As Google continues to tweak its search engine’s algorithm, content marketers with the highest quality content seem to be winning the search war. If you’re in that boat, congratulations. But before you throw keywords out the window too fast, know that classic SEO is still relevant.
A search engine’s goal is to provide the results someone wants to see. This in mind, Google periodically releases updates to tweak results and improve its user experience. An enhancement of last year, called Panda, was said to target low quality sites and content farms, dropping them in rankings (writers rejoice!). Google’s criteria for judging the quality of sites and content comes down to machine learning, if you must know.
Therefore, it is no longer satisfactory to rely on SEO alone. SEO in 2012 means offering engaging content with a foundation for search engines to find it.
With all of this in mind, we gathered some of the top rules and tips that still apply to SEO today.
First, start with keywords. You can segment these keywords into groups, depending on your objectives. Then, Search Engine Watch explains, “Creating optimized landing pages for this content that is targeted towards relevant keywords with content previews (snippets) helps open that content up to search.” So, think of a blog that covers several topics, and allows readers to pull up all posts in one category — that category is a keyword.
Be sure the design of your site allows search engines to access content — one easy way to check this is by looking at Google Analytics. If your site is found through organic search keywords, you are safe.
Best practices for on-page optimization include the title tag, description tag, keyword count, outbound links and cross-linking within your site. Several tips are found on the last few slides of this presentation from Veronica Fielding, CEO of Digital Brand Expressions. Distribution — or posting a link to your content on authority sites or directories — still works, just less so.
Author tags tell search engines that the content originated by you. Consider integrating Google+ profiles of authors into search results, if your writers have accounts.
Lastly, polish content with characteristics that radiate quality. Make posts unique and relevant to your audience, relatable and shareable (see Dan Zarrella’s post on combined relevance). Make content easy to share, and have a plan in place for tracking its reach.
Image courtesy of Flickr, miralize