3 Search Marketing Tips for 2017 You Should Use Right Now
We cover a lot of ground in On Marketing. An area we have underserved a bit over the past few months is search. Especially organic search.
It would be wrong to assume that we haven’t covered that because search is increasingly irrelevant.
In fact, recent data show that in the United States 78% of people still use a search engine first when searching for a product or service.
So if search engines are still an important part of a marketing strategy, does it still matter if you rank highly?
The first organic link on a search results page yields 17% more clicks than organic link number 2.
There are some basics you can review and tweak right now to help improve rankings and encourage more clicks.
2017 Search Marketing Tip #1 – Optimize Your Header Tags
It’s easy to get lost in the maze of SEO tips and tricks from gurus. I prefer simple yet effective tasks that yield the result you want.
So, start with an essential – the header tag. Find your H1, H2, or H3 tags (you can have more, but don’t… there is such a thing as too many header tags). These are some of the first bits of information that Google reads, so follow the rules.
Header tags should have between 15 and 65 characters in them. Find a way to write your headlines within those boundaries.
Make sure that the words you do include in the tags are important keywords that you want to rank for. It seems basic, but stay on target. Try using exact phrases (that you can also find in your page titles and body copy). Those keywords or phrases should be within the first 1-35 characters… meaning keep the important stuff as close to the surface as possible.
Take some time to go through your site and optimize your tags. The time is worth it as you will improve your keyword density, ranking, and make your site even easier to read and navigate.
2017 Search Marketing #2 – Do Not Stuff Keywords
Before Google began updating its algorithm with greater frequency it was easy to “game” Google into elevating your rankings. Just write a bunch of content, use the same keyword or keyword phrase a bunch of times on a single page, and click publish.
Boom. You’re done. Here come the rankings!
Well, that practice annoyed Google. And with good reason. Reading that type of copy as a human is unbearable.
Here is an example of terrible keyword stuffing, so we’re all on the same page:
Are you searching for black baseball hats? If you are looking for black baseball hats, Jim’s Hats has the very best black baseball hats. In fact, this black baseball hats website has a huge selection of black baseball hats to choose from.
Keyword stuffing is now black hat. Period.
That means Google delists your content and your page because they do not like how you built the content. Google thinks you’re trying to trick it.
So, don’t. It doesn’t take that much extra time to write effectively for people with proper SEO technique.
Instead, leverage the smartness Google has built into its algorithm.
It now has something called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). That’s fancy talk for Google’s robots can now distinguish the intent of a page or the basic idea of a page in addition to the recognizing the keywords.
LSI keywords have the same basic meaning as your preferred keyword but they may use a different spelling, sentence structure, or have other subtle differences.
LSI has been mistaken for synonyms to keywords, but that is not what it is about. It is about Google recognizing that if you write the word “Facebook” on a website that you are also talking about “social media” as a topic. If Google begins to believe that your page has authority – based on page size, keywords, and traffic – then it will elevate your page in the rankings, too.
2017 Search Marketing #3 – Study Your Competition, Apply What you Learn
Do you know what keywords your competitors care about?
If not, why?
If your response is “that takes way too much time” then I totally understand that! It does take a lot of time to gather that type of intelligence.
But it’s worth it.
There are tools you can use to identify the top words used on your competition’s website. Or you could just read it, subscribe to their email newsletter, read their social media posts, etc.
After you have figured out the top words or phrases your competitor cares about the most, create a bunch of new content for your website… just make sure your content is better. And, create more content around those keywords or phrases than your competition does. If they have 2 pages, make sure you have 4.
And, if you are avoiding keyword stuffing and other SEO “no no’s” then mix your media.
Create 2 web pages, 1 infographic, and 1 video. Varying the content tells Google you aren’t trying to trick it… something its ever-evolving formula appreciates.
SEO can be scary because it is constantly changing and rather complex. If you are just learning overall, or trying to advance your baseline knowledge, try out these 3 ideas this month and analyze what you learn. Your website – and business – will appreciate it.