The SEO Strategies we undertake are as Follows:-
1) Improve User Experience Across Your Entire Website
Letâs kick things off with a brief explanation of what Google is here to do. Just like any search engine, they want to show the best results for a userâs query, and if theyâre greeting users with a list of irrelevant, low-quality results, they wonât use them again. By the way,Â Google does this very well, which is why theyâre the largest search engine in the worldÂ â by far.
Youâll need to think about that constant desire to show the best results when youâre optimizing your website for SEO. Why? The answer is simple: If your site isnât high-quality enough, youâll have a tough job ranking for your target keywords.
Nobody wants to land on a spammy website that takes years to load, right?Â Thatâs bound to lead to a high bounce rate. And although Google hasnât officially declared it, there is evidence to suggest that the search engine giant doesÂ reward sites that have low bounce ratesÂ with higher page ranking:
Googleâs reasoning is that if a user spends more time on a page, itâs probably because she found the page 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 pagesÂ (SERPs).
So how can you improve the experience that visitors are having with your website? Unfortunately, reducing your overall bounce rate isnât as simple as removing a few annoying pop-up ads.
Here are five SEO techniques you can use to improve user experience and give your existing content a boost in search engines:
- A) Make Your Posts Easy to Read
Ever heard the phrase âformatting content for the webâ? To stand any chance at increasing your organic rankings, we need to take that a step further and optimize your content for readability.
Remember: More people reading your content = lower bounce rate = higher organic rankings.
But how do you format your posts for readability? TheÂ following formatting tips can help increase the readability of your content:
- Shorter paragraphs: Generally speaking, limit each paragraph to 3-4 sentences. Itâs even okay to use one-sentence paragraphs if necessary, but use them sparingly or your post will look like a bullet-pointed blog without the bullets. A paragraph is a group of related sentences that support one main idea, so if you split up one paragraph into individual lines, your idea tends to be fragmented and makes it hard to grasp the overall point.Â
- Mixed sentence lengths: Longer sentences are hard to follow on a computer or phone screen, but they can work well when used sparingly, particularly when mixed with medium and short sentences. Hereâs a fantastic example of howÂ sentence structures can be varied for readability:
- Sub-headers: Did you know that theÂ average person spends just 37 seconds reading a piece of online content? You can boost that time significantly by including subheadings to make scanning the article easier. Use plenty of clear and informative sub-headers to guide readers down a page, along with call-out points that are emphasized in bold. Readers should be able to scan your blog post and get the gist of what youâre talking about.
- Bullet points: When you have a lot of dataâstats, facts, ideas, examplesâpacked into one paragraph, it makes it easier to read when you list them with bullet points (like this!).
- White space and images: When you visit a web page and are greeted with a huge wall of text, it can feel overwhelming. Prevent your site visitors from overwhelm by breaking up large chunks of text with relevant, supporting media, including photos, videos and graphs (in addition to bullet points and sub-headers).
- Write quality content:Â All these other points are meaningless if your writing is just bad.Â Good writing is not necessarily about paragraph or sentence length, bullet points, headers and images; good writing is about great ideas and compelling delivery.
- B) Use Bucket Brigades to Pique Interest
Originally, a âbucket brigadeâ wasÂ a chain of people who pass buckets of water from person to person to extinguish a fire.Â Now it’s a copywriting technique designed to capture a readerâs interest and then keep them reading the rest of your page (reducing bounce rate), much like the flow of the bucket being passed down the line.Â
It essentially involves breaking an idea into multiple sentences, using a trigger word or phrase, and then ending the sentence with a colon to pique interest.Â Look at this example fromÂ Copy hackers:
Fancy putting this into practice? Here are a handful ofÂ bucket brigadesÂ you can sprinkle throughout your content:
- You might be wondering:
- The answer is:
- Youâre probably thinking:
- Hereâs the deal:
- It gets better:
- C) Write in the Inverted Pyramid Style
If you went to journalism school, you know all about theÂ inverted pyramid style of writing.
This method means giving away the most valuable information at the top of the article, and following it up with less important information. If readers tend to scan and rarely make it to the bottom of an article, it makes sense to give them what they want as soon as they land on the page.
- D)Â Analyse (and Improve) Current Page Designs
More often than not, high bounce rates result from poor usability and an awkwardÂ user experience (UX). However, itâs tough to figure out where pesky UX problems are an issue because they can vary dramatically from site to site.
