[This article was written by Anica Oaks.]
Over the last two decades, search engine optimization (SEO) has evolved from a handful of best practices into a technical, multi-disciplinary marketing technique. Long-term SEO is one of several branches that has diverged from the fundamentals of content marketing to become one of the valuable forms of marketing for any modern business. While the goal of topping search engine results remains the same, long-term strategies have different priorities and challenges than short-term blitz campaigns.
Quality Content is King
Despite the prolific use of pictures and visual media on every kind of virtual site, the written word is the fodder that fuels the search engine. Search engine algorithms are designed to examine website pages, blog posts and other written material to find content that is relevant and helpful to their users. Picking the right topic and keywords definitely matters, but poor grammar and repurposed content can cripple your search rankings.
Keywords Need to Evolve
Keywords are still essential to long term SEO strategy, but the way that marketers use them continues to change. In many situations, long tail keywords that include specific phrasing or context is preferable to generic keyword inclusion. Search engine algorithms also examine surrounding text in the paragraph and page to gauge the relevance and reliability of the information within, which means marketers have to find ways to blend these words and phrases naturally throughout their content.
Internal and External Links Must Be Relevant
Links within a website and links from other reputable websites are both valuable commodities for raising a site’s ranking on search engines. However, links need to be used sparingly and only used to direct readers to relevant pages. Deceptive, misleading or broken links can do more harm than good. Website managers should check all of their content periodically to make sure all links, pictures and videos are working as intended.
Website Structure and Security Matter
If you want to optimize your site for search engines, organize and build it around a formal sitemap. Submitting the sitemap along with other meta information to popular search engines can speed up and improve the indexing process significantly. Sitemaps also help readers and algorithms better navigate your site to find information relevant to specific search queries.
As its name suggests, long-term SEO isn’t about producing immediate results. Rising to the top of the search engine rankings can be a slow, painful challenge governed by the process of trial and error. However, consistently applying best practices and updating your strategies to match current trends is one of the best ways to keep your site and brand in the eyes of your target audience.
Freelance writer and web enthusiast