SEO Tips for 2020 – How to Optimize Your Website – Part 1
In the good ole days of SEO you could buy a keyword domain, some backlinks, and rank on Google relatively easy. But with this came a manipulated search and discovery experience. Spammers took advantage of the system and would manipulate the SERPs to gain higher rankings making the search experience anything but authentic. Google continually updates their search algorithm and has responded with updates such as Panda, Penguin, BERT, and other core updates using their AI to better understand the search experience and to deliver relevant information to users.
As a result, many sites have been negatively impacted by these updates as each update may eliminate or deter a certain new strategy that is starting to manipulate the SERPs.
So, is SEO safe and should your business even attempt to improve your search ranking? The answer is yes, when done correctly, but you need to have the understanding that SEO is a long term strategy of owning your brand and online presence, building your reputation through proper PR and increasing engagement. You can break this out into 3 segments:
1.Brand Authority – Brand is driving everything today and your brand’s authority is the end goal of the niche or topics that you want to rank for. The process of determining your brand is important before you build your online portfolio and your online channels which will drive traffic to your conversion sites, owned or third-party. Amazon, for example, is a search engine within itself. So the question is no longer “how do I get to #1 on Google” rather it is “how do I gain brand authority” on the subjects surrounding your product or service. Think high engagement, high click-through rate, high conversion rate, high reviews. Who wouldn’t want to buy that product or service? Search engines like Google and Amazon are looking for that. Your brand may be reviewed on an authoritative site, and you may achieve some high authority referring links by third-party reviews, but the end goal isn’t to gain links rather to drive lasting engagement and sales. The more relevant question is “what is my brand authority” on the subjects and search queries surrounding my brand’s product or service. The metrics mentioned above, along with existing data from your website and other social metrics, will help Fire Source Media determine a strategy that will work best for your brand.
2.The user experience of your digital portfolio. – This can be explained as user engagement on your site or on your other web properties. Are you a source of authority on the subject? That is the basic question Google is trying to answer. So the engagement of a user on your site, your YouTube videos, and other places around the web will determine the authority of your brand and help Google determine whether or not you are an authority on the subject and worthy of a high ranking. Since link building can be easily manipulated, Google is using deep learning to determine whether user interactions with your online web presence and brand (which extends beyond your website) is seen as authoritative. This may include YouTube, Google Maps, Google My Business, etc. Yes, authoritative links still play a role but engagement is a significant driver of relevancy.
3.How you drive and convert that traffic. – This is common sense but a brand or product that drives a high CTR (Click-Through-Rate), has high user engagement (Low Bounce Rate) will generate a higher conversion rate and provide a better user experience. Google is watching all of the above. With properties such as YouTube operating as a search engine, user engagement is becoming a key metric to which search AI is using to determine which brands to give greater visibility.
Understanding the core foundations of user engagement and brand authority is the starting block. From there we can move forward with the technical setup of your website and other web properties. When brand identity is established we can move onto product and/or service placement, target market, sales channels, content and ad strategy.
In Part 2 we will look at technical setup for websites, which will need to be optimized for speed and include CRO tools even before you begin PR, SEO, or ad campaigns.
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