The rules governing effective SEO practices change quickly. Over the years,Google GOOG +3.68% alone has made thousands of changes to the way it finds and prioritizes information on the web. While most of these alterations have been small, there have also been several major changes, which has significantly impacted how marketers think about SEO.
The plain truth: what was effective yesterday may not be as effective today. So what options exist? Which are the best ideas for your marketing efforts? And finally, does your SEO advisor know the ins and outs of the latest search engine standards and practices?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Spending a lot up front these days is silly. Having your website optimized to appear higher in the SERPs when keywords are entered into a search engine, might not be a bad idea. But you shouldn’t be handing over large portions of your budget in advance. Now, over time, if your website rises in the search results, in turn, allowing you to experience more organic traffic and leads, then you can recognize the value. To help you make the most of your web-marketing, try SEO services that are priced on a performance basis; you won’t be charged until your website is ranked 30 or above in search engines like Google, Yahoo YHOO +0.36%! and Bing*. In short, never pay upfront for services that may fall short. (They typically will.)
Pay-per-Click (PPC): PPC allows websites to place paid advertisements at the top of a search results page, which appear when related terms are entered into the search engine. With each click, visitors are taken to your site, allowing for a quick traffic boost and increased conversion potential. These ads can be geo-targeted to potential clients in your demographic. In short, the entire focus is identifying certain key word and phrases to be identified with a particular business – at an affordable pay per click rate.
Landing Page Optimization (LPO): A landing page may be defined as any page your site that visitors arrive at from clicking an inbound link. By optimizing layout, visuals, and content of this first page, your site will experience an increased conversion rate.
Google Algorithm Savvy: Each year, Google changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times. While most of these changes are minor, Google occasionally rolls out “major” algorithmic updates (such as Google Panda, Penguin, and the latest – Hummingbird) that affect search results in significant ways.
For example, Hummingbird represents the biggest change to Google’s search algorithm since 2010 (‘Caffeine’), impacting no less than 90 percent of searches. Despite all the troubles it causes to SEO peddlers, Hummingbird is definitely a step in the right direction and could prove beneficial to those “doing things the right way.” In fact, the update is far more capable of understanding human language subtleties – thereby improving results. Google’s most recent changes intend to take a bite at sties with pages where content is buried under tons of ads, are spammy, and have little to offer the search community.
For search marketers, understanding Google updates can help explain changes in rankings and organic website traffic, and ultimately improve search engine optimization. While frustrating, these changes are moving the world of internet marketing toward something greater. Which brings us to our final and most important point…
Build Quality Sites, Not Links: Although the criteria governing search continue to change at a rapid (and at times challenging) pace, take solace in the fact that things are moving in the right direction. Before, finding out how to “game the system” was just as valuable as learning and observing the rules. As popular search engine algorithms grow smarter, web content and search results get much better.
Drop the tactical SEO behavior of the past and adopt a more strategic approach. Not only will your SEO efforts naturally improve, you will be helping to create more value for your clients and potential customers.