We’re into our fourth year of business as Panoptic Online Marketing, and we’ve been witnessing and adapting to the evolution of online marketing and changes to SEO as it unfolds around us. From the very beginning, we’ve always stressed to our clients the need to produce and provide valuable, interesting, informative and/or entertaining content on their business websites as their first priority.
Many prospective clients are confused when they first speak with us about their SEO needs. If they have any understanding about SEO at all, they generally think about the model that all SEO vendors have studied and routinely use. The process of “optimizing” a website involves conducting competitive keyword research, implementing target keywords in prominent locations such as the HTMLS headers and title tags, and adding well-placed anchor text links throughout the site. But this approach is what we call “SEO in a vacuum” – it’s detached from the content creation process and is no longer enough to get a website ranking for targeted search phrases.
As SEO continues to evolve, with shifting tactics and myriad tools — not to mention the thousands of SEO companies looking to secure your business — it’s really hard for the small business owner to know where to focus their online marketing efforts. One thing continues to remain the same: SEO is, has always been, and always will be content-driven. However, it’s important to understand that content still needs to be “optimized,” and that the meaning of optimization has changed radically over the last few years.
Optimization Includes Better Description and Delivery of Content
Back in late April, Adriana wrote “Making Mobile Better: Just Being There is No Longer Enough,” in which she addressed the need for business to make sure the mobile versions of their website provide the best possible experience for visitors. With an explosion of users conducting research on tablets and smartphones, ensuring a great experience is a vital consideration and factors heavily in SEO.
In Using Schema Markup for Better SEO, I talked about how tagging content on your website can not only help search engines understand what your content is about, but can also deliver a better experience for the searcher by giving them “rich snippets” of information that appear right on the search results page. For example, an e-commerce site can display product info like price, size or color.
With Google’s recent Hummingbird update there’s a trend toward optimizing for “semantic search,” which factors in context and user intent when determining how webpages are ranked in search results. This is a huge shift in how we think about SEO, but still supports the basic underlying premise that providing fresh content on a regularly basis is the best way to get your site ranking.