“Search Engine Optimization is basically just Content Marketing, right mom?” asks the youngster stuffing their face with Chipotle and unaccustomed to the long arduous history of getting your website to show up on Google. What is link-juice? What is grunge? What is N’Sync?
And as you try to explain the pains and perils of building out some weird network to trick Google into thinking your website was important – you’ll be able to sprinkle in some nuggets of wisdom:
- Search Engine Optimization these days is the art of building a website right, serving up content people will like or find useful and getting people to know about that content – yes, sometimes that means getting people to link to you.
- The religion of Google press releases sometimes tells us how to do things in hopes we’ll follow, but there are ways to still game the system – and more importantly there’s definitely ways to build your site to be easier to digest by Google and friends.
Just ask Squarespace – some sites just aren’t built to get more traffic from Google
There are so many ways to make sure Google can get as much as possible from your website, and unfortunately there are a ton of people in the industry that just aren’t utilizing these keys:
- Meta-titles and descriptions still are relevant to SEO in 2016 – make sure yours are optimized to bring people in and get them to take action.
- Schema markup now allows you to delineate different components of your website for being easily digestible for Google’s search algorithm. Here’s an example for local businesses:
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/LocalBusiness"> <span itemprop="legalName">Company Name Ltd</span> <div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress"> <span itemprop="streetAddress">12 Paper Street,</span> <span itemprop="addressLocality">Town</span>, <span itemprop="addressRegion">County</span> <span itemprop="postalCode">AB01 1YZ</span> </div> Phone: <span itemprop="telephone">01234 123456</span> Email: <span itemprop="email">firstname.lastname@example.org</span> Open: <meta itemprop="openingHours" content="Mo-Fr 08:45-17:30">Monday to Friday 8:45am to 5:30pm</meta> Find us on <a href="https://plus.google.com/yourpageID" rel="publisher" title="Find us on Google+">Google+</a> </div>
- Creating the website in a way that allows for growing content in the maximum amount of verticals allows for the business to continue to add and create value for their community.
- Giving people clear navigation and calls to action where appropriate with strong visual design keeps people on the website for longer, decreases bounce rate – this indicates it’s a valuable website to Google because people don’t go right back to search results and Google factors that into whether it serves your website high or low in the results.
- Social signals and other indications of trust like links still matter in search results. I know this from personal experience creating epic content for years on my website (with some traction, yes) but then purposefully gaining a bunch of links in a short amount of time and watching my search engine ranking go up like gangbusters.
So if you think SEO is dead in 2016 your business must not depend on getting business from Search Engines
Because little one, let me tell you a story… As soon as I got links to my website that indicated to Google that my website was trustworthy – guest posts on Business.com, Lifehack.org, and numerous other posts and links that I was able to gain – not only did my ranking for key terms to my business, but my leads went up.
That’s right, leads. Qualified leads. Friendly leads. Pleasant leads. And the same works for products, as I’ve seen from clients I’ve implemented this kind of work for – but touting successes here is not what this is about. It’s about recognizing the value of the valuable.
This is not a post about semantics – you may call this all web development, or content marketing or [next buzz word here]
I honestly only care as much as it’s something I can help with, and people are actually looking for. The truth is many clients are still looking for these types of services under the term ‘search engine optimization,’ and of course SEO in 2016 is different than 2010 as it is different from SEO in 2004. So adapt, but it’s strange to see people trying to de-value a relevant and valuable service for businesses, which I’ve seen a ton of in blog posts and on Social Media from people in the online marketing industry. Wake up.
Or ream me out in the comments below 🙂