Here are five user-testing tools you can use to analyse how people are interacting with your websiteÂ â and spark ideas for improvement:
Clever and intuitive,Â Crazy EggÂ helps subscribersâ rate and understand user experience with their rich visual aids like heatmaps, scroll maps, confetti, and overlays. Each of these are graphic representations of one aspect of UX.
For instance: Heat maps are colourful representations of where users have clicked on your site, while scroll maps show you just how far down the page your users scroll before leaving.
With this data, itâs possible to figure out what your best design features (or flaws) are, and correct them accordingly.Â On Crazy Eggâs home page, theyâve included an example of a heatmap of their own site which shows where their visitors clicked:
Optimizely,Â the world’s leading experimentation platform, specializes in A/B testingâa scientific, data-driven way to test websites for maximum usability and engagement.Â In A/B testing, multiple versions of a web page are randomly shown to users, compared against a control page (generally the existing website), and then analysed for effect.
The biggest advantage of aÂ proper A/B testing processÂ is that marketers can understand how even the tiniest changes can positively affect their website, such as:
- Moving the âbuyâ button to the left
- Changing button colours from red to blue
- Switching headline text from âdownload nowâ to âget your free e-bookâ
Many A/B tests can have surprising results.Â For example, Michael Aagaard from Content VerveÂ found thatÂ moving the CTA to the bottom of the page actuallyÂ increased conversions by 304%,Â compared to placing the CTA above the fold (which goes against most SEO best practices):Â
The genius of Optimizely is that it massively simplifies something that would otherwise require a team of dedicated, experienced UX designers and researchers to carry out.
Along the same lines,Â optimize by Google AnalyticsÂ also assists marketers improve and maximize customer engagement and conversion. As a free version of its Optimize 360 program, Googleâs Optimize is a streamlined, user-friendly software that simplifies A/B testing and includes advanced modelling to improve engagement and targeted experiences.
But perhaps the biggest draw of Optimize is that it seamlessly integrates with Google Analytics, allowing marketers to further leverage their existing resources.Â With Optimize,Â marketers can use existing Analytics metrics as a starting point, which allows them to rely on a familiar interface as they move on to deeper and more complicated experiments.
Hereâs a shot of the Google Optimize user screen. Notice that it gives recommendations and suggestions for the optimal interface:
While Google Optimize and Optimizely are essentially DIY UX tools for marketers and small business owners,Â User TestingÂ is far more specialized.
They say users can âcapture the critical human insights you need to confidently deliver what customers want and expectâ. And, in its most basic form, User Testing is more of a pure research toolâgathering commentary from target audiences and offering marketersÂ detailed videos of user interaction and behaviour.
Donât Make Me Think
The above four tools are some of the best UX testing programs available today. Yet one of the best UX resources isnât digital, but rather a book:Â Donât Make Me Think, a ground-breaking work by UX designer Steve Krug that has sold 100,000 copies over five years.
With its conversational tone and engaging manner, Krugâs work gets readers into the habit of critically examining and rethinking everything about their websites, including even the tiniest details, like misplaced buttons or unwieldy site maps.
Click FlowÂ is a tool we built to help companies increase organic traffic without more backlinks or posting more content.
Through Click Flow, companies can automatically see which pages on their site have the most potential to grow revenues, such as pages that have high impression count in search but a low click through rate. Using that information, Click Flow will keep track of headline tests to help grow your click-throughs from search terms you already rank for.
The tool drives up your bottom line by showing you how much revenue youâve gained and how much you stand to gain. Itâs been used by companies like Lead Pages, Drip, The Atlantic, and more.
SEO Experimentation Tool â Click Flow
- E) Site Speed
Back in 2010,Â Google announcedÂ that it would be using site speed as a ranking factor. Fast forward almost a decade and now Google has consistently emphasized theÂ importance of site speed:
Site speed plays a huge role in SEO because people donât want to wait years to access information theyâre searching for.
Thatâs why Google has launched a number of SEO tools to help improve site speed, including:
- Page Speed InsightsÂ to help developers improve site performance
- Accelerated Mobile Pages ProjectÂ to boost speed on mobile sites
- Think with GoogleÂ to help gauge how responsive (or mobile-friendly) a site is, which includes speed as a parameter.
Clearly, Google wants your website to load faster than it is right now. But how fast?
