4 SEO trends communicators should track

By Marisa Abeyta 

Ranking first on a Google search engine results page (SERP) is considered an honorable achievement—but it’s not the only goal that matters.

If you don’t rank first, there’s a lot you can do to improve your organic search results.

Here are four search engine optimization trends to embrace:

1. Combat ad blockers by optimizing organic search rankings.

“Ranking without links is really really hard. Not impossible, but very hard.”
— Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, October 2016

Research shows that 30 percent of all internet users will employ ad blockers by 2018. Although nearly every page you view, app you download, link you click or product you buy is tracked, you can block cookies (tracking), use anti-spam software, skip ads and customize social media feeds.

[RELATED: Overcome your biggest challenges in internal comms, PR and social media]

To optimize organic search rankings:

  • Integrate a multichannel SEO strategy.
  • Perform keyword research and target strong keywords that are relevant to each channel.
  • Optimize content for searcher intent.
  • Incorporate brand keywords.
  • Provide high-quality content and keyword-rich links.
  • Track and analyze your data.
  • Engage your audience on social media.
  • Optimize your website with a responsive web design to be mobile-friendly.

2. Build trust and avoid spam.

Social media platforms and search engines will continue to introduce new rules to prevent the spread of fake news, ensure data security and provide relevant information.

This year, Twitter updated its policies by introducing new anti-spam rules. Twitter now prohibits identical content—like the duplicate tweets many businesses posted regularly on multiple Twitter handles. Follow Twitter’s new rules or else you risk getting some (or all) of your accounts shut down.

This is nothing new to marketers who are familiar with Google’s algorithm updates. For example, in 2011 Google began penalizing duplicate content in order to punish low-quality “content farms.” “Content farms” are web pages stuffed full of low-quality content from other sites to drive ranking on search engine results pages.

Google’s aim is to provide searchers what they want, which is high-quality, relevant and valuable content.

To build trust online:

  • Create well-written, authoritative content. Don’t be misleading.
  • Promote brand awareness and value by telling your company’s authentic story.
  • Ensure that your audience’s expectations on your content meet reality.
  • Send press releases consistently as an organic approach to telling your company’s story, building trust and engaging your audience.

3. Take advantage of mobile technology and “internet of things.”

According to Doantam Phan, a product manager for Google, Google’s “algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in (their) results.” For this reason, you need to ensure that you consider mobile web browsers when looking at SEO.

“Internet of things” (IoT) will also advance this year. As consumers begin using their network of internet-enabled devices in their cars and home appliances, like virtual assistants Siri and Amazon Alexa, you need to ensure your content is accessible on various devices. Content marketing for tablets, laptops, smartphones and watches requires similar SEO best practices for desktop and mobile.

To increase organic reach for mobile and IoT:

  • Build links.
  • Lead with the most important information.
  • Incorporate multimedia like photo, video or audio in your content to boost engagement.
  • Add strong keywords in metadata descriptions.
  • Use a mobile-friendly test.
  • Write conversational content that’s shareable and compatible on various devices.
  • Use campaign tracking links to analyze engagement and click-throughs.

4. Keep up with the latest updates.

Google and other search engines continue to favor quality over quantity, regardless of whether the search is conducted via desktop or voice assistant. Voice-activated search is fast and convenient. Optimize your web pages and content precisely to serve search intent.

To meet the latest search engine requirements:

  • Encrypt your website with HTTPS. Don’t get marked as “not secure.”
  • Create strong, authoritative URLs that contain keywords.
  • Write rich content in natural language.
  • Cater your content to answer voice-activated search queries precisely.
  • Start early, be active and utilize Google Analytics.
  • Pay attention to format.
  • Add a call-to-action on web pages.

Marisa Abeyta is a Senior Customer Content Specialist, SEO Certified team member and expert on press release distribution. She’s been with Cision since 2013. Connect with her on LinkedIn. A version of this article originally appeared on the Cision blog.

(Image via)


Don’t Let Your Headline Get Cut Off!

“Not everyone wants to play the game, ‘What’s the last word in the headline?’” says Andy Bechtel, associate professor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill.

So, write web heads that don’t get truncated by Google, social media channels and mobile apps or else you’ll lose your readers’ attention.

