If you asked me many years ago how to rank well in search engines, I would have told you it was all about keywords, link building, and meta data and explained what DMOZ was. Today, however, search engine optimization has greatly changed and will continue to change over the course of the year. You simply can’t get by anymore with the old tricks that were once so common because the internet has evolved.
I’m going to give you a few pointers that you should pay attention to if you’re concerned about visibility in search engines. SEO is no longer about stuffing your meta tags with keywords or building your website for search engines. Nowadays, you’ll want to scrap the idea of building for Google, and focus on building for actual people.
Social media plays a huge role in SEO now. Which is why it’s imperative to get your brand onto all of those social networking sites. The more social media shares you gather, the better. The more influential people who share your content… even better! SEO is (now more than ever) about social interaction and bases your ranking on the amount and quality of social reach. Being a Google product, Google+ plays an important role in this as well. If you’re not on Google+ yet, get on that! But don’t just sign up and let your account go stale. Build your following, generate shares for your content, and develop an online presence on the network. You’ll be glad you did!
Your content, of course, plays a huge part in SEO as well. Creating content for humans (i.e. no keyword-stuffed articles specifically made for search bots) that resonates with a particular readership or demographic is always your best bet. Create targeted content with the potential for high share rates and you’re golden.
Go mobile! If you haven’t made sure that your content is available on mobile devices, you could be hurting your traffic. Your site should be viewable on tablets and other devices, and your best option is to design a responsive theme for better readability. Users want content quickly without having to browse around your website. Mobile users should become a priority.
Link building is not what it once was. It’s not about submitting your link to as many places or directories as possible anymore, but instead about getting your link on high quality sites. This enforces to the search engines that you are a trustworthy site that people are talking about. Is this step more important than the others? Absolutely not. By building your brand/website you have a greater chance of being noticed by the “big guys”, so that of course should be your first step.
You’ll notice that you can’t do one of these three things without the other. Social media, link building, and content run hand in hand. Create your content, share it on social media and get people talking about it, and hopefully if you’ve done a great job some high quality sites will pick it up and share your link. Don’t shy away from submitting your stories or content to these high quality sites either.
What to Expect
If you haven’t already, you’ll start to see search engines focusing on the websites with great content instead of the ones that have horrible or outdated content which have made their way into rankings via old fashioned SEO tricks. This is a good thing! However, it also means that you have some work to do yourself. You’ll need to boost your online presence and establish yourself as somebody who produces great content… and the time to do that is now.