Let’s discover the basic SEO mistakes to avoid.
1. Be authoritative – no matter how long it takes
The phrase “Content is king” is ubiquitous; it may as well be printed on t-shirts for SEO consultants. But the phrase should come with an asterisk, and another bit of text: Not all content is created equal. As search engines mature, so should your content authority.
Brian Dean and the crew at Backlinko recently published their report on factors that, as he put it, “correlate with first page search rankings.” Among his team’s findings was that “comprehensive content significantly outperformed shallow content”.
“In the early days of SEO, Google would determine a page’s topic by looking strictly at the keywords that appeared on the page,” writes Dean. “Today… Google now understands the topic of every page”. With that understanding comes an increased ability for Google, and other search engines, to evaluate how well a website explains its topic. Dean’s team found that both topical authority and length often correlate with high search rankings.
Refining your content authority is an ongoing process, so experimentation and careful review is crucial.
As for the length of your content, long-windedness can make your site less useful to readers, who’ll begin to skip you over for other destinations that move swiftly to the point. Still, don’t fear length. Instead, you should only write as much as is absolutely necessary to show your expertise. And, as we’ve said before, the best web writing is simple and straightforward. Now make that writing the vessel for your expertise.
2. Think like a search engine
Want better search rankings? Time to think like a search engine.
It’s not an impossible task; in fact, Google relies on search engine evaluators – real, actual human beings – to determine how well pages accomplish their stated missions. Those evaluators review the “usefulness of individual results,” and Google helps them to determine that “usefulness” with its 146-page “Search Quality Evaluators Guidelines”. Those evaluators receive advanced coaching we’re not privy to, but we get a few general hints from the guidelines.
Here’s a couple:
Here are the most important factors to consider when selecting an overall Page Quality rating:
1. Main Content Quality and Amount: The rating should be based on the landing page of the task URL.
2. Website Information/information about who is responsible for the website: Links to help with website information research will be provided.
3. Website Reputation: Links to help with reputation research will be provided.
4. Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness: This is an important quality characteristic. Use your research on the areas above to inform your rating.
Why should you think like a search engine? Simple: Your ideas of expertise, or authority, or trustworthiness may differ from your audience’s ideas.
3. Honor your principles across platforms
If search quality raters are watching your videos, then your videos should mirror your content: Be authoritative and generous with your information, but don’t let your content run away from you. Use as much audio and video as you need to fulfill your website’s purpose well.
Yum Yum Videos makes explainer videos, so naturally the company made a video to show its craft. It spent three months coaxing the video to YouTube’s first page of results for a “best explainer videos” search. More than one year later, the video still ranks at the top of YouTube’s worldwide results for that keyword.
At the time, wrote Yum Yum’s content editor Juan Jose Mendez, “YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world, so you obviously want your videos to get to the top of the search”. In a post at Social Media Today, Mendez elaborated on how his team did just that, and offered seven tips for video SEO that cover everything form thumbnails to descriptions to calls for action.
Here’s the thing about Mendez’s tips: They all rely on the same principles that make for authoritative content. Titles should be short but explicit, thumbnails should be high-resolution and never misleading, and descriptions should move swiftly to the point. Yum Yum’s video clocks in at 2:14, and more than 40% of viewers watched until the end.
“But what’s the secret to getting a high audience retention rate?” he asks. “There’s only one answer to that question: make a great video. Don’t settle on poor animation quality, dull scriptwriting or boring content; in order to get the best ROI, your marketing videos need to be attractive, engaging and awesomely crafted!” As with authoritative content, multimedia content that explains and fulfills with style and grace will always reward your SEO efforts.
4. Make it mobile-friendly
Google’s most recent Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines is divided into four parts; one part is devoted entirely to mobile users. That may surprise the roughly 32% of you who don’t have smartphones or the 55% who don’t have tablets, but the rest of you know something they’ll know soon: While desktop and laptop ownership has leveled off, tablet and smartphone sales continue to rise.
Clay Cazier points out that, while Google devotes resources to explaining how it works with various design options on mobile devices, the company seems to encourage responsive design over other approaches. “The responsive Web design page distinctly says, ‘We [Google] recommend using responsive web design because…’ and then goes on to list six ways responsive design saves Google resources, delivers improved user experiences and avoids SEO pitfalls like bad redirects and fragmented link presence,” writes Cazier.
5. Learn from others’ mistakes
If you read the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, then it soon becomes clear that cynical SEO tactics won’t get you far – certainly not for very long. Copied content, insincere link building, and keyword stuffing aren’t exactly unknown quantities to search engines.
Take the noble route: Learn to better understand and value your mission, and then fulfill it with your best quality content. This infographic should help you keep in mind what to avoid.
This post originally appeared on here.