The world of SEO is ever-changing. It’s the nature of Google to do its best to keep people from manipulating their algorithm to suit them. With that being said, they do establish best practices that they encourage all websites to use to ensure that their site creates the best user experience. You can easily follow key SEO factors and see your website rank well. If you are in a highly competitive industry, monitoring for major algorithm changes and keeping an eye on web updates can help you stay ahead of the game. We offer some key suggestions for maintaining and improving your rank.
Follow Best Practices
There are many standard SEO practices that have held true throughout Google’s many algorithm updates. Google has always kept the user in mind for all of their algorithm updates. They want to avoid spam sites, websites that aren’t updated, and websites that aren’t easy to navigate. Let’s break this down into some basic suggestions to make sure your site is following best practices:
Avoid Spammy Behavior
Black Hat SEO is any SEO technique that involves trying to manipulate search engines by mimicking best practices in an over-the-top way. For example, backlinks can add value to your website. What Google found over time was that websites were adding links on spam sites that point to their website by the hundreds. Many companies were even buying junk domains, creating a simple site, and putting a backlink on it to point to their real site. Initially, these useless links worked. Google eventually caught on and started keeping track of Domain Authority. Domain Authority keeps track of any spammy behavior on a website and lends credibility to that site’s backlink. For example, nationalgeographic.com would have a high domain authority because of its legitimate content, high likability, and reputation. A backlink from nationalgeographic.com would be very valuable to your site. A backlink from a brand new site with similar content may not have as much influence over your rank.
Spammy behavior includes excessive poor quality backlinks, abundant poor quality content, over-optimization for keyword targeting, too many links per page, not enough links outside of the site, content dumps, and backlink dumps (too much too fast).
Update Your Website
If you’re looking for an article on how to file your taxes, would you rather read an article from 2001 or from 2021? Updating your website not only keeps your content relevant to users but also helps Google view you as an authority on the subject. If you wrote one book back in 2001 on tax breaks that wouldn’t make you an avid author or a real authority. Most businesses see change in how they operate and Google wants to show users the latest and best information. Even if you’re in a business with relatively stable processes, Google still wants to see that you are actively trying to improve what you have to offer. Don’t be stale! Update your website.
Put User Experience First
Your site should be easy to navigate. Easy-to-use websites are fast, planned, and responsive.
Improve Site Speed
Google is putting heavy emphasis on site speed in 2021. If you have a slow site, you may as well have no site. Users will bounce out of your web page within 2 seconds. A rise in bounce rate and causes Google to view your website as providing a poor user experience, negatively impacting your rank. If you want to be competitive, improve your site speed – even if this means compromising on some flashy elements of your design.
Plan Your Content
Generating content is great. But try to take your customers on a journey. Don’t create new pages without a plan for how they are supposed to be presented. There is a ton of content you can create to lend value to your customers, but ask yourself a few questions about how and why to present it.
- Why does this content add value?
- What stage of the buyer’s journey is my customer in?
- How do they find this content?
- What do I want them to do with this content?
- What is the call-to-action for this content?
Your goal is to walk your customer through the process of discovering your website, realizing they have a need for what you’re selling, and then deciding to buy. Creating content for the sake of word count won’t get you anywhere. Plan good content.
If your site isn’t responsive yet then you are years behind on the game. Make sure that you have a website that functions well on mobile, tablet, and desktop. If you aren’t presenting your information in a way that appeals to every viewer on every device then that should be your first focus.
Check the Top Search Engine News Sites
There are several search engine blogs out there providing expert insight into the world of SEO. They take the time to carefully analyze Google trends and assess the likelihood of major algorithm updates and what you can expect to see happen to your rank. Oftentimes, these journals even get interviews with representatives from Google for honest answers about the SEO process and what they expect from quality websites. Taking a few minutes a day to take a look at these sites can provide valuable insight into how to be competitive in SEO.
While there is a TON of information out there. Focus on what you are easily able to manage and take care of. Also, be mindful of how competitive your market is. Your level of SEO effort should be reflected in the competitiveness of your market.
Here are the top SEO blogs you can monitor:
Our best advice is to always keep your user in mind. Google’s algorithm follows the user and if you do your best to provide a great user experience, you will always be ahead of the game.