How to Lead in Organic Search Engine Optimization in Vancouver... with website design tips from Google & Bing
Leading in organic search results for local Vancouver businesses means winning the SEO race with content and it can be a hard slog… but preparation, “comfy shoes” (ie. Getting the basics right to start) and sufficient and healthy semantic SEO copy as nourishment will enable reaching the goal – High rankings in Google and Bing or bust!!
In the past year or so, organic internet search results have seen major changes – but mainly for websites that exploited loopholes in the existing Google algorithms.
For example, in 2013, there was the Hummingbird infrastructure launched in Google Search and we experienced the end to keyword data in analytics due to 100 percent SecureSearch. Google's Panda launch also became a staple feature on the search algorithm landscape for Vancouver based searches by becoming a rolling update – Guaranteed to keep the local SEO services companies on their toes!
There have been additional expansions to the Knowledge Graph and the way it displays information in organic searches in Google too, leading to improvements like Google's new voice search and results from Google local search carousel displays featuring prominently on the SERPs.
|New Google Local Search SERPS with Carousel Vancouver|
But even with all these changes to the SEO landscape, many of us in the website design industry of Vancouver realize that thankfully some things never change - like the tried and tested meticulous and “best practice” approach of SEO and content marketing - we're just dealing with new ways of delivering quality semantic seo content – and in ways that cut down on the often overseas element of SEO link
building… (oops, was that my “outside voice” there?)
The SEO Semantic Content Rich Landscape: Ch Ch Ch Changes and Their Impact on SEO
It’s inescapable that some of the changes to Google, Bing etc in the past couple of years are among the biggest ever, with a far reaching impact on SEO service providers, Website Designers & SEO Copywriters.
Bing's Duane Forrester, head of its webmaster program, points out that while there have been many changes in formulating search results at Bing, there are also some things that remain the same, like high quality well written content. "This past year will be remembered as the ‘Year of Content.' (There has been) so much conversation around how important content is, people moving budgets towards content efforts and so on," Forrester says. "And yet, for all that talk and action, content has always been important. Finally, though, businesses are starting to understand the downside to implicit or explicit shortcuts in this area." – Which as Vancouver professionals in the area of sustainably high organic search results, 2iiS Marketiing applauds.
Over at Adobe, Dave Lloyd, senior manager of global search marketing agrees "This is my 14th year in the industry and the pace of change has never been greater," even so, he adds, "The search marketing industry continues to evolve. Let's face it: SEO performance relies on a business solid foundation and adapting regularly to changes in the industry." Again, positive change and evolution in internet search results is something we completely agree with – nobody likes “Black Hat” SEO – especially when used by competitors to gain an unfair advantage.
Industry experts agree, if brands have been approaching SEO in a smart way, the changes have less impact and are easier to respond to – requiring adjustment rather than wholesale website changes. 2iiS Marketiing Development Director, Robert J. Pierson, explains, "Every year, the changes in algorithms seem to be designed to surprise and upset, but only if you were “gaming the system” to start with. Well designed websites based on a solid foundation of well written and SEO optimized infrastructure & content with a preference for a semantic approach stay much more consistently placed in the SERPs – and that’s a fact. Those websites that treat SEO as an afterthought, or, even worse in isolation, are suffering more and more with every update, and frankly for those of us well established professionals in the SEO and Website Design industry, that’s a good thing..."
Some knew they were “taking advantage” of loopholes – others – usually the unsuspecting clients of unscrupulous low budget SEO services – didn’t, but one thing is certain – All were negatively impacted in a huge way. Either they slipped down the SERPs into virtual obscurity – or they were hit by a penalty and sent to the Google sandbox for a “time out”.
Here at 2iiS Marketiing – all we can say is “Good!” None of our client’s websites were negatively penalized – but strangely some of our former clients were, and they soon took the opportunity to get back in touch
on their knees (You know who you are ;0)
Thankfully in the marketing world, most agree the changes in SEO are for the better. In fact, Macy's director of SEO and organic content, Lauren MacPhail, said "Secure search changed all of that by forcing SEOs to put more focus on ranking and start examining page performance with a greater level of detail. While many see this as a positive change, it has had the largest impact on SEO analysis and reporting in years,"
The ability to track keyword performance within website analytics used to be the nirvana of demonstrating SEO success and principal method of identifying new opportunities for optimization – but this meant many SEOs had moved away from relying on SERP rankings for success in favor of a more conversion-driven approach. Here at 2iiS Marketiing though, it’s worth pointing out that our priority has always been to design websites that balance all aspects of e-marketing.
How Brands Are Adjusting to Changes and How You Should Too
Lloyd says Adobe is optimizing "for the customer experience" because the SEO and search engine is now a means to the end – prospect contact and purchases. "SEO must first optimize to your future customer where they increasingly spend their time on mobile, in social media and in search engines," he adds.
