Search engine optimization is alive and well, but the original definition certainly no longer applies. SEO, in its literal sense, means to take steps to improve ranking in online search engines. While that used to mean focusing on keywords, anchor text and link building, changes to the Google algorithm has shifted the focus to relevant content and long-tail keywords.
The loss of keyword data, too, when Google shifted to secure searches, has limited the marketer?s ability to determine what search terms are being used to deliver visitors to their website. While still useful, keyword data is slightly less relevant since the changes to the algorithm.
If you have searched the Internet recently, you probably entered a well-defined search topic, a question or several keywords rather than a single word. Why? The Internet is so full of content, and you want to be sure to get the results you seek. Google has recognized this search trend, and modified their search algorithm to provide the most relevant results.
The focus of SEO has shifted to emphasize long-tail keywords and content, both of which improve your site?s search ranking and provides better content for those who actually visit your website. Good content marketing will automatically include long-tail keywords and related topics, so if you are already implementing content marketing you are well on your way to search engine optimization.
The near-elimination of keyword data in Google Analytics has limited the amount of available data marketers can use to determine which keywords are working and which are not. The good news is that with a little creativity, you can still glean a bit of keyword data on which to base your long-tail keywords.
Bing and Yahoo both offer limited keyword data, and this information can still be useful. Be sure to check your website traffic to determine how much traffic is actually coming from these two search engines, and reconcile the keywords with other available data.
If you want to get ideas for long-tail keywords, enter a keyword into Google?s search, scroll to the bottom and check out the ?searches related to? keywords. This is a great way to see how others may be searching for the same topic you want to rank in.
Google also has a Keyword Planning Tool that allows marketers to enter a keyword that then identifies suggested keywords. You can start with keywords from your website that you know work, then create a list of new long-tail keywords to implement.
After you have cultivated a lengthy list of long-tail keywords, you will need to add the keywords to your website content. Consider how your visitors will be searching for the content, and focus on providing relevant content that will answer their questions.
As search evolves and more users begin to use mobile search, voice search and other technologies, so too should your SEO strategy. Continue to evaluate your keywords and add new keywords as search trends change.
Google is constantly working on updates to its search algorithm to provide better search results to improve their customer?s overall experience. The search world is a competitive place, and delivering the most relevant results quickly remains one of their primary goals.
As SEO continues to shift to match the changes made to the Google algorithm, adopting the same philosophy as Google certainly cannot hurt. Continue to add content and strive toward improving your visitor?s experience by providing them with information that is relevant and useful. Good content will naturally have the long-tail keywords you seek, and will also increase your chances of earning links from other sources.