Blogger: Erin Knothe, Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter
Most of us don’t know what SEO is but we’re doing it every day.
In the breakout session, The Future of SEO, Gabriel Marguglio of Nextiny Marketing gave an update on the current state of search engine optimization, or SEO, and where it’s heading in the future.
The History of SEO
The main reason why SEO has changed so much is because the internet has changed dramatically. Now, Google takes minutes to index websites, so you will be penalized immediately for poor SEO. A few components that have changed in importance:
- Internal SEO – Making sure technical details, like title tags, H1 tags, etc., are included is important but can be easily optimized using tools like Yoast for WordPress. Don’t let someone charge you for it.
- Keywords – People would stuff too many keywords in a way that wasn’t user friendly, so keywords have dropped in significance.
- Links – How many people are linking to your page? When someone does, it’s like they’re recommending you, which is important for ranking for Google.
*These top three were the most important and majority of concern. Now, they make up 5% overall of SEO’s structure.
- Landing pages – Landing pages are crucial to a website. They’ve been more important in the past but the system was abused by too many people creating unnecessary landing pages.
- Domain names – These are important, but aren’t the sole key to SEO.
The main reason why Google and Google’s ranking is so important for SEO is because Google actually solves the problem for the user, unlike other search engines. If you have a question, Google provides the options to answer it. When Google comes out with new SEO practices to help keep good content available to answer questions, people try to game the system.
The way we live has changed. Grey email, unopened email that people don’t mark as spam, is becoming a problem. Email servers will actually stop delivering your emails to those customers.
Never delete a blog. These articles help your website’s ranking, even if the content is outdated.
Post your articles on the organization’s social networks to drive people to your website and help establish your organization as a thought leader.
Organization reviews matter for Google. Be aware of what is being said about your company and be ready to respond.
Don’t copy press releases into your website. Repeated content is your worst enemy. If you put copied content in, you can put a tag in to let Google know it’s copied but it won’t help your ranking.
How to Do SEO Well
The bottom line is to create content that actually helps people. Content has to work with context, so build your marketing assets (blogs, interactive tools, photos and infographics, videos and podcasts, presentations, etc.). The inbound marketing methodology fits this well.
Make personas to fit your ideal customers so you attract the audience your company wants. Turn strangers into promoters by strategically giving them the content that fits where they are in life. A father in his 30s with young children may not be in a position to buy a boat today, but he’ll turn to you when he does purchase a boat if you cultivate that relationship from the start.
SEO is all about solving people’s problems and, for that, Google rewards you. Google wants to send people to the best website to get their answer without returning to the search to look for more sources. When bounce rates are low, your ranking goes up.
Giving people step-by-step instructions for how to do something seems counterintuitive, but it sells you as an expert. Go even further by figuring out a client’s next problem and then solve it. Give people a next step, like a related article to read or a guide to download to keep potential customers on your website longer.
Topic clusters are going to be the top focus of 2018. Create a page with your core topic and go in-depth with the content so it serves as your pillar. Pillar pages should be what your organization is all about and what you want to rank for. Then, create specific articles around that topic to link back to the pillar, otherwise known as clustering. To work this into your current website, go back and cluster your existing blog articles. Then, see what information is missing and create those.
Video is the most compelling action on the web. Google wants to send people to a video rather than text. People prefer video three times more than photos, and four times as many people prefer watching a video to reading.
Wistia is a resource that includes all the information you would need for SEO: video title, description, length of video, video transcript and video thumbnail. If you’re trying to decide where to post your videos, Gabriel recommends using YouTube if you’re trying to tap into that community. Otherwise, Wistia is a good choice because your website gets the SEO credit for the video, not the provider, like YouTube.
People are not expecting high-quality videos anymore. Start with a very small investment to shoot video from your phone and you’ll be set.
To help you become more knowledgeable about the subject, become certified in Hubspot for free. Or, take advantage of free resources from Wistia and Nextiny to learn more. Other recommended website tools are website.grader.com and tools.pingdom.com for a speed test.