Every year you’ll find a barrage of content about SEO in that year and what takes to be successful and everything else. Like most of you, I subject myself to all these articles hoping to find something that is official and really helpful.
Right up to the arrival of Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, articles covering the new “SEO tactics for year X” were useful. They helped us improve. Post the algorithm apocalypse it’s a little more difficult to make predictions based on what is relevant and what isn’t. The only constant now is that we still try to predict the best tactics that would work.
These can vary from devices to content and to advanced link building tactics but personally, I feel this old news. Stuff that has been around for some time. We even dug further and brought out context and content but still haven’t really made that all-important discovery as to what the holy grail tactic would be when it comes to SEO.
So what’s working right now?
Who knows? There’s an argument to be made that SEO is dead. Certainly, traditional forms of SEO using keywords, rankings, and links are nowhere as potent as they once were.
The reason? Us. The internet has become far more real. It’s more personal, meaning that those things don’t matter as much. Yes, content is still super vital and mobile does matter but they aren’t the main factors.
SEO is no longer about ranking 1-3 on page one of your search results. Getting onto page one and two is actually fairly simple. But it goes beyond that now.
Case in point: I have a client who decided to call me and yell in my ear simply because they had slipped a little to page two. I decided to check how they were doing traffic and conversion wise. The scary thing was their site was doing the best it has in the last two years. Weird right?
Back to original question: what will work for SEO going forward? We all know that as long as humans search, SEO will never really die. Going forward, it’s humans that are the holy grail. Understanding people matter far more than anything else. Gaining their trust and their loyalty will help your brand succeed in search no matter where you rank on the first page.
It isn’t about rankings or keywords it’s about what kind of emotion does your page generate. Does your content relate to your audience? That’s what you need to ask. Not how can get your content ranking on page one but how can your content solve an issue and make the users life so much better.
In short, optimizing these factors can help you far more in long run:
Bounce Rate – Why are people leaving your page? Solving this automatically signals to Google that you helped the user.
Pages per View – Does the user view one page and then leave? Why do they do this? You want them on the site looking through what you offer to find a way to get them to look at more pages
Conversion Rates – Try to optimize your conversion rates by doing A/B Testing until you have the best possible page for the user. Then do it all over again.
The User – This is tricky but you need to start interviewing your audience. Find out what they like and what they don’t. Ask them how you can improve. Don’t do this online. Go out and explore. Create that personal connection and interact with real people. You will be surprised and what it can for your business.
Devices – In the process of conversing with the person ask them what devices they use to get to yours or your competitor’s site. This will help you develop a content/messaging strategy that is in the right context that they will use to get to your site.
Lastly, do all the above over and over again. Develop your strategy with people and you will have a far greater chance of getting more people searching for your brand but also clicking on your results. The scary thing is none of the above is the SEO focused. It’s all human focused. It is personal but the knock-on effect is search, social and the rest. It will happen naturally.
People will link to you naturally and that will do far more good in terms of how you perform in search.