You have a great product/service, but how will you let the community know about it? That’s where the marketing team comes into play, with the advent of internet, every company had both the need and the opportunity to expand their community. In this competitive process, everyone tried to stay on top, to be precise on top of the search engine ranking, and these objectives paved way to the rise of SEO.
SEO is not an easy job, and it should not be limited to the marketing team alone, as it helps in improving the over all quality of the website, increase user experience, improve customer service and helps to stay updated constantly. Over the years, not only the companies that were present on the website, but even SEO has evolved a lot, actually a multiple times within a year. In the mid-1990’s (when search engines began), submission of your websites manually, keyword tagging and stuffing keywords were enough, but as the years progressed we saw changes like back links inclusion, social media marketing, mobile site optimisation etc, coming into consideration The search engines have refined their algorithms along with this evolution, so many of the tactics that worked last year can hurt your rankings today.
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Google has already launched a major core update in the beginning of this year, while there are many startups who are still trying to figure out the SEO strategy to reach their intended user base, experts are predicting the digital marketing strategies to look out for in 2016. In order to help people understand the SEO scenario better, Techstory spoke with one of the foremost experts of SEO, Bruce Clay, President of Bruce Clay, Inc. and Siddharth Lal, MD, Bruce Clay India.
The Indian Startup Scenario
The majority of the tech startup entrepreneurs have faced one major discomfort, and that is how much should they spend on SEO and Digital Marketing. Although, at the end of the day, it is your digital presence or rather digital prominence that is going to drive you maximum sales, we’re still not sure of how much to spend on these strategies. The U.S. and Indian startup scenario vary considerably, a lot of U.S. startups are well funded, and they have a disposable amount for both developing a product and marketing it and are continuously on the lookout to find more people to use their product.
[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” class=”” width=””]”Every new business faces similar problems. Probably the best advice is to focus on becoming an authority in their chosen field. They need to differentiate themselves and prove to customers why they are the best choice. If you can get customers to choose you, the search engines will follow.”[/box]
SEO is a long term strategy, but unfortunately most startups fail fast even before they understand the basics of SEO. By the time, you think you understood SEO, there is always a new update. Startups will have to stay updated to stay on top of the ranking and this can be achieved in terms of social media presence, paperclips, content development, mobile presence and tracking. Pure SEO is not what people usually consider, it is related to improving the quality of web page as a whole, and that’s where exclusive companies like Bruce Clay, Inc contribute the majority of their expertise. They currently deal with venture backed startups and their mergers and acquisitions.
Search Engine Optimisation Trends
Google’s search engine ranking is primarily based on its E-A-T principles, that’s Expertness, Authority and Trust. This can be achieved by a combination of industry experts that will link to you and ignore all the others who are not in the industry, and internal links that is necessary in determining your expertise in the industry. Internal links gives you a clear hierarchy and is usually related to the way we link the related contents within our site. You just can’t afford to have any bad links, as Google will soon ignore the links that don’t drive any traffic. Although a majority of the internet community uses Google, due to the easy mobile accessibility found by many age group, other search engines cannot be excluded. After Google (that accounts to 80% population), Bing ranks second and Yahoo has gone down recently and the search engine ranking differs for each of these individual search engines.
Techniques for SEO generally work across all the major search engines; for SEO companies Google will be and continues to be of primary importance.
Today we live in a time when the work you do – once – pays dividends across the engines, simplifying work for all businesses. We also realize today, with the advances in algorithms, that the focus should be on the user, that is, the searcher. Focusing on what matters to the search engine is misleading at times, but a focus on what a searcher is seeking to accomplish, and building an experience that supports them in reaching their goals (through SEO, social media, content and the user experience of a site) is a wise investment.
Any algorithm changes come about, because the engine seeks to improve.
Some changes exist to solve problems, but core updates are often about changing the state of an algorithm, updating its overall focus. In many cases, we never know the change has happened until we see a shift in rankings, then attempt to reverse engineer the changes. Google’s 2016 core update was a rare instance when we were alerted to the algorithmic change. The new change is expected to remove the advantage of average, low quality content and off-target links and instead focus more on the inbound mentions (such as from social media) that improves the trust factor of the site.
The SEO Language and Locality
One web can support multiple rankings, but the issue is when it comes to language.
Every language is a separate SEO project.
SEO varies for every language, same SEO strategy cannot be used for multiple languages and there should be articulations for individual languages. Mere translation of entire page won’t work, you take a page in English, identify the keywords first, translate the keywords and then finally the page. The people working in these areas must be aware of the language project, without which process of gaining traffic is not optimal. For startups scaling globally, it is important to note that audience for each of these region is different and each speak a different dialect.
Regionally distributed SEO is important as it is difficult to maintain centrally.
SEO should be localised to users, and it is better to have resources within each country. Having a central SEO team at U.S. and catering to the rest of the world is highly difficult. SEO influences development of the main site, marketing, and service. Content varies between different regions and the message in the content should reach the users without any ambiguity.
Performance should be centrally monitored, and the SEO for country being targeted should be region and language specific. For example, although people in United States, United Kingdom and even India are English speaking, the user behavior varies dramatically. It is important to come up with separate strategies for these difference as Google search constructs by region and language.
The Internal vs External SEO Team
When it comes to SEO department, many startups who have been on the field for quite sometime now face the confusion of whether to have our very own internal SEO Team or external SEO companies as consultants. Usually, it is less expensive to have our very own SEO team, the salary paid to them is more economical than consultation charges paid to an expert. But, the catch here is that most of the times, the internal team are held busy with the internal work, that they loose track of what needs to be done.