Maile Oyhe, former Developer Programs Tech Lead at Google, said:Â
You should improve your siteâs speed not only to work your way up Googleâs rankings, but also to increase conversions. One survey found that nearlyÂ 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with website performance wonât returnÂ to the site to buy again â which could see you losing out on a ton of conversion-rich search traffic who are ready to hand over their hard-earned cash for your product or service.
So, how canÂ you boost page speedÂ to impress Google, secure higher rankings, and close more conversions? Hereâs your answer:
- Minify unnecessary code on your page
- Reduce server response timings
- Enable browser caching
- Compress images to cut down page size by 30-40% using a tool likeÂ Kraken:
2) Optimize for Voice Search
Did you know thatÂ 50% of all searchesÂ will be conducted by voice by next year?
Thatâs right: Half of all the people heading to Google arenât typing their queries â theyâre using aÂ voice-assisted deviceÂ to do the job for them.
If you think that’s not something, youâll need to factor into your SEO strategy, you’re wrong. Voice searchers have different habits than text searchers, and the devices theyâre using (whether thatâs an Amazon Alexa, Siri or Google Home) take data from SERPs to replay information from the featured snippet box back as their answer.
For example, a text searcher might type âshark diet.â A voice-based search, however, is likely to be longer tail, like âwhat do sharks eat?â:
Thereâs one key difference with the two:Â Voice searches tend to be question-based:
Thatâs why our second SEO technique is to optimize your website to answer questions â if you want to target theÂ one in six AmericansÂ who own a smart speaker.Â But how do you do that without overhauling your entire website.Â Hereâs the answer:
- A) Write Content Around Long-Tail Keywords
Moz found thatÂ voice searchers use long-tail keywordsÂ when theyâre searching for information through Google, and these terms are 3+ words in length:
To stand any chance at ranking for those longer keywords, youâll need to create content that targets them on your website using this process:
- Identify oneÂ long-tail keyword using thisÂ guideÂ (e.g. âhow to wash a carâ).
- Find 2-5 other, relevant long-tail keywords (e.g. âcar washing guideâ and âtips for washing a carâ).
- Write a long-form, comprehensive blog post thatâs 10x better than anything else already ranking for those long-tail keywords. Remember to format the content for readability.
- Promote your content like crazy.
- Build backlinks to your blog post (more on that later!).
- Watch your content start to rank.
- B) Use Structured Data
Remember how we said that Google takes information from the featured snippet box and replays that back to voice searchers? Using structured data is a fantastic way to boost the chances of your information being read aloud to your target audience.
There are several types of structured data (also known as Schema mark-up) that SEOs can use, both of which give Google a quick rundown of what your page is about. That, in turn, helps it to rank better.
Get started by heading over toÂ Googleâs Structured Data Testing ToolÂ to find out whether youâve already got Schema implemented:
If you donât, donât panic!Â Hereâs Googleâs guide toÂ Schema mark-upÂ that explains the type of code you need, and how to implement it.
3) Focus on Topic Clusters Instead of Keywords
Google is evolving â and so is its algorithm. Its objective now is to understand the intention of its users: what they expect, what theyâre looking for and, more specifically, what search results would best help answer their query.
Thatâs where the featured snippet box comes into playâ¦again:
But donât expect your website to end up on the first page of Google simply by creating keyword-focused content. Itâs not enough to look at keywords alone.Â We need to look at the context around them.
Also referred to as âuser intent,â you must consider what your users are looking for, rather than coming up with different ways that users can phrase a search query
Here are two things in particular you should consider:
- A) Know Your Target Audience
The type of content youâll create will depend entirely on your audience. The better you know them â their location, age, interests, etc. â the better the content youâll create (and the better your SEO).
For example, suppose your keyword tool shows that âAndroidâ has a search volume of 2,740,000 per month. Thatâs a lot of people you could be exposed to, so youâll need to target it heavily, right?Â Not necessarily.Â People searching for it could fall into several categories:
- Mobile users searching for Android help
- Star Wars fans looking for droids
- Robotics enthusiasts looking for information about Androids
Without knowing your target audience, you might end up creating content for all these topics. That won’t win you readers or good rankings because you canât please all three with a single piece of content optimized for such a broad term.
However, by buildingÂ buyer personasÂ that detail the shared traits of your ideal customers, youâll be better able to zero in on topics that matter to your readers, while also minimizing the chances of creating content that doesnât actually get results.