SEO Content may be King, but functionality and usability gets the taxes paid! Pierson, “We often explain to clients, we would willingly trade 1000 website visits a day for 10 new client contacts – visits by themselves are irrelevant and Organic SEO results are only the first part of the process of getting a Website to Work”
Bing's emphasis is also related to quality content, but with more concentration on “the story”, Forrester said. "Our focus is almost entirely on content (with) very little around what we all think of as traditional SEO. Yes, technical SEO gets looked at, but maybe not to the depth you might think," he said. "The goal in everyone's mind is clear: we know our target persona so how do we serve them best?"
In addition to tracking and measuring content, Forrester says Bing is training for storytelling and enabling a wider spectrum of people to have internet voices and impact.
Alison MacDonald, digital marketing manager of global marketing at Seagate Technologies, says her company has mitigated changes in part by focusing more on the customer. "We are spending more time understanding our customers, which is not only allowing us to rank better, but also helping us create better products and speak to a customer in a manner they understand," MacDonald says. "Secure search simply forced us to do what we should have been doing from the beginning: using our internal knowledge to communicate with our external customers."
Extra Hints for Winning in Content and Search Optimization
Hunting out industry interviews with brands leads to additional tips for modern SEOs who want to be ahead of the game. For example, Lloyd at Adobe, who says, "SEOs today must continue to focus on aligning to content strategy and inbound marketing while striving and innovating to add value to the lead quality being driven through the funnel."
MacPhail, of Macy’s, gives an alternative view and says good SEOs need to start thinking more like traditional marketers, though, "on the other end, I feel like SEO has gotten more technical than ever and the landscape is changing quickly, so the need to keep up is imperative."
Changes in the organic search environment also pose considerable challenges. 2iiS Pierson sees some of those challenges to be specific to ownership of content - and that's something he says SEOs need to bear in mind. "One challenge in the future is the fine balance between providing your intellectual property for crawling whilst preventing it being used against you by both real and virtual competitors," Pierson says. "This is a new & very real emerging threat in the SEO content world of 2014. It's all very well to have the widest range of data on which to search, for example, but quite another to have Google collate all the data from you and your competition and present SERPs that never even give the viewer a need to cross your virtual front door. As an example of this recognized threat to business is the European courts judgment against Google in relation to Copiepresse and the Google “News” SERPs – Copiepresse are a royalty-collection company for French and German language press publishers" see details of Googles appeal here
Schema markup should also be encouraged, Pierson says. "Schema is a future-proofing tactic that will serve websites and e-marketing well," he says, "as search providers increase us of marked-up data to ensure richer consumer experiences. The winners from these experiments in SERP shuffles, UX, etc., will still be seen in the long term, but remember, web administrators, you've got to be marked up to play."
And while content is the trend for SEO recently, Forrester of Bing says, "Don't think for a second we've turned a corner on this topic. The importance of content is right at the top of the pile and should remain there indefinitely; right there next to usability."
The principal then is to be objective about your brand's progress in its content copywriting and don't forget that the SEO basics still matter so much to successful SERPs , he says. "While it's tempting to think you've mastered content and to seek what's new and cutting edge, I'll suggest that a lot of sites still have work to do on the basics," he adds.
What's in the Future for SEO: Content, Mobile and Customer Engagement
Darren Pleasance from “Customer Acquisitions” at Google, says the latest trends in website content are just as important as the basics. "There is a new phase of content development forming with in-app and mobile experiences," he says. "Content is being developed and tailored for device types that fundamentally improve the overall experience. It's surprising to still see people just digitize content but not actually tailor it for mobile."
From an interestingly Google-centric viewpoint, Pleasance says there is "huge opportunity in shifting brand dollars from TV to digital whilst, with balance, capitalizing on the synergy between the two channels."
Organic Search Engine Optimization for Vancouver Businesses in 2014 – The Conclusion
2iiS E-marketers are a creative and responsive breed, so if our Web marketing strategies are surviving the test of time, it's a testament to our strong SEO foundations and a semantic approach to SEO, content and digital marketing for our clients here in Vancouver & Worldwide.
As we are now in the second half of 2014, we also have new tools, strategies and ways of looking at the Organic Search conundrum to get our clients websites visible on searches, but we must also remember to keep the basics of SEO solid and create a great online experience for our clients site visitors so they are motivated to interact, to get in touch or to buy online. “When we increase client leads or online sales for our customers, and demonstrate an actual measurable ROI, then we know we nailed it.” Says Pierson. “Search is in transition, because internet use is moving onto mobile, into social with increased mobile high speed internet coverage and larger devices like the upcoming IPhone 6 & Galaxy Alpha. Where the customer leads, we follow. So it's the customer (and their stats) who ultimately tells us how we're doing with our SEO efforts.”
Here at 2iiS Marketiing, we are well seasoned in e-marketing, SEO optimized website design and the power of well written semantic enhanced copywriting – so the changes we have weathered, and those to come in the SEO landscape are actually ones we relish – we like the challenge, we appreciate the search engine giants making it harder to game the SEO results, and we love to learn – but most of all, we love to win the race… Think to Join our growing number of clients – and you can win too!
Article written by: Karen Pierson
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