While it may come as a surprise to some people, SEO is still alive and kicking.
Inc. magazine published click-bait piece recently with the title "SEO is Dead." It promoted a "new" concept they refer to as online audience optimization (OAO). But here's the thing. OAO isn't anything new. In fact, it's what smart SEOs have been doing for a really long time. As search engines have shifted toward more sophisticated language processing, creating content people love has become absolutely critical.
To achieve improved rankings in the year to come, here are ten bullet-proof SEO and OAO tips for your business. They'll help you win, regardless of what algorithm updates Google throws at you:
1. Create a Google Local Page
Not every business can sign up for a page on Google places. However, if your organization has a verifiable, brick-and-mortar location, you're eligible. It doesn't matter if your customers exist across the country, or around the world. What's in it for you? Your company will enjoy increased visibility in local search!
In fact, web expert Casey Ark estimates the lifetime value of a Google local page for businesses at $10,000 or more!
2. Perform Regular Content Audits
Performing audits of your content assets is about as exciting as it sounds. However, it's definitely a critical step to take on a regular basis. Strive to evaluate, compile, and correct your content at least once a year. You'll benefit from:
- Removing or avoiding duplicate content
- Eliminating bad external or internal links
- Updating (or repurposing) outdated articles
- Improving formatting, scannability, and title tags
3. Keyword Stuffing is Out. Data Mining is In.
Your SEO practice definitely needs to involve keyword research. But not for the outdated reasons of churning out thin content to "rank" for keywords. That just doesn't work.
I recommend using top keyword research tools like a data scientist would. Use your research to "mine" insight on topics that are trending in search and on social media. Learn what your competitors are doing, and do it better.
For more insight, I recommend our blog Keyword Strategy the Right Way.
4. Embrace Long List Posts
People absolutely love high-quality list blogs. However, they're also an amazingly great tool for SEO. Marketer Brian Dean swears by long list posts for gaining rankings. In fact, he's able to prove that this approach has helped him outrank some seriously high-authority blogs, including Google's own content guidelines!
The right kind of list blogs are usually:
- Very long
- Extremely well-researched
- Include in-depth tips and hacks under each point
To learn more, I recommend Dean's video!
5. Get Your Website in Order
If your website is an outdated mess, quality content marketing won't benefit your SEO. User experience matters enormously. Your website should be quick-to-load, visually-attractive, and easy-to-navigate.
6. Stop Buying Links
I really mean it. It's not going to benefit you one bit in 2015. In fact, transparently paid links might actually negatively affect your site's ranking and visibility in search.
7. Get People Talking
Did you know that Google has started using something called "implied links?" That's just a fancy way of saying brand mentions. The more talk your company gets on other websites, news sources and social media, the more authority you gain in the eyes of search engines.
8. Focus Your Efforts
Each piece of content and page on your website should serve a single purpose, as SEO Charles Crawford recommends. Not 2, 3, 4 or even 5. Taking a laser-sharp focus when it comes to creating content will force you to write more in-depth articles.
9. Find a Niche
If you haven't taken the time to really define what your blog is about, do it now. Search engines aren't dumb to the fact you can provide richer value within a well-defined vertical. Pick a subject matter, an angle, and find your unique style in the months to come.
10. Inspire Human Behavior
Search engine algorithms today have been compared to artificial intelligence. Really, it's not far from the truth. Human signals (including social signals) are a huge factor in achieving improved ranking. Write quality content that people comment on, share, and talk about. It's the best tactic for SEO and OAO.
What will you include in your SEO strategy for 2015? Share in the comments!