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SEO Changing Again: The New Rules for Dominance

SEO Targeting
Photo Credit: Augur Marketing via flickr

The internet is a dog-eat-dog world for online businesses; hundreds of thousands of sites within the same niches are all competing for the best rankings, top keywords, and valuable attention from consumers. It is critical for business owners to not only know the rules and guidelines of current SEO practices, but to also be able to stay ahead of the curve by recognizing new patterns as they emerge.

Since SEO best practices are changed more often than coffee filters, it can sometimes be hard to stay on the ball at times. For that reason, marketers and business owners are constantly under pressure while conducting hours upon hours of SEO research and investigatory work to be certain that they are in-the-know and their website will outperform the competition.

To help save you all those hours of arduous online analysis, here is what you need to know about the direction SEO is heading and what factors are absolutely vital to success.

Keyword Targeting

Keywords have always been a defining factor in SEO, however, many sites are not harvesting the results that have been seen in years prior for the same keywords. This is in partly due to the growing competition. Everyday new sites emerge making the competition pool that much larger. In order for sites to generate the amount of attention necessary for survival and prosperity, a bit of creative thinking is required.

Businesses must expand their SEO vocabulary through exploring alternative terms that folks may be searching to find what they are looking for. Mid-tail and long-tail keywords are quickly becoming more popular as Google’s voice search feature often has people posing casual questions while on the go.

When identifying keywords, it is fine to start with the most commonly used terms, but only as a starting point. From there, you will want to come up with as many variations and associations as possible. Once you have racked your brain for every keyword possibility, turn your attention to digital tools for help. Some useful resources for keyword identification include:

  • Related searching in Google, Yahoo, and Bing
  • BuzzSumo
  • Google auto-complete
  • SEMRush
  • Yahoo Search Assist
  • Harvesting keywords from top-ranking competitors’ meta tags

Site Appearance

Much of a site’s success has to do with its appearance and usability. Sites that seem outdated, cluttered, or not intuitive simply aren’t trusted by most and will not get the amount of traffic desired.

In order for your site to be not only appealing (but more importantly trusted) by consumers, there are certain elements that must be present. But it isn’t just consumers that are concerned with your site’s appearance; Google is too.

Google is continually trying to provide users with the best possible listings in SERPs. This means that Google also analyzes a site’s bounce rate and how much time users spend on a site. If your site looks like it hasn’t been updated since 1999, they will move on quickly and Google will recognize this and factor it in to your ranking results. Make sure your site is as modern and user-friendly as possible if you want to rank well.

Link Carefully

Backlinks are still a factor in SEO. You should take full advantage of this by incorporating links to content you have previously published in newer posts. This will help increase the time users are on your site, engagement, and shares of your content. It is equally important to create external links wherever possible, but do be cautious about the external links that you select. Links that are irrelevant to the subject at hand, spam-like, or just plain low-quality will do more harm than good.

It is also imperative to keep in mind that linking can be overdone. Not only will link-riddled copy be a turn-off to readers, but this will not bode well with Google either. And be sure to regularly review links to ensure they are still active and high-quality. Broken links will make for unhappy readers and unhappy site owners.

Go Mobile

This point has been stressed for some time now, especially with all the lead up to “Mobilegeddon”, but a surprising number of sites have still not implemented the changes that Google recommended. And as for those who did? An 11% increase was reported by mobile-friendly sites in the six weeks following the update.

Mobile is the preferred device for the next generation; plain and simple. More people are searching on mobile devices than on desktops and this transition will only continue to progress as time goes on. Google has even commented on this sentiment stating that, “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries, including the US and Japan.”

The bottom line is that your site must be mobile-friendly in order to move into the future. To get an idea of just how mobile-friendly your site currently is, check out Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool. And, if you have yet to optimize your site for mobile screens, get on it.

Think Locally

Local listings are becoming increasingly paramount for online businesses. When people search on mobile devices they are often looking for a quick, local solution. To make sure that your city’s residents can find your business, be sure to register with Google My Business to optimize your local traffic. After filling out a basic profile, Google My Business will include your company’s information on Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+ making you that much easier to find.

