Thanks to Google Analytics, everyone from your boss to your dog professes to be an “expert” in search engine optimization these days. But many of these so-called experts are still following old-school strategies that drive traffic to your site at the same speed as dial-up. Web 2.0 demands a new set of strategies for optimizing web traffic.
Old-school SEO stuffed websites with keywords and built a complex web of artificial backlinks to improve page ranking. The end goal for these “old-school” experts? Producing more page hits to increase page rank, even if a lot of these hits were from users who did not find the content on your site relevant or helpful. It all came down to one thing: quantity over quality.
Unfortunately, all the web traffic in the world means little to a business if conversion rates remain low. Google’s most recent update to its search engine algorithm reflects this reality. A high bounce rate, indicated by a page visit that lasts less than 15 seconds, is now a red flag to Google, signaling poor or irrelevant content. So what does this mean for your website? Stuffing sites with keywords or links can actually hurt page rank, especially if your SEO tactics lead to a high bounce rate. Content quality matters.
At the same time, social networks have changed the way we find, share and consume content. We tweet links to interesting news stories, discover new information through our Facebook newsfeed, and email friends and colleagues links to websites. SEO 2.0 success understands how information is shared through social networks, and leverages these networks to drive website traffic.
SEO 2.0 success is based on three key elements:
- Quality, meaningful content
- High conversion rates
- Sharing content on social networks
Here are five tips for naturally building links, sharing content and understanding SEO 2.0 metrics:
- “Long tail” your way to more conversions. Stuffing your site with as many keywords as possible is a waste of time. Try using one long keyword phrase (usually around five words) that uniquely connects your site with your target audience. Sure, fewer people will search this phrase, but because of its specificity, you’ll get higher conversion rates.
- Build external links through social networks. Once you’ve built your social network on Twitter and Facebook, create a dialogue through meaningful content that links back to your site. This builds natural links, and your content can go viral on Twitter in just hours. Most importantly, organically building links for the needs of the reader is far more effective from an SEO standpoint than building them for a search engine.
- Strengthen your internal linking structure. Are your conversion rates low? Need to breathe life back into a dying page? If your page has great content but no one is visiting it, rethink your website’s internal link structure. If a search engine can’t find your page, then your customers can’t find it either. Enhance conversion rates by directing users to pages that feature a strong call to action. Remember, don’t just create links to increase page views; link to meaningful content on your site that a user actually needs.
- Drive site traffic through your social network. If no one is paying attention, then 10,000 Twitter followers are no better than one follower. Keep followers engaged by tweeting special offers or interesting news just to your network. Sharing exclusive content with your network is an easy way to drive site traffic and capture new customers.
- Understand your interaction metrics. The real indication of SEO success is found in “interaction metrics”. Pay attention to the amount of time users spend on each page and your conversion rates. Only worry about keyword performance if your best-performing keywords are those that include your brand. Effective SEO delivers traffic for non-brand related words.