There are few aspects of inbound marketing that have caused as much handwringing among digital marketers as SEO. Let’s take a look at some of the changes that have thrown SEO professionals for a loop in the past year:
– Google has started encrypting ALL specific keywords.
– Google revealed the Hummingbird update to their search algorithm which increased the importance of ultra-specific content, and further devalued keywords.
– Google announced that inbound links are yet again being downgraded in importance.
At the heart of the matter is the fact that Google true to form doesn’t explain exactly all the elements and considerations that factor into a strong SEO ranking to minimize abuse.
But here’s a little known fact that can help boost your SEO: Good design leads to good SEO. If your website suffers from poor content presentation and design resulting in a high bounce rate, your SEO will also suffer. At a practical level, this means that Google does not like to see users clicking a search result and then immediately ‘bouncing’ back to Google to search for the exact same thing. If Google sees this pattern occurring frequently, it may likely send a signal to Google that your website is *not* a good match for the keyword(s).
Elegant design is great just don’t hide your content
Yes, by all means give your website a beautiful design but also make sure users can find your content through a coherent navigation approach, site structure or page layout. Popular design elements like long scroll and full bleed imagery make for beautiful digital experiences but can obscure or demote certain kinds of content your visitors (and Google) care about.
Useful content encourages visitors to stay longer and not ‘bounce’ as often
Make sure your website offers interesting and useful content. If you do this, people will be likely to stay on your website longer and less likely to “bounce” back to Google to search for the same keyword again.
Even though Google is doing its best to keep SEO professionals on their toes, if you stick to the approach of presenting your visitors with a well-designed website that provides access to quality topical content, your SEO will remain competitive now and into the future.