Search engine optimisation has undergone many changes over the years, but it’s no less important within your online marketing mix.
This year we still see that our clients that are focused on this online marketing channel with the right level of investment and follow our advice still receive the best ROI from SEO above all other channels.
The importance of SEO is reflected by online marketing conference attendance around the world that sees SEO sessions within those conferences more highly attended than any other channel, including social media.
So let’s look at the important aspects of SEO and review what is the same and what has changed in the last 12 months .
Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
What’s the Same – Google is still the dominant market leader worldwide and certainly within Australia.
What’s Changed – Google have introduced more Google Places listings into the mix of results. Google have constantly experimented with SERP layout during 2011. Personalisation of results by cookie or Google account login is available and social media factors are weighing heavily into the personalisation factors.
On Page Optimisation
What’s the Same – Building a site with good internal link structure, clean code and using the correct keywords within the important parts of the page like Meta Data, navigation, headings and body text is still essential.
What’s Changed – One page sites on a keyword rich URL are now nearly impossible. Best practice is to publish and optimise a separate version of your website for mobile phones.
What’s the Same – Content is still king
What’s Changed – With the advent of the Google Panda updates during 2011 producing unique content, regularly, is not only important as it always was, it’s now a strong overall ranking signal that effects the standing of every page of your website. Websites that are well optimised but are not regularly updated are slipping in the rankings and receiving less resulting traffic.
What’s the Same – links are still one of the most important SEO ranking factors.
What’s Changed – link building has gotten harder. Your links need to be of a higher quality then they use to be and the theme of the linking site and page is having more effect then the anchor text.
What’s the Same -Understanding where your visitors come from and what words they used to find you is still essential. Google analytics is still the best free option for small to medium businesses with a website.
What’s Changed – A new version of the Google Analytics interface is available. Reports from webmaster tools are included in your analytics account and unfortunately Google have started blocking some of your keyword referring data by using secure pages for their search result page.
What’s the Same – Facebook is still the dominant social media platform.
What’s Changed – Google + has been launched and it even starting to effect personalised search results. Facebook comments and Twitter links are having a mild effect on rankings like standard link building does.