You might still want to party like its 1999, but you certainly cannot market like you used to in the 20th century.
Gone are the days when we did massive linking from co-domains, when we stuffed keywords and so casually dropped links into comments. With the turn of the millennium, Google turned the tables on us, introducing innumerable algorithm updates which changed the digital marketing game forever.
Yet, you would be unpleasantly surprised to hear many people who dare to call themselves experienced marketers still opt for some of these black hat SEO tactics. Still, it is not just that these methods are frowned upon (better to say, forbidden) in the digital marketing world, but are totally ineffective.
Stop Counting those Keywords
Nowadays, we are presented with a multitude of tools which make our marketing part of life just a tiny bit easier; so naturally, when we were presented with several tools which showed us the number of times a keyword is used on a page, we jumped to take advantage of them. What we were unaware of was that none of these tools come even close to Google’s level of sophistication. They do notify us whether we have met the minimum, but don’t provide advice on the exact number of times we are allowed to use a keyword in, for example, 100 words or in HTML text.
In 2017, Google will care most about how users interact with your content and if they bounce back, or don’t click on your listing in the first place, ultimately not including you among the first-page results. This doesn’t mean you should stop using your keyword in title, meta description or on the page, just bear in mind repetition-based rules will not improve your rankings – the quality of your content will.
Listen to your Users
Forget about any simplistic keyword use rule you’ve followed in the past and concentrate on the needs and the goals of searchers. But to deliver the experience they need and to provide them with valuable answers, start with a basic keyword search. Take advantage of free tools, such as Ubersuggest or AdWords, enter the keyword you use and look at the suggestion list to understand what it is about your keyword that interests your target audience.
Ultimately, it is much simpler and more effective to first focus on creating content which will serve your target audience and then modify it with keyword rules.
Think about the Semantics
With Google continually working on improving its understanding of users’ intent, it is of utmost importance for you to adapt your content accordingly. What this means is that if Google favors documents which intelligently use words and phrases which are semantically, lexically and logically connected, you need to look beyond synonyms and raw repetitions. These cleverly composed topics aid search engine’s on-page quality analysis systems in better evaluating whether content is relevant, whether it includes relevant answers to users’ queries and whether it is credible.
‘Popular’ Sites will no Longer be Favored
Although Wikipedia and other big names in the online world dominated search results simply because of their importance and raw link authority, these will no longer be the most influential factors. Domain authority will still play a significant role, but the link equity and the size of the website will not matter as much. In the future, it will all be about the element of topical authority and expertise in Google’s algorithm, meaning your years of experience of writing in the industry, earning links from your field of expertise and association with the industry subject matter will play an important role.
To build an authority around a particular topic, you need to associate your brand with it by setting up online, as well as offline campaigns, publish content about it, earn links, and develop a following from the influencers in your branch.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, to prepare for what’s ahead of you, look to the past; focus around the issues Google has already targeted and always ask yourself how can I improve in this particular field. When choosing a small business web developer to create your website, make sure that he is proficient in SEO and that he doesn’t employ shady/black hat techniques.
When it comes to our abovementioned issues, we can assure you a number of marketers are already implementing changes in their campaigns, and to join them in the race for the top of the SERP, start working on them ASAP.