How short? Make sure your web heads are short enough to:

  1. Get seen on Google.

Google’s search results display only the first 63 characters of your headline. To avoid getting your head cut off on Google, keep headlines to 55 characters or fewer. Remember: Google never bought a product, voted in an election or supported a cause. So write headlines for humans; optimize them for Google.

  1. Get shared on social media.

How will your headline look when it shows up on Facebook, Twitter and other social sharing sites? To avoid getting your head cut off on social media, aim for 55 characters or less.

  1. Get seen on mobile devices.

Mobile apps and websites often truncate long headlines. To avoid getting your head cut off on mobile apps, follow AP’s guideline and limit headlines to fewer than 40 characters.

  1. Reach readers on the go.

You have only a few seconds to reach mobile audiences before they swipe left or leave for another site. They want to scan at a glance, not study for a minute. Plus, long headlines get lost below the fold or take up too much valuable real estate of mobile screens.

To avoid getting your head cut off, keep your web head to 8 words or fewer, or about 40 characters. That’s the length readers can understand at a glance, according to research by The American Press Institute.

But online, shorter is better. My personal preference is web heads of 6 words or less, or about 30 characters.

In the end, it’s important to remember: Those extra words aren’t worth losing your head over. So when writing for mobile audiences, write headlines to go. Keep your head short.

Ann Wylie (WylieComm.com) works with communicators who want to reach more readers and with organizations that want to get the word out. To learn more about her training, consulting or writing and editing services, contact her at ann@WylieComm.com.


Is PR the new SEO?

google-hummingbird-1380545875

PR Pros (especially those who are engrained in new digital media like me) are buzzing about the introduction of Google’s Hummingbird. Earlier this month PR Week contributor Martin Jones’ wrote a fantastic article, PR: The new SEO? that provides further and valuable insight about the potential positive effects the latest and greatest Google algorithm will have on the public relations industry.

Jones: “Google’s new approach is putting more weight on meaningful stories when deciding where different links appear in search results – and that’s a windfall for PR agencies.”

In this short, easy to read, article he explains the three “PR-friendly” assets of Hummingbird:

1. Backlinks from third-parties linking back to company sites
2. Content that is easily searchable through “search-optimized blog posts and knowledgeable contributed articles”
3. Weighted “social shares” on social media

Read >PR: The new SEO?

Jones: “The best part about these changes is that PR is just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing: telling great stories, getting media placements for clients, and building relationships.”


Getting a handle on your SEO and SEM will create best on-line publicity for better talent recruitment and placement!

In a weak economy like this, job boards and search engines get used more than ever before (Read).

So recruiters have more applicants than ever.  So why doesn’t your applicant quality for niche roles seem much better?

The answer begins with two questions: 1) How well are job postings being seen on job boards, as well as major search engines like Google and Yahoo, and job-specific engines like SimplyHired.com and Indeed.com?  and 2) What about the company’s online brand exposure (Web 2.o/Personal PR)?

Yes, dull job postings are a part of the problem!  Most lack the “what’s in it for me” motivating appeal that lets a passive candidate visualize the role, challenge, environment, etc. and want to get off their rear and apply for the job!  Even if you rewrote a job posting to make it “sing,” that’s not going to solve the dilemma in the age of Web 2.0.

Nowadays, professionals don’t necessarily think to go to a completely different kind of website for jobs.  They naturally search in the same place they go to find everything else:  their favorite search engine.

NOTE:  Google alone has over 150 million searches per month for jobs!

Or if someone uses a job-specific search, it’s increasingly on a job aggregator site that pulls job postings from multiple boards:  Indeed and SimplyHired are now both in the top 7 of *all* US job-related sites. In either case, job postings get buried almost immediately.  Did you know that approximately 60% of on-line users don’t look past the first page of their search engine results?  And almost 9 times out of 10, users don’t venture past the first three pages of search results?  Today, it’s not how new your postings are that determine their visibility, but their search relevance.  Even most career websites are pushed far down the results where you’d like to rank high, deflating your employer brand.

Here’s a recommendation:  Consider this 90-minute webinar next Thursday, Aug. 13, that will really explain search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing (SEM) for recruiting and employer branding. Learn how to leverage these two things to your advantage. 

Save the date for: 

“SEO & SEM for Recruiters: An Introductory Guide to Improve Your On-line Visibility.” 

