. Delivering content people actually want to read is more important than anything else. If you get this right, you will achieve success in 2016.