- B) Organize Content into Clusters
Instead of focusing on standalone keywords, organize all your content into different themes. TheÂ topic cluster model, created by HubSpot, works by breaking down your content calendar into topic and clusters, with the:
- Pillar page âÂ being a large, 2,000+ word resource that gives a broad, overarching view on one topic
- Clusters âÂ being smaller pages, linked-to from the pillar page, which explain certain sections in greater detail
Hereâs theÂ topic cluster modelÂ put into practice:
Using that content strategy satisfies user intent since theyâre getting information theyâre searching for, while also creating a library of internally linked content that Googleâs spiders will crawl, understand and use to rank each page.
- C) Research Keywordsâand Use Them Sparingly
Confused why weâre listing keyword research as an SEO technique when weâve told you to focus on topic clusters, rather than keywords?Â Because keywords still matter.
Organizing content thematically is very important, but itâs a mistake to ignore keywords entirely, given that they serve as signposts to Googleâs spiders, signalling topics and giving hints as to the nature of the content on the website.
Marketers now face a struggle to find accurate search volume data with Google Ads hiding those results (unless you run a PPC campaign). However, there are a number of tricks and tools that can help marketers find topics and volume data, including:
Keyword Explorer by MozÂ
A one-stop shop from the SEO specialists at Moz,Â Keyword ExplorerÂ is a versatile, dynamic program that covers nearly every aspect of the keyword process. With this tool, marketers can brainstorm keywords, build lists and filter them by topic. You can also analyse metrics, click-through rates and other measures of effectiveness, as well as spy on and assess keywords used by your business rivals.
Another great tool for SEO analysis, particularly where it concerns business intelligence,Â SEMrushÂ allows you to identify and analyse the keywords that your competitors are using. Enter your competitorâs URL into the SEMrush search bar and youâll be provided with a list of SEO keywords, along with their rankings and traffic.
For instance,Â a search on âtitle boxing â, one of the most popular online boxing and kickboxing retailers, yields 90,500 organic searches for the term âpunching bagâ (fourth overall), as well as 60,500 results for âtitle boxing,â the name of both their in-house brand and retail store.
Interestingly, SEMrush also allows users to use a competitive positioning map, where they can see overall website traffic and keywords: title boxing boasts 150K+ in search traffic and 29K in keywords, far outpacing their closest competitors.
Ahrefs offers a wide range of products, including backlink checkers, content explorers and position trackers. For our purposes, however, we will focus onÂ their expansive, adaptableÂ Keywords Explorer, which allows marketers to search nearly 3 trillion keywords in over 170 countries, assessing metrics like keyword difficulty, click-through rates, related keyword lists and search volume.
When considering which keyword tools to use, look for something that allows you to monitor a high volume of keywords broken down by relevant themes. Additionally, the best tools must ensure that you can track all your competitors, from large corporations to small, up-and-coming firms.
As always, go for quality and not quantity.
Itâs always better to get 10 conversions from 100 visitors (10% conversion rate) than it is to get 10 conversions from 1,000 visitors (1% conversion rate). CLICK TO TWEET
Rather than casting a too-wide net, focus on keywords and topics that are within your niche, ones that you can optimize for and be the authority on. Fill in these gaps and establish yourself as an expert in this smaller field before tackling larger and broader keywords where the competition is much fiercer.
As for keyword ideas themselves, Google offers an easy (and cheap!) way to discover related search ideas. Just type âsushi restaurants in San Franciscoâ into the search bar of Google Chrome and youâll be presented with related images along the middle of the page, such as the names of specific restaurants, times theyâre open, and where theyâre located.
This is a strong hint for developers to include these topics in their content, or to create pages to leverage these related images.
4) Longer Content Equals Higher RankingâUsually
A recent study byÂ BacklinkÂ concluded that the longer the content, the higher the likelihood of its ranking at the top of the SERPs:
However, writing 2,000+ words for every blog post is not for everyone. Itâs an intensive and time-consuming process â but most of all, sometimes itâs not necessary.Â Remember what we said about satisfying user intent?
Some search queries are by people who arenât looking to digest a lengthy blog post. Their answer could be a matter of words or a few paragraphs, so the other 1,500+ words youâre pressuring yourself to create might be a total waste of time and energy.
Letâs take theÂ âlink building tipsâÂ keyword, for example. People searching for that phrase are likely looking for a comprehensive guide to link-building strategies they can use to conquer Google.
