When it comes to SEO, for better or worse, you’re playing for Google’s team . The thing is, Google changed the landscape a few years ago. So what are the new rules of SEO?
We'll be delving into this our Google Boot Camp for Communicators, going down July 17th at The Yale Club in NYC. Until then, here are three basic rules for solid SEO that can help communicators gain a much-needed base of tech literacy.
1. KEYWORDS, KEYWORDS, KEYWORDS –This is a fine art. Oh, you still want a primary keyword but Google frowns upon the practice of keyword stuffing. If you run afoul of Google -- let’s say the content quality is determined to be low by a Google manual review or your links are to spam sites -- expect to pay the price. A Google penalty can typically cost your site 10 to 20 places in the rankings, which is enough of a difference to take your site off the first page of search results.
And remember to do your homework. Research keyword trends to find the right, relevant keyword. Google will even help you do this. An understanding of what word or phrases consumers are using to search for something goes a long way toward driving social media traffic to your site. In addition, Google will help educate on other items to boost your site, such as using links to drive readers to other pages. Google calls these links “votes,” as in providing a link from Page A to Page B serves as an endorsement, of sorts, in Google’s eyes.
2. ARE YOU FAST AND MOBILE-FRIENDLY? – Two things that absolutely irk people – waiting for a page to load and finding it difficult to navigate. Again, Google can help. The search engine has free, easy tests to determine speed of your site as well as whether it is mobile-friendly. Mobile optimization is important. While 64 percent of users access the web via mobile and desktop devices, most of their time spent online--71 percent of it--is via a mobile device, according to IAB's Internet Advertising Revenue Report for half-year 2018. Two years ago, Google backed a project known as Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), an open-standard platform to help pages load more quickly on mobile devices. AMP has made it easy to download and use the format by learning how to create AMP pages.
3. PRODUCE MEANINGFUL CONTENT – OK, so let’s assume you’ve mastered keyword relevancy. You’re not done. It’s critical that any links you provide lead to meaningful content on your site. For one, you want to engage with potential customers, not turn them away. But also, Google is watching. Among its many Panda Updates was that content could not be copied from another site, duplicated from your own site, or be less than an optimal word court. Not only would it fail to register with Google’s crawlers, but you could also be punished by falling to the bottom of the rankings.
Keep in mind, SEO best practices are always changing. That's why we're doing a deep dive into SEO at our Google Boot Camp this summer. See you there!