The Internet is a wild and woolly place; it’s like the old wild west only digital. There are fortunes to be made, and lost, here. This is where millions of hopeful entrepreneurs explore ventures, billions engage with a daily cacophony of cats and furry critters, and plethora of vice and virtue multiply in a digital petri-dish.
Amid this binary jungle, we mere mortals adventurously jump in and try to navigate the rules, the requirements and the relentless stream of information, both the valuable and the utterly nonsensical.
And the rules keep changing.
So for all you jungle hopping digital pioneers here are a few tips in the latest SEO to help guide you through the undergrowth of algorithms and help you climb up through the ranks of the search engines.
Targeted Keyword Research
It’s easy to hit the most obvious keywords, and a quick look at Google’s keyword planner will help you find those keywords. Unfortunately, millions of others will use them too. So, you need to dig deeper.
Understanding your target market is key, do they use sophisticated, educated language, or laymen’s terms and slang? Are they mostly women or mostly men. What age group do they fall into? What about their ethnic background. This is where a little creative sleuthing can pay off. Think like your customer base and write as they speak.
How do you do this – social media research. Use Facebook, Twitter and Google +. See what they are saying about your brand, take note of the words they use when talking about products and services or what they want.
Identify where they are on the sales funnel.
Ideally, your web copy should be inclusive of all stages, but let’s say they are at the top of the funnel.
They need to be made aware of your product. Their search term might be “where can I buy blue suede shoes”. If they are already aware of where to buy blue suede shoes, their search term might be “bargain blue suede shoes”, “sales on blue suede shoes” or “designer blue suede shoes”, “quality blue suede shoes”. Now you see how important it is to identify your market and speak to their wants.
Think about the intention of the searcher. If you build kitchen cabinets, kitchen cabinets as a search term is too broad. It could relate to people buying, selling, building, mass manufacturing, designing, or custom building. Use long tail keyword phrases in your copy to target your market’s intentions. For example, handcrafted custom-built kitchen cabinets in Oregon.
Http or Https.
Google says switch to https. So you’d best just do it. Google wants to make the web a more secure playing ground, and states that switching to https will not slow down the performance of your website, but in the very near future, all sites with broken certificates will be deemed unsafe.
Changing your site to https quickly will have a positive effect on your ranking and put you ahead of the game – for a while anyway.
Sitemaps – don’t leave home without one.
An XML sitemap is still an important signal for search engines and you should update your sitemap regularly, whenever you do it tells the bots something has changed and they need to crawl over to your site to find out what’s been going on.
Be responsive to mobile.
Should you make your site mobile friendly, heck yeah!. I mean don’t you get annoyed when searching sites on your phone that don’t translate to mobile. Right! and so do all your prospective customers – so do it and do it now!
Google has decided that from April 21, 2015, mobile friendly sites will gain ranking points over non-mobile friendly sites, for all mobile search queries.
Beware Bouncing Users.
It’s very tempting to create google ads or headlines that will attract readers, even if they are slightly misleading, Upworthy anyone! Bing takes includes user behaviour in it’s ranking signals and therefore a big bounce rate can cause a big hit to your ranking.
If you have engaged in placing unscrupulous links on your site, stop it and stop it now. Penguin is on to you and not only is it a cheap way gaining ranking it can seriously damage your site’s credibility.