SEO: Proven Success Strategies for Sustained Traffic and Credibility
by gardenpatch Insights on Jan 21, 2024 9:00:00 AM
Whoever said that search engine optimization (SEO) is dead has a lot to learn. Digital marketing in 2023 would not happen without SEO. Although some may argue with results from paid ads, there is still a place for organic traffic. There's been a lot of changes to SEO techniques over the years. These changes have inspired the question of whether SEO is still relevant today. The answer is yes! Search engine optimization has only evolved over the years. So the techniques that we use going forward will continue to be different.
In the evolving digital ecosystem, Google's frequent algorithm updates have made many traditional SEO methods irrelevant. But where some see roadblocks, others see a chance to innovate. Today's search engine marketing game isn't just about churning out quality content; it demands a complex strategy integrating keyword research, backlinking, user experience, and analytics to stay ahead of competitors. Adapt or become obsolete—that's the mantra.
What is SEO?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of enhancing a website to improve its visibility when people search for products or services related to your business in search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. The goal of SEO is to increase a website's organic (non-paid) search engine results, driving more traffic. This process involves various strategies and techniques, including optimizing website content and structure, improving site speed, and ensuring mobile-friendliness. It also entails the strategic use of keywords, which are terms that potential customers are likely to use when searching for products or services. Additionally, SEO includes building backlinks from other websites, which not only drives traffic but also increases the site's credibility and ranking. The higher a website appears in search engine results, the more likely it is to catch the attention of prospective customers.
Now, imagine SEO as a matchmaker in the vast digital world, tirelessly working to connect users with the most relevant and valuable websites based on their search queries. Just like a skilled matchmaker who knows the preferences and interests of their clients, SEO involves understanding the nuances of how search engines work, what your target audience is searching for, and how to tailor your website to meet these needs. But here's the "aha" moment: SEO is not just about getting to the top of search results; it's about being the best answer to the questions your audience is asking. It's an ongoing dialogue between your website and search engines, evolving as algorithms and user behaviors change. When done right, SEO positions your website not just as a top result, but as a trusted, authoritative source that users return to, time and again. This dynamic, responsive approach to SEO is what sets successful online presences apart, turning websites into industry-leading destinations.
SEO today is drastically different from what it used to be. Even top game performers, like eHow.com, have lost traction with organic traffic because of the constant updates. As a result, attracting and maintaining organic traffic has taken on a new face. So marketers need to be constantly adjusting their SEO learning journey. It's now up to us to do our due diligence and get the latest SEO techniques right!
Grow Faster with HubSpot:
Accelerate your business growth by leveraging HubSpot's powerful marketing, sales, and service CRM tools. HubSpot provides everything you need to attract, engage, and delight customers. Click here to get started with HubSpot.
SEO: A Brief History
Search engine optimization is still one of the most impactful digital marketing techniques. SEO is the process you use to increase the number of people who visit your website (traffic). You also need to focus on that traffic quality to ensure you're getting the right people. Search engine optimization results can have long-term benefits for your business if you get your technique right.
It's hard to believe, but search engine optimization first gained traction in the '90s. That was over 20 years ago! So, it's not surprising that SEO would have evolved by now. Back in the '90s, it was a simpler time for SEO. All you needed to do to be successful at it was to submit the URL of your page to the various or preferred search engines at the time. A web crawler was then sent to your page to gather any important information. This information would include any external links and return information for indexing.
Even then, website owners could still see the value in getting a high ranking in search engines. Who doesn't want to appear at the top of Google's first page? Being at the top of the search engine is literally prime real estate. Websites that occupy the first page of Google get more traffic. Most people don't even go past the first page. According to Forbes, in recent years, the second page of Google has less than 6% of internet traffic and clicks. This is a wide gap when you look at the 71% to 92% of web traffic that goes straight to the first page. So that's where you want to be, the first page on the search engine results.
Do you remember the Google revolution of the early 2000s? If so, you probably remember the rush to get as many links on your website as possible. This is because when Yahoo partnered with Google, links were seen as the most important factor in ensuring your website was visible. This did not last for very long, though. Google soon launched two tools that changed the game in 2006. It's no surprise these tools are still widely used today. In 2006, Google launched Analytics and the Google WebMaster Tool. Businesses then had more access to data and more capacity to track their SEO progress.
By the time social media became popular in the latter part of the 2000s, we were again in for another game change. Now, you can get organic traffic to your website from a different source. Social media helps with SEO through the original linking technique. However, it also adds to the package by driving and increasing brand awareness and affinity. We can't deny the impact that something like a social media post or tweet can have on your business. Your business can benefit or lose out depending on what gets shared. With this came the rise of influencers in the 2010s and the massive impact of their reach. Many look to influencers when making important decisions like where to spend their money. Today, you can find social media influencers with millions of followers who believe in their messages.
