Search Engine Optimization – What you need to know about SEO in 2015 and beyond!
This article has recently been published in Khaleej Times – Business – InfoTech section on March 12, 2015.
Whenever you search for something online, you immediately see a list of relevant results from all over the web. Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo are able to find the pages that match your search queries.
How search engines do this? How can a business improve the chances to get found? Google follows a set of rules called ‘search engine algorithm’ to measure of the importance and relevance of a website. Google considers 200+ factors in their algorithm to rank web pages and show you the most relevant results whenever you search something on Google.
Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, refers to the methods that help your website (your blog, your videos, your social networks, and/or any online presence you have) rank higher in natural (non-paid) search results, so making your website more visible to people who are searching for your products, services or events using search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Over the years, the recipe for ranking success has included things like title tags, meta descriptions, keyword tags, keyword density, H1 tags, image elements, links from specific domains, quality of links, and more.
Recently, the world of SEO has changed. The recipe of search ranking has expanded to include tweets, retweets, likes, social sharing, social mentions, users’ experience, users’ engagement and content marketing.
So, what we need to know about SEO in 2015 and beyond? I believe the following factors will really be helpful to get your website rank well and in maintaining the positions:
- Quality Content – Create great content that is relevant, fresh, unique, useful and shareable. It’s not enough to just produce content.
- Create content for human, not for search engines. Your content must educate, inspire, or entertain your audience. Also, design your website that provide great users experience.
- Never buy backlinks to artificially improve your site’s credibility and ranking. Also, make sure your SEO agency is not involved in any such unethical practices.
- Relevant Page Titles – Create at least One Page for each product or service. Then, describe each page with a unique, relevant title that describes your page content and embeds relevant keywords and your targeted location (like Dubai).
- While considering SEO for a specific country/city, keep the following in mind:
- Don’t forget to mention your location (address, city, country, phone with International dialing code (like +971 for UAE) in the footer of every page of your website.
- List your business with Google My Business and have it verified!
- Get your most supportive customers to write reviews about your business
- While launching a new website, considering having a local (like .ae for UAE) domain
- Issue a press release in local media to get media coverage.
- Listing your business activities, products, services in local classifieds (like Dubizzle, OLX, Buzzon KhaleejTimes etc.) help.
- Site / URL Structure – Create a site hierarchy and represent all your website’s main sections/pages in the footer.
- Responsive Web Design – Make sure your website is doing well across all screen sizes including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smart-phones. Poor mobile optimization can lead to a spike in bounce rates, which negatively impacts SEO results.
- Forget artificial link building strategies; focus on Quality Backlinks – your partners, suppliers, sponsors, supporters will link to you naturally. Build relationships with your blog, guest posts, press releases, speaking awards, interviews, events and networking.
- Traditional PR/Media citation and Brand mentions are becoming as powerful as links – they improve your business/website authority and enhance your rankings.
- Enable Social Media sharing options (using AddThis.com) to let people share your content with their connections easily.
- Focus on gradual improvement in organic search traffic, conversions and ROI – instead of focusing on keywords rankings.
- Google is smart-enough now! Avoid tricking Google in any way or get ready to be penalized. Follow Google Webmaster Guidelines related to technical, content and quality guidelines and find best practices by reviewing Google Official SEO guides for great results. Use Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics to monitor the site’s performance, ranking reports, and users’ behavior. To know more about these Google Official SEO Tips & Tools, visit http://www.seointl.net/google-seo/
- While developing content, don’t just think about boring text articles; consider having great images, inspiring videos, useful infographics, presentations and more!
- Don’t consider SEO as a separate department, it is a part of your marketing and content development department.
Some people believe that SEO is dying; but I strongly disagree with them. SEO is live and it is there to stay for long. You may notice the search trend during 2009 – 2015 in UAE using Google Trends that proves my statement.
SEO is constantly changing. New updates are released, new trends are discussed and new strategies are developed. It is something that will constantly evolve. However, do not waste your valuable time trying to guess Google’s algorithms. Concentrate on the fact that Google is trying to reward quality content with high rankings.
Najam Ahmed | Digital & Inbound Marketing Consultant
Google Partner | Hubspot Inbound Certified
SEO International – a divisional of Al Wafaa Group