Just a few years ago, SEO management was as easy as “keyword stuffing” your way up the search engine rankings. Today it’s a different story, as search engines place a greater priority on relevance, usefulness, mobile-friendliness, speed, and security. SEO is still very much alive; it’s simply assumed a different form. Let’s examine what this evolution means for your own optimization efforts.
Relevance in SEO Management
If you’ve always assumed an attitude of “the more, the merrier” when it comes to instances of specific keywords in the body of your blog articles and web page content, chances are you’re hurting your SEO instead of helping it. This practice used to work when Google’s algorithm wasn’t savvy enough to judge your content beyond how many times you’d included those keywords.
These days, however, the search engine giant is more interested in your titles and headers than your body text. A couple of keyword usages in these critical spots can have far greater impact on your search rankings than a dozen of them cluttering your paragraphs. Additionally, individual keywords now do less for you than long-tail keywords. These keyword phrases may generate fewer total searches, but they add specificity, increasing the chances that your content will be relevant to those who find it.
In fact, relevance is pretty much where it’s at these days. Google’s addition of algorithmic filters such as Panda have weighted the scales in favor of unique content that seems relevant within the greater context implied by the keywords being employed. So you can no longer simply shoehorn several desirable keywords onto a website that doesn’t seem to bear any clear relationship to them. Google now cares about how much your website or blog’s overall meaning has for the viewers who arrive at it through search results.
Smart SEO Strategies to Embrace in 2016
With these changes in mind, what should you do to bring your SEO practices up to date? Since relevance is the new gold standard, you might start by optimizing your content. You want the weight of your online argument to be directly supported, not just by specific keywords, but also by synonyms and authoritative information that relate to those keywords, underlining for Google the fact that you really are addressing the concepts that matter to searchers.
But keyword usage and content relevance aren’t the only changes many website owners need to make in 2016. Google has also announced a push toward preferring responsive, “mobile-friendly” web design. If you’re still running a static or fixed website, invest in a more modern design unless it’s just too impractical for the way your customers use your site.
Internal links between web pages and up-to-date sitemaps are also more important now than ever in Google’s eyes. You can even gain higher search rankings by reinforcing your site’s security through SSL encryption and other methods, and by altering your design to promote faster page loading. Last but not least, make certain that your SEO techniques are being implemented consistently across all your social media channels, not just on your website.
SEO will continue to evolve, of course. But the more things change, the more they stay the same in one important sense: As long as you focus on creating content that truly matters to your target audience, and present that content to them as helpfully as possible, you’ll continue to stay ahead of the SEO management game.
by Jairo Gomez