“SEO is vast, and it is hard to find one person who knows it all; but, in agency you will find people who are experts in different sections of SEO.”
Consultation from external experts can help a lot in terms of mentorship and guidance provided by them to the internal team. Their close attention on shift in the search engine and suggestions can then be implemented accordingly. One hour of external SEO’s work is almost equal to 2-4 hours of internal team’s work, but hiring them as somebody on staff is economically difficult. Once somebody has over 10 years of experience in SEO, he will move on to become a consultant.
In India, internal SEO will not have the right experience to handle all the issues and they have a lot to catch up. When it comes to external agencies, business plan may vary between different agencies. When agencies employ hundreds of employees to cater to a large number of clients, they tend to sacrifice on quality. To explain better, taking Bruce Clay Inc as example, SEO consultancy firms should focus on developing the staffs to be excellent, and choose their projects as the efforts taken for every project must be rewarding too.
It is important to focus on developing quality centric skills and then acquire the right clients.
These skills combined with right projects will help you yield result in weeks rather taking months at a stretch. Bruce Clay Inc, generally gets you 3 times the traffic with the right fee.
As mentioned SEO is vast, and all the questions cannot be answered at a time. Here’s a list of SEO FAQs answered by Bruce Clay.
When it comes to news, which has a better ranking? The brief news that are posted first or the detailed news that have in depth analysis?
It depends on many factors – your business, your target audience, and the needs of the searchers. Does your target audience want to just read brief news or do they also want detailed analysis? Which item do you think will best satisfy the reader? Breaking news is treated differently inside the engine than actual news reporting. News articles themselves need to be well-written and factual. The length will depend at times on the timing, as fresh news will develop more over time. But even breaking news alerts need to develop depth quickly or they will be left behind when more detailed articles on the topic are published.
Is it important to have a unique content or have a content that is better than the best available content? How do you convince that yours is better than the available best? Is there any difference between Skyscraper content and 10x content in terms of SEO? Effect of interactive posts (like quiz, surveys and media content) on SEO.
Unique and being the best is the way to win. There are no shortcuts here, yet too many people seek shortcuts. To stand out with content, it has to be the best, unique and useful. Once you’ve provided that, the search engine algorithms decide if you’re the right one to rank highly. However, many other factors come into play in the algorithm, that even a page with the best content may get outranked by a page from a more trusted website. Content is one part of the puzzle, not the holy grail.
Regarding, Skyscraper content:
If we’re talking about a single long-form page such as an infinite scroll page format vs. shorter pages with pagination to a series of content parts, it’s a choice the business needs to make. Both will work from the search engine’s point-of-view (infinite scroll needs some special implementation), so neither has an actual advantage if properly done, unless the paginated version is so short on each page that each page is deemed to be thin content. This pagination approach can upset readers who may abandon a site if frustrated by waiting for the page to load each time.
How to overcome the keyword word order problem? How can we organically modify keywords for the entire posts’ title?
The order of the words matters only for the most common usage – “Mumbai houses’ versus “houses Mumbai” makes little difference. We simply need to make sure the words are there and select the most common query sequence. Once we know the order of the words that are the most common query, write articles to include keywords earlier in their article titles and content matching these keywords. I wouldn’t worry too much about this. It is not hard and usually it is easy to get right.
What is the effect of Bounce Rates caused by external links on SEO?
Although bounce rates are a good signal, they’re not a primary algorithm variable. It is an indicator that companies do not hire people to click on their links, and eventually ranks the quality of the content. It classifies the click baits, and ensures the promise on a link is not letting the user hit the back button, that is, it highlights the usability of a link.
If you have marketed your content well, and if it had generated good traction, does it automatically upgrade your on-page SEO score to good, even though it was moderate while publishing. What is the effect of WordPress tags in on-page SEO?
Assuming that search engines maintain score in the manner suggested in the question, the biggest lift in the score you will see will be from being useful to the people who are searching. If you answer their questions well, your SEO score goes up. It is known that engagement is a part of the algorithms, so the score would benefit. And that is what search engines best respond to.
Having good visibility and engaging content can certainly help with discovery. However, the content being popular won’t change any on-page “score” assigned to a page. If nothing “on the page” has changed, traffic to the page won’t change the score. But again, being focused in this manner misses the point – if you please and satisfy the people who are searching, the search engines will follow.
As for WordPress tags – just having them won’t automatically boost rankings. If you want to rank higher, you have to prove useful to searchers. Tags don’t solve a searcher’s need to find an answer to their question.
About Bruce Clay, Inc.
Since 1996, Bruce Clay, Inc. has been a leading provider of Internet marketing solutions with U.S. offices near Los Angeles and internationally in Australia, India, Italy, Brazil and Japan. BruceClay.com is a leading marketing optimisation destination, offering step-by-step methodologies for visitorsr, including free and subscription interactive tools on a broad range of internet marketing options.
Bruce Clay, the President of Bruce Clay, Inc. has been a recognised leader in the search marketing arena since 1996 when, after a long career as a technical executive with leading Silicon Valley companies, he launched one of the first consulting firms devoted to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). His pioneering efforts continue to lead the search industry by providing award-winning SEO training and certification courses, the SEO Code of Ethics and the full-featured SEOToolSet.
Siddharth Lal, an entrepreneur and big Online India believer, has spearheaded Bruce Clay India since its inception in 2010. In 2014, Siddharth was recognized by the Chief Marketing Officer Council as the Most Talented Social Media Professional in India for Excellence in Brand and Marketing at the annual CMO Asia Awards.
For further search results on the SEO you can read the book Search Engine Optimisation All-In-One For Dummies authored by Bruce Clay himself.