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If you’re a small business owner or a budding entrepreneur, you’ll know about the importance of SEO. It’s an acronym that both fills you with hope and dread. There’s hope that you’ll actually be able to make some money from it, thanks to the ability of search engine optimization to deliver tangible benefits to your business. But you also dread it, because it’s a long and challenging process and takes a significant degree of expertise to get right. What’s worse, getting it wrong and accidentally doing “black hat SEO” can get you into trouble with the search engines and undo all of your hard work.
Moz, an SEO website, recently released some of its predictions for the year ahead. Thanks to the rise in mobile usage, it is predicting an 88 percent increase in the importance of mobile-friendliness. It’s also suggesting that the importance of things like dwell time and readability signals will increase by around two-thirds. Clearly, the objectives of companies like Google is to make sure that they are delivering their user to sites that generate real value for them, not just spammy sites designed to trick their SEO bots.
So with that in mind, what should companies be doing in the year ahead to make sure that they are adapting to these changes in SEO. Here are some powerful ways to SEO in 2017.
Keywords used to be at the core of Google’s search algorithm. But thanks to years of abuse, and the fact that it isn’t actually all that effective, it’s decided to change the way that it operates. Yes, keywords are still important, but there’s no need to have them constantly spammed throughout your website pages. For instance, if you’re targeting the keywords, “best pizza shop,” then just a couple of references on your website will do. You don’t have to spam “best pizza shop” throughout the body of your website text for Google to pick up on that fact.
Search engines are also trying to do more to find out whether companies are producing quality, authoritative content. At the moment, they aren’t able to read and understand the text to ensure that it is of high quality so instead, they make use of related keywords to work out whether there’s a high chance that it’s a good article. For instance, if you’re writing a story on the latest solar panel technology, search engines will want to see words like “solar,” “battery” and “energy” peppered throughout the content.
It’s a good idea, says search engine expert Laetsch, to make sure that your article titles are the same as long-tail keyword searches used by customers, as search engines will still prioritize these over other related content.
Sites like https://www.simplilearn.com/digital-marketing/search-engine-optimization-seo-certification-training show that there’s a growing demand out there for learning how to do SEO on mobile, especially among smaller businesses. Mobile is becoming increasingly important, all thanks to the fact that it is becoming the dominant platform in the marketing space. Derek Edmond is the managing director at the social media marketing firm KoMarketing. He says that it’s important for businesses to make sure that Google and other search providers are actually able to understand the content of their mobile websites and apps. Firms that have easy-to-understand apps are much more likely to attract business on the B2B and consumer sides of their company, he says.
You might think that in a world of short attention spans that shorter articles would be better for attracting people to your site. But that’s not actually the case. It turns out that the most popular articles tend to be between 1800 and 2200 words in length, so pretty substantial. The reason for this is two-fold. First, it’s pretty hard for Google to establish an authority article, based on just a few hundred words. Yes, powerful things can be said in 300 words or less, but it’s rare to have a subject of such appeal or a writer with such a powerful command of the English language to make it work. Instead, Google prioritizes length, thanks to the fact that more useful content can be communicated in a 2000 word piece than something a lot shorter.
The other reason is that users themselves get more use out of longer articles, especially if they are interested in researching a particular topic like, say, SEO. The longer they spend on your site, thanks to a longer article, the longer they “dwell” and the more Google bumps your site up the rankings.
The paradigm in SEO used to be “how can I tweak my site or my content to trick search engines into boosting my site?” Now, thanks to the introduction of more than 500 algorithms by Google alone, that question has become “how can I make my content better than my competitor’s?”
The key to a great SEO experience today is to ensure that the quality of the content that you’re producing is high enough that it is useful to Google users. Google wants people using its search engine to find the content that they are interested in on the first page of its search results. Because of this content has to be targeted. There’s little point churning out titled like “the 5 best dishwashers” anymore because people aren’t usually all that interested in what they are, and even if they are, it’s not always particularly searchable.
The advice right now from those on the inside of the SEO community is to create an editorial calendar that sets out content which will appeal to your customers’ interests. www.ama.org says that sometimes it can be a good idea to curate content, taking a paragraph from here or there, and giving full credit and attribution. Take the content of others, write in a journalistic style, and make it your own.