So the death of SEO is certainly NOT here, but its evolution continues. Much like the ever changing face of rock and roll, the PC (or computing as we know it), mobile phones into something better so too is SEO morphing into something different and, yes… better.
If you work in the digital marketing space, even in the slightest, then you’re certainly aware of the many changes that Google has imparted on us over the course of 2013 and most certainly to impart throughout 2014. Almost all of them have changed the course of search engine optimization and emphasized good, well-written content in some way. Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird are all designed to show more relevant search results, which is, in some facet or another, contingent on ultimately showing better content.
Now I certainly condone, recognize, and preach the smart use of Meta data and on-page SEO tactics there does exists (IMHO) the need to shift from what has been termed SEARCH engine optimization (SEO) to what needs to be WEBSITE optimization (WSO). What’s the difference? I like to think about from a user experience. Once you have your on-page SEO 101 stuff nailed down start to think about ways to improve your site so that your users benefit most.
1. Site speed – If you have page load issues, well… you need to fix them. You can use a simple tool that Google provides called Google Page Speed. Bottom line here… the longer your pages take to load the less attractive they are to both Google and your visitors.
2. Share good content – If your homepage is nothing more than an advertisement, people are likely not to stick around. You can see this pretty clearly in your site’s bounce rate. For a blog a higher bounce rate (60% or higher) may be okay, but for a website this simply means that people are not engaged. Check out what happened to our own website when we started putting blog content front and center. The numbers are pretty remarkable!
3. It’s about the leads – Almost all corporate websites are in place to attract new customers. It’s the online store front to attract customers. With that said there are a LOT of websites out there that do nothing to bring people in. There’s no call-to-action, no offers, no content to pull people in. It’s easy to change that by providing compelling offers or gated content on the homepage, above the fold. It’s also important to change out the offers periodically so they’re fresh.
4. People buy from people – This sounds sort of old-school cliché, but I believe it still holds water today. I think having real faces of the company adorning website pages can add real value to building strong relationships. We do it by featuring blog author headshots on the blogs that we feature on our homepage. These authors are the face of Digital C4. They’re who our clients work with day in and day out. Sure… if you sell printers you’ll need to have product imagery, but try showcasing some people with those printers and see what happens.
5. Think mobile – More and more people are accessing websites via their mobile devices or tablets. In fact personally I don’t log onto a computer or laptop at all on the weekend these days (for the most part). My internet access is done completely by smartphone or tablet. Understanding how your website displays and works from a mobile device is critical today. Responsive web design is a must!
These are just 5 ways to think about website optimization that can improve your SEO. You’ll be seeing some changes on our own site that will shift our focus away from SEARCH and into WEBSITE. Getting your website to work for you, and most notably your audience, will be the key for 2014 and beyond. Think WSO and not SEO! Stay tuned…