This post is brought to you by SEO PowerSuite, an all-in-one suite of powerful yet easy-to-use Mac SEO tools.
As Google changes its algorithms, website operators who want to land a prized top spot in search results must update their approaches to publishing and search engine optimization, or SEO.
Google’s goal is to return helpful search results to its users. Understanding how Google determines what sites are relevant is critical if you want to raise or maintain your site’s organic visibility.
The key to modern SEO is providing the best user experience possible, as determined by Google. Do so and Google will reward you. Fail to do so and Google will penalize you.
Here are five proven modern SEO tactics you should use to optimize your website and make sure it doesn’t get lost in the mix.
1) Think mobile
Since 60 percent of Google’s traffic now comes from mobile devices, it’s essential that you make your site mobile-friendly. Google’s mobile-friendly update last month was designed to boost the search rankings of pages deemed “legible and usable on mobile devices” (and punish pages that aren’t).
Is your site mobile-friendly in Google’s eyes? You should check immediately using dead-simple Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Simply type your URL into this tool and it will assess your site’s usability on mobile devices.
Google also offers tips for developing mobile-friendly websites based on the content management system you use to build your site. If you use WordPress, Tumblr or other popular off-the-shelf web publishing tools, you should definitely read Google’s tips for customizing your website software to maximize mobile-friendliness.
2) Watch the tech side
Overlooked technical faults can still cost you big time when it comes to SEO. To make sure you’re not making elementary errors that can be easily corrected or avoided, you should scan your site using a tool like SEO PowerSuite’s easy-to-use Website Auditor. In just three hours, the software will conduct a thorough audit of your site and serve up simple tips for fixing errors that could compromise your site’s SEO.
3) Mind user intent when doing keyword research
Google’s Hummingbird algorithm looks beyond keywords and attempts to focus on users’ intent when they search for something. meaning behind words and sentence structure.
This shift toward semantic search is bringing better results for website publishers who don’t rely on specific keywords. Rather than focusing on a few words and phrases, Google now looks at the broad spectrum of conversational phrases and latent semantic indexing, or LSI, keywords that ordinary people use to search for a product or service. SEO PowerSuite’s Rank Tracker tool will help adapt your keyword strategy for this type of conversational query.
4) Understand Google’s Penguin and Panda updates
Google’s Penguin and Panda updates penalize webmasters who use link farms as an inorganic method to produce page visits. Google Penguin is designed to punish those who try to game the system by purchasing links from “link exchanges” back to their website. (If you are not involved in a paid-link scheme or intentionally trying to manipulate search results via the abhorred “unnatural links,” Penguin is probably nothing to worry about.)
The Google Panda update is designed to boost the user experience. Sites that bombard visitors with popup advertisements are deemed low-quality, and Panda is set up to direct Google users to high-quality sites so they find what they’re searching for in the easiest, most user-friendly way possible.
If you want to know more about how Penguin and Panda updates will affect your SEO, check out these SEO tips from industry experts. (Pay special attention to item No. 8 — link penalties.)
5) Switch to HTTPS ASAP
Finally, there has been much debate over Google’s HTTPS measures, which reward sites that use the secure communications protocol. Google wants all webmasters to switch to HTTPS.
While some publishers fear that switching to HTTPS will slow down their websites, this notion is false. Security is a big deal — it’s good for you and for your website’s visitors. Migrating to HTTPS will send an important quality signal to Google that can have a positive effect on your search rankings.
Find out more about SEO PowerSuite’s powerful, easy-to-use tools in Cult of Mac’s previous post, “Searching for Mac SEO tools? Put SEO PowerSuite in your tool chest.”