Make sure your content and website are super-discoverable with our top SEO tips.
We’ve been speaking a lot about content marketing recently. We’ve even made a succinct guide to the trends you can expect to see in 2016.
However, to avoid sounding like the guy at the party that constantly drones on about the same old story, in this blog we’re going to move away from discussing content marketing as a whole. Instead, we’ll be focussing our attention on an important aspect of content in general: SEO.
For those of you that are not already aware, search engine optimisation (SEO) at its most fundamental level refers to the use of strategies, tactics and techniques designed to increase the number of visitors to a website. This is achieved by making on-going changes to both your content and website, so that it is optimised for search engines to better ‘understand’ it and deem it relevant to specific search terms.
By doing this effectively and adhering to best practices, your content obtains a high-ranking placement in SERPs (search engine results pages), Google being the most obvious example due to its dominance in its field.
Again, to avoid being that guy at the party, we’re not going to further define SEO: you can brush up on your knowledge here though. What we are going to do is provide you with three top SEO tips for making sure your content and website are super-discoverable. And with more traffic comes more leads, so let’s get on with it.
1. Keep Your URLs Evergreen
In a nutshell, evergreen content refers to content that remains relevant and ‘fresh’ indefinitely. Naturally this will mean the content is valuable to begin with and will be based on ideas or solutions that are as timeless as the needs they are designed to address.
However, there is more to evergreen content than addressing timeless issues. You need to optimise the content so that it is constantly competitive on SERPs. On a practical level, this means you’ll need to keep your URLs evergreen.
Let us explain. Let’s say you’ve written a guide to SEO (oh the irony) and it was created in 2016, you might be tempted to let the URL reflect the year it was created.
Instead of www.mycompany.com/theultimateguidetoSEO2016, what you actually should do is change it to www.mycompany.com/theultimateguidetoSEO. While in the short-term the former might make your more discoverable, it isn’t worth it in the long-run when you’re trying to reap the benefits of evergreen content that attracts visitors long after the year has passed.
Don’t worry though, we only suggest this technique for URLs. For H1 titles and meta-titles, we suggest you modify these accordingly so that they are tailored to the audience or year, for instance. According to Etsy’s acquisition manager and former SEO manager, Stephanie Chang, the result of this is that the H1 and meta titles stay relevant and timely to visitors, with the neutral URL making the page “stronger and stronger each year”.
2. Ditch The Shortcuts
You may have heard of the saying “go hard or go home” or one of its many variations. Well, cliché though it may be, the underlying message applies to SEO and content. Often you’ll find people are inclined to try and cheat the system and look for shortcuts to higher page rankings. This approach is pretty much always destined to fail, especially when it comes to SEO. After all, Google is renowned for constantly updating its algorithms to stamp out poor practices such as ‘keyword stuffing’.
So our advice is to ditch the shortcuts and focus on creating great content that your audience will actually want to read. We say this for good reason too: tactics such as using link building, keywords, and title tags to make content perform well (regardless of the content’s quality) no longer work. According to Marie Haynes, search engine marketing consultant, “Every piece of content that you produce needs to be the absolute best of its kind.”
“If Google sees that a large portion of your site consists of content that rarely engages anyone, then this could trigger a demotion by the Panda filter.”
So, in summary, ditch the shortcuts and focus on quality over quantity. Great SEO content is still all about the content.
3. Embrace The Title Tag
Our last tip is a relatively easy one to implement, but don’t be fooled, it works and is easy to overlook. *Cue drum roll…*
We’re talking about title tags.
Simply put, title tags are the headlines that show up in search results. Let us stop you there though. A common mistake that content marketers often make is confusing these tags with the actual headlines of blogs and articles. They’re not the same.
In fact, making the two the same can stop you from fully optimising your content. Think of it this way, great headlines are typically engagement focussed, while title tags are more focussed on the keywords you’ll want to be using to help people find you in the first place.
Explaining it further, SEO expert Dana DiTomaso states that “[we] have the tendency in our industry to focus on the new and shiny.”
“How about you just look at the title tags? It one hundred percent makes a difference. We’ve seen examples where literally all we’ve done on the page is change the title tag and then magically things are showing up better. And you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, this SEO thing really does work.'”
And we second that. This SEO ‘thing’ does work. Granted it is hard work and there are no shortcuts. But this is a good thing. These barriers are there as a means of quality control. Not only do these algorithms reward the content that is genuinely valuable, they also force businesses like yours to adopt content marketing strategies that are driven by real insights. They allow true experts to monetise their knowledge.