Since the algorithms that control search engine results are always evolving, your SEO strategies need to be as well.
Many marketers take these changes personally, assuming that Google and the other search engines are out to get them somehow. After putting hard work, time, money and other resources into a site it’s understandable why some people would feel that way.
But it’s not personal; it’s business.
Google and the other search engines are constantly trying to improve their search algorithms and other programs to make sure searchers get the best experience possible. They want the optimal mix of relevant content from a variety of channels to provide better results and user experience to keep their visitors coming back.
More visitors means they can charge more for ads, make more money and continue on their paths to world domination. The next step of their plan involves building a giant laser on the moon; it’s pretty cool stuff.
Like any complex system, there will always be short-lived loopholes in the ranking algorithms that can be exploited. However, you can’t base your business and income off unstable cracks in the system. Unless you really like huge ups and devastating downs, that’s no way to approach business.
Instead, since we know what search engine companies want (good user experiences, not the laser on the moon thing), our SEO strategies should focus on delivering that.
Here are three search engine strategies you should start using today:
Creating Authority Sites
Once upon a time in the magical land of SEO, you could do very well with small “sniper” niche sites that focused on a very narrow set of keywords, products or topics.
For example, you could create a website for the release of an upcoming video game. You would target the name of the game and other keyword variations and focus your resources on ranking a few pages, each built to capture rankings for one or keywords.
While this approach can still work, Google and the other search engines rankings are favoring “authority” sites which tend to be larger and focus on a broader keyword set. One of the reasons they are ranking these sites higher all comes down to visitor activity.
With a site that is all about one very specific topic, the user may not have a lot of reasons to stay on your site. If they can get all the info they need on one page and then leave many key metrics Google uses to rank user interaction are going to suffer. Your bounce rate, time on site and pages viewed will all take a hit and so will your rankings.
However, if your site is built to be more of an authority in your niche with plenty of content that engages the visitor. They stay longer, bounce less and engage more.
Another reason they rank well is because authority sites are more likely to have related terms that the Google bots expect to see. For example, if your site is optimized for “deep sea fishing” the algorithm knows that your content is of higher quality if it finds terms like “boat”, “ocean”, “rod” “hook” and so on.
In short, stop trying to build a small site that laser targets a single keyword. Build a larger site that paints you as an expert in the field, engages the readers beyond a page or two and sets you up to dominate a ton of varied keywords for your niche.
De-optimize Your Site
We’re here to talk about search optimization strategies, so it might seem counter productive to talk about making your site less optimized. However, many online marketers have been using outdated optimization methods for so long they are at risk of being penalized for over optimization.
Along with building your authority site, you need to make sure you are not optimizing it too much. Imagine a search engine bot and comes across your site about “Labrador retriever training tips” and finds this:
- URL: www.labradorretrievertrainingtips.com
- Title: Labrador Retriever Training Tips
- Description: Are you looking for Labrador retriever training tips? If so, we have the very best Labrador retriever training tips around. Click here now to get your Labrador retriever training tips.
- And let’s say the content and sub headings uses the main keyword and very close variations as much as possible.
Wouldn’t this throw up a red flag if you were Google?
Instead of trying to optimize a keyword to death, use more natural variations and related terms in your key SEO spots. Let’s break down a better version of these SEO factors:
- URL (www.thewellbehavedlabrador.com): Instead of using an exact match domain (EMD), we’ve created a unique branded site. We’ve still included “labrador” and the name of our site still tells visitors what we’re all about.
- Title (The Well Behaved Labrador | Labrador Retriever Training Tips): Now, you should still use your exact keyword in some spots, so here in the title tag it’s OK.
- Description (The Well Behaved Labrador shows you how to train your retriever with our easy teaching tips. Training your lab is easy when you learn our specialized tips): We’ve gotten our message across, used our brand name and all of the words in our targeted keyword phrase.
By taking a step back and diversifying your meta tags and using a branded URL, you will never be in danger of over optimization penalties. From here, you can build individual pages to target different sub niches and get your keywords in the URL even more.
Exploit Different Content Channels
In order to give the most relevant and engaging search results, search engines try to display content from many different channels.
This different content takes the form of:
- Standard web pages
- Blog posts
- Forum discussions
- Map listings
- Knowledge graph results
You will dramatically increase your results if you know what kind of content the search engines are serving up for your targeted keywords and exploit any weaknesses your competition has here.
For example, if you look at the first page results for our dog training example and don’t see a video being pulled into the listings, it’s time to make a video. If your search is local based, it’s time to make sure your business is coming up in the map listings.
The search engines want to give results that have many different content sources, so help them out and you’ll be helping yourself too!
SEO: The Long Game
Short-term thinking doesn’t work in SEO. It’s all about the long game in this discipline. Once you accept that, your life will be much simpler.
When you hear about the latest and greatest tool, scheme or technique that talks about “loopholes” in the search algorithms, you need to run, not walk, in the other direction. The only loophole these people are exploiting is the one in your logic that leads right to your wallet.
Loopholes get closed. Shady techniques get rendered ineffective by updates.
Instead, just provide value to your visitors and give the search engines what they want and you will have success with these SEO strategies.