People searching forÂ âlink building doâs and donâtsâ, on the other hand, might not need that lengthy type of content. A simple bullet-pointed list is probably all theyâre looking for.
Unfortunately, thereâs no hack to determine how long your content should be other than good old-fashioned common sense. Ask yourselfÂ whatÂ information someone would be looking for if theyâre using a keyword youâre targeting, and start from there.
Concluded that 2,000+ words are necessary?Â Hereâs how you can create long-form content (without the stress):
- A) Build and Repurpose What Youâve Already Got
Struggling to find the motivation to write a long-form blog post? Instead of starting from nothing, take an existing page from 1,200 words to 2,000, rather than going from 0 words to 2,000 words.
Existing content already has authority and an established readership. So rather than writing something entirely from scratch, itâs much simpler to find a post of yours that is already doing well on Google, refresh it with updated information and extra content, and rely on existing signals to make it rank for terms.
Hereâs how you do it:
Under âSearch Trafficâ in Google Search Console, click on âSearch Analyticsâ:
On this page, check âPositionâ and select âPagesâ:
Try to find pages that are ranking between positions 11-30 on Google. These are ideal candidates for additional content that can increase their rankings. Itâs your job to re-optimize the page, add more relevant keywords, and offer more information to searchers.
5) Conquer Video with YouTube SEO
YouTube videos rank in the top 10 of Google searchÂ far more often than any other type of video. And, according to Forbes,Â YouTube is also the second most popular search engineÂ with more than 3 billion searches per month â surpassing Bing, Yahoo, and AOL combined.
Most SEOers forget about YouTube when they think of search engines. But if youâre smart, have a knack for creating engaging videos, and have the time to invest into optimizing each video for YouTube SEO, thereâs no reason you can’t build a huge audience on that platform.Â One YouTuberÂ doubled their trafficÂ with the same content after implementing YouTube SEO.
Hereâs how you can get in on the action (afterÂ creating your video, of course):
- A) Make Your Video SEO-Friendly
Just like Googleâs spiders, YouTubeâs algorithm works by understanding information about your video. The filename, the title, the description of your uploaded content â all these elements affect your rankings in YouTube search.
- Video TitleÂ â Crafting a compelling video title is a balancing act â you have to make the title SEO friendlyÂ andÂ make it 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.Â Hereâs aÂ great example of a killer title:
Another tactic is to use your keywords at the start of the title, then add a sub-header after a colon to drive clicks. Hereâs an example:
At the very least, your title should have 5+ words and include a broad target keyword. This will not only help you rank in SERPs but also get you more clicks on YouTube.
- Video DescriptionÂ â Because YouTubeâs spiders canât âreadâ videos, they will rely on your written description to determine what your video is actually about. But instead of just throwing in some target keywords, try creating short blog posts that describe your video content in detail.Â It can be as short as this example fromÂ Growth Everywhere:
Or as long as this example fromÂ James Stafford:
This tells GoogleÂ âÂ as well as your readersÂ âÂ exactly what your video is about. Since most of your competitors arenât doing it, it will also help you rank way faster.
Bonus: Use a video transcription service to turn your YouTube video description into a script of your entire video. That way, YouTube has tons of information to work from when deciding where your content should rank!
- B) Make Longer Videos
Like content,Â longer videos tend to do better in YouTube search.
Try it yourself. Type in a popular keyword or topic and see what shows up at the top of the page. For example, hereâs what youâll see when you type in âWordPressâ:
Or when you search for âphotography tipsâ:
Notice how all these videos are 5+ minutes long?Â As with written content, longer videos tend to get the most traction â but remember to think about user intent first.
- C) Create Custom Thumbnails
The majority of search engines use click-through rate as a ranking factor. If people are clicking through to your result when theyâre searching for a specific term, you must be offering something of value, right?
Optimizing your video with a great thumbnail can help that.
A strong thumbnail should tell viewers exactly what the video is about. Ditch one of YouTubeâs screenshots of your video and create a custom thumbnail that uses a compelling image along with a title card.Â
Hereâs an example for the term âhow to write a blogâ:
6) Build a Variety of Backlinks
It wonât come as a surprise to learn that backlinks are important in the SEO world.
According toÂ Google, links are still the #1 factor when it comes to determining search rank because without themÂ âranking without links is really, really hard.â Additionally:
However, donât fall into the trap of thinking âany link is a good link.â Low-quality links that are easily spammed â blog comments, paid links, etc. â donât seem to work anymore and can actively harm your site.
