6 Best Practices for Modern SEO – 352 Noodles & Doodles

This week on 352 Noodles & Doodles, Erin Everhart shows you what it takes to stay on top in the fast-paced world of SEO. You might be surprised to find out that staying on top of Google rankings isn’t the end-all, be-all of SEO. To be a truly successful business online, you have to look beyond Google rankings to find the users that are most important to your business. Find out more below!

Transcript below

[Erin Everhart]: Hey everybody, my name is Erin Everhart; I am the director of digital marketing here at 352. Today I’m going to talk to you about the 6 Best Practices for modern SEO.
Now, SEO has changed a lot just over the past couple years. Google has gotten smarter and users have gotten smarter, and that means the tactics that used to work yesterday and a year ago aren’t going to applicable today.
 
So first, there is much more to keywords than just traffic. You know, typically you think about – When I want to hit my key words, when I want to figure out my targeting – what’s searched the most? You know, that’s really what we wanted to integrate into our site.
 
But now, they’re used as the general descriptors of your business. You know when people ask you, and you have that awkward “What do you do?” conversation on airplanes.
You’re going to use your keywords when you’re describing that. So when you’re thinking about how I want to have these keywords on my site, think about, “What does my business actually do? You know, what is your mission statement? What are your values? Who are the competitors ranking for those keywords?”
 
Know that it’s not just about getting keywords that have the most traffic, it’s about getting keywords that adequately describe your business and are ultimately going to bring your users.
Second, content isn’t king; good writers are sorcerers. You know, they’re the Harry Potters of the Internet. Content isn’t king because everyone preaches, “Oh content is king, content is king,” but in reality there’s a lot of crappy content out online now.
 
You know, so it’s not about having just the most content or the most quantity of content. It’s about having the best content; it’s about having content that adequately speaks to what your users are trying to search for. You know when people go online, they have a question that they need to be answered. Having good content: that’s going to answer those questions.
 
So you want to invest in good writers, you want to bring them in-house. They’re going to know your business; they’re going to know your company. You don’t need to outsource this at all.
Third, it’s all about localization and personalization. You know, I mentioned that Google’s gotten a lot smarter. So have your users.
 
What I see when I search for “web design company” or “digital agency in Atlanta” is going to be completely different than what you search for in your hometown, in your local town. You know the same thing with plumber, or florists or any sort of local business. It’s all going to be relative to where you currently are.
 
But it’s not just where you’re located. It’s: who are you friends with? You know, Google+ has been integrated into the actual search results. So, if your friends are sharing something, if your friends are making recommendations for something, that’s going to be showing up more prevalent in your search results.
 
And businesses are going to have to take that into account. So you can’t have just a social media presence or just a search presence anymore. It’s not one or the other –both of them are completely integrated.
Fourth, people and Google need reassurance. You know, people want to know that other people think that your product or your service is good, and this is mainly coming in the form of reviews. You know we found through a lot of our research when studying how users use search engines, is that they search for things like “best” and “top.” They want to know: “What are the best home security systems?” “What are the best personal trainers around there?” You know they need that reassurance that other people think it’s true, too.
 
You know, they’ll ask for that in Google, but they’ll also ask for that on social with their friends. So again, it’s all about being integrated.
 
And following into that, it’s not about having the highest ranking anymore. You know, everyone was so obsessed about, “OK, well I have to get to the first page of Google. You know, I have to get to the top five results Google because people aren’t even going to scroll down the page anymore. OK, now I have to give the top three listings, because that’s where all the clicks go, have to get the top one listing because that’s where all the clicks get – and that’s true, but it’s not about having the highest ranking,  it’s about having the most attractive listing.
 
So you have to use that image and that placement in the actual search engine results pledge as your call to action. That’s your sales pitch to your users. You know, we found through a lot of testing is that when you have action words in your title tags, that’s going to attract people to click there.
 
You know for example, we working with a job-posting company, and we found just by having “Apply Today” in front of their job posting, it increased their click-thru rate by 25 percent. Ranking didn’t even change anymore. And with reviews, Google’s now being able to show reviews in the actual search listing so you’ll be able to see how many stars this thing has. Or for recipes, how many calories this thing has, or how long it takes to cook
All of those things make a more attractive listing, and that draws people’s eyes to your listing even if you don’t have the highest placement.
 
And then finally, and probably the most important, it is all about your users. You know you can’t do anything anymore without taking them into account. And you know this goes all the way back to your website.
You know Google has recently come out and said that links don’t matter anymore, or they don’t matter as much anymore. It’s about how your users experience your website, how they use your website. So if people have a good experience on your website, what are they going to do?
 
They’re going to share it, right? And where they going to share it? They’re going to share it on Twitter, on Facebook and blog about it, they’re going to write about it online. So, having good UX and good user experience on your website as well as all of your digital marketing tactics is critical, because that’s ultimately who you want to come to your website.
 
So, I highly recommend looking at things like usability testing, running some heat map, doing click-maps on your site to just fully see how users are using it there.
 
You know, we use visual Website Optimizer here at 352 for basic usability testing, as well as doing heat map the split testing, and it saved our conversion rates exponentially
because we’ve been able to talk directly to our users, see what they want and give it to them.  And they come back, and they tell their friends about it, and they come back more.
 
Thanks everybody again, have a great one!