You may have noticed that Google have reduced the number of ad spaces that appear in their search results. While this might please your average consumer looking for a product or service online, for marketing professionals and businesses in general, the Google AdWords’ landscape has become a whole lot more competitive, becoming especially difficult for those of us in service industries.
Companies, particularly small business, that have depended on their pay per click through rates, more than getting their page rankings higher, may now need to change their focus. From here on out, organic SEO is going to be more important than ever.
Why Organic SEO is More Important Than Ever
What’s the Big Change?
For Product searches, Google have removed the text ads on the right hand side and now display product ads instead. For service industry searches there are no right hand ads at all. Top of the page ads now produce 4 rather than the previous 3 results and there are generally a further 3 adverts at the bottom of the page. Appearing beneath the paid for listings are the map results and then the organic results. See for yourself, type electrician into Google, Then type in dining table… By removing those right hand adverts, Google has made Pay Per Click a lot more competitive. I am not suggesting it is completely out of the small business owners reach, but you will need to monitor your ROI and for certain industries you are going to be better off investing your time and efforts in the organic results.
Organic SEO: Back to the Future?
While it’s not the only search engine in the world, Google is still the daddy when it comes to finding what we want online. Much of SEO in the past has been about trying to exploit loopholes in the system so that businesses appear at least on the first page of results, if not at the very top. Changes in algorithms over the last few years have, however, made organic SEO a more nuanced affair. It’s not just about keywords or how many times you include a particular search term but how relevant the content is and the kind of experience users get when they click on the link to your site.
Google are always talking about how they want to reward good content rather than keyword stuffing and the businesses that take this into account are going to have the most success in the organic rankings. Getting your organic SEO strategy right is vitally important even if you currently rank highly on search engines – if you keep falling back on the same old tactics you may soon find yourself slipping down the natural rankings.
Are Keywords Still Important?
The short answer to this is yes, but with one major caveat. Your content needs to match the intent of the person who is searching. That means you can’t just include keywords with the hope of getting up the rankings but must ensure that your content matches as closely as possible what searchers want to see and is deemed relevant to the rest of your website. Google focuses on the user experience and maintain if you optimise for users rather than search engines then you will have a highly ranking website. Take a look at this help guide published by Google for more in-depth advice.
Word count is becoming more important and has increased over the last couple of years on Google. That means you need to provide full coverage of the topic, giving users as much information as possible. You also need to include collateral that act as proof for your topic. What does this mean? Each subject area, from running a bar, to providing legal advice or selling LED lightbulbs, comes with its own terminology that needs to be included in content in various aspects of the site.
Other SEO Factors
Providing relevant internal links is also important – and the key part here is ‘relevant’. It’s not just about getting a user to explore your site more, it’s about providing links that match the content and, again, the intent of the initial search. Including proper meta-descriptions and H1 tags is still important as is having a site wide strategy in place that brings your content together.
Then there’s how well your site works for the average user – does your page load quickly enough and can users view it clearly on a mobile device such as a smartphone. While cultivating huge amounts of irrelevant inbound links has become a ranking anathema, earning inbound links and mentions from high reputation, relevant sites and social media is a good thing but it can only be facilitated by producing great, useful content that people want to click on.
In short, organic SEO is more important than ever but it has become more complicated too. However, if you get it right you can improve your rankings considerably.
SEO has never been a static industry, like all marketing, it demands innovative thinking and requires a fluid strategy. In the fast paced digital world nothing stands still for long. If you would like to discuss your SEO strategy or any other aspect of digital marketing, then contact our expert team on 01604 654545 or email firstname.lastname@example.org