It took me about 25 years of consciousness to realize this but I understand now that life is a whole lot easier once you start paying less attention to the things around you. It doesn’t really matter for example if I stopped poring over what everyone’s wearing on this year’s Met Gala. And it really doesn’t matter if I stopped following what’s happening on Game of Thrones because it’s not like my friends are ever going to ditch me just because I’m not into Game of Thrones. There’s a limit to your care and you need to only spend them on the things that actually matter.
I’m not saying this just for nothing, SEO services and marketers know that when it comes to SEO, there are dozens of things that are variously, and sometimes contradictorily, described as ranking factors. Separating fact from fiction has always been a problem with SEO given the veil of secrecy around the actual algorithms on search engines but what’s also problematic is things around SEO that’s widely claimed is important when in fact, they really don’t. It’s important to know what these ‘trends’ are so you don’t waste time on a wild goose chase in your SEO efforts.
Separating the noise and the information
Scientists and doctors can’t even agree on what constitutes an ideal exercise regime if you want to lose some of those belly fat and that’s related to the human body, something that we’ve been familiar with for hundreds of thousands of years. It should come as no surprise then that even those that are considered experienced in SEO can’t seem to make heads or tails out of the so-called ranking factors. Sure, Google chimed in every now and then to help clarify things but we probably know less about SEO than what we know about that space rock they call the ‘Oumuamua.
However, just because there’s too precious little on what we know about SEO, we could still rely on common sense to figure out what works with search engines. Anything I say here, just as with almost everything written on SEO in the internet, relies on a combination of empirical data and/or conjecture but that’s actually better than nothing. I can’t say definitively about how best to approach SEO but based on my observation, I’m at least confident in saying that the following trends aren’t worth fussing over when it comes to your SEO efforts.
Trying to optimize for voice search
Yes, you’re correct in saying that smart speakers the likes of Alexa and Google Home, and to a lesser extent, Apple’s Siri, are growing in popularity. I’m also correct in saying that the popularity of voice assistants isn’t indicative of the popularity of voice search. It should also be noted that even though 100 million Alexa devices have been sold up until the beginning of this year, it remains to be seen just how much of those 100 millions devices are actively used instead of serving as just another party trick.
I’ve never met anyone that regularly uses voice search to look up for things except maybe to answer the simplest of questions, like how old is Paul Rudd for example (the answer’s 50. His skincare routine must be insanely expensive) and those are the kind of queries that you can’t exactly optimize for. To be perfectly honest, voice search is still very much in its infancy and until we can figure out a way to better utilize voice search for regular searches, it’s simply not worth our attention yet.
Keywords in URLs
Honest question, have you ever actually paid any attention to the URL of a page you’re visiting? I don’t because nobody really does. At best, we simply skim certain words from the URL. This doesn’t mean that you could just go the YouTube way and uses a random combination of characters for webpages but making sure that the URL for each of the page in your website is probably not worth the extra effort. Just let the URL reflects what’s actually on the page instead of the keyword you want it to rank.
Putting your business on as many directories as possible
Ask yourself this, when you’re trying to book a place to stay for your holidays, how many platforms do you use to look for rooms and/or reviews? I typically use 2 and a maximum of 3. Getting your business mentioned as many times as possible sounds great for the purpose of SEO but know that the effort in keeping them updated might outweigh the benefits you’re getting, especially when we’re dealing with niche, industry-specific directories. Stick to the more popular ones and several industry-specific ones so you won’t have problem keeping all of them updated with the latest details.
Go easy on the keyword tracking
You can probably find hundreds of similar keywords to the one you’re trying to optimize for simply by using the tools provided by Google such as the ‘People also ask’ feature and the related searches. You can optimize and track how you’re doing with all of those keywords as well if you’re feeling masochistic but I doubt that’d be worth all of the extra effort. More doesn’t always equal better and before you start optimizing for those keywords, why not try using them on Google first to see what comes up in the results. It’s possible that the intention behind those words isn’t aligned with what you’re offering and your effort would be better spent on other more appropriate keywords.
Depending on the scope of each business and the variety of their products and/or services, the number of keywords is going to vary from business to business so there’s no magic number I could pull out of a hat that would work for everyone but the intention remains the same. Focusing on keywords that are too similar might be a waste of time and by using related, but not similar, keywords, you could raise your discoverability since you’ll be present in more than just one set of keywords. SEO isn’t just a numbers game and focusing on quality over quantity could help you in getting better results out of your SEO efforts.