*Blog post updated by Michelle Aguila. Original post was published on May 8, 2017.
It's widely accepted that seach engines still hold the title to being the highest website traffic source in this mobile and digital age. Everyone uses search engines, and it's no wonder businesses would vie for the elusive page 1 rankings.
However, because of the ever changing technological innovations, consumer behaviors, and the intense competition amongst digital marketers, search engine algorithms also continue to evolve through the years.
Some simple and complex SEO questions are still major topics of discussion, so we’re sharing the answers here to round up what’s happening in the industry today. Read on and take notes, and use them as your guide to SEO!
1. Is SEO dead?
I'm not saying it's the most profound SEO question, I'm just saying it still is one of the most asked questions. Because the truth is, yes, in the year 2017, we still see people get frantic about whether SEO is dying and being replaced by Content Marketing or Social Media or, in more recent times, Artificial Intelligence.
A guest post on the Jeff Bullas website hit the nail on the head when it said that questions floating about SEO’s death should be interpreted as none other than an affirmation that SEO constantly upgrades or updates itself.
Because of speedy changes in the way that people are searching nowadays, SEO—as you know it—has gone from evolutionary to revolutionary.
Current trends like local search and voice search are starting to gain traction thanks to heavy mobile usage, and it’s for the same reason that in the near future, you might just need to optimize your app content too as Google makes it part of the search ecosystem.
So, as you can see, SEO isn’t going away anytime soon. Case closed.
2. Are title tags still important in SEO today?
The quick answer is yes, it does matter. It's the first thing that catches the attention of a reader, and experiments show that increased click through rate seems to increase rankings too under certain circumstances.
The follow-up question therefore is, how can we hack title tags to increase traffic and rankings?
Here are some tips to help you enhance your title tags for SEO:
- Do keyword research. Your title tags should contain keywords that tell search engines if the content on your webpage matches a specific word or phrase query. At the same time, you need to come up with keywords that searchers are using to find content.
- Be mindful of character and pixel length limits. If you write a very long title and it gets truncated on the SERPs, it comes off as unprofessional and ambiguous. Safe to limit your title tag to no more than 65 to 75 characters, which is equal to about 500 to 600 pixel width.
- Follow proper keyword placement. Experts recommend that you place your most important keywords at the beginning of your title tag and include secondary keywords near the end for on-page optimization
- Use keyword separators. To make your title tag look good to users, you can use separators like commas, pipes, dashes, and spaces.
- Make unique title tags. Duplicate title tags on your web pages can be confusing for search engines and may only result in the wrong page being shown to users.
3. How does Google asses the authority of web pages?
How Google assesses a website's authority is still something that evolves through time. Although we do know that links and content are still the most important ranking factors in Google, a myriad of other factors are being introduced time and again (such as mobile responsiveness or artificial intelligence).
Google’s whitepaper titled “How Google Fights Disinformation,” which was in February 2019, makes it clear that its ranking system doesn’t identify a piece of content’s intent or factual accuracy. However, it can identify sites with high levels of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T), allowing users to access reliable sources of information.
Based on the whitepaper, the following components contribute to the E-A-T signals that Google is looking for in a website:
- PageRank—Google’s tool for counting the number of links a web page receives as well as for calculating the quality of those links remains as an important metric in understanding a site’s authority.
- Search Quality Evaluators—This refers to trained contractors who help Google rate the quality of pages that appear on the SERPs. Google uses the resulting ratings from evaluators as benchmarks that can help standardize its algorithms in identifying sites that offer a high quality of information to searchers.
4. What's the best ecommerce platform to use for SEO?
B2C people and online shop owners ask this a lot.. is it Magento? Woocommerce? Shopify? Squarespace? Big Cartel? There is no right and wrong answer, to be honest. Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses and it really depends on your unique requirements.
Notwithstanding, here are interesting results from a research involving various ecommerce platforms:
- The average website loading speed is 3.39 seconds. The top 5 ecommerce platforms that performed well within this range are: 3D Cart (1.82), Big Cartel (1.98) and Shopify (1.98), SquareSpace Ecommerce (2.08), and BigCommerce (2.41).
- The average score in a Google mobile user experience is 85. The top 5 ecommerce platforms that performed well within this range are: SquareSpace Ecommerce (97), BigCommerce (96), WooCommerce (94) and Shopify (94), ePages/1&1 (93) and CoreCommerce (93).
5. How important is link building?
The quick answer is VERY IMPORTANT; as mentioned above, link and content are still the most important, known Google ranking factors. But many Content Marketers and B2B Marketers still fail to understand just how important link building is, shrugging it off as something that should be the responsibility of the SEO "Department".
The truth is, link building is something that should come as a natural part of the content marketing process, and therefore, should be included in a content marketer's daily tasks.
Here are top recommended strategies that can help your website attract high-quality links:
- Guest Posting. This refers to increasing the visibility of your website by placing a link to your website on someone’s blog. You can place a link within the body or in the “About the Author” section of your guest post.
- Resource Pages. Similar to guest posting, you provide a website with a resource page for a particular niche through your high-quality content. Your target website may place your content with a link to your website.
- Collaboration with Industry Leaders. The purpose of this strategy is to have authoritative people help build backlinks for your site through interviews, positive reviews, or testimonials that promote your brand.
Of course, you shouldn’t forget about other quick and easy strategies too, such as fixing broken backlinks, listing your business in directories, or posting on forum and blog comments. Although these strategies don’t involve content creation, they can drive potential customers to your website, where you can further engage them with useful content.
What are the most asked questions you hear about SEO, Content Marketing, or Digital Marketing in general? Hit us up in the comments, or message us. We'd love to help!