To take a look around the web, you would think that everything about search engine optimization has changed overnight. And in a sense, that’s definitely true. Mobile search and voice-assisted apps are making longer search strings more common. Local SEO is putting small businesses on equal footing with large corporations. And Google is utilizing artificial intelligence to determine things like relevance, searcher intent, and authority.
Look beneath the surface, though, and you’ll find some of the principles of search engine optimization that were true a few years ago still hold. In fact, they tend to remain the primary determinants of search positioning and results.
So, before you go abandoning your old search engine optimization campaigns, here are four things you shouldn’t forget about…
#1 Exact Matching Still Has Its Place
When it comes down to it, Google is still in the business of matching questions to answers. Therefore, if it can find an exact answer to the question that’s being asked (in this case, a search query or keyword string) it’s going to recommend that one first. Why wouldn’t it, when that’s what the searcher is most likely to want?
If you know there are certain phrases your customers will be entering into Google, make sure they show up on your website.
#2 Links Can Boost Your Search Visibility
We’ve already learned enough about Penguin and Panda to know that inbound links have been devalued as part of Google’s search algorithm over the past two years. But saying that links they aren’t worth what they used to be isn’t the same thing as saying they don’t have any value at all.
Having links point to your website can still help you raise your profile and attract new customers. The only catch is that they have to be high-quality links from reputable websites in a similar industry. You can’t buy those kinds of links, but you can earn them over time.
#3 The Top Three Search Results Get Traffic
Although searchers are going deeper into the results than they used to in the past in the search for the perfect answer or resource, the reality is that the sites in the top search position still get first crack at a new source of business. If you can earn one of those positions, it’s probably going to be a good thing for your sales and lead generation efforts. It takes a bit of time and effort to earn a top search spot, but the outcome still makes it worth the investment.
#4 You Need Conversions More Than Visits
Ever since search engine optimization became a thing business owners and marketers paid attention to, many have become obsessed with earning a higher search rank. That’s generally a good thing, but your marketing campaigns shouldn’t just focus on SEO. After all, what good are visits from Google if they don’t result in sales?
To avoid not seeing the forest for the trees, study your metrics carefully to ensure that the bulk of your web traffic isn’t just empty visits that aren’t leading to opportunities for new business. A good search position is valuable, but not as valuable as the customers you get from it.
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