You may have heard the phrase “SEO is dead,” but just like everything else stated in the digital world as a hard and fast rule – take it with a grain of salt. SEO is most definitely not dead. But it is changing. So, how does this impact you and your website?
For starters, you want to be found, right? Then you should probably keep reading.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s a fancy way of telling you to make your site discoverable. Do you still use Google? Bing? Even with social media and recommendations from friends, do you find yourself looking things up directly when you want to find something? Well, so does everyone else. As long as search engines exist, so will the need to make sure you’ve got a strong and evolving SEO strategy in place.
SEO these days is a bit of a marketing/branding hybrid. The immediate goal is to make your site visible to both users and search engines. But it’s not enough simply to show up in search results, you want to rank near the top. Because if you don’t, your competitors will. And that puts them in a much better position to get traffic (and ultimately paying business) to their site over yours.
Put yourself in the mind of the consumer. Not only can’t you visit a site you don’t even know exists (and if it isn’t on the first page of the search results it essentially doesn’t), but if you see the same business listed repeatedly across search results, you may stop looking and just go with them. You start to think, “Hey, this place keeps showing up, so it must be pretty good.”
There is an implied trust built when we see something in more than one spot. And the higher the ranking, the more it seems like a credible option. In fact, it often becomes the credible option. So, you want that to be you, right?
Here are a few things to consider.
- When you’re creating content, you need to keep in mind the basic rules for SEO and the continually changing landscape of digital at large. For example, as mobile usage continues to grow, there is a completely new set of concerns that needs to be taken into account for SEO, such as local search optimization. If someone is searching on their phone and a block from your business, you don’t want them to find your competitor 5 miles away because you don’t show up in their search results.
- It is vital to invest in quality content. Good, relevant content is something search engines will judge you on. Give people what they’re looking for and keep them on the page. A high bounce rate, keyword stuffing and other questionable practices will all contribute to a lower ranking.
- Make sure any non-text or rich media you include on your site, such as video or images, have text to accompany them. Search engines don’t have eyes so they can’t “see” a picture. That means they can’t identify it without a description. Tell them!
- Similarly, make sure you include meta descriptions on your pages. Descriptions should be unique! Duplicate data is as bad as duplicate content. And you’ll get penalized accordingly.
- See what shows up when you search your own site. Do you like the description that appears under the URL? Does it accurately convey what’s on that page? Does it entice you to want to click? If you don’t think it’s enough to stand out, why would someone else? Keep all of these questions in mind when adding meta descriptions to your pages.
Entire books could be, and have been, written on the subject of SEO and related best practices. These are just a few points to consider as you build your personal brand in the digital space. And if someone tries to sell you on their marketing by telling you how SEO is dead, you now know to run (not walk) in the other direction.
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