Search engine optimization (SEO) has changed a lot in the last several years. Like the Internet itself, SEO has become more sophisticated and complex. With search-engine software becoming more adept at understanding keywords from context, marketers no longer have to win the race by splashing keywords everywhere. Instead, that type of SEO is frowned upon. Google is focusing primarily on what searchers want. The new buzzword is “user intent.” If you are thinking about your prospects and customers when you market your content, then you are already sailing in the right direction. What other SEO tips will help right now?

Focus on Your Audience

Focusing on your audience in every way possible will help you beat your competition, and even better, build your audience. Fine-tune your content strategy to please your customers, answer questions that prospects have and connect your customer service directly with queries. People are doing a lot of searching on the Internet before they call or come into your shop. If you start your interactions online, then you are sailing in smooth waters.

Don’t Forget about Mobile

Customers are searching on mobile, smartphones and tablets, more than you might think. In 2014, 60% of total digital-media time spent was on mobile devices. This statistic means that your company can no longer ignore mobile SEO. Your site needs to be mobile friendly, preferably mobile responsive. You need to improve your on-page SEO to match how your mobile users see the pages on their mobile devices. This segment of the market is critical to future conversions. Google has been adding mobile into their algorithms for the last couple of years. You should too.

Links are Still Important

Although you may have heard rumors that links are passé, that rumor is patently false. Useful, relevant links from your site to additional information will build your reputation. Links coming into your site from relevant, reputable sources show Google that your content is high quality. If you have broken links on your site, then fix them. If you have links to irrelevant pages, get rid of them. However, continue to build a link network within your site and to relevant material that supports or adds value to your content. If the link will help your customer, then add it.

Track and Analyze

Good reporting software can help you understand what is working and what is not. Starting with Google Analytics, study the queries that you receive, keywords that people search when they land on your site and which areas of your site need added content. Hone your SEO strategy to find the best possible terms to rank for on Google and other search engines. If you focus on ROI instead of just ranking and keywords, you will be able to analyze your successful SEO tactics. Use your metrics to determine which keywords are driving conversions.

Coordinate SEO Efforts

Partner your SEO efforts with PPC to maximize your reach. These two channels can impact one another and complement each other. Use what you learn from both channels to improve your ROI. Have your teams compare metrics to learn which tactics can be successful across the board, and reduce the chance of duplicating efforts.

Social and SEO

While social is not always part of SEO, SEO should be considered when using social media channels. If you are marketing through Pinterest, for example, don’t forget that Pinterest pins and boards are searchable on Google. Include your keywords in pin descriptions and titles. Use SEO as a tool to engage your prospects and customers, and you will increase traffic to your site.

You don’t need to be an SEO expert to improve your strategy. Moz is an excellent resource to learn more about SEO. The Hatchbuck Resource Digest will also send SEO and marketing tips for small business straight to your inbox.