Only in the last year, Google updated its Penguin algorithm and made it part of its core, rolled out the mobile intrusive interstitials penalty, and started indexing according to mobile search results. And, that’s just mentioning only the biggest changes SEOs everywhere had to face.
In an SEO landscape that’s becoming increasingly complicated and crowded, it can be hard for small businesses to keep pace with all the changes. But, failing to do so, will most likely result in a drop in traffic, ranking, and ultimately, customers.
So, what can you do to step up your game and keep up with the ever-changing elements of SEO?
Here are some ideas.
Diversify your traffic sources
With a distribution strategy that doesn’t rely solely on organic traffic, you can ensure that the future of your small business’ website isn’t contingent on people searching for your brand name on Google.
Video content, for example, is an excellent way to diversify your traffic. You can publish your videos on your blog first, then on YouTube, and even Facebook. By targeting different channels, you generate traffic from different sources.
The same can go for your articles. You can publish them on your blog, but also on channels like Medium, Quora, or LinkedIn Pulse. However, make sure that you adapt your content to the specifications of each platform.
Update your keyword strategy
Try the following experiment: do a Google research for the keyword “pay-per-click.” You will probably notice that the first positions are held by an Answer Box, ads, news stories, and only then you can see some articles.
One of the things that make SEO so increasingly difficult today is the fact that there’s less and less real estate on Google’s search results.
One possible solution to this problem could be to adapt your keyword strategy so that it incorporates user behavior more effectively. For example, it has been shown that voice search is about to double in the next five years. It’s clear that the way people use Google will change. Right now, if you’re searching for something on Google on your phone, most probably you’re not going to type “how to make cupcakes.” It takes too long. Instead, you will type the keyword: “cupcake recipe.”
With voice search, people are going to use complex sentences to search for information. That means that your SEO strategy should focus more on long-tail keywords and understanding user intent and less on head keywords.
Get smart about link building
Despite what you might think, link building is still an efficient SEO strategy. However, for it to be successful in 2017, you need to have a clear goal, a strategic approach, and metrics to track. Keep in mind that, like with most things SEO-related, link building will take time to show results. So, try to balance your efforts between long-term investments, such as focusing on building a powerful relationship with influencers in your niche, and short-term gains, like HARO inquiries or interview round-ups.
Prepare your content for machine learning
A few years back, Google announced that they are adding yet another layer to their already complex algorithm. We’re talking about RankBrain, a machine learning system designed to help Google deliver better search results.
It’s still too early to say what impact RankBrain will have on your content. However, it’s clear that it will become almost impossible to manipulate your content to boost your position without understanding the relationship between search terms and context.
It’s almost impossible to say what will happen next. So, try to follow SEO best practices, keep up with the news, and stay flexible.