Every year brings changes to the SEO market. What are a few SEO tips for 2016 and beyond?
Remarketing Lists for Search Ads
The advanced tools for remarketing lists for search ads or RLSA came out in a Google announcement June, 2015, though the functionality goes back to 2013. RLSA according to Google allow advertising customers to tailor ads to visitors’ past activities on your website. In short, RLSA lets you alter the ads repeat visitors see instead of showing the same palette of ads to everyone. Google also created more than 200 Analytics dimensions so you can determine who is visiting, who you’re converting into customers, and even identifying your loyal repeat customers.
In theory, RLSA can make Google Adwords more affordable because you only pay for advertisements to be seen by those most likely to revisit your site, instead of competing for key words. RLSA could make advertisements more affordable, eliminating the need to find long tail keywords that aren’t already colonized in the hope it brings people to your site. If you use RLSA, you may also need to adjust your SEO strategy so that the keywords repeat visitors search for are more heavily referenced in your website and its content. And ensure that your landing pages for these repeat visitors are tailored for them, whether it is a welcome back message or promotions for repeat customers.
RLSA if you have at least a thousand unique visitors can also make Google ads on generic search terms practical. The more generic terms tend to be the most expensive, but if you’re only paying for ads on those keywords for the most qualified users, you can probably afford them.
Design Content for SEO Whether Or Not It Goes Viral
When created content for a marketing campaign, lace it with search engine optimized terms that support the current marketing effort as well as your overall brand or product line. Customizing content for a viral marketing campaign that fails, and most do, results in significant work to rewrite to be evergreen or timely for your next effort. Instead, create content that stands on its own and draws traffic to your site whether the viral marketing effort takes off or not.
Compete Where There’s Little Competition or Join Them
The top ten page one Google real estate winners are primarily retail sites like Amazon (1st) and Etsy (2nd) or entertainment hubs like Youtube (3rd), iTunes (7th) and Instagram (10th). Twitter fell to fifteenth in the 2015 Google real estate rankings. Pinterest fell to eleventh in 2015. If your search engine optimized content is getting out-ranked by content on these sites, start joining these sites. This could involve selling your products through Amazon, posting product reviews on Youtube, encouraging your social media followers to post your images on Instagram or offering deals through Groupon. These sites land in the top few search results over sites like Overstock.com and Pinterest, though you can spend time adding content and links on those sites as well.
Twitter and Google SEO
For every viral marketing campaign, there is an effort to get people to Tweet about the product or contest. What about Twitter’s decline from sixth to fifteenth in the Google real estate rankings? Since Google came to an agreement with Twitter in August, 2015, tweets do now show up in Google’s search results.
This doesn’t mean every tweet shows up in search results. However, the end result is that the official Twitter feed of your CEO is likely to come up in the search results for the head of the company. You also need to ensure that your company’s official Twitter account is set up to land first and foremost among the results for your company over someone else’s complaints about your company.
It Isn’t Just Google – It Only Seems that Way
Google has been the 800 pound gorilla of the internet search engine world. There were times it had over 80% market share. Google’s market share is slowly eroding due to concerns of its search engine bias, feature perhaps most prominently in an August, 2015 article on Politico on how Google could decide the next election. Between its subtle biases that can be blamed on organic algorithms and secret tweaks they put in to promote the management’s preferences, people are starting to look at alternatives. Google’s idea that your data is their data and ready sharing of information with the NSA revealed in 2015 scared more into alternative search engines.
Bing reached 20% search market share in the spring of 2015 as a result. Yahoo has remained stable with around 13% search market share.
The internationalization of the internet has affected search engine usage globally. For example, Baidu had around 7% market share worldwide, a number expected to grow as China’s internet access increases. Yahoo’s global search engine share is around 8% as of 2015, while Google is 70% of the global market. That share is likely to decline if anti-trust efforts against Google due to its control of such a large part of the online advertising marketplace, in addition to the large amount of content it controls.
One strategy you can use to stand out in search engine optimization is to optimize your sites for the other search engines your customers may use. You don’t have to optimize your site for the 1% of users who still use AOL, but having a site that ranks in the top search results on all the major search engines will allow you to reach far more users. And minor changes to Google’s search engine algorithms won’t leave you in such a lurch, since a broader SEO strategy makes your site less likely to get flagged as exceeding ever-changing keyword density criteria because it uses a variety of related terms at decent density.