SEO is always changing, and it always will be changing. There will never come a time when the rules are set in stone, never be amended again. To become a master of this art, you must learn to recognize the changes to come before they occur by analyzing the current status of SEO and societal search patterns. The constant evolution of SEO is just the name of the game.

What do you think the next major change to SEO will be? How do you think mobile dominance is set to affect SEO in the future?

About the author


Tina Courtney

Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. Visit My Google+ Profile


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  • Hi Tina,

    This is a great post about SEO. You really outlined very interesting points which lead us to think critically. I really enjoyed these tips. Thank you so much for sharing

  • wow, a 11% increase for mobile friendly websites, this is a great news. then i definitely have to check on it as soon as possible.

  • I think this is a time for responsive websites. Everyone is now getting their business website to target the smart users. Keyword research is the fundamental and most important chapter even before launching a website. Good keywords will target potential buyers.

  • Thanks for the SEO update you have just shared. As far as relevance is concerned SEO will always be a matter of interest for webmasters and all concerns to be reckoned with. One can make use of relevant tools online both free and enhanced one to check SEO update of any site. I make use of one of such
    free tools for SEO update

  • This is very informative article. I agree, local listings play a big factor nowadays esp registering your business/site in google business/map.

  • Your article is a useful and easy to understand summary of SEO basics for site owners to employ as a good general checklist. Your reminders such as

    incorporating links to content you have previously published in newer posts

    are very helpful. Thanks, Tina.

  • Thanks for sharing a great information for us. We learn so many things from your article. Your all points are good.

  • Hi Tina.

    The next step will be the mobile technology. In the world of SEO and must anticipate and the future is mobile. All that this designed to them will be fine. The next move will be that are not as important the contents. There’s no space. In our website seoencuba.com we have an article on the subject.. We will soon have computers on mobile. It is a matter of time, that is the reality …


    • Have to agree for SEO experts but, most people don’t know or are just coming on to the SEO scene.

      Most SEO articles are about things I have already been doing for my clients.

      There is never worry about algorithm updates because everything I do is pure organic and follows the rules. My clients’ sites are never penalized and always have first page placement for their keywords and primary locations.

  • this article is good for people who are just getting started on SEO nevertheless it highlights the most important practices.

  • Ranking in search results before few years was just a game of playing with meta keywords, description and title tags. Then BOOM. But now, Google, search engine giant, focuses on quality results and eliminate spam from search. So, it is changing definition and criteria of ranking more frequent. My two cents.. 🙂

  • Good article on SEO but I think video marketing is an important factor for off-page-SEO. Youtube gets around 1 billion visits per month. Promo videos are a good way of showing how your products work in action. Sad to say, most people would rather watch a video than read a 800 word blog article.

  • SEO is never gonna change or die. SEO is dead for those who are not doing well in SEO field. Yeah, agreed with different SEO strategies but white-hat SEO will always alive. Think always about what searchers are actually looking for to related your business or blog. Make it natural, helpful or user-friendly dat’s it. Google also loves that.

  • Obviously a good looking, user friendly website makes it easier to retain the visitor than a cluttered bad design website, as it may lose the interest of the visitor. Quite interesting that google is tracking the bounce rate from such websites and can result in rankings drop going further. So a good web design is also an seo ranking factor.

  • No doubt seo has totally changed and as you describe the link carefully, yes a low quality link could be responsible for your website de-ranking. Content marketing plays an important role. So researching and auditing the content should be also main part.

  • It is no new for SEO, It’s always change SEO rules when algorithm updates and follow new strategy for get ranking and conversions.

  • I agree with these all SEO points.

    Great post. Thanks for information such type of very informative and easily understanding article.

  • Great structured overview, Tina. Thanks for a lot. I’ve tried some of that strategies. Some add to my wishlist.
    And I also want suggest two our internal instruments, which most of our colleagues love to use every day.
    – Free on page seo checker – http://sitecheker.pro
    – Free keyword suggestion and research tool – http://kparser.com
    I’ll be happy to know you opinion about that tools.

  • backlinks working for now, but we may see a major change in rankings as Google getting smarter day by day.

  • It is critical for business owners to not only know the rules and guidelines of current SEO practices, but to also be able to stay ahead of the curve by recognizing new patterns as they emerge.