It’s nearly impossible to run a successful business without being competitive online on 2022. Most business owners have probably already researched ways to help improve their online presence or even paid for optimization services before.
The world has changed drastically over the last few years. So has the way search and social platforms display content. If you've already paid to increase your ranking there’s a good chance that some of the things that worked at the time are actually hurting your rankings today.
Here are 3 widely known search optimization best practices, and how they're changing.
1. The Use of Keywords in Content
Over the past couple of years search has gotten much better at selecting content based on user experience. Filling your content with key phrases and jargon is becoming a negative for your rankings.
While keywords and phrases are still important. The most important factors now are the actual user experience and usefulness of content.
With the absolutely unimaginable amount of usage data collected from every app and device on and off of the internet. The days of paying experts to game the system and make you #1 on search are over.
This is actually a positive thing. Over the years articles and content created exclusively for clicks and views have led to low quality robotic clutter that makes it hard to actually find what you’re looking for.
Search and Social companies have been aggressively working to combat clickbaity junk links and low quality content in order to lower the incentive for creators to push quantity over quality.
Provide easy to read, helpful content. Use relevant visuals, links, and tools to increase user satisfaction. Overall your rankings will rise.
2. Optimize Your Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
The title tag is the text that appears in the browser tab or window title bar when someone views a page on your site. The meta description is a brief summary of what a page is about, which will also appear on search result pages.
Both of these elements provide an opportunity to include relevant keywords and help improve click-through rates. Headline tags are also a very important part of search and can greatly increase the overall page experience.
The usability factor applies to tagging for the same reasons mentioned above.
Use relevant, easy to read titles and tags that make sense in relation to each other and the content on the page. Remember the fact that the majority of people only read the headlines. Be sure to write something that describes what they’ll find when they click or scroll.
Keep page layout in mind when using title tags and think of the user flow when scrolling and interacting with the site. Headlines tags should help guide users through, and describe the content in a useful way. This will increase time on page and engagement rates.
It’s also important to understand how users interact with your pages. User analytic tools like heat-maps work well. This will allow you to improve the layout of your pages and write descriptions that relate to the most attractive parts of your site.
3. Use Content To Attract Links And Shares
This is one of the most interesting changes to the way things work. Most people understand the concept of creating interesting things that people want to talk about. This is still the case.
The major change over the last couple years, is the way content is analyzed and grouped due to tone & emotional influence. You may have seen some of the AI based products that assist with writing emails, articles or papers. These AI tools have become excellent at analyzing and categorizing text according to emotional tone.
Most advanced platforms now use moderation software that rates posts and content based on emotional tone and various other factors, they also don't allow links as they used to on forums and message boards.
We know that engagement-based algorithmic selection unintentionally (sometimes intentionally) promotes emotionally charged content because anger makes people react more often.
This is why companies have been working to refine the way content is served to users.
In an effort to reduce highly viral polarizing content there is real suppression and throttling of content and topics that used to go right to the top.
Anyone who has worked on content creation over the years has probably noticed by now how much more costly and time consuming it's become to build a following. It's absolutely still possible, but the old ways of gaining attention fast have largely been shut down.
For example, you used to hear a lot about backlinks and people would advertise link building. This can seriously hurt your ranking these days. Associating your domain with lots of low quality spammy domains will hurt your rankings and can even get you blacklisted. Many of these automated solutions are bot based and will generally hurt you much more than help.
The safest most trusted way to build traffic is to stick to consistent, useful locally shared content. This is a slower process but it does seem to be one of the last truly organic ways to gain traction online. Paid ads will help of course but organic growth is always best.
Keep in mind that the goal of most of these companies is to turn down the temperature on their platforms and move to a more user friendly, non polarizing experience.
This is probably a good thing overall.
Focus more on user experience and keep in mind the emotional response of the user rather than just writing around keywords and polarizing issues.
There is no quick fix to SEO anymore. Developing content for a website is an ongoing process. Sites should be closely monitored with analytic tools by someone who understands how things work online. Changes and updates should happen regularly based on what works best.
Persistent effort over time is the best way to improve your website performance, as with most things of value.
If you want suggestions on how to improve your site's performance. Learn More about Intrinsic Marketing