Google recently changed its search algorithm to favor sites that are optimized to be viewed on mobile devices. What will Google do next? That’s the question companies are now asking themselves as they attempt to remain competitive in the territory of digital marketing. It’s no secret that Google continually adjusts its tactics and search algorithms. While we may not be able to predict every change that Google intends to make, here are some best practices that we can implement to stay a step ahead.
Since we are still in the early stages of Google’s mobile-friendly rollout, it is worth emphasizing that if your site is not yet mobile-friendly, there is still time left to make changes before your ranking suffers. To become mobile-friendly, companies will need to make their sites responsive, which means that key elements like formatting, links, and text size are automatically and seamlessly converted when a site is viewed on a mobile device. Google has placed a ‘Mobile Friendly’ tag underneath applicable SERP listing. This move of Google will greatly influence the user deciding which site to visit.
DIVERSIFY DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGIES
Companies with a successful online presence will be those that allocate time to all digital marketing strategies rather than just perfecting those they believe to be the most important. As the landscape of digital marketing expands and diversifies, companies will need to ensure they’re keeping pace. For example, a company’s desktop website may be perfectly optimized for search engines, but if that company is not engaged in mobile, local, and social marketing, then they will soon be missing out on valuable opportunities for growth.
GENERATE ONLINE PR & MEDIA PITCHES
Online newsrooms have emerged as great marketing opportunities for companies seeking out new ways to stay ahead. Writing press releases and media pitches are ways for companies to build inbound links and generate buzz. After landing a mention in the press, be sure to place the resulting links on your site in an “In the News” or “Media” section. Doing so offers visitors the opportunity to learn more about your company, its expertise, and recent accomplishments before making a purchase; this online news section also serves as an easy way to build out your site and frequently publish fresh content.
CLEAN UP YOUR LINKS
What does your backlink portfolio look like? If it contains links that are toxic, spammy, or clearly the result of a negative SEO campaign—an unfortunate black hat tactic increasing in prevalence—it’s time to clean up your links. To avoid receiving a manual or algorithmic unnatural link penalty from Google, use Google Webmaster Tools to identify and categorize bad links.
CONSIDER ALTERNATIVES TO ADWORDS
Though Google AdWords has been one of the primary ways companies have arranged for targeted pay-per-click advertising, they have also become increasingly costly due to the competitiveness of keyword bidding. Other alternative platforms have emerged as more effective, less expensive options. Platforms like Bing ads, Yahoo Gemini, or any niche site specific to your brand’s product or service can help cut advertising costs and diversify audience reach.
FOCUS ON AUTHORITATIVE CONTENT
Some experts are beginning to argue that authoritative content will emerge as the most important factor in growing and sustaining online traffic. If companies want to stay a step ahead of Google, then they will need to invest considerable effort into generating content that is unique, regularly published, and authoritative.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUTUBE
YouTube is emerging as an advantageous opportunity for companies to expand their social media presence, and many predict that it will soon become the largest search engine in the world. While this remains to be seen, there’s no doubt that YouTube will soon become an integral part of SEO strategy; that’s why you’ll want to invest in YouTube today. Consider ways to reach audiences with tutorials or a video highlight of a specific product or service.
ENHANCE USER EXPERIENCE
Google has been extremely transparent about its desire to improve user experience, and companies would be wise to not only meet Google’s expectations for user experience by becoming mobile-friendly and offering quality content but also to be proactive in finding other ways they can be more user-friendly. Could navigation and site hierarchy become more intuitive? What about improving a site’s search function or load speed? Even the addition of more high-quality external links could be something that users find relevant and helpful.
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