If your job has anything to do with a website pour yourself a stiff drink and read on. Stay reasonably sober and read to the end for one very practical piece of advice.
We have bad news. Search engine optimisation – the art of tweaking your website to gain prominent rankings on search engines – is getting far more complex. Those are the findings of a rather huge survey by SEOmoz of 132 leading SEO nerds.
There are a great many factors that add up to your ranking for particular search terms. How many factors do you know? We’re guessing you responded with:
- quantity and quality of links to your site,
- number of words on a page,
- amount of keywords on your page that match search terms,
- freshness of content;
- submitting a sitemap to search engines.
Maybe you had a dozen more including:
- age of the domain;
- descriptive ALT tags for photos and images;
- page titles that match search terms.
Bottom line; the number of factors that add up to your ranking is increasing and the weight of the factors is constantly shifting. Many SEO factors are “off-page” which means that there’s nothing visible on your site nor nothing you can specifically do about them; even in the content management system. Off page factors include links to your site, time visitors spend on your site and the biggest factor for good SEO – social media.
Increasingly your search results are determined by the vibrancy of your social media efforts. An engaged Facebook following, enthusiastic Twitter audience, well-watched YouTube channel and well-read blog leads to better search engine results.
Even more complexly, the amount of sharing of your content on others’ Twitter, Facebook and social networks matters to your SEO results. Google also measures if the individuals who Tweet about you are they people with large and engaged followings. Are they with institutions that matter? It’s all about working out if you have something to say that others listen and refer to.
Everything is connected, everything matters. Oh dear. Who has time for all this?
This level of complexity is good in one way as it makes SEO-rigging harder for shonks but it also makes it too complex for smaller players and non-shonks like you.
We’ll be looking at more aspects of SEO in upcoming posts but here’s one simple thing you can do to encourage sharing. Install a social media sharing plugin such as Sexy Bookmarks on your website.
We now include this device at the end of every news item and guess what? People use it. Why? Because it simplifies the process of sharing. We like it because it was simple to install, is a one-size-fits-most solution and is reasonably discreet to look at.
Mostly we like Sexy Bookmarks because it encourages sharing of our content with zero effort on our part. This sharing may take place years after we post an item but it still helps us build the empire. You may find alternatives that you prefer but the principle remains the same: encourage and facilitate sharing of your content.
There is of course one catch – you better be providing content worth sharing. More about that in an upcoming post. In short though – these days everyone is a publisher. And of course if you liked this post please share it.