People will tell you that Google's algorithm updates and the rise of semantic search has killed Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Semantic search is all about the giving you the results you want, not what you ask for. If you are on a mobile device and are searching for "Indian Food" at 5 pm, Google is smart enough to figure out that you would prefer a local result and will present you with options near by. That is a pretty simple example, but as search engines collect more personal data and computers get more powerful, they are able to dig deeper into what you want, not what you ask.
But is SEO dead? No.
What semantic search has killed is the need to stuff your content with keywords and other voodoo tricks that people used to do to try and beat the search engines and claw their way to the top.
Google can't get all semantic with your content if it can't figure out what your site is about so you need to follow these 5 simple tips
- Use search terms in page titles: Don't call your home page "Home" or your about page "About Us". Page titles are used as links in search results to make them readable, descriptive, and engaging. "Learn More About ideaLEVER Solutions Inc. Web & Mobile Design & eCommerce"
- Natural URL's using relevant words: Every little bit helps so if possible without looking spammy, add some keywords to your URL's. People rarely search for abbreviations so use full words.
- XML SiteMap: This is for Google and provides them with an easy place to see a list of all pages. This is more reliable than depending on them to spider your content bouncing from link to link.
- Use proper structure: HTML has a defined hierarchy and while designers can work wonders with CSS, the search engines rely on header declaration (H1's etc) to determine what the most important topics are.
- Quality relevant content: Don't try to be all things to all people. Write good, compelling and relevant content that people want to read and share and Google will figure out what your site is about and reward you with visits.
These 5 Common Sense SEO Tips can help you get started but professionals can still help you take it to the next level when you are ready. Knowing what keywords to go after can make the process more efficient and like all marketing initiatives, there should be a strategy behind it with goals and regular measurement of success.