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SEO Tips to Improve your Website Rankings: Part 1
If you want to rank higher in search engines and improve the quality and quantity of your web traffic, you’ll need to master Search Engine Optimization. We asked industry experts to submit their best tips and strategies for SEO. You’ll find a range of tips below, from mastering the fundamentals to planning for the future.
Senior Digital Marketing Manager, TSIA
Start with the basics.
Whether you’re a startup or a big company, start with the basics…
Create pages dedicated to product categories and/or services. Then, optimize them with the basics. The more specific you can get with keywords, the better. Having a niche will ensure you are showing up for keywords that will drive the highest quality audience to your website versus anyone that could be interested in your product.
When it comes down to the blog…
Complete the basic optimizations for your page including the title, heading and keywords in your content and images. I urge you to review your content. Are you providing value through your content, or filling up a page with words for the sake of rankings?
With Google’s constant algorithm updates, it is clear they want to provide users with the most helpful content. For example, if you are trying to rank for a term such as “internet marketing pricing,” the user is expecting information about actual pricing, possibly numbers or what is typically a fair price. Either give them that or target another keyword.
The number one mistake I see companies make is creating way too much content talking about themselves and providing little to no actual valuable information. Give them the direct answers to their questions. Put some serious effort into creating the best piece of content surrounding your topic. Get straight to the point. Provide data. Make it easy to read. Don’t brag about yourself, this is not the place to sell.
I cannot stress this enough, if you do not provide the value your customers need, you will not be seen as an expert and your organic traffic will suffer. Your website is not a TV commercial and shouldn’t be treated as one.
SEO doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t need a huge budget, if you do it right. Start with the basics, the rest will follow.”
Head of SEO, We Influence
Answer frequently asked questions for the customers you want.
Expand Your Keyword Strategy
Go beyond basic keyword optimisation and build your brand’s authority by relating your keyword strategy to your ideal customer personas. Expand your coverage in SERPs and reach new, untapped audiences by researching frequently asked questions or popular topics that your users are searching for.
Don’t Neglect CRO & UX
SEO is about getting the right traffic to your site but, once you’ve done that, what’s next? If you want conversions then you need to be taking user experience (UX) and the customer journey into account. Employ conversion rate optimisation (CRO) tactics to ensure that your SEO efforts weren’t wasted.
Content Must Serve A Purpose
Content is intrinsically linked with SEO success, especially in recent years. However, most marketers will only optimise their categories and write a few blogs. Go one step further. Each page on your site has a purpose and presents an opportunity to funnel the user toward conversion or increase your brand’s authority.
Get Creative With Schema
Google is constantly improving the way in which they format search engine results pages (SERPs) and this means improving their support for new or existing structured data types. Take advantage of this with HowTo or FAQPage alongside your content marketing strategy for increased engagement. SERPs are highly competitive but deploying this markup can result in your site appearing more prominently and is likely to result in clicks when done correctly.
Don’t Focus On Rankings
Understanding the true value of SEO is crucial for ensuring that you’re allocating resources to the most profitable areas of your business. It’s one thing to rank highly but how does it improve your bottom line? An easy way to value organic traffic is to look at the cost-per-click (CPC) for keywords within Google Keyword Planner. Now, which are your most valuable pages?
Mark Alan Richardson
Sr. Program Manager – Paid Media, Generate Life Sciences
Use video to gain trust.
Don’t “Sell,” Answer Questions.
Before they sold to their competitor VapeWorld, to become the Vapor.com (GreenLane) that you see today, I built VaporNation.com’s content model and germinated 10 different social conversion streams simply off of explaining the differences in a bunch of silly weed vaporizers by being entertaining and accurate. That’s all people want.
On-Site Best Practices Still Apply!
Make a great website with easy intuitive UX and emotional appeals in your calls to action that drive users exactly where you want them to go. Don’t waste too much time with “cozy content” or irrelevant subdomains that may distract from the mission of securing the sale! That’s what your email-referral program is for!
