Somebody recently asked me if small businesses should keep up with all the changes in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The short answer: No!
It’s impossible to keep up with every change without making it a full-time job. Minor changes are ongoing at Google and Bing. And new tips are discovered by SEO pros in field experiments every day. Only high-traffic websites get a good return on the effort of daily and weekly tweaks based on the latest small changes.
I suggest the 80-20 rule. Spend 20% of the effort of “perfect” SEO to get 80% of the results.
Content is most important. Write content for your audience, those who want to find you or your service. Write about the problem they want to solve or the solution they’re looking for.
Include words and phrases your audience might search for.
Include towns and other place names if your audience is likely to narrow their search geographically.
Structure the content for Google and screen readers.
Use headings (H1, H2, H3) and paragraph tags correctly.
Edit the HTML Title and Description for every page and include a keyword or two.
Then Do What Google Says
At the link below, Google tells everybody how to improve SEO. This guide covers the most important foundations. It’s a little techy, especially for a novice. But it points you to the most important concepts, the first things you should learn and do.
Google has a new set of ranking factors coming in May, and they’re all part of “Page Experience”. Here’s the quick info you need:
The new factors: loading time, interactivity time, and visual stability.
Combined with these under “Page Experience” are the existing factors: mobile friendly, safe browsing, HTTPS, no intrusive pop-ups.
Relevant Content is still the top ranking factor. These new factors won’t necessarily change your rankings.
How your competitors optimize their sites affects your placement in search results. If they have similar SEO as your site, Page Experience could be a significant factor.
Google announced this well ahead of time, which could indicate a significant change.
Predictions among SEO experts are mixed. The impact is a uncertain.
Google has indicated that this will apply first to mobile search, but that was in December.
Predictions on the impact range from “it depends” to “big deal, why else would Google announce it well ahead of time?”. SEO is based on hundreds of factors, including how much competition you have for your search terms. The effect on one site might be different than another. You should assess your site.
What To Do
If SEO is important for you, review your site for the Page Experience. Google published details about the signals they use.
Update your site including content and the software running it.
If search optimization is critical, you should review and update you site at least quarterly. If SEO is day-to-day critical, you’re probably already monitoring your site and backing up on a weekly basis. If you not, you should.
Check the video below for how to assess your site’s speed and get details about how to improve it.
Chrome comes with Lighthouse, a handy tool to audit your website including accessibility and some important SEO factors mentioned. It gives an overall assessment as well as details about how to improve your site. I show you how in this video.