SEO, or search engine optimization, evolves and changes each and every year. As the huge search engines become more sophisticated, so practitioners of SEO techniques must rise to meet the challenge in order to help businesses and their websites achieve the higher rankings they expect. So, what’s new in the world of SEO and where should you be concentrating your budget over the coming months?
The rise in mobile technology generally, and features such as voice search in particular, mean that users’ queries are becoming both more complex and more specific in nature as time goes by. Given that this is the case, the big search engines like Google are increasingly focusing their attention on tweaks to their algorithms that divine the meaning behind a searcher’s query. This is as opposed to looking specifically for certain keywords or phrases. But what does this mean for website owners? Well, it doesn’t mean necessarily that SEO in the traditional sense – identifying the ‘right’ key words and phrases – is completely outmoded. But it does reinforce the often-quoted mantra, ‘content is king’. Mentioning the exact words that searchers may include in their queries is, of course, still important. But more than that, web authors need to think harder about the kinds of questions potential customers may ask when looking for their type of company; and focus their content and keywords around that instead. So how can you tell what your ideal target audience will type in, or verbally ask, when looking for products or services like yours? Simple: ask them! Online or offline, the best way to find out is through research.
If you already use social media to promote your brand and engage with your users, then take advantage of it. Run a quick poll, read through the kinds of questions past and prospective customers have asked about you and your business on Facebook and other forums; or even hold a face-to-face workshop. Your SEO agency will be fully up to speed with the subtle changes in Google’s algorithms too, so you can rely on them to have sources that will assist with this. Using your own website as the ultimate research tool is a great idea too. Do you have a search box or on online contact form? All this information can be analyzed to help you divine users’ intent when searching for what you offer. Once you and your SEO team have captured the intent behind searchers’ queries, the next stage is to create content that addresses that. Here, a rich mix of types of content is useful; not only for addressing what your public needs to know, but also for helping Google and the other search engines see you as an authoritative source in your field.
Articles, blogs, images, video, press releases and engagement with social media all help raise your profile and give your audiences the information they need to know to convert them to paying customers. And if you don’t have the time or the knowledge to tackle all this, make sure you choose an SEO expert who does!