We’re pretty much halfway into 2020 at this point, and so much has changed in terms of marketing and conducting business online. One thing that has persisted throughout the year so far however is search engine optimization (SEO). If you’re serious about your business’s website, then you know full well that it needs to be optimized and kept up to date. SEO is nothing like fine wine; most of it does not age well over time and in fact the majority of it needs regular maintenance just like a website and its features, such as plugins.
There are some easy ways to tell if your business website’s SEO needs to be updated (and maybe it’s the beginning sign that your entire website needs help too!). Here are some ways to tell.
- Your rank is past spot #10 on Google & search engines
Bots, or crawler bots, are a part of Google that scour the Internet and examine websites to see if its contents are aligned with the search engine’s guidelines or are wildly out of date. These bots have been built and designed to detect certain black hat SEO tactics and ‘penalize’ those websites by marking them as untrustworthy. If that happens, the rank on such a site goes down…way, way down. Think not only past spot #10 on Google, but even further than that. If your site is using black hat SEO (here’s a blog post outlining what kind of tactics those are), or you can’t see your own website on page 1, then that’s why.
Updating the SEO has a tremendous effect on ranking alone because by updating your website as a whole, you are updating its SEO as well. Such updates may even include switching to a new hosting platform where the software is up to date with current technologies, or removing a broken image or several and replacing them with better quality pictures instead. Little changes like this can actually make a difference to bots, but some slight changes may lead to hours of work needed…so in cases like switching hosting, you’ll want a new website (which we can supply you with).
- You’re not targeting locally
Local SEO is not the same as international SEO, which is much harder to target in terms of keywords. International SEO involves short, tough keywords such as “bike shop,” “online florist,” “mechanic,” and so much more. The greater the keyword’s commercial intent and the shorter it is, the tougher it is to rank for that keyword.
Now, if you take a look at certain other keywords that are similar, such as “mechanic near me,” and “bike shop in Edmonton AB”, you may see different results compared to the former. This is because these are keywords entered into search engines by people with full intent to buy. They’ve already looked up information about mechanics and bikes, and now they need actual help…professional help. If your business is not targeting such keywords as these, or registered on directories such as LinkedIn and Google My Business, you’re not going to stand out from your local competitors. Rather, they will outshine your website and its SEO to boot. They’re ranking and targeting their audience on a local scale. Maybe it’s time your business did?
If you’d like to learn more about local SEO, we wrote a blog post about that too.
- Your content is still written for robots
Thin content and keyword-stuffed content are both no longer valued by customers. Search engines’ algorithms are constantly changing to reflect this need for valuable and resourceful content written by experts and professionals who have a great understanding of their industries. If your written content no longer reflects these shifts in the way we pursue information, you’re looking at a website that’s going to be near the bottom 10…on page 10 of SERPs (search engine page results).
The less you write for humans, the worse your rank will be and the blacker your SEO hat will appear online. Give that hat a wash and let the white shine through! Take a hard, close look at the content you currently have, and figure out if there’s a way to salvage and ‘recycle’ it, or at the very least create newer, longer content that has something to offer customers. Make sure that the new content is optimized like the rest of your website as well. If not, you may need some help.
A newer reason to really examine your content has to do with Google’s newest revision to its SEO guidelines, the 2019 BERT update. What this newest update has done is basically force marketers to optimize site content based on search intent, rather than keywords. It means that, for business owners, Google has become increasingly better at understanding the context of people’s searches and what they are intending to click on based on those queries. So, rather than inserting keyword after keyword that will keep your content reading naturally, you will have to create content that answers people’s queries and provides as much information about what they’re looking for as you can.
If your site’s content still isn’t doing that, it’s time for an upgrade.
- You don’t look after the rest of your website
Maintenance all across a website from the back end is a good way to ensure your online process for doing business is running smoothly. Look at this side of SEO like a car; even one thing you’d think is not worth maintaining, such as the seating, can leave a poor impression on someone getting into your car for the very first time. In contrast, showing off a brand new car—or a new website—can tell people that you actually do care about how it’s run and how it functions daily.
That’s why it matters to look after every single piece of your website and make sure everything is running the way it should. If you don’t have time, your professional web dev team can help look after things behind the scenes, depending on the type of package you signed up for.
- The title and description tags aren’t that great
Though they are less of an importance now when it comes to SEO than they used to be, having a good title tag and description tag for your website’s pages is still needed to help your site be indexed. A good site map, once indexed, may also be the boost your website needs to rank better. Title and description tags are also good for blog posts.
Remember, the more content you produce, the more likely you’ll become recognized by Google as a valuable resource. This is why content marketing and social media marketing are both excellent online promotion strategies to date and why title and description tags also still matter. Approach these tags like you would be naming a child; when it comes to listing products, you don’t want your customers to mistake one product for another, so why treat your products’ SEO the same way?
Keep in mind that even meta description tags are still debated in terms of length. Who knows what new guidelines Google will post about SEO going forward? That being said, there are certain white hat rules that will triumph over certain SEO aspects every day of the week, which you can read more about here.
For all of these reasons and more, SEO is here to stay even as many other marketing and promotional methods are dying out. It’s not some fad means of getting your website noticed—proper white hat SEO is going to remain the main drive behind gaining high traffic and leads for your business’s website. Updating your site’s SEO will expand your company’s reach and boost your online authority, even past 2020.
Why a New Website is the Best Choice to Update SEO
You may be wondering why we keep recommending a brand new website for SEO updates when it’s likely you already have a working website. Well, there are a few reasons for that suggestion:
- Some black hat SEO features are too tough to remove. Examples include buying bulk spam comments and posting them online (don’t even consider doing this in the first place!), splash pages, doorway pages, and more. Removing these may accidentally remove content that’s actually of value to your business.
- Updating a site’s SEO that’s broken in the first place is not only time-consuming, but also costly on your account to get it fixed. The price of a new website with white hat SEO put first and foremost is actually less expensive than you may think.
- It may have been a while since you got a website that’s accessible to plugins that boost SEO, such as Yoast. Or, these plugins are the reason why your site is failing due to lack of maintenance (which, again, is easier to replace outright with a new site that’s up to date as opposed to a new site on older software).
- The hosting plan you may have had in the past has worked before, but now that your business is growing or has grown, it’s no longer helpful.
- Compared to your competitors your site hasn’t updated meaning it doesn’t run as smoothly like a car (see our previous example) or load as fast, or fulfill your customers’ needs when it comes to your company.
- It’s been 10+ years (ancient history in Internet time) since your website was updated at all, same with the SEO.
- Your site has been optimized in the past, but not on the local scale you’re looking for.
V3 media is here to build you a website that adheres to Google’s guidelines and puts your business in the best light online. Give us a call if you’d like to take your business’s website to the next level, and its SEO too.