In 1997, SEO stood for Search Engine Optimisation…
SEO is no longer a new practise. It’s a process that’s been around since the mid 1990’s. The term Search Engine Optimisation was first coined in about 1997, according to Danny Sullivan.
At that time, search engines were busy crawling, cataloging and indexing websites. Yahoo! was the dominant engine, a long with classics like AltaVista and Infoseek.
Realising the value of appearing highly in SERPs, early search optimisers utilised keyword density, keyword meta tags and link building en masse to gain results. (If you’re still using these methods, give yourself an uppercut).
So much has changed since then. The game has evolved. If you’re not keeping up with the evolution, your site will quickly be left behind.
SEO is so different today, that in my opinion, SEO needs a new name. Signal Enhancement Online is a more accurate description for our line of work today, because………
…Search engines use more signals than ever
SEO today means more than optimising just for one channel. There is no longer plain vanilla organic search. So many other channels influence and effect a successful organic search campaign.
The job of today’s modern Search Engine Optimiser is more difficult and more competitive. It’s all about;
Today we have to think about content, content marketing, social media and online PR. These are critical.
Of course, don’t forget your on-page optimisation, website usability, CRO and user-centric metrics. If you’re neglecting these, you’ll struggle.
Definitely overwhelming, but take a step back. Breathe. Think of new optimisation methods as signals. If your website sends enough good ones to search engines, you’ve laid a great foundation for organic success.
Does your website send the right signals?
Think about enhancing the signals your website sends. Let’s have a look at 5 important signals which are under utilised, which can give you an advantage over your competitors.
1. Schema mark up
The most effective way for your website to “talk” to search engines. Help crawlers like Google and Bing understand what you have on your website with schema (rich snippets).
Since schema’s release about 4 years ago, there’s been a steady flow of new and improved ‘conversation starters’ for your website and search engines.
Only 0.3% of websites had implemented these special pieces of page specific code, according to this study by Searchmetrics. Even with solid proof that pages with schema rank up to 4 positions higher, on average.
2. Website Usability
Sometimes engines like Google are secretive about what helps us SEOs. Sometimes they make it plain obvious. Page speed was announced as a ranking signal and if you haven’t heard this yet, sorry, but it’s uppercut time again.
There’s much more to usability though. There’s an entire industry dedicated to improving how we use and interact with websites and apps.
Providing a great mobile experience to your website visitors is one of these things. We offered a simple hack for Google’s Mobilegeddon update, for websites which were not yet mobile friendly.
3. Dwell Time & Success Metrics
Search engines are in the business of providing a great user experience too. Google looks at factors such as how deep, how long and how often a site is clicked to from search results. These metrics combined are called dwell time, and explained further here by Neil Patel.
If your website has a high bounce rate, poor click-through rates and visitors spend little time on site….these are low quality signals to Google. These often mean your website or landing page offers little value to visitors or searchers.
More recently, Google is looking at ‘success metrics’. These have been labelled the ‘SEO success metrics of the future’. They go further, looking at conversions and basically, if a visitor on your site is getting what they want out of it.
As a savvy Signal Enhancer Online, it’s your job to work out why your site visitors are not engaging or converting and correct it. If you’re dwell time and success metrics are looking good, make sure you maintain the effort!
4. Content which goes far, far beyond great
An obvious signal you want to be sending to search engines for your given niche, is that you have great, unique, in-depth information or on-site content about your niche, topic, service or whatever it might be. The thing is, millions of pieces of content are published every single day. Good luck cutting through all that online noise.
To be the best and gain recognition from engines for your content, you have to provide the best. Much like a smart link building strategy, 1 piece of well planned, researched and engaging content, will trump 10 shitty articles (or links) that no one will find, read or share.
The answer is 10X content. Rand Fishkin does a better job of explaining why it matters than me. Read about why good unique content needs to die and don’t forget to read these real life 10X content examples.
5. Social Signals
Further to setting and planning for 10X content, does your content get shared? Are your content marketing efforts producing social metric returns?
Of course, the type of content that you create effects ‘share-ability’. Different formats work better on certain channels, take posts with images as an example, on Facebook.
The key thing to remember is, social shares signal to search engines that a piece of content is engaging. Whether this be a long form educational piece, a list of images, a data driven infographic or other, social shares matter. Have a look at this infographic on how social signals impact rankings for more info.
Will you be going beyond the engine? Start thinking about signal enhancing instead.