I’ve spent a lot of time researching new SEO methods which will boost your content within the SERP’s. I have to admit, much of it has to do with “high” quality content, clever link building, etc. If I was going to publish a post on SEO strategies that work well at ranking your content then I’ll have to write a 10-part series which will take me about a month to complete. You guys are wondering why? Simple, I’m working on a few projects and case studies which will blow your mind.
Anyways, I decided to do something different this time which is to focus on the SEO strategies to avoid because they don’t work anymore. Google has evolved into a more sophisticated machine over the past several years. What use to work will provide limited results keeping your rankings stagnant and your traffic border line so it’s time to shift things around.
I’m a firm believer that in order to get in with the “new” you have to throw out the old stuff and start fresh. In order to be part of the new SEO trend, let’s eliminate some of the older tactics and move forward.
Let’s get started…
(1) Keyword Rich Content
The Google search algorithm is rapidly changing and the old way of doing things is becoming obsolete. Google is getting much smarter and can now relate phrases together which it couldn’t at one point. When writing content several years ago, if you wanted to rank for the keyword phrase “affordable business webhosting”, you would add it in your title, URL and description hoping during indexing that you’re page will be ranked in the SERP’s for that term. However, Latent Semantic Indexing which Google’s search algorithm is now using is able to tweak things. Here’s a passage from QuickSprout.com…
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is a system used by Google and other major search engines. The contents of a webpage are crawled by a search engine and the most common words and phrases are collated and identified as the keywords for the page. LSI looks for synonyms related to the title of your page. For example, if the title of your page was “Classic Cars”, the search engine would expect to find words relating to that subject in the content of the page as well, i.e. “collectors”, “automobile”, “Bentley”, “Austin” and “car auctions”.
Using this system (latent semantic indexing), Google is able to relate terms together so “affordable business webhosting” will be correlated with “business web hosting”, “affordable corporate web hosting” and “web hosting for businesses”.
Why is Google shifting from key-rich content?
It’s a great way to increase the user experience because everyone has a different way of searching material. It allows great content to still rank higher no matter what variation of keyword is used. Next, it increases the natural flow of the content which is important to improve the user experience. It’s a way for the author to consider the user and NOT write for the search engines.
Do you really want to read content which has the keyword phrase “affordable business webhosting” scatter 100+ times within it?
Keyword-rich content does NOT work at ranking you’re content higher within the SERPs.
When writing content, diversify your “keyword” text so you have both “targeted” and “LSI (related)” keywords. Scattering “1” keyword throughout your content is considered keyword stuffing and can have the opposite effect on your strategy. Using this new strategy will enhance the flow of your content making it more natural and user friendly.
(2) “1” Keyword Phrases Are Obsolete
Tracking your rankings will make you go “nuts” and I remember logging into my reports daily looking for a +1 change. However, there is NO point in tracking them because what you’re trying to rank for might be different than what Google has in mind. For example, many of us will add the keyword we want to generate traffic from within the title, URL and description but fail to understand the user search pattern. People are becoming more precise when searching so long tail keywords are beginning to have more leverage. You need to start focusing on a different game plan in order to see results.
People underestimate the power of “long tail keywords” which are phrases containing above 3+ words. After the recent Google Panda and Penguin update, there has been a shift in the way content is ranked within the SERP’s. It’s NO longer about the “targeted” keyword within the title, URL and description of your page but more about the phrase typed within the search engine by the user. Here are a few statistics from a recent study…
View here at http://searchenginewatch.com/
- 0-5 character keywords are, more often than not, too short for advertisers to derive any meaningful intent. As such, they don’t create meaningful impressions, clicks, or conversions for most advertisers.
- 6-10 character keywords generate a high number of impressions. They don’t, however, generate a proportional number of clicks and conversions. Consumers are entering queries of this length; however, they still aren’t far enough along in the purchase consideration funnel to actually click and convert on paid search ads.
- Nearly 60 percent of all impressions, clicks, and impressions occur with 11-20 character keywords. Including 21-25 character keywords brings us to 80 percent of call conversions. As such, 11-25 character keywords definitely comprise the “head.”
- While 26-40 character keywords generate significantly fewer impressions, they are much more efficient than head keywords. Specifically, 11-20 character keywords represented 62 percent of clicks and 62 percent of conversions (a 1-to-1 relationship); whereas, 26-35 character keywords represented 6 percent of clicks and 10 percent of conversions – a 3-to-5 relationship. In other words, the long tail keywords were – ballpark – about 66 percent more profitable than the head keywords (ignoring bids), supporting the notion that long tail keywords are more profitable than head keywords.
Image Provided by SearchEngineWatch.com
Simple, it’s time to change the “1” targeted keyword approach and start building a long tail keyword strategy that can improve your impressions, keywords and clicks.
Before writing content, generate a handful of long tail keywords which you can add to your content.
Here is a content marketing through long tail keywords guide.
