5 frequently asked SEO questions
Published: 11 Jan, 2013
While it is no doubt interesting to note that a single company of the calibre of Google can change the entire face of the web as we know it just by altering some algorithms, it is important to take inventory of what exactly has changed in the realm of search engine optimisation.
1. Does my website need to rank #1 in search results?
Until the collective focus of digital marketers shifted to content, conventional wisdom said that the end goal was always to be the first result in Google for a term related to the business you promote. But, that has changed, thankfully.
We would not go as far as to say that being the first result on Google for a relevant term doesn't matter.
Being on top is still key, and research has shown a direct relationship between top ranking in searches and click through.
But, being high in the results on the second or third pages is highly effective nonetheless. In fact, many people using Google feel that pages beyond the first page of results are "deeper" in terms of content.
This fact, coupled with the fact that search results are now peppered with snippets, knowledge graphs, instant answers, and local packs, means that search rankings within the first handful of pages are all around more valuable than ever before.
Customers also search for in very specific ways, so optimising content for the 'long tail key phrase' is important, and arguably provides a better ROI for your SEO strategy.
In short, if your page isn't numero uno, keep working to get there, and keep in mind the options above. Make sure the you have a good content marketing strategy, monitor your SEO position and the rankings will follow.
2. Is good content all I need?
Despite being the underlying theme of modern digital marketing, content is not totally standalone.
The wise digital marketer will keep tabs on traffic sources, keywords, and social media (popular content).
Content should be great, but it really needs to maintain being a vessel for actionable consumer engagement above other considerations. The best blog post or video in the world is only great if it is getting the attention of your audience.
If your content is good but it is unseen, you just need to help it along. Revise, retitle, and re-market!
3. Do I need exact keywords?
So often, we see content that has keywords forced into sentences in ways that do not make sense. This flies in the face of the "good" content rule prevailing over all other considerations these days.
Google and other search engines are now trained to accept certain phrasings of keywords – words like "in," "with," and "of" that connect target keywords to make sentences make sense.
Putting awkward keywords and keyword phrases into otherwise proper sentences is repellent to consumers who are actually hip to SEO tactics. Keep your content realistic and geared as much or more for the human audience as it is for the search engines.
4. Is there an ideal keyword density anymore?
The answer again is: not really.
The pertinence of keyword density is increasingly becoming a myth. The search engine algorithms have been successfully updated to negate the need for stringent percentile keyword densities.
The one aspect of this concept that does still hold true is that your keyword should feature in your article titles. Otherwise, who knows what he content is all about, right?
5. Since content is key, do I need a lot of it?
Too much content is just that: too much.
Unless it has added value and the content is well written, there's no point increasing the content length.
Take a look at many webpages these days, and you will find that less is more. Check out the sales copy at Apple's website - a short tease leading to a more detailed description, all with magnetic headlines is as good as it gets.
Most content is streamlined for readability.
Overly long paragraphs and wordiness are not what make content great. Communicating in an actionable way leading to conversion is. So every word chosen only has to do that.
So the temptation to increase word count (and keyword density as a result) just creates intimidating paragraphs, and readers will turn away.
As always, short and simple is the best recipe for digital marketing success.
SEO algorithms are getting better, and thanks to refreshes to Google's methods of ranking pages, it's also getting easier.
As digital marketers, we no longer have to combat hacks and subversive SEO methods so long as we are able to generate good content and measure its results.
The ability to divorce our efforts from worrying intensely about keyword density and the rat race to the number one spot in the Google search, frees us up to provide better, more actionable content.
This is great because as we all know, wherever we put our focus tends to be where we see our results. Just remember to change with the times, and keep pace with the ever changing world of SEO.