Creative Commons image by  NOGRAN s.r.o.

Creative Commons image by
NOGRAN s.r.o.

If you’ve been marketing your business online for a decade or more, your understanding of what makes good search engine optimization strategies might be less than up-to-date. Part of keeping your SEO where it should be is keeping up with the latest trends. Here are a few tips and hints that can get you out of the Dark Ages of Internet marketing (okay, really just into 2016 and beyond).

Keywords are not what they used to be.

You already know that content quality is important and that keyword-stuffing is very much out (right?).A� What you might not realize is that when Google sifts through your content, it’s not necessarily looking for keywords in their own right. Instead, it’s looking for your intent. That’s why if you Google, “greatest show in the world,” the search engine knows that chances are good you’re looking for the Ringling Circus, which is the “greatest show on earth.”

What this means for you is that while keyword research is helpful because it can steer you in the right direction, sticking to specific keyword phrases, particularly long-tail phrases, is not important. Make sure your content is well-written and focuses on the point you want to make, and it should be classified correctly in searches.

Link wheels are a big don’t.

Ten or so years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for SEO companies to recommend “link wheels.” These were websites built for the purpose of all linking to one another. For example, if you had a website where you sold cleaning products, you might develop one site about floor cleaners, which linked to a site about bathroom cleaners, which linked to a site about window-cleaning, which linked back to the floor cleaner site. These were sometimes complex designsA� if drawn out, creating figure eights, spokes, and other shapes in addition to (or instead of) a simple wheel, but the premise was the same: Manipulate linking to boost SEO.

Nowadays, this doesn’t work. First, Google catches onto this sort of thing and will penalize sites for doing this. Secondly, backlinking works best when the sites linking back are authoritative, and not just fake sites or sites built specifically for backlinking or link-wheeling purposes. If you were wondering whether building a link wheel would be a good strategy, it’s not. It was iffy a decade ago, and it’s definitely black-hat now.

Local SEO is a completely different animal.

Between a requirement for mobile-friendliness and changes to the layout, local SEO looks almost nothing like it did a decade ago. Think about it: Ten years ago, people weren’t using their smartphones to look for a “cake bakery near me,” like they are today. Keeping your Google My Business listing up to date and making sure that your site is optimized for mobile devices are two actions you can take right now to boost your local SEO rankings, if you haven’t done them already.

There are undoubtedly many other ways that today’s best SEO practices are not the same ones you had success with ten, or even five, years ago. If you aren’t sure where to start with your digital marketing and local search, contact Most Optimal for help.