If you run a website, you understand it is imperative to have a SEO strategy. Sure there is link building and content creation, but do those types of actions produce long-lasting results on a consistent basis? Today’s SEO has to withstand user search changes as they seem to come more and more quickly. Without professional help, it can be exhausting to try to take on all the link building yourself. Here we focus on factors that you should practice as opposed to actions that aren’t as high on the priority list.

Off-page SEO

You want other pages and sites pointing to your site. This also means that not all links rank the same in terms of equality.

  • Where links are placed is important. You want links in the body of the page as opposed to the footer. If your links are found all throughout another site, visitors will either consider it spam or commercial advertising. It is more critical to have a link on the homepage.
  • Think about anchor text. This is more than just “Click here.” That text is overused and overrated. Instead, keyword links should be natural. If they look artificial, you could be penalized. This is also true of links stuffed with keywords.
  • Get quality links. A vote is when someone links to you. Of course, quality counts. If you run a company that runs social media campaigns for politicians, then a link on The Hill would be more valuable than one on Billy Ray’s homepage. You want quality links that are relevant to your industry. It is even more beneficial if they are trusted and authoritative.

High-quality content

People don’t want to read to same type of content over and over again. They also don’t want to read similar variations of the same content. They want unique content that will teach them something new. If you focus on publishing only high-quality content, you will soon have a reputation as a standout. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Google will start to rank your site more highly because it values your output. Of course, it has to be appropriate for your site and relevant to your brand. You want to become the authority in your niche. The best part is it builds your reputation in the eyes of your readers.

Video emergence

According to Marketing Land, 62 percent of Google searches are comprised of video. Visuals are on the rise, and this trend will continue. The reason is because videos are easy to share and quite versatile. Plus, most viewers are looking through the lens of their mobile devices. With that in mind, analysts believe that video will have a stronger presence in online marketing.

Mobile is where it’s at

When it comes to SEO-optimization, mobile optimization is king. All of your websites have to be mobile-friendly. The good news is with responsive web design, you no longer have to build a different site for the desktop and another for mobile. According to Google Adwords, mobile searches have already topped desktop searches. Users want to continue to enjoy their mobile experiences.

Branded and non-branded 3-pack

When doing a search for a business, you might type “Price Costco Austin” or “Chik-fil-A Charlotte.” These are specific searches that lead you to a particular business, in a chosen location. That is also the branded 3-pack. The non-branded 3-pack is when generic searches are made such as “family diner Raleigh” or “auto dealership Atlanta.”

You may notice that the non-branded 3-pack shows reviews/rating stars, while the branded 3-pack does not. In addition, the branded 3-pack does not show the primary category for the listing. This is important to note when it comes to SEO. Google removed the reviews for branded queries when they rolled out the 3-pack in August of 2015.

Digital assistants

Who needs a butler when you have Cortana, Google Now or Siri? Digital assistants are searching for users and more companies will come out with their own version of the digital assistant. As a result, you want to make sure you content can be quickly accessed by these types of assistants. They are convenient and effective, which is why more people are using them.

Social engagement

You’re probably already on social media. Search engines are now looking for content on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Your Facebook page may rank even higher than your company’s site. In order to boost SEO rankings, you need to use social media more often. You are missing out if you don’t have a social media strategy that includes social content. Social posts will soon be more valuable than your web pages.

Marry SEO to content

Your content strategy should not be developed in a bubble. It needs to be tied to your SEO strategy. This is because you could end up with outdated content, duplicate content and content that cannot be found on any search engines. You don’t want to get penalized for having duplicate content. Furthermore, you want the search engines to find your content. This is why you want to optimize all of your efforts from day one. You can use this list of 20 SEO metrics. This saves a lot of time and effort in the long run.

Diversify your link destinations

When placing external links, you don’t want to have every single one pointing to your homepage. You need to have destination diversity. As a result, you should get your links to point to internal pages. If you link to one page too many times, you decrease the overall authority level of your site. It also makes it seem as if your content isn’t worthy of an internal link.

Understand your target audience

You need to work diligently to find out what your target audience wants. Then, you need to quantify your data in order to create the right content ideas. If you aren’t producing what they want, they will search elsewhere. A good strategy starts with the end goal in mind. The objective is to attract loyal and return visitors. Giving them what they want does just that.

SEO is more than just link building and anchor texts. It is embracing trends and changing your strategy when necessary. Keep testing results until you find the right mix that works.