According to Hubspot statistics, 60 percent of marketers claim that SEO and blogs are still their best sources for new leads.
But if you were to talk to new companies, entrepreneurs, and marketing teams today, you might hear a different story. Many websites have reported a major loss of traffic in recent years, especially since the year 2011.
Maybe your website is stalling in new traffic sources and you can’t figure out why.
In this search engine optimization guide for beginners, we’re going to discuss what changes occurred in search algorithm technology. Then, we’ll list some tips on what you can do to get back on Google’s good side.
An SEO Guide to Algorithm Wars
Ten years ago, ranking for top keywords was not difficult. All you had to was publish well-written articles with carefully placed keywords. SEO “webmasters” learned not to write for robots but for human interest.
It all worked for a while. But then, in 2011 and 2012 Google Panda and Penguin changed what everyone thought they knew about search engine rankings.
These Google algorithm updates intentionally decreased the rankings of many top websites. Although Google’s feedback on the matter was vague, owners of the company admitted that intentional link manipulation was the problem.
Technology leaders make it clear: quantity publishing was no longer trendy, even if articles were of interest to human readers. There had to be a new strategy.
Mobile Internet Strikes Back
Just when people started to recover from Penguin and Panda, a new update, colloquially called “Mobilegeddon”, struck again. The new 2015 algorithm update penalized websites, not for content, but for unfriendly mobile design.
Unlike past updates, which penalized many small businesses, the Mobile Ready update penalized even brand-name companies and in the words of The Huffington Post, “even most Indian Government websites.”
For design, the best search engine optimization means:
- Avoiding software that doesn’t work on mobile units
- Having readable text without the need to zoom in
- Having links placed far apart for easy clicking
The Return of Google Help
Recently, Google has published more helpful information on its “Webmaster Guidelines” page. The page is helpful for beginners who are either learning SEO tips for the first time or trying to learn guidelines all over again.
We’ve learned at least four big tips from history alone.
- Go for quality, not quantity
- Create longer pages with more substance
- Write naturally, like a magazine article, not an ad
- Take mobile and tablet design seriously
Now it’s time to pay special attention to Google’s guidelines page.
What Webmaster Guidelines Show Us
First of all, understand why internal and external linking is the foundation of search engine optimization. The “internet” can only find pages that link to other pages, so all of your pages must link to each other.
A sitemap page for search bots can help with this, as well as a table of contents page for human readers.
Your site must also link to off-site pages that are also searchable and findable. A site that is well-known, fairly popular, and trusted is known as a “high authority site.”
A website that has external to many high-authority websites, and gets some links back, is bound to have a higher ranking and good search traffic. Naturally, high-authority sites only link back to very high-quality pages.
Other Google search engine optimization tips for beginners might include:
- Getting rid of huge files to make the site load faster
- Designing a “responsive” site, meaning the screen adapts to any device
- Focusing on helpful content to users, not just good writing
What Trial and Error Has Shown Us
Google doesn’t exactly tell you what to do to rank high. But some of the best search engine optimization marketers have found success through trial and error.
You might notice when you search for a subject, Google highlights a website at the top of the page and then highlights a few sentences. This area is called the “snippet.”
The best way to rank high for a keyword subject is to focus on practical value for the reader and to make your answers very concise and “skimmable.” This creates a good snippet of information that’s useful to Google.
Google is returning search results for readers who are in a hurry and want fast answers. Then, if there’s more interest they can open the source page for a full article.
The new Google standard reminds companies to focus on content that is unique, valuable, and shareable on social media.
Your Objectives Matter
New Google standards also require taking a critical look at your keyword strategy and your overall objectives.
You must understand your business objectives, and how those relate to the keywords you’re using. What do you want your customer to do and how do all the pages relate to this objective?
Organic best search engine optimization should be about achieving your business goals and helping readers get the product they want. Publishing anything else unrelated is a distraction to the reader and to search engines.
Going Beyond Keyword Stuffing
Better keyword research is another trend to take seriously, particularly in finding relevant keywords.
Planning your keywords should involve:
- Understanding your competitors and their SEO strategy
- Understanding why the reader is searching for this topic
- Understanding why the user clicks for particular keywords
Simply put, search engine algorithms are becoming more advanced and they can “think like people” when it comes to highlighting websites that are relevant to the user search.
Long-tail keywords (more specific or local keywords) are still a reliable SEO trend to follow. It’s easier to rank for less common keywords than top 10 general keywords.
When it comes to Return-On-Investment, long-tail keywords can prove more successful to beginners in SEO marketing. Besides, the more longtail keywords you rank high for, the more your site benefits from overall popularity.
The Best Search Engine Optimization Training
There is much more to learn about the best search engine optimization techniques in the business and Digital Marketing Jobs can help you with your search. Check out our marketing blog post to see new trends to watch for.
Many companies can’t afford to have a single SEO guide within their own ranks. SEO success is part of marketing and it requires a team that understands the nature of the business.
If you need to hire an SEO guide, to find your next big opportunity. or if you are an SEO expert ready to put your talents to use, please visit Digital Marketing Jobs to find your next big opportunity.