Thursday, September 28, 2017

6 tricky SEO challenges – and how to overcome them

It's important for every company to get the word out about their business while reaching an audience that matters. What business wouldn't want to be found on the coveted page one, position one ranking in Google? However, SEO changes every single time Google tweaks its algorithm.

In order to stay ahead in the competition, you have to be aware of the challenges faced in the industry.

So let's take a look at some primary SEO challenges that your business will likely face and how to overcome them.

It's been said from day one: keyword stuffing is the devil. However, one trick to getting around this spammy, black-hat tactic was to fill meta-description and headers with keywords.

But think about it: When you're searching for content, would you rather click on a link associated with the meta description 'concerts, spring concerts, live concerts, concerts in the park' or would 'Live concerts in the park during the spring' interest you more?

To this day no one has demonstrated the perfect keyword density percentage. That said, you run the risk of triggering keyword penalty filters if you stuff a page or descriptions. Not to mention users who come upon that page are going to associate negative context to that description.

Essentially you're trying to create a message that intrigues people and makes them click. Make it more natural, focusing less on the raw keywords. Emphasising just a few key elements is a far more effective approach and helps websites rank over time.

Speaking of keywords, another smarmy tactic employed in SEO is dedicating a single page to target a specific variation of a keyword. While it's true that this strategy worked for a very long time, ultimately you're sacrificing usability.

Thanks to Google updates such as Hummingbird – where a whole sentence or context meaning query is taken into account – the search engine giant has a more topic-matching approach with their algorithm. As such, you no longer want to have separate pages for each keyword, but rather one page targeting them all.

I'm not saying that targeting relevant keywords is no longer useful. To this day, it's almost impossible to find what you're looking for online without using keywords. However, you should focus on offering highly valuable content rather than keyword-specific website content. High-quality website content still has clear keyword SEO strategy.

Especially if you are a business that sells similar products that don't require distinctly different descriptions. You can't just fall for the copy and paste option because Google will penalize sites with duplicate content. Each page on your site must have its own unique content. Instead, fit keywords intelligently into the content, headline, page title, meta description, etc.

And if you are that business from above? Simply combine similar products into a single page. It saves you time and resources and keeps Google's Panda at bay.
It's a hot topic: Do social media metrics – from followers to shares – actually affect search rankings?

One article says yes, the other says no. So what are you supposed to do?

I happen to believe that Facebook likes and Twitter followers do not affect search rankings. That said, while social shares may not directly influence rankings, your social profiles definitely impact the content of your search results.

From credible backlinks to viral social sharing of blog posts, social media profiles are often amongst the top results in search listings for brand names.

This means that marketers cannot discount social's impact on SEO. And when was the last time you Googled a company's social channel? I did just tonight. People don't just go to Google to look stuff up – they also use social media channels to find what they're looking for.

Therefore, a solid presence on social media is very important for your SEO strategy. Unfortunately, many marketers find it difficult to combine SEO efforts with social.

If you want to build a natural backlink profile, start by becoming active on various social channels where your target audience hangs out. Make an effort to grow your follower base on Facebook, Twitter and others that are relevant to your business.

However, just because you can doesn't mean you should. Don't create profiles on sites with low-quality followers. And don't spread yourself too thin trying to keep up with competitors. Because it's better to be on a few, quality social sites than to have an inactive account on all channels.

For one, you're doing yourself no favors with increasing your ranking and if a user does find your profile, they will judge you based on your lack of content there.

It's a common phrase: “mobile matters”. But does your website reflect that?

by Lauren Gilmore — TNW

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