Boston native, out of the cold, Kevin O’Dea from HubSpot shared SEO tactics with a packed room of marketers on September 17th. As the keynote speaker for the Tampa Bay AMA, he outlined how Google Search is evolving now with our increasing mobile usage and the importance of the scroll. It’s all about mirroring how Google organizes information and the importance of linking, but it’s still best not to neglect some of the SEO basics.
Google has a tough job.
Through the advancement of Google’s algorithm with natural language processing, we speak to Google like a person and receive our answer as O’Dea’s 3-year-old daughter illustrated. Google’s daunting job is to interpret the intent behind 3.5 billion daily searches and identify the best result from an increasingly vast and complex internet. Our society has little to no patience, so Google must deliver fast and accurate answers as part of an enjoyable user experience. As marketers, we want our website to be among the top three search results every day to effectively reach our target audience.
See it as a library.
O’Dea shared, “while Google should be admired for its place among the elite in Tech, let’s not overlook the fact that at its core, Google is an enormous library. Think of websites as books: when a new one is discovered, it needs to be categorized and indexed to determine its place on the shelf.” Google must decide which websites are authoritative enough to achieve the top ranking among search results. This authority is measured largely by links to the site from other authoritative sources.
Link building needs to be a priority. Consider the library analogy again: good credible citations, or backlinks from respected sources, are what Google uses to measure a website’s authority. It’s a good practice to link to another business with similar content relevant to your website’s audience. If you have a poor ranking, it’s fair to assume you should evaluate your links. Two things to consider in this scenario are if the links elevate the brand and if they are providing value to the audience.
Write and organize content in Google friendly language and formats
Many people search using the words “how to.” Blogging or writing website content in a “how to” format is an easy way to capture an audience. O’Dea encourages marketers to “talk in a way that people are searching.” He recommends looking at Google’s alternate search terms and incorporating those keywords into content to maximize search results.
Google organizes content by broad topics and then subtopics. O’Dea used the example of the Renaissance as the core topic and then drilled down into subtopics such as artists and geography. Content is organized in topic clusters by Google. With this model in mind, identify what are the broad topics and the subtopics you want to communicate as a marketer?
Next, he recommended building Pillar pages, which utilize the clustering format that Google has adopted. To visualize what this looks like, visit Wikipedia. Notice how you are able to scroll down the page of a core topic and click links to learn more about subtopics. O’Dea recommends, “Build a website the way Google wants content organized.”
Build on the SEO Basics
The basics of SEO are still essential to achieving strong Google Search results. By combining these newfound tips with fundamental SEO knowledge, you will be able to better ascend the search rankings. Check out HubSpot’s blog for more information on SEO and make sure to add these pointers to your SEO checklist: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/seo#google
- Write how people search
- Speak in natural language
- Organize content in clusters
- Think in terms of a mobile scroll format
- Link to and from websites that elevate your brand
We would like to thank Kevin O’Dea for coming to Tampa; our marketing community is more informed as a result of his SEO knowledge. Below are a few quotes O’Dea closed his presentation with to serve as a daily reminder for Tampa Bay marketers aspiring to be in the top three results of any Google Search.
“Without a solid base of links, your site won’t be competitive in the SERPs – even if you do everything else right.” Rand Fishkin, MOZ.
“Pillar pages are beneficial to your website because an organized website ranks better in Google and helps visitors navigate your content,” Neil Patel.
About the Blogger:
Kathleen Rogers is a content writer at USF Health. She started her career at the famous award-winning creative shop, Cliff Freeman & Partners, a subsidiary of the global agency Saatchi & Saatchi in NYC and went on to be a media director for 10 years, a recent USF grad and a proud mom of three beautiful girls.