Links that are earned â throughÂ high-quality content, outreach andÂ influencer marketingÂ â on the other hand, are safe and extremely effective.
WhatÂ hasÂ changed is the way you must build backlinks if you want good results. Low-quality links that are easily spammedâblog comments, paid links, etc.âdonât seem to work anymore and can actively harm your site.
Links that are earnedâthroughÂ high-quality content, outreach andÂ influencer marketingâon the other hand, are safe and extremely effective.
But Google likes to make things tricky for us. If your entire backlink profile is full to the brim with extremely high-quality links (from sites like Entrepreneur and Forbes), thereâs a chance that your website will be flagged for a manual review. If you donât pass that because your site looksÂ tooÂ squeaky clean, you might land a Google penalty.
The best way to prevent that from happening is to diversify your backlink profile. For every incredible link you build, create another five that are medium quality. Youâll end up with a variety of links pointing to your website, including links from:
- Author bio sections
- Product pages
- News sites
Thatâll get Google off your back, make your entire site look more natural, and less like youâve hired an SEO spammer to build your rankings.
7) Get a Grip on Technical Optimization
SEO and content tips aside, itâs absolutely essential to have a solid website, without worrying about any technical issues that may arise.Â Why would Google rank your site in position #1 if users are greeted with a ton of glitches? (Hint: It wouldnât.)
Youâll need to get a grip on your technical SEO in order to rank well in 2019 and beyond using these tips:
- A) Switch to HTTPS
Ever visited a website and been greeted with an uglyÂ error pageÂ like this?
It happens when sites donât have HTTPS â the most commonly used, securest version of the old HTTP web protocol.
Google has started to warn users when theyâre visitingÂ non-HTTPS websites, and if youâre yet to make the switch to secure, encrypted connections, you might be turning away a huge chunk of people willing to visit your site.
HTTPS is a best practice that will help your website boost its SEO presence, stay secure, and make it harder for malicious parties to break in and take advantage of your website.
Granted, transitioning to HTTPS is easier said than done, and requires a multi-step process.
When the Atlantic, a highly-regarded, well-established media organization,Â decided to move to HTTPSÂ in early 2016, the transition was complex. First, content had to be scanned individually, then ported over and checked for compatibility. The process was repeated with ads, and once compatibility and security were ensured, the website slowly went live in order to guard against traffic loss and unforeseen errors.
If youâre a smaller organization, your process will likely be less painstaking or time consuming, but either way, moving to HTTPS is a necessity in a world of cybersecurity threats and heightened SEO and SEM requirements.
Follow this guide to make the switch on WordPress.
- B) Enable AMP for Mobile
AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, began as a Google-backed open initiative to allow publishers to easily create responsive, mobile-optimized content.
It takes information from website pages and displays them in anÂ easy-to-view format for mobile devices:
Envisioned as a way to quickly render content on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets,Â AMP combines three components:
- HTML tags: which help common web patterns render quickly
- AMP JS:Â a library that manages the resource loading and best practices necessary for fast rendering
- AMP cache: a content delivery network that both loads content and ensures speed
Since AMP was only incorporated into the search giantâs results in February 2016, the format itself is still fairly new. For those of you who use WordPress, AMP should be much easier to implement than a home-grown CMS from scratch.
Want to implement AMP to help cater to mobile searchers?Â Hereâs Googleâs guide:
- C) Budget Money for Crawlers
To make sure Google is crawling your preferred pages (and not pages that donât appear in its index), you might need an extra pair of hands in the form of crawl software.Â We want to give search engines the best view of our website, right?
These SEO crawler programs are similar to Googleâs own crawlers, and will give you an overview of how your page will perform when determining rankings for your target keywords:
- Deep Crawl: Possibly the most comprehensive tool of its kind available today, Deep Crawl is the equivalent of a physical exam for your website, checking its SEO health and viability in an increasingly crowded market. 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 has already signed up big names like Expedia and eBay, Botify is one of the strongest crawlers available today, short of Googleâs 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 Googleâs crawlers.
- D) Correct Your Semantic Markups
To help Google understand your data, or to show your website smartcards and voice searches, you need to ensure that your semantic markups are correct.
Semantic markups are essentially HTML tags which can help emphasize key information on your website. It tells Googleâs spiders what the page is about without needing to digest every word on the page.
