Search engine optimization is continuously evolving and it is up to the SEO experts in the industry to make sure that they are up to date. If they are not keeping an eye on rankings or changes in Google’s algorithm they may suffer some harsh consequences related to their website rankings. This can result in a loss of profits for you and (even worse) your client, which no agency wants.
The truth of the matter is that Google has control and they choose what happens on their software. They have experts and coders working all day trying to find ways to stop aggressive black hat SEO from ruining their business, giving searchers falsified information based on dirty backlink building.
This is why we have seen so many algorithm and security updates on their system like Panda and Penguin, which allows Google to automatically assess a web page and deem it both high-quality and Google friendly or spammy and useless.
It is for this reason why keeping up to date with trends and Google’s changes are more important than ever before, so here are a 6 simple and effective ways you can make sure you stay ranked and remain in Google’s good books.
Make Content Engaging and Helpful
Why do people search in Google? Because they are looking for information (most of the time). I know some may argue against this but, for the majority, individuals come to Google for help and info and stick to Amazon when they’re looking to make a purchase. Google is very aware of this and ranks sites heavily on their content.
It is more important than ever to make sure that you are writing high-quality content that answers as many questions as possible. A study by Backlinko found that the highest ranked sites in niches normally had more content, approximately 1500+ words. When you are trying to rank a web page in Google, write it as long as you can without breaking away from the subject. Add media and remember to keep keyword optimization smart, not excessive. Google can see an over-optimized page from a mile off and recent updates seem to be focusing on this on-page aspect more and more in 2017.
Build Links with Relevancy in Mind
Unfortunately, you cannot go on the internet and begin building links from any site you please. Well, saying that, you can but you won’t get great results and you may even receive a slap from Google’s algorithm. Google has come down hard on spammers and terrible backlinks from spammy, irrelevant sites. With newer and better systems Google can now check the backlinks of your site and assess the anchor text, the co-citations and the quality of the site in general.
The truth of the matter is that Google wants to deliver its users relevant results that direct them to more relevant results. That is also the reason why it is beneficial to include outbound links on your posts – it indicates that you’re part of a community. If the site is not only low in authority and trust but also completely irrelevant to your site, Google will not take it as a viable source to rank you and you may not see a lot of SERP movement.
Matt Cutts announced himself that relevancy is the new page rank. Make sure backlinks are on relevant sites and use contextual anchor text that relates to the content it’s pointing too.
Use Google’s Web Tools
Google has restricted the use of many handy tools in the past, including the Keyword Planner (which is still available but no longer shows specific volumes) and the keyword tool on Google Analytics. However, this most definitely doesn’t mean they should be abandoned completed.
Google invests a lot of time and money to make sure that their webmasters have a bundle of tools and equipment to help them succeed with their business. When you look at all the options they offer you can begin to see the opportunity that you’ve missed. They offer features like the Keyword Planner (still incredibly useful), webmaster tools like sitemap submission and page rank, and if you cannot find any use for these tools there are a bunch of third-party tools that, in some cases, can be even more beneficial for your SEO efforts. Some of these include Moz, SEMrush, and Ahrefs.
Social Media is More Powerful than You Think
Social media is actually a lot more powerful than SEO. That concept can be hard to accept if you have been committed to SEO your entire life and have always seen results. The truth is, however, is that your audience are probably using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram a lot more than Google. Sure, Google gets a lot of searches on a daily basis, but when you compare that to the number of sessions on social media it means nothing.
It is so important that you jump on the social media bandwagon because it is not only a great source of additional traffic but it also provides your SEO with no-follow social links, which add credibly to your campaigns and help improve trust. Even if there is a continuous debate over the effect of social links on web page ranks (because they are no-follow), they still have a place in the algorithm, whether you like it or not.
Also, social media acts as a way to communicate to your audience and some companies use it as a form of customer service. It gives you to the opportunity to close the seller-buyer gap and talk to customers on a personal level.
You need to be concerned about Site Metrics
When people think of SEO they immediately jump to the conclusion that backlinks are the best way to climb the SERP ladder. This may be true to an extent but Google has been making some changes and backlinks in combination with content and RankBrain are what really matter with SEO.
We have already covered content briefly as well as backlinks, but what about RankBrain. It isn’t really mentioned a lot in SEO and that is because not a much is known about it. Google themselves are still trying to work out how the algorithm works and learns – it’s a learning process on both ends. RankBrain is a form of AI that looks at lots of different signals that come from your site, including metrics like click-through rates and bounce rates.
What does this mean for you? Basically, you need to make sure that your site is user-friendly and has lots of hooks to keep the reader on the site. You also want to make sure the snippets/metadata for your pages are catchy and makes the searcher feel compelled to click it. This relates to the first point but it is important to make the content engaging and relevant! At the very least you should be capturing emails so you have some control over your traffic.
Keep a Fresh Eye on your Competition
If you are in a competitive niche or are in competition locally against another business, it is very important that you watch their site closely and monitor their performance. This is even more important when the competitors are also performing SEO. If they are staying in the top positions they are doing something right. Check their site, SEO strategy, and content. Your job is to either mimic or improve – we always suggest you improve on it.
Using tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush and Majestic are fantastic when it comes to seeing what your competitors are doing when it comes to SEO. Ahrefs is great for mass backlink checking, providing you with relevant, clean link opportunities; SEMrush is great for keyword analysis and page rank checks and Majestic is great for anchor text checks and topical flow.
SEO is an ever-changing game and in order to stay in that top position, you need to keep one eye on the rankings and one eye on the algorithm. It is essential that you play along with Google and don’t break their rules. There are so many dark practices that you can perform to achieve quick, easy rankings (PBNs, Web 2.0s, etc) but they are not as effective as white hat outreach and broken backlink building. Use the tips above to stay on the good side of Google. The last thing you need is a virtual slap and a decrease in site traffic.