Spring is the time of year to sort out your cupboards, dust behind your radiators and freshen up your wardrobe.
With a financial new year ahead, it is also an ideal time to look at your SEO strategy and check that you’ve adapted to the ever-changing online environment of search.
Here are Relevance’s top 5 SEO must-haves for Spring ’16 (written in words that even a SEO spring chicken can understand).
1) Getting the balance between paid and organic search right
Depending on the size of your business, you may have an agency, or a manager, or a whole department, working on your PPC pay-per-click/google adword strategy. But in distributing your marketing tasks, be careful not to cause disunion. What you need is an integrated strategy so that you can achieve a balance between paid and organic search. Paid is great for short term goals, like testing the user experience of a new website, but organic search marketing is best for the long term plan. A successful balance will save you lots of money in the long term too, by avoiding any excessive need for PPC.
Since the removal of PPC ads along the right side of SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) on the 23rd February, the best positioning has been widely debated. Apparently, position 10 on page 1 could be better than 7 or 9.
What is most important is to be on that page no 1 of Google (or every other search engine). And stay there. That obviously needs a good long-term game plan.
2) Improving the quality of your content
Since the last change in Google Algorithm last year, I’m sure you’ve had a good clear out of any dusty web links that would have slowed down your SEO. Google’s appreciation of good, quality content has long been understood. If you follow Rand Fishkin of Moz.com as attentively as we do, you’ll also notice that his most recent sessions on SEO have all included advice on improving content. This is a good time to revise those keyword lists, and invest in time to create much greater keyword lists, as well as the creation of content that is useful, interesting, and original to the viewer.
3) AMPing it up
Page speed and mobile readiness have been important factors for search for a while. But Google’s AMP project is taking this one step further and offering a chance to improve the speed of page loads, increasing engagement and usability over greater geographical distances and generally causing less frustration. Google AMP pages are available for anyone but are appropriate for news and blog posts, not e-Commerce.
Although paid sessions may increase, as visitors click back to the SERP after viewing the AMP page, domain authority may suffer as the AMP pages are on Google’s domain name, not the publishers. Also, another consideration is whether or not your current Content Management System (CMS) supports AMP. If it doesn’t, it’s probably time to consider a whole new system, not simply a strategy.
4) Speaking other languages
It’s not enough to rely on Google translate. It’s not enough to rely on everyone being able to understand English. If you have a business that wants to reach out to people in other countries, and/or people who speak other languages, then a great multilingual SEO strategy is extremely important. Online, you have to think global, but act local. So, URLs that specify the country at the end (e.g. .fr for France) are important, but also, a CMS that allows multi-lingual pages, in addition to well-written content in other languages. Choose a multilingual SEO agency with account managers who are native speakers of the languages that you need. Not only will they have the linguistic knowledge, but also the cultural understanding to provide an expert eye to the tone of voice of your online content that represents your company or brand.
5) Combining your PR and SEO strategy
PR and SEO have been seen as perfect partners for a while now, and the whirlwind romance is still blooming. Your PR and SEO calendars should be aligned like a live-in couple by now, ensuring that your content is making the most of your combined connections and press links. PR events, blogging and influencers can all be measured in digital currency. Many PR agencies have responded by ramping up their digital credentials but SEO agencies have always the upper hand, as the media (and all of its players) know that they have the real key (words) to the power partnership and the secrets to its success.