Online Marketing: Targeting Goals
Any good SEO campaign will look for solutions covering both short and long-term goals. Leave out either of the two and you’ll end up either waiting too long for results to show, or ranking well for the moment but ending up irrelevant in the future.
To cover both bases, the only thing you can really do is learn more about the current ranking algorithm as well as emerging search trends. You need to have a real understanding of available correlation data about the search engine factors as well as the prevalent perception in the SEO community about current factors as well as future ones.
The good news for you is that if you are not that well versed with either, a study on the 2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors breaks down both correlation data and an SEO professionals survey results for us, giving us a peek as to what our short-term and long-term goals as SEOs should be.
Short-Term Strategy: Link Building and Keyword Optimization
When it comes to short-term SEO goals, link building and keyword optimization are still the top two factors you need to focus on, with both correlation data and survey results showing these two as the most significant parts of the ranking algorithm. Take note that both domain level and page level links continue to be important. The diversity of your link sources for both also remains critical, especially if you want to build your Page Authority, which is invaluable to your SEO effort, both for the short-term and long-term.
When it comes to keyword optimization, over-optimized content (including over-optimized anchor texts) is definitely something to avoid. Instead, organic keyword distribution in title, body text, headers and anchor text is key if you want keywords to work for you and not against you.
Long-Term Strategy: Social Signals
Social signals have become a buzzword that leaves SEO torn, with most SEOs agreeing that they still not carry much weight in overall search ranking algorithms. However, correlation data disagrees with social signals showing high correlation, particularly for Google+, which has an even higher correlation data than mega-social sites Facebook and Twitter. This is not surprising with Google pushing its Google+ agenda.
Whatever your take on the importance of social signals in current ranking algorithms may be, it is clear that online trends point to greater reliance in social networks. This makes social signals indispensable not only for those engaging in social marketing, but in SEO as well.
Ideally, you should integrate the SEO and social marketing efforts, but if this is handled by two different teams, at least make sure that you communicate the need for organic-sounding keywords in link shared on social sites and which URL versions you prefer linked to. Doing so ensures that the important factors in ranking algorithms NOW (e.g. keywords and links) are covered, without neglecting the future impact that an all-out social presence will bring.
When it come to a site’s perceived value and authorship, it is increasingly important that you do everything you can to increase your reputation in these two aspects. Though your site may do well enough for on-page signals and other ranking factors, the Google’s search quality raters will not be fooled once they see bogus authors and regurgitated and empty content on your site. Your site may escape notice for some time, but who knows when your site will be next? So make sure you don’t eventually get hit on account of this by doing something about it now.