Guest post by John Aaron.
While search engine optimization (SEO) has become a common term in the online marketing lexicon, many folks will struggle to tell you exactly how SEO helps bring relevant traffic to the client—and marketers are at a severe disadvantage without that knowledge.
The good news is SEO analysts from across the web regularly gather some pretty revealing statistical data about which key factors help or hinder the performance of an article, page, or post.
So what are these SEO factors, and why should content creators and marketers pay attention to them if they want to increase their digital presence and performance? Here are six high-impact areas to focus on with SEO efforts.
- Mobile Friendliness
- Content Length
- SEO Generates Leads
- Long-Tail Keywords Perform Best
- Video Content Is Growing
- Images Improve Rankings
Fact: In mid-2016, mobile search overtook desktop search as the dominant Google search vehicle.
As such, there’s been extra focus on making sites more mobile-friendly over the past few years. In fact, Google rewards mobile-friendly sites with a higher search engine results page (SERP) position and penalizes the sites that aren’t.
In order to stay in the mix, a website must be designed to make its material friendly for mobile users. This is no longer just a matter of user experience. Without mobile-friendly design, your online presence will take a hit and it will be reflected in your traffic numbers!
According to Statista, mobile web traffic accounted for 38.7% of total North American web traffic in November 2018. If well over one-third of potential customers are visiting your site from their phones, it has to be easy to navigate!
#2. Content Length
Fact: Longer content (1000 words +) will attract more interaction from potential customers.
A 2016 study from Backlinko found that the average first-page result on Google clocked in at 1,890 words. Generally, high-performing content will be over 1,000 words in length.
This makes sense when we consider what characteristics Google values in a piece of content: comprehensiveness, clarity, quality, and on-page optimization. So while a 500-word piece may be packed full of quality writing and sourcing, a 1,500-word article of the same caliber will simply have more of that.
#3. SEO Generates Leads
Fact: Over half of B2B Marketers say that SEO brings more leads than any other marketing strategy.
According to Junto, 57% of B2B marketers say SEO is their most effective means for lead generation. SEO works by laying the groundwork and architecture for directing internet traffic your way.
It’s vital for marketers to communicate across their organizations that a properly “optimized” website or blog requires consistent upkeep. Practices that got a site ranked on the first page of SERPs in 2015 may no longer work in 2019. Ranking factors and search engine algorithms continually change.
Because knowledge and technology evolve, information accuracy changes (especially in a B2B environment), and Google’s algorithms are always being tweaked. Content marketers can’t afford to take their hands off of the wheel.
According to Arman Sadeghi of Titanium Marketing, a truly evergreen piece of content must be constantly updated and refreshed to fit the SEO context of the present day.
#4. Long-Tail Keywords Dominate Searches
Fact: Long-Tail (4 words or longer) keywords account for 70% of ALL Google searches and convert 2.5x more frequently.
This makes sense when you think about it. If a golfer wants to buy a cheap new golf club, he or she isn’t simply going to search for “golf club” on Google. Rather, the golfer will likely search for something much more specific, like “Calloway affordable golf clubs” to speed up the process.
Content marketers can benefit from recognizing this. Google is all about intuitiveness with its SEO algorithms.
Content marketers who cater to intuitive search trends are the ones who will generate qualified leads more consistently. Content built around long-tail keywords is much more likely to convert.
#5. Video Content Is Growing Rapidly
Fact: According to Hubspot, 87% of businesses are using video as a marketing tool in 2019, up 25% from 2017.
Video marketing is the fastest growing method for increasing content quality and retaining the attention of potential customers.
Thanks to the increase in recording technology, mobile playback quality, the increasing capabilities and declining price of video editing tools, and relatively inexpensive production costs, quality video content has become far more obtainable in 2019 than ever before. Gone are the days of having to hire an expensive professional video producer.
Videos reinforce the credibility and quality of the content itself. Simply speaking, if there’s an accompanying video, it’s much safer to assume that the blog itself is of respectable quality.
#6. Images Improve Rankings
Fact: Articles with images receive 94% more overall views.
High-quality images—product photos, infographics, charts, diagrams, or interactive graphics—are proven to lead to more total views. And it’s not rocket science; the human brain is more attracted to a beautiful photo or an intriguing infographic than to a bunch of black on white paragraphs.
Images communicate ideas more quickly and efficiently than words alone. This isn’t to say that you should stop writing; it’s the combination of both quality writing and good image placement that brings the most views.
All content creators and marketers should be thinking strategically about which images will catch attention and draw readers in. The challenge is finding images that complement the content rather than being irrelevant or detracting from it.
Putting It All Together
How does a piece of content go from good to great? It certainly helps if it is well-written. But there are far more factors that contribute to a high-performing article than simply good writing.
It takes a diligent SEO approach to create a page that ranks highly. This involves use of images, smart keyword choices, solid content length, a multimedia presence, and more.
SEO facts are just that: concepts and practices tested and proven by professionals who make a career out of building winning strategies and seeing results. SEO is simple, but it isn’t easy.
Understanding these six SEO factors can help content creators and marketers follow those professionals and climb up Google’s rankings, one page at a time.
John Aaron is a freelance journalist and content creator. His blogging expertise is mainly focused on SEO and content marketing, but he is always looking to immerse himself in new topics and areas of interest. John is based out of Southern California, where he lives with his girlfriend and spends his free time playing music.