(3) Does More Pages Mean More Traffic?
Many bloggers are under the impression that more pages automatically mean’s more traffic. However, having this mentality can have the reverse effect on your rankings if you’re not careful about the quality of your content. Of course you have websites like Wikipedia.com who have thrived over the last couple of years producing enormous content but their secret lies NOT in the pages but in the content written. No matter what page you visit on Wikipedia.com, you have in-depth content which links to other relevant content of high quality.
After the Google Panda update rolled out in Feb 2011 we saw a decrease in low quality thin content websites. This meant that websites with enormous pages with mediocre content got penalized by Google. There’s more of an emphasis on “high” quality content than ever before and one way to implement this strategy is to eliminate those websites with “thin” content. What is thin content?
Simple, it’s when a single page links to other pages with low quality content. People were getting clever trying to manipulate their rank within search engines by creating a website with 100 pages however ONLY 1-2 of them would contain in-depth content. Since Google ranks individual pages, it was a clever way to get your website ranked within the SERP’s without having to put 100% effort across all pages.
You’ll notice some of the hardest hit websites after Panda were Q&A websites like Answers.com and Ask.com because people have too much flexibility often answering a question with no more than 2 sentences. This depletes the content and you’ll have too many pages with low quality content.
What can you do?
It’s about producing “high” quality content and less emphasis on how many times you create content. Here are two great examples…QuickSprout.com and Kissmetrics.com. Both get half a million visitors a month and both of them have less than 1000 blog posts.
(4) More Links…Does It Mean Higher Rankings?
Many people are under the impression that more links mean higher rankings within the SERP’s however the tides are beginning to shift. If you check out Search Metrics 2014 ranking factors, they’ve listed backlinks as the 3rd most important ingredient in ranking you’re website. After the Google Penguin update “relevancy” of the links is more important than their quantity.
If you are trying to rank you’re page, it’s time you start focusing on relevancy in your link building efforts as they’ll play a more important role now and in the long-run. Google over the years has been trying to produce the best user experience which means providing relevant search results no matter the age, reputation, credibility, etc. This means websites 2 years old with high quality content and relevant backlinks can easily outrank one which is 10 years old WITHOUT relevant links pointing to it.
Here’s a quick example…
Within Google, I did a quick search for “reduce bounce rate” the results were awesome…
If you look at the 1st result – WordPress.org has 66 links from 20 root domains,
Second, SearchEngineWatch.com has 227 from 105 root domains. Finally,
SearchEngineJournal.com has 10,105 links from 15 root domains.
If it was a matter of “total links, you’ll see the 2nd and 3rd should have easily outranked the 1st however relevancy has played an important part in ranking these websites
The domains linking back to WordPress.org were more relevant with 41 of them containing “reduce bounce rate” as the anchor text. Either way, you’ll notice that “more links” no longer plays as important role as it did before.
(5) Higher Rankings Really Equals More Traffic
For years I have been working with people trying to explain the importance of “targeted” keywords and appealing descriptions. When someone types a search phrase into Google, you are up against some steep competition. Users generally skim through the 1st page results looking for things that stand out and 90% look for keyword targeted titles and/or descriptions.
For example, here are the search results when doing a search for “reducing bounce rate”
There is one which stands out immediately because it focuses on what everyone is trying to achieve online. Here is the title: Increasing Revenue by Decreasing Bounce Rate
Within the search results the website is ranked at #6 below the top 3 and I still would have clicked it first because making a full time income through blogging has been my main objective. This shows the importance of focusing on keywords which matter and knowing what resonates with your readers.
You might be using keywords that have low search volume so ranking #1 for a keyword which gets 20 searches per month will produce NO conversions.
Here’s a great solution…
Search for targeted keywords with sufficient search volume. Next, it’s important to check out your competition within the results page looking for intriguing title and descriptions. I run my own tests typing in each “targeted” keyword within Google and looking at what my competition has written within the title & description. Why?
First, it’s a great way to come up with awesome ideas. Next, if done correctly, it can produce enormous results. You need to know how to leverage you’re competition because it’s them that provide the best information especially if they’ve been around for years.
(6) All I Need Is Content and Code
Having the right “meta” tags within your page title, URL and description use to be all that’s required to get ranked however things have changed and you need to start utilizing new strategies. For example, we know that a large emphasis has been placed on writing “high” quality content however user engagement is beginning to rule the web. I am referring to engagement in the form of social media.
It’s been made clear that “Likes” and “Tweets” DO NOT help content rank higher however this does not mean it can’t indirectly help you rank. Imagine sharing a piece of content on your social profiles and others finding it very useful. It just increases the chances of them linking to it from their blog. This can count as a relevant and valuable backlink.
It’s important to build your social profiles so you have relevant people following you. It’s important to “share” your best content so that others can engagement with it. You never know the impact it can have on your rankings directly or indirectly.
Here’s an Infographic on How Social Signals Impact Search Engine Rankings…