The cat’s out of the bag. The cheese is off the cracker. The secret is out.
While what happens behind the scenes to make it all measurable remains a mystery to many, search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) are the way of the future. Heck, they’re the way of the past and the present too, elusive as they may seem to newcomers to the online marketing industry.
Personal experience and opinions aside, more than 100 experts in the industry have agreed on a handful of secrets you need to know to create a more effective website. Does it all start with search engine optimization? You bet it does.
And it seems complicated to the average person. All the terms like long-tail keywords and backlinking and the inner workings of Google Analytics can make the whole thing seem much more transcendental than necessary to anyone who’s not an SEO expert or working for a SEO Agency. Yet that’s kind of the point. Just because electricity is complicated from an electrical engineer’s standpoint doesn’t mean the average person doesn’t know how to turn on a light switch.
The Best SEO Secrets
So what exactly are the mystical (so-called) secret ingredients for your business’ recipe for success? The experts have some pretty strong opinions that can be broken down into categories as outlined below.
Build a strategy / process and stick to it (3.63%)
According to research conducted by Small Business Trends, businesses that establish a plan from the start are twice as likely to be successful. The same can be said for having a strategy in place for the role SEO will play in your business. Taking time to put together plans for what your SEO efforts will look like and how it is managed is the first step, but it doesn’t stop there. Sticking to the plan over time, and staying consistent with it, is the most promising way to maximize its potential.
Lead (stay ahead!) of the market / change constantly / keep content fresh / measure and improve (9.33%)
Anyone with a Smartphone or table knows it’s true. Technology is advancing faster than the average person can keep up. What does that mean for SEO? SEO strategies are evolving even faster. Staying ahead of the curve by consistently producing creative, new and unique content in this constantly changing market is the only way to go.
Avoid being “spammy” (1.04%)
Google doesn’t want to upset its searchers anymore than you do, so it’s simple. Avoid techniques that could be perceived as spamming. If you don’t, Google will know and your efforts may end up being in vain.
Hire the right resources / use the right tools (3.11%)
You may know your company inside and out, but that doesn’t make you an SEO expert. And that’s ok. Turn to a reliable resource to point you in the right direction, guide the process and produce content that is more likely to reach a larger audience with a smaller investment of time on your part.
Use common sense/ there is no secret /stop overthinking it (12.44%)
True to the aforementioned light switch theory, experts agree that one of the biggest pitfalls people make in SEO is overthinking it. And it’s easy to do. But using common sense will pay dividends in your SEO effort. Think like you are the one doing the search. You are the one looking for the answer to a question. What does that answer look like? How does it read? What draws you to click on one resource over another? These are simple questions with simple answers that make SEO much less of a secret than even the experts like to admit.
Quality content (17.62%)
There is really no secret to this one. Readers want high-quality, unique content. It’s as easy as that.
Focus on networking and internal / external linking (15.54%)
Establishing an efficient network using internal and external linking methods is key. Back-linking will help keep users on your site, and external linking to reliable sources will help expand the scope of your content.
Embrace video (2.07%)
Video is among the many ways of the future of social media. As apps like Snapchat and features like Facebook Live continue to gain even more popularity, video is becoming a necessary element to effective SEO practices.
Do customer research /build relationships / be sociable /engage (13.99%)
So you have unique, high-quality content that needs to somehow make its way in front of the right people. This is where networking takes on a less technical form than before, requiring you to know your customers. Build relationships with them by being sociable and creating shareable content. Use a variety of platforms to reach as many people as possible, but don’t stop there. Most importantly, engage.
Don’t forget details (1.55%)
Little things matter. Making sure links work, landing pages look appealing and there aren’t any spelling or grammar mistakes are just as important to the overall success of marketing as anything else.
Usability / mobile friendly / make site faster/ avoid technical issues (6.22%)
If the tool is broken, users will move on. That’s why it is that much more important to make sure your web site is user-friendly. In this day and age, that makes being speedy and mobile a necessity.
Focus on keywords, particularly long-tail (10.36%)
They are not the only thing, but keywords are at the forefront of any conversation about SEO. Doing keyword research, understanding the elements of an effective keyword and using them correctly will help take any SEO effort to the next level.
If you succeed, keep the secret (3.11%)
Most experts agree, finding a SEO strategy that works for you can be hard work worth keeping close to the vest. In this case, sharing isn’t always caring for your business. If you find a secret that works well for you, use it! And share with caution.
The above categories and percentages were calculated based on 193 public responses on Quora on 12/17/2016.