Google is trying to kill manipulative SEO with Ad Packs, Maps, Snippets, Carousels, etc., so rankings aren’t enough anymore. In-house SEOs and agencies need to implement tracking and work with social and analysts internally to figure out what type of content is driving conversions and sales. Then build funnels around serving those audiences and those goals.
Schema (Structured Data Markup) is essential as Google just revamped its rankings to reward the featured snippet as position #1. No longer can you get “position zero” and a spot in the organic rankings on page one.
Video, Video, Video.
Those answering questions are the ones gaining trust and trust will win out over spammy backlink profiles every day of the week. Video is the place to do that. The tools are vast now. You can use Google’s TrueView targeting engines.
PR and Live Events. Conferences, Webinars, Podcasts, OOH, Event Marketing are the new frontier of promotion, and “Publicity is King” is the new “Content is King.” (Apologies to the great Matt Cutts).
Get a Mobile App and invest heavily in UX/Usability. And whatever you do, don’t launch without Android and iOS at the same time.
Marketing Manager, Media Lounge
Structure your site so that search engines and users can find what they want.
When it comes to optimising your site to perform well on search engine results pages, there are several things you can do to encourage success. SEO is often about small tweaks that can make a big difference over the long term.
My first tip would be to check your XML sitemap is set up correctly. This isn’t something users will see, but a well structured up-to-date XML sitemap helps Google and other search engines to index and rank your site more effectively. This is crucial for bigger eCommerce stores!
Additionally, you can also make changes to your platform’s default settings to ensure your site is easily accessible and crawlable to search engines. As specialists in Magento and using that as an example, we often make changes to settings that avoid duplicate content issues and insert canonical tags where necessary.
Next, I’d recommend adding header tags to all your main pages. Header tags act a bit like titles, helping Google and other search engines to understand the content of individual pages at a glance. This in turn should help your site to rank higher overall.
Following on from that, it also makes sense to optimise your meta titles and create attention-grabbing meta descriptions. These are the short snippets of text that are actually displayed to users on search engine results pages, making them crucial in achieving high rankings as well as attracting that all important click.
Last but by no means least, I’d recommend ensuring your site’s 301 redirects are set up correctly. Deleted a page recently, or removed a product permanently from your store? You’ll need to redirect that URL to a new page or users will only see a 404 error message where the old URL no longer exists—not good for user experience!
Head of Search, FIRST Digital
Optimize your content for different media.
Focus on E-A-T.
Google’s quality rater guidelines are trained to understand the expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness of content. E-A-T is not just about producing great content, it is also about the external signals your website receives. Think reviews, links and brand mentions, things that may be derived from actions completely unrelated to digital marketing campaigns, such as in store customer service.
Also think of how your brand is represented both visually and vocally in search. The intent behind a search query may be best served by an infographic, or a how-to video, not by text. So, there is more to E-A-T than just the core SEO benefit for a website.
Be voice search ready.
As of 17 January 2020, Google has finally made the move to replace the voice search microphone with the digital assistant in Chrome. This is massive, as it will remove the separate indexes that the digital assistant and traditional search were running off. The challenge now is how both modalities will work in conjunction and how businesses can optimise for this experience.
I also believe that brands without a personalised digital assistant app will be left behind, akin to brands without a mobile website. If you want complete control over your “sonic branding”, then you need to own your digital assistant experience.
Optimising for other forms of search is essential as multi-modal accessibility increases. Visual search (Google Lens, Pinterest) is still in its infancy, but something that is on the rise. Video search (notably YouTube) also continues to grow, with Google bringing video results into SERP features and general rankings.
Podcasts are now indexable based on Google’s understanding of what’s being said. To quote Search Engine Land: “Google will expand this so that soon you won’t need to add the term “podcast” in your search to see episodes.”
Brands need to be ready to be discoverable in a range of different content mediums and search access points as new modalities change the way people are getting answers.
Digital Marketing Coordinator, Pioneer Walks
Go back and revise your content to stay relevant.
Keep up to date with current algorithms.
It’s a known fact that search companies like Google and Bing are constantly updating their algothrims. It’s important to understand what they are doing now to ensure your content will meet those standards to give you the best chance of ranking. Keep up to date with blogs, podcasts and online courses to keep up with industry trends to keep your content relevant.
