Every year SEO connaisseurs shout from the top of their lungs SEO is dead!
SEO is definitely not dead. SEO is constantly changing to cater to the needs of searchers.
Do you want to know what SEO means in 2019? Read on!
Here’s how to boost your SEO (search engine optimization) in 2019: leverage the power of links, social media and customer reviews.
1. LINKS – 10 RULES
Links are fundamental for search engines. Search engines use links to discover new web pages and to help determine how well a page should rank in their results.
SEO expert Cyrus Shepard put together an exhaustive material on links, but if you don’t have time to read it, here are 10 rules that you should take into account when using links to attract more traffic and rank higher:
- Place the link inside your main content, not the footer, sidebar or header of your page;
- Place the link higher up in your main content, preferably in the first paragraph of your page;
- Place the link on relevant anchor text;
- Get links from unique domains;
- In his article, Cyrus mentions the following: Experience shows that it’s far better to have 50 links from 50 different domains than to have 500 more links from a site that already links to you.
- Get external links because they are more influential than internal links;
- Link to topically relevant pages;
- Links from fresher pages are more valuable;
- Link to authoritative content;
- If a page links to the same URL more than once, the first link has priority.
There are three types of links: outbound, inbound and backlinks. Like Cyrus says in his article, all links are not equal, but each helps Google show your website in search results.
Outbound links – 5 Best Practices
The number one rule of any great content is to bring value to its readers. It needs to teach, inform or show how to solve a problem.
A valuable material includes statistics, reports, quotes or insights that have not been produced by the author of the said material. The right thing to do is to link to the source. It is also a way to be of further help to the reader.
Here’s the correct way of using outbound links (or external links) via Search Engine Journal:
- Make sure you link to a page that is relevant for your content;
- What you link to should ideally be an exact match from the paragraph that contains your link to content that exists on the page you’re linking to;
- Good outbound links can be used by Google as a ranking signal;
- Make sure you link to good sites, not sites which contain spammy links;
- External links pass link equity (ranking power) to the site you link to.
Search engine ranking factor survey data has shown that getting external links is the single most important objective for attaining high rankings. This stems from the idea that external links are one of the hardest metrics to manipulate and thus, one of the best ways for search engines to determine the popularity of a given web page.
Internal links are links which send the reader to another page from the same domain. It’s a way to offer additional resources relevant to the person reading a particular page on your website.
From a technical point of view, according to Moz, internal links are most useful for establishing site architecture allowing link equity to flow throughout the entire site, thus increasing the ranking potential for each page.
Backlinks (or incoming links)
Here’s what SEO experts say about backlinks:
- Backlinks are especially valuable because they represent a “vote of confidence” from one site to another;
- If many sites link to the same webpage or website, search engines can infer that content is worth linking to, and therefore also worth surfacing on a SERP;
- Backlinks can have a positive effect on a site’s ranking position or search visibility;
- Valuable backlinks are links from trustworthy, popular, high-authority sites.
In essence, backlinks to your website are a signal to search engines that others vouch for your content.
2. SOCIAL MEDIA
First and foremost let’s be clear on one thing: social media does not directly boost SEO.
Former Google executive Matt Cutts said back in 2014 that Facebook and Twitter signals don’t directly influence rankings.
Content strategy expert Mark Traphagen explains why:
- Social media is a weak and unreliable signal for search engines;
- Social media is an incomplete signal;
- There are millions of social media posts created every day and Google doesn’t crawl or index them;
- Almost all social networks, and certainly all the major ones, nofollow all external links; these links pass no SEO equity to the target pages.
You might feel disheartened at this point but rest assured, all is not lost. Here’s what Mark says:
If a particular brand currently unrecognized by Google starts getting a lot of mentions online, it could cause Google to view them as an “entity” (a unique person/place/thing/concept that deserves attention).
This further means that “the context in which you engage online, and how people talk about you online, actually can impact what you rank for.”
Mark points out to the following distinction: it’s not how high you rank for something, but what you rank for.
So if you want to make the best of your brand on social media, follow Mark’s tip: strive to get many positive mentions.
3. CUSTOMER REVIEWS
Customer reviews are vital especially for e-commerce sites.
A recent survey found that reviews are powerful and influence customers’ behaviour in many ways.
They also have an impact on SEO:
- Online reviews are fresh content and Google is known to value fresh content it can crawl;
- If the reviews are positive, that’s a signal for Google that your website is a valuable source and it will rank it higher;
- Customer reviews are high in keyword density which leads to higher rankings and an increased CTR due to a better user intent match.
Two years ago I came across a very interesting case study which showed that having hundreds of positive online reviews (and a social media followership of millions) was a contributing factor which helped a rather unknown fashion site rank higher than its famous international competitors for a number of keywords.
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