Your digital marketing success depends upon bringing in qualified web traffic by achieving a high ranking in SERPs, but factors that impact search engine rankings are always evolving. Organic traffic is still the top inbound search channel, meaning that you should stay vigilant about changes to how Google and other search engines decide to list search results. Here are some important factors to watch as you plan your SEO strategy:
Your site needs to be fast and feature a compelling web design that looks great no matter what screen visitors view it on. That means it should be tested on mobile devices regularly, especially if you have implemented recent changes. Most users access websites using their phones the first time, making it especially vital that you make sure the mobile experience is as streamlined as possible.
Nothing chases off new users and damages search rankings as quickly as shoddy, low-quality content. Every blog article, infographic, video and social media post you create should reflect your brand messaging effectively and target your desired audience by addressing their specific concerns. Consider the buyer’s journey when coming up with new ideas for a piece of content for your site—what stage of the decision making process is the reader in? How will the content meet their needs and help them take the next step? Keeping the visitor’s intent in mind will allow you to create content that consistently brings in new users and keeps them coming back.
Including backlinks to authoritative sources helps your site’s credibility, in addition to making it easier for search engine crawlers to find and list your site. The more genuine backlinks you can organically cultivate, the better (within reason—don’t go overboard or Google will penalize your site for link spam). Building a profile of quality backlinks is a process that takes time and effort, but your increased visibility in search engine results will pay off in the long run.
Engagement drops off sharply after the first five results in Google. With so much competition for the top slots, you can’t afford to write off a ranking factor like on-page SEO. There is so much more to SEO than including the right keywords, although choosing effective keywords is still vital. You also need relevant, descriptive title tags and header tags for each page of your website. Additionally, URLs should be simple and contain keywords. You should include alt-tags describing your images as well, which will make them appear in image searches.
What to Avoid
As the process of search engine optimization evolves and becomes more sophisticated, marketers need to be aware that practices that may have worked in the past are now obsolete. That includes obvious things like keyword stuffing and link spam, as well as factors you might not be aware of, such as duplicate title tags. You should also avoid generic calls to action like “click here” in your anchor text (the text that displays in hyperlinks). Instead, include a brief description of the page you are linking to.
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