Search Engine Optimization (SEO) went through some major changes in 2014, and now, rolling into 2015, there is a real focus on quality content. A major lesson learned in 2014 was that the best way to increase traffic to your website is by creating content that people actually want to use and share; it’s no longer about keywords. However, most people, especially those in the field of digital marketing, are aware of that. So knowing what we know from 2014, how can you get your website noticed in 2015?
Understand Updated Algorithms
“Google’s Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird search algorithms affect around 90% of online searches,” and one goal of these algorithms is to strip out sites that are jammed with cliché keywords and duplicated content. Instead, the sites earning higher search rankings are those with quality content that is original and relevant. These are the new criteria for moving up the search results page, not keywords or other SEO tricks that have worked in the past.
These changes might not be new news to everyone, but even if you’ve heard of the new algorithm changes, understanding how to optimize your content for these changes is a different story. In a nutshell, the basic idea is to create engaging content that users will use, link to, and share. For this reason, social media sites like Pinterest and Twitter are incredibly useful to garner reader engagement and encourage more time spent on pages. For example, if you create an infographic instead of a 400 word blog posting, readers are more likely to spend time going through the graphic and possibly even sharing it. You have increased readability and “sharability.” The bottom line is that you don’t need a marketing team or SEO “expert” to understand how search engines treat your content; simply create creative and useful content that makes people want to share it, use it, and remember it.
Use SEO Plugins
No matter your target reader, your website must be both attractive and accessible to search engines to increase traffic to your site, and WordPress users can use plugins that are specifically designed to take on SEO. While the way search engines treat your content has changed, using SEO plugins can provide useful information to improve click through rates, help your site move up the search results page, determine how pages are indexed by search engines, and provide XML sitemap support and various analytics to help you create content better tailored to new search algorithms.
WordPress is incredibly popular for websites of all shapes and sizes, and there are quite a few popular and effective SEO plugins for 2015. One top contender that is also free is WordPress SEO, downloaded over 14.5 million times, with a user rating of 4.7 out of a 5 point scale. This plugin is ideal for individuals and smaller companies. From the “general” tab, you can preview the title of posts and keywords and through “page analytics,” you can check the effectiveness of your title, tags, keywords, etc. to determine how your website will be indexed by search engines. Using this information, you can modify your content to move up the search results page to make your content easier to find for your target reader. The page analytics feature also looks at word count to assess readability, and keyword density. XML sitemaps can also be created. Overall, this plugin helps your website up the search results page by giving you feedback on ways to make your content more attractive on search results.
There are plenty of free, all-in-one SEO plugins for personal websites, as well as premium SEO plugins that are not free, and using plugins can take your website to the next level by offering valuable feedback and helping you create content that is both useful and accessible. However, it is important to be aware of your site needs to avoid over optimization with too many plugins which can actually affect your website’s SERP negatively.
Make your site Mobile Friendly
Mobile devices dominated as the primary device people use to access the Internet in 2014, meaning the desktop takes a back seat when developing your website and content. As recommended in an article on Business2Community, “you can remedy this by leveraging responsive design, to avoid putting in more work than necessary on your website,” and you will also be able to “have content be easily digestible for people who primarily use their mobile device to browse the internet.” Lesson learned: adapt your content and your site design to the mobile design or lose visitors.
There’s nothing worse than when you are out somewhere and need to access a website and you can tell it’s not made for mobile. This is both frustrating and, of course, discourages visitors to your website because chances are they can find that same or similar information on another website with mobile compatibility, so get with 2015 and update that website, and you can do this a few ways. One simple way is to create two versions of your website: one mobile and one full-site design, so when a visitor accesses your site, “the servers recognize whether the visitor is using a desktop or a mobile device,” as explained by a usability expert in an article on mobile compatibility.
Create Content Often, and Creatively
Social media sites like Pinterest are a diamond in the ruff when it comes to sharing content from your website, and it’s not just businesses that can reap the benefits. Individuals can create just about anything and pin it to Pinterest boards or their own Pinterest account. The great thing about using Pinterest to share your content is that you can tag the post, use hashtags in the caption, and categorize the pin to get it in front of your target audience. And you have your exact site’s URL as the go to when they click on the pin so it’s an instant way to increase traffic to your website without spending any money or using cheeseball tactics.
For businesses, creating creative content often may mean “establishing a content creation and publishing system because sticking to a publication schedule is critical,” as mentioned in an article on top digital marketing trends for 2015. The company blog and social media presence should be consistently maintained to keep the legitimacy and currency of your online presence successful going strong.
Either way, the focus for 2015 is on content people can actually use. Think infographics, charts, tips, and life hacks. If you can create something your ideal website visitor would use, you can keep them coming back for more.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00OEKE882]