Whether you want to do it on your own, or you already use a consultant (me, for instance!), this session will give you the confidence to make intelligent decisions and act purposefully:

http://aces.arbita.net/webinars/SEOSEMforRecruiters-aug09

THIS WEBINAR LETS YOU TAP AN EXPERT!

When MY GUYS (I am a big fan) and SOCIAL MEDIA GURUS (when it comes to recruiting),  Shally Steckerl and  Glenn Gutmacher of theJobMachine, Arbita Consulting & Education Services (ACES) http://aces.arbita.net have a question about search engine optimization (SEO) or marketing (SEM), they turn to one expert at Arbita ACES:  Nicole Bodem. 

With seven years of SEO experience, the last 2.5 of which specializing in recruiting, Nicole Bodem is a guru at helping you increase your online visibility.  (Check out her recent excellent blogpost at http://aces.arbita.net/Optimizing-your-Social-Media-Profile about optimizing your social network profiles, too.)  Just as importantly, she clearly explains what’s in the way of your recruiting success online, and how you can do many of the improvements yourself, regardless of budget. “Nicole is clearly among the best in this space, cuts through the clutter and tells it straight,”said Shally. “When she makes a search recommendation or implements something herself for a client, I know it’s going to make a real difference in their online recruiting results.”  Today’s tools also allow you to understand where your job postings appear and who’s coming to your career website as a result.  Now, the metrics and platforms to track source exist — and don’t depend on flawed candidate self-reporting.  You can determine which channels deliver the right talent.

What surprises most recruiters is that it’s not just job boards you need to focus on.  Through a combination of SEO and SEM, you can tilt the playing field your way by targeting relevant passive talent on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, job-specific engines like SimplyHired and Indeed, social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as job boards. Even if you’re new to SEO or SEM, this online workshop on Aug. 13 at 1pm US EDT will cut through the hype and give you the understanding to take action, not dependent on any particular vendor or product.  Make a noticeable difference in your job posting and career website success.  Get details about “SEO & SEM for Recruiters: An Introductory Guide to Improve Your Online Visibility” and register today for just US$99.97 at http://aces.arbita.net/webinars/SEOSEMforRecruiters-aug09

 HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL LEARN IN 90 MINUTES NEXT THURSDAY (8/13/09):

– A clear understanding of the difference between SEO and SEM:  how each channel works, what it costs and how to control it

– Real-world examples of good and bad job ads, including tips and techniques you can implement immediately

– Effective ways to optimize your job advertisements, ensuring your latest postings have strong presence on the major search engines

– Analytical tools to track responses and understand which metrics are important to track

– How to evaluate your website for search engine friendliness, including which technologies to avoid that may prevent search engines from finding your job postings

– The 3 cornerstones of SEO — technical, content and trust — and how to remove barriers so all three are present, with some simple changes you can make today to increase your search engine visibility

– Quality score:  Bidding is not everything with search engine ads: your competitor can pay less yet still get more clicks! Learn how that works.

Recruitment and really all SEO and SEM are key to have in order to succeed in the Web 2.0 age.  They are the route to the success metrics that talent operations increasingly need to deliver to management.  I realize this is new territory for many, so  to make it easy for you:  The folks at ACES are so confident this webinar will make a difference in your recruiting and sourcing success, that if you decide afterwards it wasn’t useful, Shally has agreed to let you take a completely different Arbita ACES webinar workshop anytime in the next year, at no charge or obligation.

So what else can you learn by getting a handle on SEO and SEM?:

– Precisely control and track your job-related keyword spend

– Generate metrics for your site visitors & where they’re from

– Target talent by location and other criteria – even those seeking jobs among your competitors

– Customize your messaging to applicants

– Drop Your Cost per Click and per Applicant

– Turbocharge Your Employer Brand

This professional seminar offers you, without travel and from the convenience of your own computer, an ideal way to learn the latest ideas surrounding search engine optimization and marketing for recruitment.  With hundreds of millions of job-related searches done on search engines, job boards, job aggregators and other web properties per month, it only makes sense to learn how to use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to your advantage.  And there’s no easier or clearer way to get your jumpstart than this webinar on Aug. 13 by Arbita’s acclaimed SEO/SEM guru, Nicole Bodem: http://aces.arbita.net/webinars/SEOSEMforRecruiters-aug09