For every online marketer, establishing the best possible presence on the web is unarguably the most important task. There can be no disputing the fact that the world of online business revolves around organic search rankings on Google and other search engines. However, the problem is Google is not in the habit of publicly disclosing how its algorithm works or what the various updates that they release mean for online businesses. While the Internet is rife with experts suggesting you do this or that, there are certain SEO tasks that should never be forgotten about. Some prime examples:
Optimize the Alt Text of Images
Optimization of the image alt text is hardly a new concept in SEO and virtually everyone knows their importance in making search engines understand the meaning and context of the image. However, there has been an increasing amount of talk surrounding Google’s increasing mastery over artificial intelligence and machine learning that supposedly allows it to figure out what the image is and what it means that has led to many people to assume that there is no more need to worry about alt text optimization. Even if one were to assume that Google’s image recognition technology is working well in the absence of any real knowledge about it, it does not hurt to keep on doing the good work of framing effective alt text for the uploaded images. While machine learning is definitely a good thing, there is still perhaps some time left before it can render manual composition of the alt text of images redundant. While Google may well become an expert in interpreting images in the next few years, playing it safe with the old method certainly will not hurt your SEO.
Giving Priority to Content Authority
Since the early days, the authority of content has always been a point of debate due to its ambiguity. One does appreciate that Google will always want to present the most useful, pertinent, and credible content to users based on its interpretation of the search intent. The August 2018 Medic Core update made it amply clear that organizations and businesses in the ‘Your Money Your Life’ sectors should focus on tailoring their content to reflect Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness (E-A-T), however, there are many experts who are commenting that the March update has reversed the move. The opinions are purely speculative because Google, as usual, prefers to remain silent and let confusion prevail. If there is any question whether you should continue posting content that has authority, the answer is a plain and simple yes. Your priority should always be to deliver content that is authentic, current, relevant, reliable, credible, and insightful to users. You should invariably focus on providing clear takeaways and present reference data/information to support the point made.
Long Content Creation
Google’s John Mueller has gone on record that by itself the word count of content is not considered as a ranking factor by Google. When technically, for the purpose of SEO, there is no difference in the ranking potential of long-form content and short content, people are often tempted to ask whether there is any merit in creating only short content. Content that satisfies the user’s search intent will invariably rise to the top of the page rankings regardless of its length. Whether this satisfaction can be achieved in as less as 500 words or you require any many as 5,000 words depend on the subject and the level of the user’s requirement. You have to decide what sort of a user you are trying to satisfy; content aimed at a school student or a general user will obviously be shorter than that for someone who is conducting research in it. One can safely assume that long content will serve the purpose better than short content but it is really up to the content manager to decide when a particular piece is sufficiently detailed to serve the purpose it is intended for. According to an https://backlinko.com study on content marketing, it was found that longer content was able to get over 77% more links than short pieces. Since backlinks are integral to better SEO, it follows that longer content will rank better than short content. Content managers should keep in mind that they should not deliberately set out to create long content by including fluff; it is enough to provide details about the topic that answers the most important questions of the users and in the process offer credible and meaningful insights.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
A couple of years back, John Mueller commented that Google did not factor in accelerated mobile pages for ranking results. However, it is well established now that in the contemporary search environment when most of the online searches are being conducted on mobile devices, AMP has become imperative for better page rankings. Google rolled out its mobile-first index update in 2018 and since then, speculation has it that AMP exerts a significant impact on the rankings in some way or the other. For people who might be tempted to question whether AMPs are worth the trouble and expense, the answer is very clearly provided by the rapid rate of adoption of AMP by website owners; according to statistics in just one year, more than 31 million domains have embraced the concept. With online searches moving away rapidly from the desktop to mobile devices, the longer you wait to implement AMP, the more will be the opportunities lost.
According to Google, HTTPS is a factor that is taken into account by its algorithm but is not given much weight. Google indexing does not depend on whether your website is HTTPS or not, however, this does not obviate your need to get yourself a security certificate. When you visit a website, Google indicates very clearly if it is secure and many people are so sensitive to the red symbol with the ‘Not Secure” alert label that they abandon the site immediately and more so if there is any question of parting with personal or confidential financial information like credit card details. Get yourself an SSL certificate so that visitors can browse with confidence even when there is no immediate SEO impact.
Everyone wants a top Google rank but while it is important, you need to think beyond just page rankings when it comes to establishing a reliable and ensuring web presence. Regardless of what Google does or what people think Google is doing, it is important to keep on doing many of the SEO tasks – some will have a positive impact while others will at least not harm you.