One of the things about SEO is that you are constantly at the mercy of Google and Bing algorithm and SERP changes as they do it often according to their business model and algorithm changes.
As an SEO consultant, I find it necessary to keep up to date with modern SEO practices and techniques and below are some of the modern SEO practices and techniques that I have found useful.
If you look at Google’s search results (and even Bing’s) you will see they are showing the local businesses on top of their search results.
For example if you type in Los Angeles Bail Bonds, you will notice that all bail bonds locations in Los Angeles are shown first, then the other websites that are ranked organically below them. That shows the importance of local SEO. I wrote a post earlier on how you can rank for local SEO by making a lot of noise and getting a lot of good citations for your business using both online and offline marketing.
Content for Users First, then Search Engines
When creating content, make sure it is for the users first. Search engines are now looking for user signals such as bounce rate etc. in order to evaluate content. In other words, how users react to your content determines how good your content is therefore search engines rank it accordingly.
For example if you have a Pizza shop and someone types in Pizza, lands on your website but spends very little time on your website and then clicks on the back button to leave your website, that could be a negative point for your website for key term pizza.
In addition in writing quality content, Google is sending more organic traffic to sites with fresh quality content. This is where a lot of small businesses miss out because they have static pages with minimal content about their business and their products and services.
A good solution is to have a blog for your website.
Blogs are good for multiple reasons. You can write quality content on them about your products, services, company news, and even allow guests posts, helping you become popular in your market.
HTML5 and Microformats
Search engines rely on crawlers and robots to understand the content of your website. And while they are getting really good at it, you can help them understand the content of your website better by implementing microformats.
Google and Bing have worked together to develop Schema.org which is a website that contains a set of microformat standards that help search engines understand your content better.
Google Webmaster Tools (And Analytic)
Pay close attention to all the messages and data you get on Google Webmaster Tools. Google is attempting to communicate to you how they view your website, how many errors they see, what keywords they find relevant to your website, how many links coming to your website etc. Familiar yourself with Google webmaster tools and how you can use it effectively.
In addition to Google Webmaster tools, you should also be looking at your Google Analytics data (or any other analytic software you use). The difference between Google webmaster tools and Google analytics is that Google webmaster tools is how Google sees your website and Google Analytic shows you public data about your website.
Both are essential to your SEO success.
Be creative and do something unique. The more creative and unique you are, the more chance people will talk about you and link to you, hence you improve your ranking. A Google example is San Diego Storage directory. After creating a self storage directory, they decided to add all self storage in San Diego for free, giving them premium listing long enough for them to get noticed. That helped them get a lot attention from the webmasters of these websites and quite a few of them ended up linking back to the site hence it helped them with SEO.