When it comes to building strong SEO to attract users to your site, the rules for best practices change frequently. That’s because SEO consistently adapts to reflect modern search habits, as well as Google’s consistent algorithm updates.
But as the saying goes, “out with the old and in with the new.” Today, effective SEO means undoing the ways of the past and employing contemporary techniques. Take a look at how old-school SEO compares with newer methods.
Old School SEO
Marketing veterans remember the days when SEO involved jamming keywords into every possible sentence – and maybe some unreasonable spots, too! Everything has an origin story, though. Successful old-school SEO involved trying to shoot to the top of a search engine by deploying tactics like:
- Keyword Stuffing – Worth reiterating, keyword stuffing involved placing keywords (whether researched well or not) everywhere you could — content, tags, footers, and anywhere else you could conceivably shove it.
- Not Targeting Primary Keywords – Ranking for all keywords under the sun means your website will appear on page one, right? Not so much. Without a strategy, many companies would use dozens of versions of the actual primary keyword they should have focused on. For example, “converse sneakers” suddenly became “converse sneakers tennis shoes” and “converse sneakers tennis shoes feet” and other unrealistic variants.
- Cloaking – The Ghost of SEO Past cringes at this tactic today. Cloaking involved creating a set of keywords for Google or Bing you’d target, then showing your users something completely unrelated on the page. In the worst-case scenarios, this created situations where the keywords didn’t match the content.
New School SEO
As the Internet and other technology evolved, so has SEO. For instance, Google’s algorithm has become far more complex, relying less on the repetition of specific keywords and more on the entire search experience. Essentially, it’s advanced as search engine habits have, which means successful SEO in 2020 doesn’t necessarily mean merely ranking number one for every keyword you can imagine.
Instead, it’s measured by a supply of traffic, customers, and leaders through your website – in other words, the things that matter most for your business’s bottom line. Rather than concentrating on old-school practices, keep these newer ones in mind:
- Site Speed – After spending time looking for an answer, your visitors don’t want to wait long. Google also dings slower sites.
- Website Structure – Technical, functional websites with an easy-to-use site navigation and map rank higher on Google, and also make your users’ experience more seamless. This includes metadata that concentrates on primary keywords and relevant copy.
- Captivating Content – Higher quality content that features relevant keywords and phrases (that aren’t overdone!) provide value and engagement to your readers. It needs to be digestible and provide solutions to their issues. Bullet points and short paragraphs allow search engines to crawl your information easily. It would help if you also had social sharing icons so your readers can broadcast your content across different mediums. Likewise, your team should share your offers on social media. Doing all of this also makes your copy stand out amongst search engines.
- Responsive Design – If your website doesn’t have a responsive design today, you probably have more problems than just bad SEO. Mobile-friendly sites – especially ones with optimized images – rank higher and offer a superior experience to your visitors.
- Link Strategy – Having a link strategy within your overarching SEO strategy involves implementing anchor links within your copy, backlinking to relevant third-party sites, and ensuring there are no broken links on your website. Try to link out keyword phrases rather than commands like “read more” or “click here.”
- A Clean Footer – Your website’s footer should have clear contact information and shouldn’t include any unnecessary content. No keyword stuffing here!
How Do You Write SEO-Friendly Content?
There are numerous and valuable SEO practices to enhance your website, but having strong content is one of the most effective. Here are some tips to improve your copywriting for SEO.
- Keyword Research – Develop a list of keywords with the help of a reliable platform, like Moz, that you want to target on specific webpages, landing pages, or blog posts. This can help guide your editorial calendar and help your team continuously bust out great material.
- Write Catchy Headlines – Headlines help grab a person’s attention, so they need to be captivating. They also stand out on a page, making them quicker for search engines to read.
- Structure Your Post – You should utilize different kinds to organize your content. Try using a mixture of H1s, H2s, and H3s, as well as bullet points to make your content easier to scan for readers and search engines alike.
- Use Imagery – A massive chunk of copy on a bare background does not bode well in the SEO-world. Use optimized images with alt text to break up your pages and please search engines.
- Optimize Your URLs – URLs provide information to visitors and search engines about the content of a page as well as its context and target. Therefore, you should pay attention to them instead of writing something undescriptive, like www.yoursite.com/blog-1/.
- Monitor Your Results – Use an analytics platform to keep an eye on your SEO performance so you can regularly make improvements. Never set it and forget it!
One Final Tip
Keep in mind while Google will reward your hard work, it’s your users who propel your business. Help them find your solution via strong SEO, but also be sure to address their paint points once they’re there. In doing so, you’ll enjoy better traffic, more leads, and higher search engine rankings.