Just take heading tags, for instance. Text wrapped in aÂ Â tag is the pageâs main title, and should give a brief explanation of the entire shared content on that page. Text wrapped in aÂ Â tag are subheadings, and so on.
Hereâs an example heading structure:
ÂThe Ultimate Guide to Guest Posting
- Â What is guest posting?
ÂBenefits of guest blogging
- Â 5 types of links you can build
- Â How to write an awesome guest post
- Â 1. Pick the perfect website
- Â 2. Send an email pitch
- Â 3. Write your content
- Â What is guest posting?
Get the gist?
- E) Fix âPage Not Foundâ 404 Errors by Redirecting URLs
Nothing will sink your website faster in search rankings than a 404 error.
Following a link that leads to a 404 page with the text âError: Not Foundâ is essentially a dead end. And nobody likes being stuck in a dead end â especially your audience. So, itâs in your interest to fix these broken or missing pages and re-engage your users as soon as you can.
First of all, download your backlink profile using a tool likeÂ Monitor Backlinks. Backlinks that are pointing to a pesky 404 error page will be highlighted, so sieve them out and head to your Google Analytics dashboard to find out how many page views the 404-error page gets.
You never know â you might find that youâre turning away 300 visitors each month because theyâre arriving on your site with a dead end!
Keep those users around by using an SEO plugin likeÂ RedirectionÂ to redirect URLs of broken links to fully functioning pages. Youâll want to redirect the broken page to the next, most relevant page to make sure theyâre not frustrated with landing on a totally different page than they expected.
Hereâs an example:
Redirecting broken pages to new URLs will boost user experience, while also regaining any âlink juiceâ from those pages.Â Itâs a win-win for everyone involved!
8) Target Local Searchers with Landing Pages and Listings
Almost halfÂ (46%) of all searchesÂ on Google are from people looking for local information. That could include:
- Local shops
- Opening hours
- Telephone numbers
So, if you have a brick-and-mortar business, you canât neglectÂ local SEOÂ and listings if you want to stay profitable.
Here are three huge SEO techniques to capture local people who could become your customers. After all,Â 72% of peopleÂ who search for local businesses online end up visiting stores within a five-mile radius!
- A) Double-Check Your Directory Listings
As powerful as search engines like Google or Bing are, they still canât be everywhere at once, and have to rely on additional information fromÂ local, on-the-ground sources.
These sources can include directory listings, which gather, aggregate, and submit relevant data for area businesses â 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 the gaps of the existing information that’s already in their databases, and will also cross-check to make sure that the facts are up-to-date.
Problems arise, however, when aggregators collect out-of-date data, leading a search engine like Google or Bing to list the wrong information â such as an old address for your business or a disconnected phone number.
Thatâs why itâs critical to ensure that your physical contact information is as current as possible on every online listing youâve created, including:
- Google My Business:Â Because Google is the largest search engine, start withÂ Google My BusinessÂ â a free-to-use listing service, and update your data accordingly. Be sure to list important details like extra locations, the latest opening hours, and what forms of payment are acceptable.
- Local Directory Management Service: This service carries out the painstaking, tedious work of scanning countless local directories, interacting with data aggregators, and correcting any old information.Â Moz LocalÂ andÂ Yextboth offer this service, which can help you avoid any glaring inconsistencies that can hurt your revenue stream â or even worse, trick Googleâs algorithms into thinking that youâre a different business entirely. Thatâs not going to land any visitors to your store.
- Build more directory listings using Local Data Aggregators: Now that youâve got the information down to a T, roll that out by using a local data aggregator likeÂ Bright Local. That way, you donât need to painstakingly re-enter the same information over and over again, which is bound to lead to mistakes in itself!
From that point on, local search listings should be accurately and automatically updated by your management service. Oh, and remember to change all local listings if something changes â particularly when you move office or switch telephone numbers!
- B) Build and Optimize Local Landing Pages
Letâs think about the search terms people use when theyâre looking for local services. Chances are, theyâre something like this:
- âSEO services in Los Angelesâ
- âBest blow dry in Manchester, UKâ
- âWhere to buy candles in New Yorkâ
The only way to make sure youâre reaching the shortlist of Googleâs SERPs is to actively target those keywords on your website â preferably with a local landing page. (A local landing page does what it says on the tin â targets people who are looking for something within a specific location.)
Just take a look at top organic results being shown for a local keyword:
Notice how theyâre all local landing pages for the Finchley area, rather than a homepage or general âwashing machine repairâ service page?
