From the moment Google rolled out Panda and Penguin, the world of search engine optimization has never been the same again. Since then, webmasters have been kept on their toes. The days of black tactics are long gone. And everyone trying to fulfill the demands of search engines.
Working on content for search engine bots is no longer effective. In fact, that is a sheer waste of resources. Search engines currently appreciate content that is designed specifically to add value to the lives of the audience. This is where you start your website audit.
The demands of search engines are no longer about search engine indexing, but about what people want. Is the content on your site meeting the needs of your audience? Before you publish content on your pages, you must make sure it is properly optimized to meet the needs of the audience. This is the only integrated SEO approach that will help you keep your website alive.
User review is one of the first demands of search engines
Reviews by your audience can be useful to your content marketing strategy. However, you must be very careful about how you handle this because it might also be the cause of your downfall. A good example of this is Wikipedia and Amazon. Wikipedia thrives on user-generated content, and it works so well for them because they appear on virtually the simplest of search requests.
“For our clients, we have built into our content an authentication process as a safeguard against anonymous review sources. One thing we emphasize is on appreciating criticism online. Our clients have seen a 33% organic traffic boost than what they had earlier on, without a review section’’ says Sarah Kasprowicz, Content Advisor at Essay Writing Land.
A careful study of how Amazon works will reveal that so many of the success stories for individual sellers come from the reviews people leave on their pages. In fact, reviews have been pivotal to the success of Amazon, because of the trust it creates, not just in the brands, but in the sellers.
In contrast, the kind of content that buyers and sellers churn on eBay is not usually some of the best you can come across. This is why when Google first rolled out Panda, eBay was one of the big names that were hit hard. So, how does this apply to your website?
Quality reviews can guarantee you impressive traffic, with no less than a 25% increase in organic traffic. Google, in particular, tends to rank pages with user reviews highly, especially those with good reviews.
To protect yourself from the kind of fate that befell eBay, you must have in place a quality assurance strategy. You need moderation to make sure the reviews that come in are relevant, and of the kind of quality, you would appreciate.
When we talk about content, we must not restrict ourselves to the actual content. The content discussion encompasses a lot, especially analytics. You should have a capable analytics team, studying user behavior to understand the way your audience interacts with your website, and other websites similar to yours.
Study how people search for the content you create. By studying and understanding keywords, you have a better grasp of the type of content you should be publishing. Why is this important? This knowledge helps you avoid the most common mistake content curators make – low-volume content.
A careful study of keyword behavior will help you bridge the gap between user interactions online, your offering, and the users’ needs relating to your product offering. Given that search engines are consistently improving their semantic search algorithms, you have to keep advancing and improving your website content as and when the optimization demands change.
Dealing with duplicate content
Having duplicate content on your website might be hurting your performance without your knowledge. It is very easy to make this mistake. You will find a scenario where perhaps, you have included a filter within the parameters of your URL. A common parameter is unique colors for a product you are selling.
The damage that this does to your website is not the same as the damage you suffer from duplicate content on multiple websites. However, what it does, is to weaken the impact of the search engine influence you would have had on the affected page. Assuming you had done this on so many pages, the negative impact on all the pages combined will affect your ranking online.
How do you fix this? Review your code and use the rel=canonical tag so that it only directs to a single URL for all pages that might look similar. And in simple words, we can also call it “solving the canonical issue.”.
Promotion and publishing
Two important things work hand in hand with your content; social engagement and linking. Once again, this calls for a content audit. Are the websites that are linking to your pages relevant to the keywords you are optimizing and the content you have? Have your team take a look at the outbound and inbound links. If this is not the case, you need a complete overhaul.
Another option would be to study your competition. Look at the authority of the websites that link to their content. This can give you an idea of what your next phase in improving your website should be.
On social engagement, the emphasis will be on your keywords. Are you promoting the keywords effectively in your social media campaigns? Study your competitors’ activity on social media. How does this relate to their rank compared to yours? Trending topics on social media tend to be so versatile, and at times volatile. For this reason, you need to be on top of your game, particularly in analyzing trends. About trends, the following are some of the questions you need to think about:
How is your content relevant to the trending topic?
What is your semantic approach to relevant trending topics?
With a carefully worked out publishing and promotion plan on social media, it is possible to drive double or even triple traffic growth to your website, from places like Twitter. Primarily, the success here will be based on how well you can create a cohesive link between your content strategy and social media strategy.
It goes without saying, that your website content must be SEO-friendly. How do you achieve this? The following is a brief guideline of what you must do.
Another thing which is the demand of search engines is originality. If your content is not authentic, it will add no value, which means you have no business creating it at all. Original, well-curated content usually stands out. This does not mean you cannot borrow ideas from somewhere else. Borrowing ideas are okay. It is your presentation of the ideas that will either make or break your content plans.
There are lots of tools that will help you in this regard. Any credible webmaster should have access to tools like Copyscape, Hemingway, or Grammarly. There are so many others out there. The underlying reason here is that search engines do not appreciate plagiarism, and plagiarized content will not rank properly in SERPs.
Titles are among the first things people skim through when searching. Do not just write any title that comes to mind. Play around with a few, until you settle on the best title. Optimize your title. Where possible, have a keyword in the title.
A good title should be devoid of redundant words. Keep the title between 50 and 60 characters, because this is what search engines display. While on display, be sure to keep your URL as relevant to your title as possible.
While keywords are not at the forefront of providing search engines a guide on what the title is about, they play an important role in determining useful topics you can discuss and guide your content.
Loading keywords on your page is a mistake people used to make before Google rolled out Penguin and Panda algorithms. At the moment, quality content holds more value than loading content with keywords. In fact, keyword stuffing is, in most cases, counterproductive.
The internet audience today is an impatient lot. People barely have time to read very long passages, unless you already have a following, who appreciate lengthy posts. But, readability is not just about the length of your posts, it is also about grammar.
Your sentences should be easy to read, free of grammar and syntax errors. A lot of people are put off when they notice grammatical mistakes in the first sentence, and they could easily move on to something else.
Content optimization has advanced to the point where images are just as important as the content you are creating. These days, people conduct image searches too. You should ignore visual content at your own peril. In short, we can say that the images that satisfy the demands of search engines in many ways.
Image optimization is very simple. You must use relevant file names for your images. Pay attention to the size of the image files. The bigger the file size, the slower your website will load. Have a title for the images or an alt text.
While stock images have been useful, it is advisable that you spend on quality image production. Get original images where possible. Generic images might be good placeholders, but for the audience, they might not be as appealing as you would like.