Google has certainly given the Web a wild ride since its inception, and more so for digital marketers, because the algorithms have been changing at a steady pace post-2010 because of the explosion of websites, and the growth of businesses online.

While Google is known for being mum about how it continues to rank websites old and new, there are some practices that have proven to be consistently useful for digital marketers. While it may not take just a month to master everything you need to know about search engine optimization, there are some practices you can begin thinking about.

Companies like seoexplode can help you get started on the right path to getting ranked number one on Google – whatever business you may be thinking about brining online.

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Invest time and money on images

1. Investing in images

With the exception of free to use images with attribution requirements, such as those on Unsplash, it really does pay in the long term to begin investing in different kinds of images for your website.

We’re not just talking about generally related images like the ones that are usually used for blogs and articles. We’re talking about moving images (GIFs), infographs, and other types of images that will relay your message more effectively to your audience at the moment of contact.

Some website generate their own images, and this is even better, especially if your niche is specialized, and people simply want to see actual images of objects that you are referring to in your content.

And let’s not forget that more than half of the Web traffic that Google is getting now come from mobile devices like tablet PCs and mobile phones. What this means is that the Internet is now more visually-driven than ever. Does this mean that it’s the end of long-form content? Not at all. Because from what digital marketers have found out in the last five years is that while people are appreciative of video and images, they still want and need reliable long-form content.

Then there’s the question of machine learning and images. We all know that Google has begun investing in its foray to machine learning. Computers are increasingly being utilized to learn the association of images and natural language.

This brings us to an important SEO factor – the image alt text. There is no sign that image alt text is going to be obsolete any time soon, so make sure that you audit the images on your site and make sure that they are allowing people to land on targeted content and relevant pages.

2. Generating authority content

With Google, content reliability and authority is everything now. We’re not kidding when we tell you that Google scrutinizes content so much it’s bordering on an obsession.

And for good reason: many years ago, there was actually a backlash against Google because the content had gotten so bad. What the other content creators were doing was they were posting unpolished content that didn’t really provide the people of the Internet the information they needed.

The Internet thrives on usefulness, and Google found it necessary to develop an ever-changing set of ‘signals’ that ultimately help the search engine create relevant search engine results for particular keywords. While some folks think that the concept is ambiguous, it actually isn’t. When you want to create dynamic, useful and authoritative content, here’s what you have to remember:

– Be sure to post only well-research articles or blogs, and beef them up with relevant images and videos. Anything and everything that adds value to a post is considered a good thing.

– Encourage people to share your content. Shared content on social media with lots of likes and shares is an absolute good. But bear in mind that if you are targeting Google, then focus on what you are actually seeing on Google search results.

– Focus on insight. People should genuinely learn something from the content that you are providing. It doesn’t matter what industry or niche you are from, insight is useful wherever it happens to be from. And people will appreciate high quality and insightful content.

Despite the countless technical changes in how websites should be structured, it appears that the benchmarks of good content remain the same. Ask yourself: is the content good enough to be read by your customers or market? If the answer is yes, then you’re definitely on the right track there.

Does length of the content have anything to do with authoritativeness? Yes. A lot of marketing research has emerged that reveal that Google favors longer content. What this means is that you stand a bigger chance of being ranked higher and more quickly, if your approach to content is comprehensive and exhaustive. This is a boon to websites that regularly produce quality content, and a bane for those who barely post new information ever. 77% of longer content are also referenced by other websites, and over time, these quality backlinks are amazing for search engine optimization.

3. LSI keywords?

Latent semantic indexing keywords or LSI keywords should be considered a secondary but important factor in SEO. But here’s the thing: some people build their content around LSI keywords instead of using them to enhance the content. What do we mean by enhancing content? Simple: with LSI keywords, you are aiding Google’s RankBrain, or the system of systems that is in charge of ranking websites. You don’t need to stuff your content with LSI keywords or any kind of keyword for that matter. Before, that worked. Now, if you tried to stuff content with keywords, Google is going to penalize you so fast you’d be surprised at how quickly your website can get sniped from top ten results.

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LSI keywords are important

4. Exact match domain names?

Before, it was really easy to land on top spot by simply matching the domain of the website with the target keyword. But what happens when thousands or a hundred thousand other websites try to do it? There will be chaos. So nowadays, Google no longer takes exact domain matches as a primary signal for top search results. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t contribute. Only that it has been ‘demoted’ so to speak. It is no longer part of the top factors that give top-ranked websites their great rankings on search results.

What Google now encourages webmasters to do is to create domain names that are based on user intent. User intent is a vast universe for search engine optimization, and the more you know about how your users are actually using your website, the better. An example of this would be “advertisingsigns.com” or “LAbikerepair.net.” See how the user intent plays out in the domain name? But this is just one signal – you still need to convince Google that what your website is about aligns with the domain name that you’ve chosen for it.

Take note that this will not work for every domain – but it might for others. Keyword matching can be incredibly iffy if you take the domain name into consideration, so don’t bank on it too much – but keep the domain name relevant, but don’t make it so mechanically exact that you sacrifice your actual branding.

5. HTTPS

Getting an SSL certificate for your website is important not because of Google’s ranking, but because the search engine displays whether or not a website is secure. And when people see that, chances are they are going to give your website’s link wide berth.

What’s more painful than not landing on the top ten results for a specific search? Being avoided by people when they do see it. That’s wasted traffic, and wasted opportunities for business. Make your website as secure as you can, and this isn’t about Google anymore – you owe it to your visitors, especially if your website is collecting personal information.