Keeping up to date with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) criteria is no simple task – especially if it’s not what you do for a living. Lots of businesses produce marketing materials in house, as just one task amongst many, and having arrived at a formula that works they stick with it. Unfortunately this approach can lead to a slide in your online ranking, because the Google criteria is constantly shifting.
So why do Google’s rules change so often? The online marketing model for major brands such as Amazon or eBay is continual improvement of their services. Google imposes the same standards on any business using the platform, and rewards the ones that respond most efficiently. The companies you see on page one of the Google Search are those that commit most consistently to SEO innovation.
SEO Innovation Check List
We can’t all have our eyes pinned on Google’s shifting criteria 24/7, so here’s a quick checklist of the mistakes you can easily avoid in 2019.
1. Know What Information Your Customer Needs and Why
Otherwise known as ‘customer intent’, understanding your customers’ needs is top of the agenda for Search Engine Optimisation in 2019. This is all about the shift from telling your visitors what you sell, to finding out more about what your customers need. The latter obviously provides a better service, but it also requires more attention to the traffic your website attracts, and the appropriateness of your current keywords.
2. Write Good Quality Content
Remember when writing marketing copy was all about stuffing your content with keywords? No more. Content is more important than ever to Google’s assessment of your online resources, but it needs to be relevant to your customers. It should be well-informed, carefully written, useful information that has value for the reader. Keywords are still in the mix but they shouldn’t overwhelm the copy, or distract from the flow of the content.
3. Mobile First Design
Here’s a brutal fact. If your website doesn’t load fast and responsively on mobiles, it won’t rank in Google Search. ‘Mobile First’ refers to a shifting of priorities for website designers. This is reflected online with mobile performance trumping the traditional desktop. Check your loading speed. Check how your website looks on your phone. If you don’t like what you see, make it your priority to get it sorted.
4. Use Keywords as Differentiators
This is all about boxing clever, rather than punching above your weight. If you’re a new ‘Interior Designer’ business, you won’t get very far by trying to rank with that as your keyword. If, however, your niche is interior design for shepherd’s huts and you’re located in Berkhampstead, you have plenty of options available for ranking. Start with what makes you unique, rank for it, then build on it.
5. Keep Your Content Unique
This is a simple rule to follow. Duplicated content, or multiple iterations of content with the same keyword is frowned upon. Google simply doesn’t want to see this practice occurring. There are exceptions, such as publishing your blog on Medium, or LinkedIn as an article, but you should always include a link back to the original source.
Auditing Your SEO
Bear in mind that this checklist isn’t exhaustive; these are simply the top 5 most regular SEO mistakes. Given the shifting sands of Googles SEO criteria, it’s worth scheduling in an SEO audit 2 or 3 times a year. There are excellent online SEO reports that give you your current ranking, and offer a checklist of actions that you can work through to improve it.
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