Technology

4 SEO Practices to Guide Your Strategy This Year

SEO is important, but it’s hard to explain up the corporate ladder and to other departments. Reframing your SEO practices could help drive better results in the coming year.

More organizations than ever think that search engine optimization matters.

In fact, according to a recent study from Zazzle Media, 97 percent of marketers agreed that SEO was a key part of their marketing strategy.

But with search a constantly confusing thing to get a grasp on in the organization, it might help to reframe your strategy in the coming year. A few considerations to get things going:

Highlight Results in Reporting 

As the Zazzle report notes, budget issues are the most common reason that organizations don’t invest more in SEO, cited by 61 percent of respondents who were asked their top three reasons why. But the second- and third-place answers suggest a more subtle dynamic at play: 34 percent of respondents noted that it was hard to prove SEO’s effectiveness, while 26 percent said that other channels provided a better return. “This points to the ongoing challenge of winning over senior stakeholders and educating further up the company structure,” the report stated [registration]. The firm suggested regular, in-depth reporting of data for the next year to help clear things up and build investment.

Work With Your Developers to Find SEO Common Ground 

Your devs may have bad memories of some of the decisions your organization made to help boost its search engine presence back in the day, and it might discourage them from wanting to get in your corner again. But the fight is worth it, Search Engine Journal notes. “The days of keyword stuffing and bulk link buying are no longer seen as popular or sustainable SEO practices by most, but it may take time and relationship building for an SEO to win the trust of developers because of their prior experiences,” it states. The site recommends finding common goals between your analytics and developer teams to maximize your work.

Don’t Seek Out Sketchy Backlinks 

A key way to help your organization’s reach is through a strong search presence, and that might lead you to focus on aggressively building out backlinks with other sites. Kaspar Szymanski, a former Google employee and a founder of the firm SearchBrothers, says that leaning too hard on backlinks—including using sketchy schemes such as payment or false traffic—is a bad move. But in a guest post for Search Engine Land, Szymanski notes that backlinks still have a place, if they’re used in the correct context. “Backlinks should be actively pursued, however, not for an illusionary PageRank gain, but to grow conversions, which is the primary purpose for optimizing websites and does not pose a risk that the site may be penalized and disappear from [search engine results pages] altogether,” he said.

Understand Why Image Optimization Is Important for SEO

Think about it: All the other information on a webpage is taken into account when search engines crawl for page experience. Why wouldn’t images be included too? 

Optimizing images on your website ensures a better user experience. With Google’s release of the Core Web Vitals update, optimized images are more important than ever. (No Photoshop editing skills required.) The best performance can be achieved by adding image alt tags, compressing images, and using a few other SEO tricks. Three tips to keep in mind:

  • Adding image alt tags not only adheres to accessibility guidelines but also gives search engines a signal as to what the image is about. If left blank (which happens often), it’s a missed opportunity.
  • Compressing images allows the page to load faster. Using a tool such as TinyPNG is an easy way to shrink the file size of your images to make them more user-friendly.
  • Go easy on the stock photography, and beware of copyright infringement. (As a cautionary tale, a photographer sued Skechers for $250 million for using some of his images in ads beyond the scope of his contract. The photographer didn’t win monetary damages, but the court ruled that Skechers’ “co-authorship” argument was dubious.)

(Nuthawut/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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