Search engine optimization has been a vital requirement for online visibility since the day search engines first started indexing online content for consumer searches. Over the many years since that day, a tremendous range of practices and procedures has been developed. However, they have changed enormously since those early days. SEO evolution is an ongoing process, and if you’re still living in the past, chances are good that not only are you not seeing the results that you want, but that your site is being actively downgraded by search engines. Here’s what you need to know about modern SEO.
Once upon a time, the Internet was all about global reach and extending your marketing to cover all corners of the globe. Today, that’s not really the case any longer. While global reach is still important, it’s become more vital to build in local visibility. Why is this? A lot of it has to do with the way consumer search trends have changed. For instance, once, online shoppers were happy to search for products and buy them from national or international suppliers. Things have changed, though.
Many consumers have started using the Internet more as a search and reference tool than a way to purchase physical goods. For instance, let’s say that Joe is an avid kayaker. He uses the Internet to research the leading brands, styles and types of kayaks and associated gear, and then uses those same search tools to find a supplier in his hometown.
This gives Joe the ability to do several things. First, he gets to support local businesses. Second, it gives him the chance to actually see and touch the products before he buys them. Third, it gives him a hometown expert to which he can turn to answer questions or solve problems. In all of these situations, Joe isn’t buying things online – he’s using local search capabilities to find a supplier in his town and then going down to the shop to do business. You need to put local search to work on your own behalf.
Link Building Is Dead
In the past, link building was a vital activity for companies who hoped to improve their online visibility. Links are still important, but the way that you get those links has changed dramatically. A wide range of link building methods were employed at one time, from article directories with several outbound links to buying paid links on other websites. If you’re still using these methods, stop right now. You’re doing irreparable harm to your online presence. Today, you have to earn those links.
What is an earned link? Essentially, these are genuine links to your site from others. The person linking to you was impressed with your blog post, your product or your service and actively wants to tell others about it. That’s an earned link – it’s dramatically different from paid links or article directory links, and search engines now understand this difference. In fact, Google puts considerable weight on earned links, while other types of link building activities will downgrade your page rank and reputation online.
In the past, many companies did not really put much thought into how their site was laid out. However, site architecture has become increasingly important today. While it’s certainly important that you choose from high quality WordPress templates for your site, you also need to ensure that your theme utilizes clean code for page URLs and that your internal linking structure encourages search engine spiders to crawl the entire site (and allows them to do so easily). Load times are also important – heavy widget use should be discouraged. Use WordPress themes that offer built-in functionality rather than adding on layer after layer of widgets and tools that really just slow down load times.
As a final note on site architecture, you should take the time to ensure that your website is mobile compatible. Most mobile devices do not have the screen real estate necessary to display a standard website well. You can encourage mobile visitors to spend more time on your site by enhancing mobile compatibility. While there are add-ons that can do this for your site, many new WordPress themes come with mobile compatibility out of the box, so to speak. If yours isn’t compatible, it might be time to consider upgrading.
Today, more than ever before, original content is vital. From your blog to your product descriptions, originality and uniqueness are essential to search engine visibility. Copied and pasted content will be the death knell of your site in search engine rankings. Take the time to provide your visitors with original, compelling, interesting content.
The world of modern SEO is a very different place from what it was just a few years ago. Make sure you understand the tips listed above.