What Do SEO, June, and Yoga Have in Common?
It’s the last day of June and although I am excited that summertime is full effect, I can’t help to be a little sad. Why? Because June happens to be one of my favorite months. I got to celebrate another birthday on the 28th, (Yay!), but this June was extra special because I was asked to contribute to the Rising Tide’s Society member guide on a topic that I am very passionate about - SEO Strategy. (It’s also close to the anniversary of the first article I wrote for the RTS community last July.) So, when the RTS team asked me to give an update on how SEO has evolved, how could I refuse?!
If you aren’t a member of Rising Tide’s Society (which I highly recommend you join) and haven’ had a chance to read, here it is.…
Google is still the standard for SEO and that is not going to change anytime soon. But one thing is for sure, search engine optimization has definitely evolved and will continue to evolve. The folks at Google still focus on content, relevancy, and frequency wherever you show up online. But they now place more emphasis on the importance of speed, mobile search, and user experience (UX):
Speed: Speed has increasingly become a major factor in optimization now that a larger percentage of web traffic comes from mobile devices. Having a heavy website that is not mobile-friendly with huge images and unnecessary empty spaces in the actual code does affect the amount of time it takes your site to load which ultimately negatively impacts your search rankings. In today’s digital market space where mobile is woven into our everyday lives, initiatives like Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) have been launched to ensure beautiful, high-performing websites with faster loading times. To test your site for speed, use this free resource from Google: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/.
Mobile Search: In November 2016, Google rolled out its first mobile search index to be used as a primary way to respond to queries. (Search queries are the string of words or real-world terms that we type into the search box to find sites pertaining to those words). What does this mean? You need to make sure that your site is mobile-friendly, even though top Google execs Gary Illyes and Paul Haahr have both said this should not change the overall rankings. Here’s how you find out whether your site is mobile friendly: https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com.
User Experience (UX): User experience (UX) is a growing part of effective SEO these days. After all, the main goal of any search engine is to improve its performance to provide the best results possible. For this reason, Google has created the artificial intelligence program called RankBrain to work in conjunction with its existing search algorithms. (RankBrain is a piece of software that mimics our behavior and navigates the web like a person to make sure that the relevancy of the search continues into the targeted website). Since Google is keeping silent on what exactly RankBrain is doing for searches, we can only speculate that Google wants to mimic the behavior of a typical user to increase the quality of their searches.
As a result, search engines with the help of RankBrain have gotten a lot smarter at determining what is considered a good search result. Now more than ever, you need to make it a point to deliver an easy-to-use and navigate website with high quality, credible content and actionable information relevant to what people are searching for.
Establish Your Practice
So….. what does all this mean? It means that you have to treat SEO like yoga - you have to practice it on a consistent basis in order to fully benefit. It’s a constant ‘work in progress’ so the goal is to keep at it. It should not be an afterthought or just implemented later. It also isn’t a once-and-done process. Every time you are about to create new online content (blog post, landing page, social media post), you have to think about whether this action will optimize your web presence so that your target audience can find you. You have to work on creating really great content that continues to make you relevant by focusing on keywords (general, long-tail and latent semantic indexing keywords). You have to make a conscious effort to optimize everything you post on the web in order to speed things up - meaning that you keep your image size in check, you use friendly URLs, and you incorporate tags (meta tags, alt tags, title tags). You have to think about mobile and make sure that your web presence is mobile-friendly. By being consistent in your SEO / DMO practice, you will be able to attract your target audience, and they will be able to find you.