By: Natalie Weaving
There isn’t a year gone by when I haven’t heard SEO is dead. The funny thing about that is that it is not dead. SEO has become a digital marketing practice that touches every online discipline. So actually, isn’t SEO just good marketing practice?
Let me take five minutes of your time to break this down into a few examples, with the marketing discipline it falls under and some bonus actions you can apply to your online business.
Inclusion in every sense of the word applies online as much as off. And did you know that SEO supports inclusive practices?
From alt tags on images to readability. These are not just “to-dos” the search engine gods are governing, these are recommendations to support the accessibility to your site and overall user experience.
Alt tags are nothing new to web design. Even social media platforms now encourage users to add descriptions to images that are uploaded.
Why? So that visually impaired users can have a better experience. Those with visual impairments often use screen readers. By adding in a description of the image (photo or graphic) gives the consumer context.
Alt tags are not just an SEO exercise!
Make sure you are describing what the image is over just keyword stuffing. The cut-and-paste-the-meta-for-every-image-on-the-page approach just isn’t helpful in the slightest.
CALL TO ACTIONS
How many times do you see “Click Here” or “Contact Us” on a site? I put my hand up – even I am guilty of them (currently on my to-do list to sort on our site).
Best practice describes where the link is taking someone, as those using technology to help them navigate a site are more likely to explore and stay with you if you do. So instead of “click here”, why not have “click to…[download our X guide/visit X/send us an email]”.
With E-A-T and Bert in play, content creation has never been so free yet focused. The days of pushing out blog after blog after blog and keyword stuffing them to trick the algorithm are long gone.
What search engines are really looking for is:
- high authoritative,
- well written,
- valuable content
that answers a question relevant to your audience.
These pieces of well-thought-out content feed into other online activities such as social media and email marketing. All of which fire up the SEO engine and gives your site the edge over your competitors!
Search engines are hot on looking at signals of trust. How many times have you looked for case studies or reviews before making a purchase?
Especially if it is a high-value product or service.
“87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020. This is an increase from 81% last year, 86% in 2018, and a huge increase from 67% back in 2010.” Source – https://www.brightlocal.com/research/local-consumer-review-survey/
Google My Business is the most looked at source for reviews, so make asking for feedback part of your process. These can then be used across your website, socials, email campaigns, pitches, award entries and more.
It isn’t just proof that you are good at what you do. Search engines are also looking for:
HTTPS is a default expectation. Search engines will warn people that a website is unsafe if you do not have an SSL certificate and deem your site as untrustworthy. Not only does this apply to the website as a whole. If you have legacy content, you could have a mixture of HTTPS and HTTP elements on your site. Clean these up. These will impact the trust that search engines will place on your site as they won’t deem you as keeping your users safe.
Another signal of trust is backlinks from authoritative sites. These are sites that:
- Have good SEO practices
- Ticks and E-A-T principle box
- Are relevant to your business
So, don’t start trying to get backlinks without a reason.
Digital PR is a great way to tick a lot of trust boxes. But you are never guaranteed a link. That said, with AI in play, it won’t be long until search engines bots becoming sophisticated enough to connect the dots if your company name is mentioned and attribute some kudos to you.
Your team can support your SEO efforts by showing their expertise via
- Their social channels – tagging and linking back to your site
- PR activities by giving comments, writing articles, taking part in podcasts etc
- Your website’s blog
Don’t hide your team; get them out there and speaking about the business. Employees are a business’s biggest advocates, and this will all support your SEO strategy.
These are just a few examples that show that SEO is just good marketing practice and a factor in every marketing decision. Especially online.
But, it’s important to remember that you can’t tick every SEO box. No one is perfect. But there are elements that everyone can do better to signal to Google and its chums that your site is a place to be discovered and visited and gives the nod to your audience that you care about their time with you.