Blog > How To Succeed At SEO
Posted By Create
Last year was a big one for SEO. We saw the continued growth of mobile browsing and the Mobilegeddon that came along with it; Google's Phantom 2 update - and a handful of others - saw the quality of website content becoming even more of a focus; and user experience became a stronger signal for search results, separating the competition across the board. Time is money, so don't waste it - focus on the key trends this year and you can succeed at SEO.
So what does the SEO landscape hold for us this year? Read on to see which trends will continue, which new ones will emerge, and what you can do to make sure you're ahead of the SEO game.
Announced at the end of last year, Google will be placing more emphasis on sites that are secure in order to protect its users from unscrupulous activity and cyber attacks. One way they are doing this is by prioritising sites that use secure HTTPS URLs over those that don't.
The extra 'S' in HTTPS stands for 'Secure' and is a result of a website having an SSL (or Secure Socket Layer) certificate enabled. The SSL Certificate adds an additional layer of security - indicated by a green padlock in the address bar - which, while also increasing users' confidence, acts to protect them when they use your site. You can read more about this in our blog "Building Customer Trust With Full SSL Encryption".
What this means for SEO is that if your website has an SSL certificate then you'll be using a HTTPS URL and will likely see a rise in your search engine ranking.
At Create, we offer full SSL encryption across your entire website as part of our Website Builder, Shop Builder, Shop Builder Pro, Shop Builder Advanced packages.
One of last year's biggest SEO trends was the increased emphasis on providing website visitors with quality content, and this shows no sign of dropping off.
As search engines become more sophisticated and update their ranking algorithms, they are increasingly able to determine whether websites are valuable to users, or simply stuffing in as many keywords as possible. Therefore, an important part of SEO is building content that is going to bring people to your site and keep them there.
Search engines don't just determine value based on what your users do on your site anymore. They are now also able to observe what users do after they leave. Do they access your site and quickly leave to go somewhere else? Or do they come to your site and find the information they're looking for?
So how do you keep people on your website? Look to provide quality insights, opinions, products and more on your site. Perhaps consider making your next goal to blog a couple of times a month, or taking some time to update your website content to be more likely to keep people browsing your site.
One of the biggest discussions around SEO remains on keywords. As mentioned above, the increasing complexity that search engines apply to crawling your webpage means they are more capable of understanding the underlying content. Where in the past it was necessary to target a specific keyword, this is becoming less important.
Instead of simply targeting keywords, building your content around related themes and topics improves the quality of it - at least in the eyes of the search engines. Keyword research therefore becomes less about finding the golden phrase to bring in traffic, but rather about understanding your users, their behaviours, their interests, and ultimately what content is going to keep them on your site.
Similarly, using long tail keywords - those keyword phrases that are more specifically focused on the content you're producing - is still a good strategy. Being more laser-focused with your keywords can help you target niche markets that are less heavily saturated. This is a good way to help you rank highly for these terms.
Keywords are far from dead, but take advantage of the methods used by search engine to really optimise your content beyond stuffing a few keywords into it.
Consistent Multi-device Experiences
The mobile trend isn't go away, and we will see even more emphasis placed on offering a great user experience whether your site is viewed on desktop or mobile. One of Google's biggest changes was about prioritising mobile-friendly sites, and that's isn't changing anytime soon. In fact, while websites without a mobile alternative will be penalised, those offering only a mobile site with no desktop version will not suffer at all.
Being mobile ready is becoming less and less of a choice, so stay ahead of the curve. Create offers a full suite of responsive templates which can be fully customised based on your brand identity and personality. If you're currently using a template that isn't mobile friendly, why not start the new year by switching to one of these.
Perhaps a surprise entry on the list, but content you add to social media will be increasingly indexed. Not only are search engines better able to determine value and relation of social posts, but a deal between Google and social media giant Twitter means content posted on this channel is more likely to be indexed and show up in search engine results.
The upturn of this is that more traffic reaches your social channels and trickles through to your website, so it's important to capitalise on this.
First, make sure you have social media accounts and that these are linked to your website. Next, ensure you're promoting your content across all channels - share your blogs to Facebook and Twitter, promote your products and so forth.
What Are Your Plans For SEO?
Given the ever-changing landscape, hopefully this information has put you in good sted to be optimising your site and content for SEO. As always, feel free to contact your Customer Account Manager who will be happy to provide you with advice and tips with this, and let us know in the comments what your SEO plans for the future success of your website are.
Not sure where to start, or just need a refresher on the SEO basics? Check out our blog series from last year, starting with "What Is SEO And Why Does It Matter".