For digital marketers, understanding the anatomy of a search engine and how to optimize your website and marketing content in order to appear on the top of those search results is a necessary piece of knowledge. There is no one tool that will magically improve your ranking, but there are a few basic rules that will make your website credible in Google's eye and help increase site exposure.
What are SEO basics that everyone should know? This is the general question we sought to answer during our latest #SMTLive Twitter chat. Thankfully, AJ Ghergich, Founder & CEO of Ghergich & Co. and SEO expert, joined us to help answer everyone's questions and share his pro-tips with the group.
Here are the major takeaways from the chat.
If you're interested in participating in future Twitter chats, you can see our #SMTLive Twitter chat schedule here. Tomorrow we will be holding a chat on 'Building Social Media Brand Personas' for anyone interested.
Q1: Which SEO tactics do you think have the most impact on site ranking today?
Content quality and backlinks remain some of the highest factors Google rates you on today.
Other tactics we heard mentioned were social media engagement, writing long-form content, creating lists (ordered and unordered) and having a mobile-friendly site.
Q2: What're the best strategies for receiving backlinks to your site?
A2: Stop creating content and make one amazing thing. #SMTLive— AJ Ghergich (@SEO) November 14, 2017
"Stop creating content and make one amazing thing," said AJ. It's true; trying to trick Google into thinking your content is high-quality rarely works. If you create strong content, you most likely will receive natural backlinks and be recognized for your quality.
Other suggestions we saw:
- Use social media tools to find influencers to reach out to.
- Create strong visuals (graphs, infographics, etc.) and share those with influencers. Strong visuals are great assets for the giants when creating their own content — a win, win.
Q3: POLL - When thinking about keywords, which is the most important for SEO?
We took a poll here in a quiz format to see if this is a simple question or if even the basics can confuse marketers.
What is most important? The number of keywords used in your content? Using target keywords in your page header? Or having target keywords in your title tag?
The answer here is, in fact, title tags.
Q4: How relevant are keywords really for SEO today?
Honestly, not as important as you might think. Some say keywords are out and backlinks are in.
A4: Well, according to @MDGadvertising, 18% of pages that rank no.1 for high-volume keyword terms on Google DON'T include the keywords anywhere in the body text! https://t.co/JDvcUxzn4M #SMTLive https://t.co/azzTuNUbEG— Robin Selvy Re (@RobinSelvy) November 14, 2017
Instead of just shoving in keywords in places that don't matter, focus on the greater picture and create content pieces that add value to your audience. To be noticed, make sure to optimize your title for ease of search.
AJ suggests that if you are having trouble coming up with content pieces, you can always use tools such as answerthepublic.com.
Q5: How important is social media for SEO? What are some social media strategies to improve your ranking?
Social media engagement is just as important to your brand awareness as it is to SEO. Marketers need social to get their content out and Google prioritizes brands that prove to have high-user engagement and quality user-experience.
High social engagement will not be the answer to your SEO troubles, but it is an important factor in the equation.
Q6: What is the best SEO tip you've ever received and how has it impacted your brand/business?
For our final question, we asked people to share their best SEO advice. Here are a few of our favorites.
Yes, just do it. Create content, share, learn from your successes and repeat.
Hopefully, there are some useful tips and takeaways here for you. Make sure to join us and share your questions and best-practices during our twice-monthly #SMTLive Twitter chats!