Do keyword research.
Before writing any piece of content, do some research to see if there is a demand for it. Using tools like MOZ, Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner will help you to write relevant content for your audience.
Understand your competitors.
When writing content, it’s important to keep an eye on your competitors. What are they doing to rank and how can you do it better? Ensuring you have more synonyms, backlinks and words than them will help to improve your search results.
Revise and improve content.
Once you’ve written content, it’s important to go back and make sure it’s ranking. Check things like your load rate and bounce rate to look for areas where you can improve. By going through your content regularly, updating and adding information, you have a better chance at staying at the top of searches.
Get quality backlinks.
Quality over quantity. Ensuring you have quality backlinks with a high domain authority has proven better results at helping your content to rank. Best practice is to make certain that backlinks are relevant to your industry and disavow any poor-quality links.
Content Marketing Specialist, Meta Line Digital Agency
Think beyond links to build trust in your brand.
If you want to optimize your content for SEO, forget about SEO. Let me explain: search engines are becoming increasingly intelligent. In recent years we saw major updates radically changing the way Google understands queries and provide users with relevant answers. How does this impact company strategies? These updates demonstrate the importance of providing valuable content: original, interesting, useful content that meets or even anticipates the users’ needs. To create it you need to detach from the basic concept of keywords and embrace a much wider perspective, which takes into account the brand, its buyer personas, the problems they need to solve and at what stage of their journey they are.
Another keystone for success is understanding HOW people search. How do they speak? What terms do they use? Are we sure people do their research using the keywords we SEO professionals identify? People do not speak in tongues—“keywordese” in this case—and Google knows it. That’s why it implemented a system like BERT: to improve its ability to better understand natural language, search intent and contexts besides words in order to provide relevant results. After all, search engine optimization has no secrets: please your customer and you will please Google. Write for your user first and then for search engines, that’s the not-so-secret secret for a better positioning. Of course, you have to get right all those other aspects concerning technical SEO to improve your chances to rank well.
And finally, do not forget the importance of your brand: building a solid online presence that reflects your values and your offline presence is crucial for a well-performing SEO strategy. Think about mentions, digital PR, influencers, thought-leaders, events and all those online and offline resources that can help you build your online brand reputation and comply with the E-A-T guidelines that quality raters look for. Think beyond links to build trust both in search engines and prospects.
CEO Director of Local Search and Google My Business Expert, Local GoldMine LLC
Use your Google My Business listing to get free clicks.
Over the past year, Google has been pushing down local business websites in the organic search results while promoting more pay per click ads and Google My Business Listings, resulting in what are now known as “Zero Click Searches.”
Zero Click Searches: Instances where consumers are searching on Google, only to get the information they need without needing to click to your website.
In other words, what used to be clicks to your website are now resulting in searchers staying on Google longer, making it more difficult for local businesses to drive customers to their websites.
The following 5 tips will help you fight back, and regain some of those Google clicks as well as increase phone calls and walk-ins from Google searchers:
- Turn your Free Google My Business (GMB) listing into a major traffic driver by using all the free tools Google is giving you to increase free clicks to your website. This is one of the most underused and misunderstood traffic drivers in your digital toolbox. Grab some of those Zero clicks by increasing phone calls and direction requests from your GMB.
- Take advantage of the marketing devices inside your GMB that include posts, offers, and products. Link from your offers and ads directly to a page on your website and grab more of those free Google clicks.
- Do a complete audit of every directory and review site your business is listed on, and check the data to ensure your business name, phone number, hours, and address are accurate. You may be surprised at how much outdated and inaccurate data is out there.
- Focus on your online reputation! Reviews are one of the most important areas if you want to attract new customers. If your Google review profile is below 4 stars, you better create a plan to increase it, or watch your customer engagement drop. Answer all reviews professionally, especially negative ones!
- Take a hard look at your website and ensure that it is locally focused, up to date, has strong calls to action, and is properly connected to your Google My Business data, Facebook business page, and all your social media accounts. Make sure your brand and reputation is consistent across all platforms.
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