Whalen recommends using a variety of words in your content instead and keeping in mind her new SEO mantra: When it comes to keyword optimization, less is more.
7. Use Structured Data Where Relevant
Google and other search engines increasingly rely more on schema, also known as structured data and/or HTML tags, to improve the display of search results. "Google is becoming a Web of different data entities, and structured data helps the search engine interpret your content more easily," Shepard says. "It's important to adopt structured data, as it will be an even bigger search engine ranking factor in the future."
As Google's Webmaster Central Blog puts it: "If Google understands your website's content in a structured way, we can present that content more accurately and more attractively to Google users. For example, our algorithms can enhance your search results with "rich snippets" when we understand that your page is a structured product listing, event, recipe, review or similar. We can also feature your data in Knowledge Graph panels or in Google Now cards, helping to spread the word about your content."
Shepard suggests Schema.org as a good place to get started with, and learn how to use, structured data.
8. Future of SEO Means Change Is 'New Normal'
Google is by no means done making big algorithm changes. In fact, many SEO experts see them as the "new normal." To stay ahead of the curve, DeMers says online marketers should be paying attention to mobile SEO, social signals and "brand signals."
"Mobile search and optimization is growing more important as more people use smartphones and tablets," DeMers explains. "When these folks access websites, they have different needs and circumstances, and so they exhibit different behavior than users who access Web sites from a traditional desktop and monitor. These needs must be anticipated and met with mobile-optimized versions of websites."
Meanwhile, social signals are rising as a ranking factor," DeMers says. Brands that don't participate and engage in social media networks "will soon be at a distinct disadvantage in the search engine rankings."
Finally, "brand signals" unify DeMers' aforementioned three pillars of SEO: Content, links, and social media. "Good brands that deliver great user experiences typically have strong signals in all three areas, and search engines are looking for a strong presence in each of these areas," he says. "To show strong brand signals, it's important to develop an online marketing strategy that incorporates all three pillars."
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