SEO has come a long way since the days of blackhat keyword stuffing and hidden links. Today’s SEO goes hand-in-hand with user experience (UX), a broad term that refers to the ease with which people interact with your website.
To ensure you don’t sacrifice your user experience for a higher ranking on search engines, implement the following tips:
Don’t focus solely on keywords
Keywords are certainly relevant – in a blog post for Forbes, search engine specialist Jayson DeMers says that keywords are still important in 2016.
But what matters more than keywords is their context. The way you use your keywords, the other words on your site, and the length of your content (more on that in a minute) all affect how search engines analyze your keywords.
Google is moving away from ranking sites on keywords and choosing instead to use a principle called latent semantic indexing (LSI). LSI looks at a website as a whole to see what other terms are used, in an attempt to understand what a user was looking for.
In their definition of LSI, SEO Book provides a great example of this concept in action. When a user searches for “Tiger Woods,” articles about golf tournaments still show up in the search results, even though some are from before Tiger Woods became a popular topic in online golf content. The word “golf” isn’t in the search phrase, but because of LSI, the search engine knows that the user is looking for information about the sport.
Just the facts, m’aam
SEO isn’t all about the words used on the page – what those words mean is important also. Consider how accurate your website content is. Are you providing accurate, valuable information? In the modern Information Age, if you can provide authoritative content relevant to your audience, you can get eyeballs and build a larger following – and increase your search ranking. Eventually, Google plans to incorporate accuracy into their PageRank algorithm.
Consider the context
You’ll find different theories on whether short or longform content works better for improving search ranking. Some say longform, keyword-rich content is the way to go, while others believe that shorter content helps engagement and reduces bounce rates.
The truth is, both types of web content can help your ranking – it just depends on where they are placed. A comprehensive blog post might need to be longer, but if you are creating a checkout or landing page, shorter copy will be more valuable for visitors.
Don’t get caught up with numbers
It’s certainly critical to keep an eye on your metrics for SEO, but analytics alone shouldn’t drive your decisions. Let’s say 1000 people visit your site one month, and you get 50 conversions. If only 500 people visit your site the next month but you get 75 conversions, you’ve improved your conversion rate by 50% – even though traffic went down. Always consider web metrics in the context of your business, instead of looking at them in a vacuum.
The most important aspect of SEO is creating a site that people enjoy visiting. If you can add relevant content to your site and always strive to meet the needs of visitors, your page’s ranking will take care of itself.