Later on, around 2016, Google changed the SEO game again. When Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) emerged, this marked a new era. Your website speed started to affect your Google rank. AMP are intended to make web pages load quicker and easier on mobile devices. During this emergence, smartphones and tablets were becoming increasingly popular. So many businesses, such as media companies, started using AMP and still use them even today.
What Makes Today's SEO Different?
Around 2017, one of the most drastic changes in SEO took place. Initially, Google started out basing SEO on a process of information retrieval. Later, the focus mainly shifted to mobile devices and how web pages display. It was not until 2017, though, that a third drastic change took place in SEO. This moved SEO towards machine learning and intelligent search using artificial intelligence (AI). Since then, Google has included machine learning in all its applications.
With intelligent search, people can now search using more than just typed words. Voice searches are prevalent today with AI bots like Siri and Alexa. You can ask them questions, and they search the web for an appropriate response to your query. There's a massive increase in the use of image searches, too. So, you can understand how businesses would have to update their SEO techniques to accommodate this. However, not updating your technique could cost you precious organic traffic to your website.
Three SEO Tips to Maximize Your Reach 2023
Now we understand how search engine optimization has evolved throughout the years. So, let's look at three SEO tips to maximize your reach in 2023.
1. The Google Page Experience Update
Another update for Google in 2021 affected your search engine optimization techniques. It was a big game-changer in SEO, and its aspects proved more valuable to your business. For example, the customer experience affects how your website ranks through user experience data. Your user experience is determined based on the presence (or lack thereof) of your website's core web vitals.
The new web vitals programs came out in March 2021. This initiative uses quality signals to capture and analyze website information. Websites and businesses can use this information to improve their user experience. Core web vitals focus in detail on your web page's metrics, considering how interactive your web page is and the time it takes to load. For example, it would help to consider whether your website content changes position while the page loads. Of course, your website must be compatible with most devices to avoid this problem.
You prepare yourself and your business for constant, inevitable changes by auditing your website. Perform a website audit to catch any problems with your website and find out how you can fix them.
You will have access to various factors that affect your page, including:
- page layout issues
- page speed
- response time
With this information, you can get ahead of the game and start working on your user experience, so you won't have to play catch-up when the update comes out.
2. Pay Attention to Voice Searches
"Hey, Siri!" If that's a phrase you use throughout your day, then congrats! Over the past 2 years, you've been part of the new wave of voice searches. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the use of voice searches has exploded. As a result, businesses now have to adjust their SEO techniques so that AI can easily find information on their website.
Before, you only had to ensure that your target audience and the search engine could read your website. Now, the contents of your website also need to be accessible by these bots. We no longer need to fidget with our keyboards to type out our Google search terms. You must now optimize your website to meet these requirements and avoid getting overlooked in voice searches.
How do you do this? It's pretty simple. Take some time to check the status of the current content on your website. Then, find any areas to make your content more concise. Do this by responding to specific questions in your niche.
Remember that you're trying to answer the questions:
You can use keyword research to find exactly what your target group is asking. Then, provide direct responses to these questions in your website content. Now, when someone uses voice search, these short answers will show up in answer boxes and the featured snippets section of the results page.
3. How Strong Is Your Brand?
Brand strength will be another significant factor in SEO success in 2023. Google has been monitoring brand strength since 2018 when the EAT initiative was launched. EAT is expertise, authority, and trustworthiness related to your brand.
What does this mean for your business? First, Google will be more interested in how users and other companies view your website. These opinions will help to determine how strong your brand is and, from there, rank your website. So, you'll need to pay keen attention not only to your on-page SEO but also to your off-page SEO. Second, Google values what other websites say about your brand, too. So, maintain your brand credibility.
The key to search engine optimization is finding your target audience's needs. The same is valid for building the reputation of your brand. When you know your audience's questions, you can answer them on your website. Next, find out what type of content your audience is interested in so that you can provide them with high-quality content. When you provide high-quality content, customers spend more time on your website per visit, which will help your bounce rate.
Keep track of your reviews. Go through the customer reviews on your website and others to find out what people say about your brand. If you find any negative reviews, you must handle this situation at once. You need to ensure that you can resolve the issue immediately. Negative customer reviews will hurt your brand reputation and result in a lower Google rank. In effect, you will miss out on some valuable organic traffic.
Now that you know that search engine optimization can still work for you in 2023, it's time to ask the real question. Do you need professional help with SEO? Now is the time to get SEO savvy. If you answered yes to that question, contact us at gardenpatch.
Our team of experts has mastered SEO strategies throughout the decades. We have insider knowledge and techniques to channel that organic traffic directly to your website.