Introduction

The tactics used by a lot of search engine optimisers have been more or less continual since the year 2005. But things have changed; new methods are on the rise. A major SEO tactic back in the day was directory submission; now, the originator of this method (the Open Directory Project) isn’t even fully active. The updates to Google’s search algorithm have made most of the more manipulative SEO tactics unusable and pointless; try methods such as ‘link farms’ or ‘doorway pages’, for example, and your website will end up blacklisted.

From us at Trent & Hanover, as a company which has always stressed the importance of and pushed for real, honest SEO, here is an article in which we have discussed the future of SEO.

On-Page SEO

The most important aspect of on-page SEO is your site’s content; whether you’re looking after the technical elements or not, the richness of the content can play a big role in whether your site starts to dominate search engines.

Conversely, don’t ever use ‘thin content’ which you’ve taken from other sources – this will only result in your site being blacklisted.

Look at the word count of your articles: an average article, reaching about a thousand words, will typically be a godsend for a good website, but they need to be focused on the specifics of whatever your niche as a business is.

Long-tail keywords, written in the form of questions, are considered important by Google search; short-tail keywords, on the other hand, have been overused by any standards and are rarely used to determine ranking for new sites.

To increase the growth of your website, write a good article which targets long-tail keywords.

There are also a fair few other aspects to this: Microdata, robots.txt, the title tag used, meta tags and the internal link structure. Keeping your page well organised will make it easier for search bots to crawl your site. Any unimportant pages should be blocked using the ‘robots.txt’ directives.

Mobile Friendliness

Just over two years ago, Google released the “Mobilegeddon” SEO update for mobiles, the result of which has been that the majority of websites these days have developed mobile friendly versions of their sites, or gone responsive. So it’s extremely important to ensure your website is mobile friendly to all smartphones and tablets across the board. A good example of this is some research conducted by BrightEdge, a digital marketing agency, which has reported a roughly twenty-one percent decrease in the ranking of websites which aren’t mobile friendly.

Loading Times

A huge factor in ranking a website is its loading time; until very recently, anything under four seconds was considered ‘normal’. Due to the presence of extremely quick broadband, plus 4G LTE, an average visitor’s patience has dropped considerably; the highest ranking of all sites, these days, will load within 1.15 seconds – and their mobile friendly variants (or mobile sites) average at 1.1 seconds.

Not surprisingly, anything rather more sluggish – such as a 5 second plus loading time – can and definitely will negatively impact on your ranking hugely.

Link Building

The key concept behind hypertext is known as “hyperlink”, which is the markup scheme used across the World Wide Web; when the internet was introduced in 1991, this technology (hypertext) was perfected by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. It is based on the process of interlinking text content – this is why it is known as “hyperlinks”.

Links, by Google, are considered as votes given to one another by web pages.

The downside of this was the manipulation of different websites’ rankings by black-hat optimisers, who have used the process of building as many different links as possible to make their websites seem stronger; to the great misfortune of all honest web developers it still persists to this day.

Of all “off-page” SEO factors, genuine link building is still the most crucial element. If a link isn’t relevant, then it’s not worth having.

Let’s say for example that you have a website dedicated to dog-training. If a large number of its backlinks are from new Blogger blogs, and the majority of the content was scraped, then Google would be aware of it.

Conversely, if you were looking at the sales page of a smartphone, and in it was present a link from a gadget review page, that would be completely normal.

In order to maintain and increase the World Wide Web’s growth in a natural manner, the best ways for search marketers to do this is through naturally earned backlinks and relevant, unique, fresh content. And it has a positive effect all around; the balance of the web will benefit when you link out to resources which are considered high in quality: articles which are considered long in their content – 1000 words of more – articles which have been carefully researched, articles explaining how to do things, viral videos, and the like, will invariably attract lots of links.

Social Media

A huge element of the SEO equation is the phenomenon of social media itself. Given the growth of sites such as Twitter, Google+ and Facebook over recent years, this is not too surprising. Remember that when content goes viral on social channels, this signals search engines as well. One of the top ten ranking factors in Google search is “social metrics” (according to a report called the ‘Search Ranking Factors Report’ in 2015 by Moz), something which also makes a lot of sense; people are almost objectively more likely to share valuable content when you publish it.

Whereas rehashed articles and worthless content are far less likely to be shared.

Microdata Rich Snippets

There is such a thing known as the “Knowledge Graph”, a representation of Google’s search results enhanced by semantic information, which has been taken from a great many different sources on the web.

A good example is if you choose to search “Obama” in Google search. You’ll get all the details of the former president, from his personal info to his page on Wikipedia, various social media profiles, and more.

The help Google receives in extracting such info, whether about a place, a person, a company, etc, is through Microdata.

What is Microdata? In brief, it is an HTML specification enhancing a page’s content, using rich snippets designed to provide machine-readable info. A database is built by search engines through microdata. Google already had over 570 million objects present in it when, in 2012, the Knowledge Graph was introduced.

In 2017, the Knowledge Graph has now grown massively, incorporating over 70 billion facts. In short, you need to implement microdata into your web pages if you haven’t done so already.

In closing, remember that none of these SEO aspects here will make a huge difference unless high-quality content is present. And always be persistent; you have to continually circulate and create new content regularly and periodically to keep your website fresh and new. At Trent & Hanover, our awareness of SEO has enabled us to help many of our clients to develop their web presence hugely. We hope that through reading and learning from this article you will be able to do the same.