Is SEO dead? It is for businesses that aren’t creating content to educate their audience. It’s dead in the sense where you can’t just add keywords into URLs and titles to rank above competitors. You must put in the effort to implement quality, original content throughout your website to see the SEO results you dream of.
Search engines are not being searched less in 2018. Instead, they are being searched differently by users. Every business must develop into the future with the introduction of new technology at every turn and the need to stay on top of trends in order to satisfy target users. SEO will continue to evolve, just as every field does, to stay alive in our digital world.
Content Marketing – The Foundation of SEO
According to Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, all content on a website should be created to help users, with no intent to harm or deceive. Low quality websites, in terms of content, will be given the lowest PQ rating, making them harder to optimize on search engines. In the past, SEO and content marketing were often described as two separate elements. This isn’t the case today. To satisfy Google’s SEO requirements in 2018, content must be based around what people want to read, backed up by research, statistics, and original information. Digital marketing, SEO in particular, revolves around more than just keywords, headings, and alt tags. Consistency in value, effective website optimizations with strong link profiles, and creating attention-grabbing content should be the foundation of every SEO campaign. If you are missing one of these components, your SEO strategy won’t survive.
Things to focus on for effective content marketing in SEO:
- Your brand’s authority
- Ensuring your content connects with users needs.
- The use of high quality resources.
- Facts and statistics from reliable sources.
- Supplementary content, including blogs.
- Well-written, long form style copywriting without “fluff.”
- Keep your articles straight to the point and on topic throughout.
On top of earned backlinks, keywords, and alt tags, the voice of your content should always be created with the goal to engage users, provide value, and educate. If you incorporate all of these elements with a goal-oriented mindset, you’re on the right track.
SEO Stop Words
In order to save disk space, decrease server loading issues, and allow for quicker search results, search engines don’t consider hundreds of common words, referred to as stop words. These stop words include, but are not limited to, a, cannot, necessary, the, useful, either, more, value, etc. It’s important to note that some “stop words” are considered if the meaning of the phrase changes completely when the stop word is removed. Search engines analyze the main keywords in search queries to ensure the meaning remains the same. For example, in the search query “the revenant: movie” the stop word “the” is considered since it’s part of a movie title. If “the” wasn’t taken into account in this particular query, the search results wouldn’t be accurate.
It’s not necessary to remove stop words from URLs because it can make them hard to read, which actually hurts your SEO. For example, if you write an article about growing up with brothers, the original URL would most likely be, “/growing-up-with-brothers/.” Without stop words, the URL would read as, “/growing-brothers/,” which is misleading and doesn’t relate to the article’s theme. While it’s important to remove stop words whenever possible, if it changes the context of the page or decreases quality, keep it. As mentioned earlier in this article, creating quality content that is easily digestible and doesn’t deceive readers is the top priority in SEO.
Gartner experts have predicted 30% of web browsing sessions will involve “voice first browsing” by 2020, which means search queries will be completed using only voice commands. With the introduction of Amazon’s Echo, AirPods, and more, the need to use a keyboard to search Google is becoming less common, especially for younger generations. Voice search is changing how SEO experts create content because it now requires a conversational tone, rather than keywords alone. It used to be more simple by targeting short keywords with high volumes. Since people are able to search longer, detailed keywords using bots, such as Siri, SEO is actively accomodating to this change. Creating high quality, consistent content with in-depth research, sources, and on topic themes, you’ll be able to connect with voice search users on a deeper level.
User Experience Design
Imagine your website is ranking on the first page of Google. It has high quality on-page SEO strategies implemented, including links, backlinks, meta titles & descriptions, and well-written content. Users are accessing your site more than ever before. Although, you notice a high bounce rate, which means users are exiting your site quickly without exploring other pages. Why is this happening? It’s simple. Your web design isn’t up to par with your SEO quality. Good web design starts with pagespeed. If your website takes 3 seconds or longer to load on mobile or desktop, 53% of users will abandon your site. Optimizing images, videos, and other content can help increase your page speed greatly.
Elements of high quality user experience web design in SEO:
- Quality calls-to-action (CTAs) that lead to conversion-based web forms, email funnels, or contact pages with clear information about next steps.
- Internal links to related pages on your site.
- Crisp images that are in line with the theme.
- Condensed copy that doesn’t clutter the page.
- Most importantly, create a responsive, clean, and uniquely branded design that stands out and loads faster than your competitors.
- Prioritize web design because it is key to conversions. Always put users needs before your own.
We live in a mobile-first world. Everyone accesses websites, search engines, social media, emails, and text messages from anywhere, at any time. This wasn’t true almost 10 years ago. In 2009, less than 1% of people accessed the Internet through a mobile device. Up until 2013, mobile phone Internet use was still below 20%. Between 2016 and 2018, mobile traffic increased from 43.6% to 52.2%. The high spike in mobile usage in 2018 has created new challenges for SEO, but it is always evolving with new trends and technology.
The term “mobile-first indexing” does not mean mobile-only, since people still access the Internet on desktops and other devices. Although, it is crucial that SEO optimized websites include a mobile-friendly version of every desktop version. If a mobile website has low pagespeed, bad user experience, and is less valuable than the desktop version, it will negatively impact your SEO and rankings. More than half of users access websites mobily in 2018, which is more than any other device. To stay ahead of the game, focus on designing your mobile website template first, then move onto the desktop version for better results.
Should I Invest in SEO?
If your business is nearly invisible online or you want to boost visibility even more, SEO is the answer. Increase your conversions and stay on top of trends. Effective SEO starts with a high quality SEO expert who understands the importance of content marketing, user experience, mobile-first indexing, and more. Read the article, “How to Choose an SEO Agency - 7 Key Traits,” to help streamline your business.