When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), one of the most challenging factors you should consider is its fluidity. SEO is an ever-changing, constantly growing tool. In fact, search engines, particularly Google, update their algorithm around 600 times every year. So, that’s one to two updates per day.
Therefore, the SEO technique you used today may not be viable the next day due to rapid and consistent changes and updates. This is also why even SEO experts who live their whole lives formulating the right strategies still end up perplexed eventually.
It’s impossible to pay attention to all the changes, so trying to keep up will only make you waste your time. Instead, look for and stay on top of trends frequently, especially when it comes to SEO tactics that will and won’t work in 2024. Keeping yourself informed on trends will help you be one step ahead of your competitors. If you’re not sure of where to start, consider consulting local SEO and web marketing firms.
However, asking for professional help may not be enough. It will be best to identify and understand the strategies that may and may not work today. Continue reading to learn about these strategies.
SEO Strategies and Techniques That Work Today
As mentioned earlier, the algorithm of most search engines posts updates every day. Even if a functional strategy you performed yesterday may not be feasible today, it will be practical to know what techniques will work in 2024:
- Use Long Tail Keywords
Unlike regular keywords, long tail keywords are more specific in detail. Despite having low search volumes, they can be very helpful when it comes to optimizing your SEO ranking.
On top of that, long tail keywords present the user’s intent when making searches and not just the results they’re looking for. Now, they’re mostly responsible for higher search volumes compared with regular and generic keywords. In fact, 91.8% of all searches come from long tail keywords, according to a study—a huge change that has never been seen before.
A good example of using longtail keyword is ‘tips to boost SEO ranking.’ As you can see, they’re more detailed and can narrow all keywords and results related to what users would want to see, contradictory to generic keywords, such as ‘SEO ranking.’
In addition, search engines treat long tail keywords as a question that demands a straightforward answer. Therefore, they’ll present results related to what is being asked or searched for.
- Apply Keywords To Alt Text
Alt text or alternative text is a group of words used to describe an image. It’s an essential factor to consider that may help you rank on search engines. In fact, more than 20% of all searches are related to images.
Here are the three main functions of alt text:
- SEO – Alt text helps search engine crawlers index images correctly.
- Idea – Alt text offers a substitute idea or context to users when an image is unable to load properly.
- Accessibility – Alt text helps visually impaired users understand what the image is all about by translating it into sound with a screen reader. Sadly, a study revealed that more than 50% of all e-commerce sites are not accessible to all kinds of visitors.
On the other hand, you might want to apply these tips when incorporating keywords into alt text:
- Contemplate your images and create a description of them.
- Keep it simple and make sure it sounds natural.
- Incorporate primary and secondary keywords in your alt text.
It’s worth noting how search engines are becoming accessible over time. As a result, accessible websites will be prioritized over non-accessible platforms. After all, accessible sites mean high traffic potential.
- Incorporate Keywords Into Headers
Incorporating keywords into your content headers alerts search engines and users that you have the information that will satisfy their intent. Think of it as a table of contents that provides ideas to readers of what some pages would contain.
While many experts believe in the importance of headers, it doesn’t mean that you have to force keywords that don’t make any sense. Instead, you may consider what search engines recommend to organize keywords correctly.
Here are some tips that may help you:
- Include the target keyword in your header.
- Look for other variations of the keyword you use.
- Use both different variations and the target keyword as much as possible (around 40% of the header).
Following the tips above may help you avoid keyword stuffing, an outdated SEO technique that may risk your website’s ranking.
- Optimize User Experience
Aside from focusing on content and its keywords, it’s important to consider how your audience will navigate through your site when they enter your platform.
Search engines value the importance of user experience (UX) when assessing your website’s ranking, especially when it comes to user dwelling time. When someone keeps leaving your page seconds from when they arrive, search engines may see that your content isn’t relevant to users’ intent.
Another factor that may affect dwelling time is your website loading speed. If your platform takes more than five seconds to load, visitors would probably leave your site for other sites with better performance.
Here are some tips that may help you improve your UX and website loading speed:
- Ensure that content, images, and keywords are relevant to users’ intent.
- Don’t forget the essential information and place it at the top of your content.
- Compress your images and stick with JPEG and PNG formats.
- Ensure that content is properly linked to each other to make it navigable.
- Eliminate duplicate content and avoid using eye-straining fonts and color blending.
UX is an important factor to search engines, so it’s important to optimize it as much as possible. You may consider using Google’s Core Web Vital to assess your site’s performance and identify areas you should improve.
- Use Multimedia Elements
Multimedia elements are things that don’t directly benefit and affect your search engine rankings. Their main purpose is to provide engaging content to increase dwelling time, decrease bounce rates, and optimize UX. Aside from images, you may use videos, audiobooks, ebooks, audio files, animations, and GIFs.
Among these forms of media, videos ranked the #1 media type you need to use in your content strategies, overpowering blog content. In fact, around 86% of companies that focus on video content marketing experience a significant jump in sales. Additionally, most people prefer watching video content, which drives their interest to purchase goods or services.
Besides videos, audio content seems to be rising, with a huge number of visitors spending most of their time listening. This is a turning point for many businesses planning to invest in publishing audio content and incorporate it into their content strategy.
