With the likes of Bing and Google constantly evolving, having an up-to-date SEO strategy is critical to one’s online success. With over 200 factors to consider, this is easier said than done. Therefore, to maximise your time, focus on seven key areas for the remainder of 2011.
Start with relevant content. This can come in many forms whether its websites, social media platforms or online news articles. If you want to show up for important search terms, you need to build your content around what people are searching for. Also try to incorporate your most important keywords into the first or second paragraphs of your content, this will improve your searchability. This may all seem obvious, because it is, but it is amazing how many sites fail to do this.
The Panda update has definitely made its mark in the online community, causing some companies to move from the top of the search results into the dark abyss of page 2 and below. The Panda update aims to improve the web browser’s experience by penalising sites that don’t offer original and relevant content. With Google, the dominant global search engine, make sure you are up-to-date with their latest requirements which will soon include Panda 2.2.
It’s a time old adage – people respond better to someone or something they can both see and hear. According to Cisco, by 2013 90% of the web’s content will be video based. This is one area you cannot afford to ignore. Integrate video into your website, your social media platforms and your general content dissemination. To limit bandwidth consumption through your site, stream video or audio via third party sites such as YouTube or Metacafe.
Even though they are no longer the primary online search factor, meta tags still play an important role both from an SEO and general search perspective. With a plethora of content at our fingertips, if you come across a web listing with an irrelevant title or description, chances are you will just scroll past. For this reason, sum up who you are and what you do in your title and description, otherwise the search engines will choose a default for you.
Keyword meta tags were traditionally one of the biggest drivers of web traffic, but over the course of the last couple of years they have all but been erased in terms of SEO. Therefore if you want to spend time on tags, focus on tile and description and integrate them across your whole site and not just on your home page. The Robot tag is also becoming increasingly and should play a key role in managing how search bots view your site.
Linking strategies continue to gain prominence as they help search engines classify what content is popular and relevant. To maximise the effectiveness of a linking strategy, and in particular inbound links, focus on relevant social media or news sites with large followings. Don’t waste your time on attracting thousands of links rather focus on quality. So if you are going to comment on someone’s blog, make sure it is in your industry.
New Stories & Social Media
Gone are the days where you would conduct a search and be guaranteed to be directed to a website on that specific query. The web has evolved to such an extent that new and dynamic content now dominate the web, just ask BP.
In the future whether as a company, destination, person or event if you want to maximise your brand exposure you need to integrate these tools. The days where one could rely solely on one’s website to drive a successful online strategy are long gone.
Page Load Time
With Google Analytics latest development in their coding now including page load stats, it appears that load speed time is finally being taken seriously. Up until now only the slowest sites have suffered, but on the back of this latest update I expect search engines will become increasingly stringent in terms of load time.
The key areas to consider for online brand awareness
1. Generate traffic across your entire site; don’t just focus on the home page as the overall ranking of your website will suffer.
2. PPC Advertising: Not directly linked to SEO, but a highly effective tool for building brand awareness especially for companies with a limited online presence.
3. When linking to or from your site, make sure you link from words that have a relationship with the page/content they are linking to.
4. When writing content for the web, make use of italics and bold text to stand out for search engines.
The great thing about the online world is that brand names don’t count for much. If you are willing to evolve your online strategy and adapt with the web, your rankings will continue to rise. If you choose to rest on your laurels, you will end up like the dinosaurs.
By: Patrick Gordon, Head of Duo Marketing and Communications Online Division