Some say SEO is dead.
Some even go as far telling others to stop wasting time on SEO.
If you’ve ever tried your hand at SEO doing all the right things – creating quality content, optimising for keywords and getting as many backlinks as possible – and yet you’re still not ranking higher, you might also think that SEO is indeed dead.
But is SEO really dead?
If SEO is dead, why are SEO experts such as Brian Dean, Danny Donchev, Neil Patel, David Schneider and many others are still thriving at it?
Is it possible that you’re just not doing the right SEO practices?
The truth is:
SEO is not dead. What SEO is, instead, is ever changing. With major search engines always changing their algorithms, some SEO practices also change, though not always dramatically over time.
To keep up with your SEO game, you must also keep up with the best SEO practices.
Here are 10 SEO best practices for 2017 that experts swear by:
1. Optimise for the right keywords
SEO, is basically all about keywords but not just any keywords. To rank higher on Google and other major search engines, you need to optimise for the right keywords.
But what are the right keywords?
Let’s say your core business is selling running shoes. You’ll probably want to rank high for the keywords “running shoes,” right? Of course you would. But considering the stiff competition with bigger brands also vying for the top spot, that might be an unrealistic expectation.
This is why keyword research is vital to SEO success. You need to search for the right keywords. That means keywords that aren’t very competitive but still with higher commercial intent.
Instead of running shoes, you might instead try optimising for more specific keywords such as “running shoes for women under $200”. You’ll have a better chance of ranking high and even first for this keyword.
2. Forget about viral content
Imagine waking up to your website traffic booming overnight. You’ve got thousands of shares, hundreds of reader comments and you’ve gained hundreds of new e-mail subscribers.
Like most people, you probably think writing viral content is the way to go. But, we advise otherwise.
Instead we’d tell you to focus on creating evergreen content that readers will continue to search months or even years after you’ve written it.
Going back to our running shoes example. If you write about recent trends on running shoes, your content won’t be useful long after the trends have passed. If you write a guide on how to properly choose running shoes, you’re creating evergreen content that will remain relevant.
3. Use LSI keywords
If you haven’t been focusing on LSI keywords, its time to add this SEO tactic to your arsenal.
LSI keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing) are basically keywords that are semantically related to your primary keyword. Contrary to popular belief, they are NOT just synonym or keywords that are similar in meaning.
Pepper your content with LSI keywords to create content that covers a wider range of related ideas and concepts to your target topic.
Nick Eubanks of SEO auv calls this SEO practice “bigfoot strategy” because it creates content with larger keyword footprints.
The keyword “running shoes for women under $200” may only draw 10 to 100 searches per day. But imagine ranking for several LSI keywords. You’d be surprised what it can do for your web traffic.
4. Write specific content and not long content
Most experts will tell you to write longer and better content. In fact, research have shown that Google prefers content that averages around 1,800 words or more.
But do you always have to write long content?
Gael Breton, founder at Authority Hacker, recommends writing specific content instead. Based on his experiment on short content, he found out that specific is the way to go.
Instead of writing 2,000-words and more content, write shorter but specific content of about 800 to 1,000 words. If you also double your publishing frequency at the same time, you may see your organic traffic doubling rather quickly.
5. Publish content regularly
Longer and comprehensive content usually takes time to write. Enter specific yet shorter content. With content that is only 800 to 1,000 words, you’ll be able to write more regularly and consistently.
If you can only manage two posts per week. Stick with that. The key is to set specific days for publishing.
This SEO practice hits two birds with one stone. If you have e-mail subscribers, they’ll know when to expect a new article from you. If you continue to publish content regularly, Google will notice and might bump up your pages to the front page of search results.
6. Use images, videos, infographics, etc.
High quality, informative sharp content is great, but no one’s going to read it unless there are interesting images, videos or infographics in between the monotony of words.
Most readers lose interest fast. If all they see are words, they’ll be overwhelmed and get bored, moving on to source their information elsewhere.
This SEO practice has been tried and tested by many experts.
Include videos, images and other graphic content in your posts and readers tend to stay longer. The longer they stay on your website, the better your page looks to Google.
7. Improve site speed
So, you’ve searched and optimised for the right keywords. And you’ve created content that’s short and specific. Other websites have already started linking to it. There’s just one problem.
You’re still not ranking higher on Google’s search results?
The culprit may be your poor web design. Now more than ever, websites need not only look attractive but they also have to be mobile-centered. That means accelerated mobile page loading.
Ideally, your website should load in 2 to 4 seconds. Loading speed of over 10 seconds may result in loss of valuable web traffic.
8. Promote, promote, promote
Ever heard of the Pareto principle? According to Pareto, 20% of your input is responsible for 80% of your results. If we apply the same principle to SEO, you’ll only need to create 20% of content to achieve 80% of your desired results. The secret to produce such impressive results is promotion.
There are a variety of ways to promote your content. You can reach out to key influencers on your niche topic. You can also promote your content on social media. Facebook and Twitter are popular platforms for many websites. Others use Instagram or Reddit. Then there are some that thrive on Google+ or Pinterest. Forums are also a great place to connect with your target market.
Promote your brand to as many platforms as you can until you find the best platforms that work well for your content. Then focus your energy on at least 3 platforms to draw more traffic and eventually increase your SEO rankings.
9. Repurpose old content
If your website has plenty of old relevant content, you may not need to create new content that often. What you can do instead, is repurpose that old content.
Remember that evergreen content you created months or even years ago? It might be the best time to repurpose them.
Content repurposing, is simply the process of making your content available in every format and on all platforms where your target audience are. By repurposing content, you make it more appealing thereby drawing more backlinks and you also make it more linkable for search engine terms.
Repurposing content steps up your SEO game because you go where your customers go. Then you bring them back to your site and convert them into sales.
10. Broken link building
Aside from creating solid content other websites will readily link back to, there’s another link-building tactic that works like a charm.
This SEO best practice has been tried and tested by Robert Kramers, owner at Found.
The Broken Link Building strategy is simple and straightforward. First you need to check your site for broken inbound links. Set up 301 redirects for all broken links you find.
The next step is to find other websites with broken links. And this is where SEO magic happens. Consider checking your top 10 to 20 competitor websites. If you found broken inbound links, you’re in luck.
Reach out to these websites and offer your content as replacement links. And just as simple as that, you’ve gained a valuable backlink for your content.
So, no matter what you hear, SEO will continue to be relevant for years to come. Great content and backlinks will remain two of the most powerful SEO best practices you should master. But at the same time, it’s beneficial to pay attention to the emerging SEO strategies to meet the ever-changing algorithms of search engines. Basically, if you want to rank higher faster on search engines, add the above points to your SEO strategy today.