Here are some tips that will help you include more multimedia elements:
- Start your own YouTube channel to build a new community of followers and spread your brand across multiple social media platforms.
- Embed relevant YouTube content to your blogs. Make sure it’s related to your topic being discussed.
- Incorporate audio files related to your content, such as podcasts.
- Get creative when presenting numerical statistics by using colorful graphics and other visualization methods.
Just another tip you might find helpful: You can start including multimedia elements by incorporating video and audio content that summarizes the topic being discussed in your blogs.
- Incorporate Internal Links
As discussed earlier, dwelling time or the length of time one spends on your website is important to search engines, especially when they rank your platform. If you’re looking for another way to improve your dwelling time, you may incorporate internal links.
These are links that redirect visitors to other pages within your website. They will help you boost your dwelling time, and when they do, search engines will find your content high-quality and directly responsive to users’ intent.
Apart from this, SEO experts believe that every content should contain at least two to five internal links. However, the number of internal links may not be enough to prolong the time spent on your website. So, make sure to write in-depth content and use only relevant links.
Here are some tips when using internal links:
- Select the pages relevant to what is being discussed, preferably content with additional information related to the topic.
- Make sure anchor texts sound natural and encouraging.
- Use descriptive anchor texts and avoid generic types, such as ‘click over here now’ and ‘see page here.’
Furthermore, using internal links will help propel users further onto your website. It will increase your chances of building strong connections and positive interactions, such as comments and shares, which may benefit your SEO rankings.
SEO Strategies and Techniques That Don’t Work Today
Because some strategies you performed and carefully executed may not be beneficial today, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with outdated SEO techniques that won’t get to see the sun rise in 2024:
- Keyword Stuffing
A decade ago, keyword stuffing was once an important tactic that drives SEO ranking. But now, it’s one of the strategies you should consider avoiding. It’s simply the process of using the same set of keywords repeatedly, especially in the same paragraph.
Here’s an example of keyword stuffing:
“In Pizza Master, we sell different Pizza Master pizzas, such as Pizza Master Seafood combo, Pizza Master Super Manhattan, Pizza Master Chessy Overload, Pizza Master Supreme. If you’re interested in our Pizza Master pizzas, please visit pizzamaster.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Surprisingly, this method was deemed effective back then, probably because of a much simpler search algorithm. But now, people know better, and search engines are smarter than before. Instead of using this strategy, try to come up with topic-related and longtail keywords to boost the traffic and relevance of your website.
- Comment Spamming
Comment spamming is probably the most irritating SEO strategy ever invented. It’s the process of leaving the same comments unrelated to what is being talked about.
Imagine yourself wanting to engage in a fruitful and educational discussion with other blog readers. However, while going through some comments, you see some replies that are total nonsense and irrelevant to the dialogue.
Would you have any urge to continue the conversation? You’d probably not, after seeing such comments below, right?
Leaving comments is one of the most effective ways to establish good connections and foster relationships with the content owner and its readers. However, leaving comments that spam and ruin the conversation may put you in a bad light.
That’s why many blogs manually approve comments to prevent spam and keep the conversation free from dirt. You may also do this on your website to avoid spammy comments.
- Inserting Unnatural Links
Unnatural links are links placed in different ways that often look like a joke. Back then, website owners added links on a white background and kept them hidden. Well, no one would see them, but search engines could. When people click them, they wouldn’t know what just happened.
Obviously, search engines dislike hidden links. You’ll be penalized with low SEO rankings if they find your website filled with these. But that’s just one part of unnatural links. The other is called widget links, links attached to widget software and its backlinks.
Rather than relying on unnatural links, focus on creating internal and external linking strategies with natural anchor texts. Search engines love naturally incorporated links, so using these links will get you rewarded with great SEO rankings.
- Producing Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is two similar contents sharing the same keywords, topic, and set of words. Unfortunately, such cases happen to most blog owners without them realizing it. It may not look like a problem you have to address immediately, but it sure is.
If you have two or more similar content, it will be difficult for search engines to identify which of them should receive a high SEO ranking. Guess what will happen? Search engines will distribute the credits among these similar pages, resulting in low search rankings.
Here are some tips to avoid having duplicate content without the need to spot it:
- Avoid having content teasers, trailers, or snippets that may copy a part of a content word by word.
- Use 301 redirect to inform users and search engines that the content they’re looking for has been moved to another URL or deleted permanently.
- Use canonical tags, which also work similarly to 301 redirects. However, they don’t affect the traffic flow on your website. So, you can say that they’re better than the latter.
Since search engines are becoming smarter and smarter day by day, you have to be more conscious of the content you’re putting on your website.
SEO keeps on changing constantly every day, leaving everyone, even experts, scratching their heads. As a result of frequent changes, strategies that work today may not be effective in the next couple of days.
However, you can rely on certain SEO strategies that will work in 2024, such as using long tail keywords, incorporating keywords to alt text and headers, and optimizing UX. When implementing them, follow the tips presented above to avoid getting penalized by search engines. One more thing you should remember is to steer clear of outdated SEO tactics that may harm your website, like keyword stuffing and spamming comments.
At the end of the day, useful strategies will eventually be deemed inefficient, maybe after a couple of months or a year. So, to stay on top of your game and ahead of your competition, it’s essential to study new trends in SEO.