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Getting your content, and your website to rank high in search engines has always required a steady understanding of SEO practices and guidelines. It has also required a great deal of work to make sure that these practices are carried out correctly. The SEO landscape has been changing over the previous year, and staying on top of the changes as they occur is the key to higher rankings. Here are some of the biggest challenges that you might face this year when trying to get your content higher in SERPs.
- Changing your Keyword Strategy
In the past, researching keywords was the most important part of any SEO strategy. Using various tools, you would need to look for low-competition, high-volume keywords, and utilize them on your website in various ways. While this remains a critical part of informing Google what your website is about, it won’t get you very far by itself. Since Google’s Hummingbird update in 2013, semantic search has become more important.
Google algorithms today are more sophisticated than ever – evaluating certain queries based more on the intent of users, and less on the specific words that are used.
- Optimizing for Local SEO
Though practically every business has some sort of SEO strategy these days, local optimization is being underutilized by many brands and businesses. If your content and website aren’t ranking in local search, you could be missing out on a huge influx of visitors that are ready and willing to buy.
- Building Relationships, instead of Links
In previous years, a big part of SEO was acquiring and requesting links from various sites. A lot of businesses achieved success by using article marketing exchanges and automated directories. Generally, link building could be achieved successfully by knowing how to play the game, but this meant that lower-quality sites were ranking higher by cheating the game.
Today, we have seen a shift in the way that Google treats certain links, leading to a change in how marketers attract and gain links for their websites. In sort, most forms of link building this year will focus first on creating amazing content. Beyond that, you will need to consider relationship-based strategy to give your content extra weight. Strategies such as nurturing connections with brand advocates, engaging social media and reaching out to bloggers will become important.
- Understanding the Mobile Mentality
Simply being mobile-friendly is no longer enough for websites that want to be on top. Having a mobile app or a responsive site outlines the minimum requirement for being mobile-friendly, but being mobile-first, is even more beneficial. Implementing a well-designed mobile content strategy will be a challenge for a lot of online marketers this year, as it will require a lot of thought. First of all, marketers will need to acknowledge the tension between long and short-form content. Long form content is important for high-rankings in search engines. However, short-form is generally preferable to mobile readers.
On top of this, marketers will need to understand their customers’ mobile habits. Finding out what type of content they access most frequently will be essential. Generally, headlines that grab attention and mobile-friendly formatting will be important concepts for the future.