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Web Content is Evolving – are Your SEO Efforts Keeping Pace?

April 19, 2017 by Andrew Symes

When optimizing a website, content is (still) king. But recent trends are making it more challenging than ever to write search-engine-optimized content. Modern website designs – especially parallax scrolling websites – favour large imagery and video over paragraphs of text. Visitors’ attention spans are short, and mobile device users won’t spend time scrolling through lengths of text on their phones.

Think Outside the Content

The decrease in on-page content has increased the importance of other factors known to help with search engine optimization. To properly optimize a modern website, you need to consider the following:

User Experience: As SEO expert Dan Golden recently stated in Forbes, “Search engines have gotten much smarter at determining what makes a good search result. Age-old keyword ranking factors still exist, but SEO and UX need to merge as search engines start rewarding sites that deliver a great customer experience and fast load times. In the near future, over-optimized sites based on keywords will start losing out to great UX.”

Search engines like Google want to deliver the best results to users. As content shrinks, the definition of “best” is expanding to mean well-organized, fast, and intuitive websites. Read more about The Importance of UX in SEO.

Backlinks: In ranking a website, search engines look at the number and quality of backlinks – also known as external links, inbound links, or referring sources – to your site. When all other aspects are equal, a site with more backlinks of high quality will outrank one with fewer such links. To obtain quality backlinks, you need to manually search out relevant directories, publications, and third-party sites and request that they link to your site.

Since obtaining quality backlinks is largely a manual endeavour, many companies do not actively pursue them. Assigning someone within your organization to continually seek out backlinks can help you stand out from your competitors and give your site the authority it needs to rank well in search.

Mobile Friendliness: Since 2015, Google has included “mobile-friendliness” as a factor in its search ranking algorithm. In short, today’s search engines reward web pages that display properly and efficiently on a mobile device. Sites that deliver an optimal experience on a small screen by eliminating the need to pinch, zoom, or scroll excessively now stand a better chance of being well-ranked than those that don’t. To check the status of your site’s mobile friendliness, enter a page URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

Social Signals: Social media properties can serve as important backlinks to your site and signal to search engines that your site is being talked about online. As the Search Engine Journal reports, “Your social links have an inherent authority, particularly if they stem from trusted social media platforms. They can be leveraged to drive traffic and improve your online visibility…”

As with backlinks, search engines look at both the quality and quantity of social media shares/properties to ensure that companies don’t simply spam their way to greatness via dozens of social media accounts or thousands of fake followers. Creating content and social media posts that are worth sharing isn’t just good marketing – it makes for good SEO, too.

Create the Right Content

While non-content factors are important considerations for SEO, you still need to think carefully about your content. For the foreseeable future, keywords will continue to help search engines recognize the intent of your search and match it to a web page.

The key is to work the most valuable keywords into your text, and use the limited space you have available on your website for text as wisely as possible.

As the founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, said last year: “Rather than applying a tactic like long-form content universally or letting length as the bar (or even a metric) for greatness, we instead match our content to our audience’s needs and our business/personal goals. 700 more words will not help you reach your goals any more than 7 more words. Create content that helps people. Do it efficiently. Never write an ultimate guide where a single image could more powerfully convey the same value. Trust me; your audience and your bottom line will thank you.”

While it may seem like it would take less effort to write less content, the reverse is actually true. Conveying your message succinctly is one of the most challenging jobs for a writer. At Kaszas, we’ve helped many clients optimize their sites through content that’s on the mark. I invite you to contact us to learn how we can build the best possible foundation for YOUR website’s long-term search engine performance!

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