I have to laugh everyone time I come across another so called SEO specialist on Google+ who touts how they can optimize your sites keywords for just $100.00! You’ve got to be kidding right? The fact is, it’s not 2005 anymore, and search engines now take into account many other factors when evaluating our content, in fact, some of these factors are completely external of our sites or their content for that matter. Regardless of what search engines have been trying to tell us all along, SEO’s are still over optimizing sites, spamming them with the same keywords and phrases over and over again, it’s an endless cycle. Being an IT Specialist myself, I’m going to show you where you should be focusing your SEO efforts in order to gain the edge you are seeking on the web.
1. Don’t Focus on Keywords – Just Be Natural:
Quit playing with keywords and just write naturally! Like I said, the days of keyword optimization are now long gone, instead just write like a normal person. Normal writing doesn’t contain the same phrase eight times in a single paragraph, yet people are still doing this! Google will quickly take the axe to your site if your pages state the same phrases over and over again for no apparent reason, I’m not kidding either! Keyword stuffing your pages adds no value to users and was originally a tactic adopted by SEO’s to get better organic search results, this practice is long outdated today. Google’s Matt Cutts has stated a million times, “Stop optimizing for search engines!” If you really insist on optimizing for keywords, instead find ways to explain the same idea in various ways, this can help your sites users to better comprehend the idea you are trying to get across to begin with. Give examples of something you are talking about, create analogies for use as practical examples, or share an experience you had with something. These tactics add a lot more value to content than just modifying keywords for search engines.
2. Screw Keywords Popularity Matters More:
Optimize keywords all you like, but in the end Google and the other search giants are more concerned with how users perceive your content than they would ever care about stupid keywords. Simply put, if users don’t like your content, then neither does Google or any other search engine. Google didn’t just create the G+ platform for fun. Part of the function of G+ was to give Google the ability to recognize what content people like and enjoy. When you +1 or share something, you are effectively creating a vote for that content, person, place, or, thing on the web. Google and Bing both take social factors seriously when determining the value of our content.
Whether you knew it or not, Microsoft’s Bing, now crawls and collects social data from the Google+ network itself, I’ve discovered this in my Bing Webmaster account, so it’s very real! Google wants to return to users in its organic search content that people want, not keyword laden webpage’s and spammy sites. If you aren’t publishing content, and getting heavily involved with social networks, then I suggest you make an effort to. Social Media metrics are now a huge factor in determining the value of our content for users.
3. Content is King:
Even if search engines ranked your sites content, or your product or service highly in search results, does this mean that anyone searching the web would care for that content? The truth of the matter is, it doesn’t matter how well you rank on the web if no one cares for your content. You could score page one for dozens of keywords in Google, but if the people who come across your content don’t like it, then rank doesn’t matter. When it comes to marketing a product, service, or content online, this is the by far the first and most important place you should be focusing your efforts, on the content itself! No quality content = no positive results, no exceptions. What would be considered quality content? Quality content could be information that is useful to others, a good description of a product you are selling, and or the way you present your information to others. Information is what sells products and services these days, not salesmen. The largest and leading factor when it comes to SEO today is the content itself!
4. Quality Content Markets Itself:
Stop marketing and start creating! This website is proof this concept works! If you have a quality product, service, or content, others will do the marketing for you. Tap your ideas into social media, and make use of share buttons on your sites. If people like your content, they will share it with others, effectively saving you tons of money on marketing costs, and driving the success of your business. If your ideas aren’t gaining traction through social media, then take a step back and try and figure out why. If things aren’t working out, don’t just keep doing the same thing over and over again, otherwise you’re just wasting time. I spent hundreds of hours scouring through my sites traffic data, listening to and interacting with my sites visitors, in order to determine what people liked or did not like about my content. If you know what people like, then you focus your efforts in the right direction, otherwise you’re no better than the dog that chases its tail for hours on end.
5. Design for Mobile:
Time is running out folks, the leading search engines have now made their voices clear, design for mobile or else don’t expect good results. Microsoft’s Bing engineer Duane Forrester made it clear in video published last Dec that Microsoft is expecting content creators to make sure their content is mobile ready as soon as possible. Microsoft even went as far as to post a message on the Bing webmaster forum front page for some time now, that if your site isn’t mobile friendly you may not get good results in the Bing search engine! They made this statement in response to people complaining about why their sites were doing so poorly in organic search. Microsoft also expects sites to start serving the same page to all users, regardless of the device they are connecting too. This presents a major challenge to web designers, as many are not sure how to go about this. The answer to this problem relies within the idea of CSS3 Media Queries and using other adaptive design techniques. Google has also recommended returning the same content to all users regardless of the device used to connect with as well. This means ditching the concept of having a separate mobile site altogether! Google will tolerate a separate mobile site in the future, Bing will not!
Designing for mobile presents serious challenges for all of us. For one, many seasoned professionals in the web design and development fields don’t fully understand the concept of “adaptive” or “responsive” design practices. Simply writing webpage’s full of proprietary scripts in order to make them function is a bad idea! We have standards for a reason and people need to learn to use them, When I say standards, I’m referring to HTML and CSS, which are all you need to make a webpage work with any device of any kind.
Another serious problem that mobile design creates’, is the fact that you must have the device in question in order to design for it! While this is mostly true, in some cases you can design for one device that has the same screen size and resolution as several other devices using media queries, effectively killing two birds with one stone so to speak. I myself cannot afford all the mobile devices, and am slowly making plans to purchase more, and I design for whatever devices I can get my hands on at present. Borrowing tablets or smart phones from friends is not a bad idea either. Sure, there’s mobile grids and column based layouts in CSS, doesn’t matter, unless you have the device in question, you have no way to know your code works! Do the best you can with making your devices mobile friendly, otherwise the consequences will be enormous, especially with Bing.
Either way it goes, optimizing for keywords is optimizing for search engines, and if this is your only SEO tactic, I’m sorry to say you aren’t going to make it on the web. Again, search engines are taking social data seriously when determining the value and worth of our content, so you definitely need a social presence, and definitely need to make connections and promote your work to target audiences as much as possible. Google+ gives you the tools to find your target audiences easily with the use of their communities feature. As I stated before, content is truly king! If people like your content, they will do the bulk of marketing for you, just be sure to give your users the tools to do so, such as having social networking buttons and apps readily available on your sites. Also, if your content isn’t doing well on social media, or the internet as a whole, then stop and take a step back and try to figure out why. There’s no sense in beating a dead horse! Try to figure out what it is about your product, service, or content that people like so you can focus your efforts in the right place. Social media alone has the power to determine the outcome of your success on the web today, not keywords. If your content can gain popularity successfully on social networks, then you will have no problem being successful on the organic web as well.
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