Although the basics of SEO always stay the same (deliver value, create great content and promote it like crazy), we all know that Google changes their algorithm every once in a while.
These are seven new SEO trends:
Google Is Starting to Reward High-Quality Sites
This might sound like an obvious statement, but it’s not. How many times have you done a search on Google and found ugly websites with 80% of ads and only 20% of content at the top? Google is now rewarding sites with unique content, great design and good branding. Now it’s more important than ever to increase the value you deliver to your visitors.
Social Signals Are Becoming More Important
How many people commented on your last blog post? How many people re-tweeted it? How many people “liked” it or shared it on Facebook? These are indicators that people like your content and Google likes showing content that users like.
Links Are Not as Important as They Used to Be
Don’t get me wrong: they’re still the single most important SEO factor, but the best SEOs in the world agree that because there’s so much link spam, Google is assigning less value to links and some more value to social signals. According to a survey by SEOmoz, links used to account for 65% of the ranking factors in 2009 and now they account for about 40%.
Domain-Wide Keyword Usage Matters
It used to be that if you wanted to rank for “dog food,” you had to create a page and optimize it for that keyword. It didn’t matter if the rest of the website was about cats or real estate. Google still ranks individual pages, but they care about the context those pages are in. They’d rather send traffic to a dog food site with lots of content and pages on the topic than send traffic to a real estate site that has one page about dog food. You still need to pick your primary page to target a keyword, but make sure you have other pages around that topic, and don’t forget to interlink them when it makes sense.
Longer Documents Tend to Rank Better
Pages with more content (i.e. more words) tend to rank better than shorter pages.
Links Need to Look More Natural than Ever
A couple of tips:
Get links from a diversity of sources. Not all from blogs, forums or directories. Get all of the above, plus, article sites, social bookmarking sites, news sites, editorial sites, etc.
The number of domains linking to you is more important than the number of links you have. If you have 1,000 links but they’re all from the same domain, they won’t help you much. I’d much rather have 10 links from 10 different domains.
Vary your anchor texts. If you want to rank for “dog food”, use that exact anchor text for 40% of your links. Then use that anchor text mixed with something else (like “dog food products” or “large selection of dog food”) for 20% of the links. And finally, for the remaining 40%, use anchor text like “learn more”, “click here”, “Dog Supplies Inc.”, “check it out” .
Don’t point all the links to the page you want to rank. If you create a page and optimize it for the keyword “Dog Food”, point 40% of your links to this page and the other 60% to your home page.
Get some no-follow links. Most SEOs agree that throwing some no-follow links into the bag makes your linking profile look much more natural.