Create your own (and start targeting local searchers whoâre ready to visit your brick and mortar store) by:
- Doing keyword research to find local keywords relating to your product or service.
- Creating a new page on your website and optimizing it for those local keywords. That includes mentioning the phrase in: your meta title, meta description, page title, heading tags, image alt text, and on-site content.
- Building links from local directory listings to that page to strengthen location-based keyword rankings (e.g. If youâre creating a landing page for London, build links from London-based directories to the landing pageâs URL).
- C) Technical SEO for Local
Carrying out technical SEO for local search engines is a similar process to the one we discussed earlier. You may be questioning the point of optimizing for local search engines, especially given Googleâs unquestioned dominance of the search landscape. Even so, local search engines are still extremely useful. Physical brick and mortar stores thrive on in-store visitors, right?
Here are some useful terms and techniques to ensure that you optimize your business for local searches:
First, understand thatÂ schema markup is one of the most powerful, least used parts of SEO today. Schema are basically brief snippets of data that can give extra information to search users and search engines. Best of all, schema markups donât require extra coding, and can be inserted throughÂ Schema.org,Â a rare collaboration between Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Schema is used on this listing, which gives local searchers extra information about the venueâs hours, location, general information, and more without actually visiting the page itself:
9) Know How to Measure SEO Performance
Reporting and analytics are two critical elements of SEO â both of which are indispensable to improving your overall marketing strategies.
Effective reporting means you can understand key questions such as:
- What content really appealed to your customer?
- What part of the website had the most UX issues?
- Which page was the least (or most) visited, and why?
- Which on-page SEO changes resulted in the highest rankings?
- Which style of keyword should you focus on, in future?
Itâs tricky to understand those intricacies (and use them to your advantage to skyrocket your SEO even further) without regularly monitoring and reporting your results.
Here are three tools you can use to conquer exactly that:
- A) Data Studio
Interested in gaining the ability to tie online data back to offline data in order to get a full 360 view of how your content and marketing is performing?
Googleâs Data StudioÂ helps you to do that by aggregating data (such as rankings, traffic, conversion data) from multiple sources into a single interface.Â Itâs a fantastic SEO tool for internal teams to use, but also a superb way for SEO agencies to share fancy reports with their clients.
But, most importantly, the SEO metrics youâre able to track with Datastudio can help you determine the effectiveness of your SEO strategy, and assess whether you need to pivot or change tactics to improve on your results.
- B) Wayback Machine
Always be on the lookout to see what your competitors are doing and how well itâs working for them. What techniques are they using? How have they changed their approach? What mistakes have they learned from?
One great tool to see how your competition has changed isÂ Wayback Machine, which allows marketers to access petabytes of archived web pages. By sifting through Wayback Machineâs extensive database, you can track the evolution of your competitorâs brand and web presence â taking note of factors such as:
- Changes in UX design
- Differences in copy from one web version to the next
- Movements of key page elements, such as page navigation or calls to action
Still, you shouldnât implement something just because your competitor is doing it â whether thatâs designing a website a certain way or using specific copy or images. Youâve got to use your common sense, combined with industry knowledge, before giving your SEO team the go-ahead to copy their changes.
If used correctly, however, Wayback Machine has some interesting lessons to offer.Â Take a look at these two screenshots of Title Boxing: The top picture is a screengrab of theirÂ homepageÂ from Wayback Machine, circaÂ 2007, while the bottom one is a screengrab fromÂ 2018:
The differences are pretty clear.Â In 2007, the web layout was much more cluttered and crowded, with small, hard-to-navigate sidebars squeezing some small, insignificant-looking pictures in the middle advertising daily specials.
In 2018, however, the user experience is much more streamlined. Visitors are greeted with a clear, easy-to-use sidebar at the top, labelled with categories like âGlovesâ and âPunching Bags.â A large, sliding image in the center replaces the tiny, hard-to-notice ads from 2007, allowing buyers to see exactly what is on sale.
In a nutshell: The new website is almost minimalist, doing away with the previous confused, slightly chaotic format.Â That might be a change youâll want to think about implementing, too.
- C) SEMrush
If youâve followed this guide to a T, you might notice an influx of organic traffic arriving at your website from Google. Thatâs great news, but how can you find out which keywords are driving the most results?
Enter:Â SEMrush, an SEO tool used by marketers to track ever-changing keyword ranking positions in various search engines: