Does it feel like the rate at which SEO techniques are changing has become a constant incline?If so, you’re not alone! Google’s getting smarter and more powerful all the time. Not only at analyzing and understanding web pages, but also at how effective it is at keeping people within its framework.
The better Google is at answering queries within the SERPs, or directing users to ads instead of organic listings, the more money it makes. Unfortunately, this makes things much harder for those of us who rely on Google’s organic search traffic as a lifeline. The SERPs are changing (and for most of us, not for the better!).
If you provide products or services that are highly competitive, especially within google adverts, a query search in google is like to fill your screen with ads or paid listings. Money talks right!
Placing your website as high as possible with in google for the relevant searches has never been more ciritical. It is a growing trend that a key phrase such as "Car mot test near me" is ranking number #1 in google and local packs and has made hundereds of impressions (appeared in search), but has very few clicks.
The likely hood is that visitors to google are shown a screen full of ads and have clicked on one or more of those without scrolling down at all.So what do Seo practioners do? We work harder. Create better pages and faster websites. And focus more than ever on outdoing our competitors. We focus not only on the top query terms but the lesser performing terms.
Test Your Website's Performance in SearchIf you dont have rank tracking software, head over over to Keyword Rank Checker, a tool that you can use to determine your page ranking based on keyword search:It goes without saying that your goal is to get your website to the top of this list. Higher ranking equals more organic traffic and should boost the overall ROI of your SEO strategy.With results in hand you are now on your way to improve your ranking.
As you can see above, by tracking your ranking, in the case above for Web Designing Plus, you can see when your website slips down the ranking for the delegated keywords. Competitor activity and along with other factors, maybe the cause of the slip from the number 1 spot. Eitherway, it is a slip and needs addressing. Tracking your ranking is the only way to keep up with the jones (as they say).
Just like any search engine, google's objective is to find the best results for each user's query. If they fail on this point, users are less likely to use the search engine again. However, Google does do this very well.You’ll need to think about that constant desire to show the best results when you’re optimizing your site for SEO. Why? Poor-quality sites are less likely to rank very well at all. And Google’s getting better at determining site quality.
If your website looks untrustworthy, outdated, amateurish or is slow to load, potential users are likely to head back to the SERPs and click on another result. You’ve lost a user and a potential conversion, and your bounce rate of affected pages will increase.bounce rate seoGoogle’s reasoning is that if a user spends more time on a site, it’s probably because they found it useful. And since Google only wants to deliver the best possible results to its users, it will push sites with strong engagement up in the search engine results pages.
A “bounce” occurs when a user lands on a page and then leaves without any other interaction. The time spent on the page is irrelevant — all that matters is that a user has performed a single interaction on your site by visiting that page, and that page only.So how can you improve the user experience that visitors are having with your website?Here are 5 SEO improvement techniques you can use to enhance user experience and give your existing content a boost in search engines:
A) Make Your content Easy to ReadEver heard the phrase “formatting content for the web”? To stand any chance at increasing your organic rankings, we need to take that a step further and optimize content for readability.
So how do you optimize your posts for readability?
The following formatting tips can help increase the readability of your content:Shorter paragraphs: Generally speaking, limit each paragraph to 3-4 sentences. You can even use one-sentence paragraphs if necessary, but use them sparingly or your post will look like a shopping list.Sub-headers:
Did you know that the average person spends just 35 seconds reading a piece of online content?
You can boost that time significantly by including subheadings that help readers scan content and quickly get a better understanding of what the article is about. But make sure your headers are actually informative.Bullet points: When you have a lot of data — stats, facts, ideas, examples — packed into one paragraph, it makes it easier to read when you list them with bullet points.
White space: Too much text can overwhelm visitors (and will likely increase your bounce rate). Prevent this by breaking up large chunks of text with relevant, supporting media, including photos, videos and graphs. In addition, bullet points also break up large chunks of text.Users seldom reach the bottom of the page on a website as they tend to scan for that section or piece of information that they are looking for.Improve User Experience (UX) on Web Pages
Website navigation is more difficult to pinpoint as it varies from site to site. However, the main point of UX is ensuring that the user can easily navigate through structured content with ease. More often than not, high bounce rates result from poor usability and an poor user experience (UX).Here are a few ways you can you boost page speed for better rankings and more conversions:
Enable compression Compress images to cut down page size by 30-40%
With 25% of U.S. adults now owning a smart speaker. It’s fair to say that voice search is definitely something you should be factoring into your SEO strategy.72% of people who own voice-activated speakers say that their devices are used daily.65% of people who own an Amazon Echo or Google Home can’t imagine to going back to the days before they had a smart speaker2 in 5 adults use voice search once daily25% of individuals ages 16-24 use voice search on mobileVoice commerce sales reached $1.8 billion last year (and predicted to reach $40 billion by 2022)
Use Structured DataRemember how we said around 40% of voice search results come from featured snippets? Using structured data can help boost the chances of your information being used to answer a voice query over a competitor’s.
There are several types of structured data (also known as Schema markup) that SEOers can use. Both help Google better understand the subject and themes of a page. This, in turn, can help improve rankings.
Google is evolving, and so is its algorithm. Its objective now is to understand the intention of its users — what they expect, what they’re looking for and, more specifically, what search results would best help answer their query.
The type of content you’ll create will depend entirely on your audience. The better you know them — their location, age, interests, etc. — the better the content you’ll create (and the better your SEO).
If you don’t understand your target audience, you could risk creating content for all these topics. That won't win you rankings or readers because you can’t please everyone with a single piece of content optimized for such a broad term. It turns your site into a better resource for those pillar topics. This is important to Google, since its goal is to send users to the best possible page for their search term. When Google views your site as a great resource for a particular topic, odds are that you’ll be rewarded with better rankings.Each of those cluster pages has the potential to rank themselves, and drive additional traffic to your site.C) Do Your Keyword Research
Wondering why listing keyword research as a SEO technique?
Because keywords still matter.
Organizing content is key, but ignoring keywords entirely is a mistake. Keywords act as signposts to Google’s spiders, signaling topics and providing hints as to the nature of the content on the website.
By doing keyword research you will identify volumes and trends in keywords and phrases. How you go about obtaining your keyword data is your choice.
Ahrefs offers a wide range of products, including backlink checkers, content explorers and position trackers.
Their expansive, adaptable Keywords Explorer, which allows marketers to search nearly 7 billion keywords in over 170 countries, assessing metrics like keyword difficulty, click-through rates, related keyword lists, and search volume:
Videos, predominantly from YouTube, are a common feature in the SERPs.
The most popular video site on the Internet, with 2 billion monthly active users watching 1 billion hours of video every dayThe second most popular social media platformThe second largest search engineThe second most popular website in general:Top sites on webMany SEOers forget about YouTube when they think of search engines. Granted, video marketing isn’t for everyone, or necessarily for every industry, but with most of us now having powerful video cameras on hand, there’s never been a better time to play around with video marketing.
Here are a few tips to make your video SEO friendly:
Video Title – Crafting a compelling video title is a balancing act — you have to make the title SEO friendly and clickable to improve your click-through rate. Ideally, you should follow the same convention in your video titles as you would in your blog posts. To get clicks and shares, include keywords as well as power words. Here’s a great example of a killer title:YT main titleAnother tactic is to use your keywords at the start of the title, then add a sub-header after a colon to drive clicks,
At the very least, your title should have 5+ words and include a broad target keyword. This will not only help you rank in Google’s SERPs but also get you more clicks on YouTube.
Video Description – Because YouTube’s spiders can’t “read” videos, they will rely on your written description to determine its content. However, don’t just throw in some target keywords. Think of your description as a short blog post that describes your video content in detail.
Create Custom ThumbnailsMost search engines use click-through rate as a ranking factor. If people are clicking your result when searching for a specific term, you must be offering something of value, right? Well, optimizing your video with an enticing thumbnail can help.
A great thumbnail should tell viewers exactly what the video is about. Don’t use one of YouTube’s screenshots of your video — instead, create a custom thumbnail that features a compelling image along with a title card.
Create Video PlaylistsBreaking down a subject or story into a series of videos, known as a playlist, that follow one after another encourages users to stay on your channel longer and interact with more of its content:
YT playlistsNot only will creating playlists entice users to return to your channel and watch your next upload, but YouTube’s algorithm will pick up on this increased interaction and reward you by recommending your videos more often and positioning them higher in the site’s search results.
Even in 2021, links are still a very important part of search engine optimization.
Links are important to google. Keep in mind, though, that quality matters. Spammy links can hurt your site.
As sites grow and land links from bigger sites, they typically pick up links from smaller sites along the way. This diversifies your link profile and ensures that it looks natural to search engines (which is because it will be natural).
However, there are a couple of things to bear in mind that will make sure your link portfolio follows the sort of pattern Google expects to see. When promoting content, don’t only target the “big hitters.” Smaller sites can offer value too. They’re often more responsive and niche-specific, as well.If you’re going to disavow links, err on the side of caution.
Ensure that Your Entire Site Loads on HTTPS
HTTPS has been a ranking factor since 2014. Sites that aren’t secure, or even sites with mixed security (i.e., some loads on HTTP and some on HTTPS — the “S” stands for secure), can struggle to rank. Today, a secure website essential.
Google has started to warn users when they’re visiting non-HTTPS websites, and if you’re yet to make the switch to secure, encrypted connections, you might be turning away a huge chunk of people willing to visit your site.
Enable AMP for Mobile
AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, began as a Google-backed open initiative that allowed publishers to easily create responsive, mobile-optimized content.
Invest in Crawling Software
These SEO crawler programs are similar to Google’s own crawlers, and will give you insights into the technical health of your site:
Deep Crawl is a web-based crawler that checks sites for SEO health and viability. Deep Crawl will provide you with a laundry list of necessary improvements and errors, such as: duplicate content, broken pages, flawed titles, descriptions and metadata.Botify: A cloud-based crawler that boasts big-name users like Expedia and eBay, Botify is one of the strongest crawlers available today, short of Google’s own secret algorithms. Not only can Botify check whether Google has crawled your page, but it can also offer suggestions on how to restructure web content and site maps to optimize your web page for Google’s crawlers.
Unfortunately, Botify has become increasingly expensive and is now only realistically affordable to enterprise companies.
For affordable (and still effective) crawling software, you might want to look at one (or both) of the below options:
Probably the best-known crawler on the market, Screaming Frog may look intimidating at first, but once you know your way around it you’ll appreciate it for its speed, power and efficiency.
Semantic markups help Google understand your site — but only if they’re correct.
Semantic markups are essentially HTML tags which help emphasize key information on your site. They tell Google’s spiders what a page is about without needing to digest every word on the page.
Just take heading tags, for instance. Text wrapped in an <h1> tag is the page’s main title and should give a brief explanation of the entire shared content on that page. Text wrapped in a <h2> tag are subheadings, and so on.
Fix “Page Not Found”
Following a link that leads to a 404 page with the text “Error: Not Found” is essentially a dead end. And nobody likes being stuck in a dead end — neither search engine spiders, nor your audience. So it’s in your interest to fix these broken or missing pages and re-engage your users as soon as you can.
Redirecting broken pages to new URLs will boost user experience, while also regaining any link equity (or link juice) those pages were passing. You can also use the crawling tools mentioned above to identify 404 pages, or look in Search Console.
Almost half (46%) of all searches on Google are from people looking for local information. That could include:
So, if you have a brick-and-mortar business, you can’t neglect local SEO and listings.
Here are three huge SEO techniques to capture potential customers who live locally. After all, 72% of people who perform a Google search for local businesses online end up visiting stores within a five mile radius!
Double-Check Your Directory ListingsAs powerful as search engines like Google or Bing may be, they still can’t be everywhere at once and sometimes have to rely on additional information from local data sources.
These sources can include directory listings, which gather, aggregate and submit relevant data for area businesses — information from physical directories (like Yellow Pages) or scanning business registrations.
In a nutshell: Bigger search engines (like Google) will rely on these data aggregators to fill in information gaps in their own databases, and will also cross-check information to make sure facts are up-to-date.
Because Google is the largest search engine, always start with Google My Business — a free-to-use listing service — and update your data accordingly. Be sure to include important details like extra locations, your latest opening hours, and what forms of payment are acceptable.Local Directory Management Service: This service carries out the painstaking work of scanning countless local directories, interacting with data aggregators, and correcting outdated information. Moz Local and Yext both offer this service, which can help you avoid inconsistencies that can hurt your revenue stream — or even worse, trick Google’s algorithms into thinking you’re a different business entirely.
With Google Tag Manager, however, it’s easy to combine schema and JSON to further boost the strength of your schema, resulting in a higher CTR and visibility, and without having to spend precious time coding.
Reporting and analytics are two critical elements of SEO — both of which are indispensable to improving your overall marketing strategies.
Effective reporting means that you can understand key questions such as:
What content really appealed to your customer?
As we know, SEO is rapidly evolving. Business owners and marketers have to adapt, and fast, but it’s still possible to give your website the edge on your competition. Make sure to spend time on the fundamentals of solid content creation and copywriting, and stay on top of technical trends as well as the impact of things like backlinks, site speed and schema.
There's a lot to consider, but remember you don't need to become the world's top SEO expert overnight. Make the effort to understand even the basics of SEO, and you'll see a big difference in your website's click-through rates, engagement and, of course, rankings.