The SEO naughty or nice list

Naughty-and-Nice-219x300Like Santa Claus, Google has a naughty or nice list as well, and who doesn’t want to be on Google’s nice list? In the world of online marketing, getting on the nice list should be at the top of everybody’s priority list.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a never-ending fight to rank high on search engines. The minute you think you’ve got it, the rules change and, actually, the game you were playing also changes every time Google modifies its algorithms. In today’s modern era of SEO, companies must realize it is SEO and providing the most valuable, relevant content to the people who are searching for it, not one or the other.

SEO Professionals are saying that keyword research and meta tags will continue to be important, while content marketing is still the key to higher rankings. Some experts predict that websites lacking in high-quality, unique content will lose ranking.

Although there are many, here are four basic strategies to help gain higher rankings:

Long-tail keywords

The term “keyword” is commonly understood by most; however, industry experts are saying we should be thinking more about using more “long-tail keyword searches” to increase SEO rankings. A long-tail keyword search gives users the opportunity to find more specific content for what they are searching. People use search engines as a destination for answers, so instead of typing in “restaurants near downtown Jacksonville,” others will type in “steak restaurants near downtown Jacksonville.”

Web searches are getting more and more specific and will continue to do so. Online marketing companies are recommending websites contain content to meet the needs of those searching for specific answers. Another example: “earache remedies” is one way people will search, but a larger percentage of people will type in “what are the home remedies for earaches?”

So how do you decide what keywords and long-tail keywords to use for your blog or website? Free tools like Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools offer great information. Also the Google Keyword planner is a tool you can use to help you find more long-tail keywords.

Another way to find quality long-tail keywords is to ask your customers. Simply ask them, “When you search for our service or widget, what do you type in your browser?” You know all the ins and outs of your product or service as well as the terminology that goes along with it, but your potential visitor may not.

Mobile-friendly websites

Another trend is the continual growth of mobile users. Is your site mobile-friendly? Google continued to put a heavy emphasis on mobile when it tested mobile-friendly icons next to search results. It also added a mobile usability section in Google Webmaster tools with the idea that businesses can see how their site performs on mobile devices compared to PC users.

On April 21, 2015, Google will start using mobile friendliness as a factor when determining ranking for mobile search results. This means that if someone is searching from their smartphone or tablet and a website is not mobile-friendly, the website will be less likely to appear in the search results.

SEO integration

Job function and focus are other areas you may need to consider now and in the near future. Online marketers are recommending that SEO departments become integrated with the other aspects of online marketing: Say so-long to the days of separate departments (SEO, social and content) to achieve greatness.

The trend now is to fully integrate these areas so the SEO person/department also is integrating and doing social and content development. Social media and content experts will need SEO knowledge to be successful. SEO is here to stay, but the trend toward integration will be amplified.

A new world of tactics to achieve growth with your website is upon us. The best advice to any business owner: Embrace it and work at it, because your competition is doing the same to be on Google’s nice list.

Frequent blog updates

Frequently updated blogs can see up to a 50% increase in Google organic search traffic by posting content with custom ‘tagged’ images along with valuable offerings and insights on a daily blog. You will hear that “Content is King” over and over, but the key is to provide good quality content.

If you are selling the same gizmo as everyone else, you have to go above and beyond just providing a simple product description. Are you offering real value, something of substance that is unique, different, and useful that they won’t find anywhere else?

You need to prove to Google that you are an expert in your field or industry by posting quality, relevant content on your website or blog. If your content quality is good, you will build a solid foundation to support all of your other SEO efforts.

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