Implementing a Strong SEO Strategy and Dominating Your Industry.
by Jeff McBride
Many people find SEO quite daunting, but in reality, it isn’t. SEO takes lots of patience and hard work but you need to know some of the basics first. Understanding what the search engines are looking for and how they grade your website is an important step to get your website ranked higher in the SERPs. I have compiled a short list of the most important tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your SEO.
Optimize For Mobile Searches and Have a Mobile First Design.
Mobile designs have been around for years now but were not important for SEO until 2016 when mobile overtook desktop with mobile phones and tablets accounting for 51.3 percent of all web browsing. Close to this same time, Google© launched their mobile-first index. Before this time, Google© searched the desktop or laptop version of your website and used this as the primary index, however with mobile first indexing, Google© now uses the mobile version of your website as the primary index. What this means is that Google© places a lot of emphasis on Responsive designs so it is important that when you design your website you design it to look its best on a mobile phone or tablet:
- Make sure you don’t use elements on your desktop site that you don’t use on your mobile site. Google© still crawls your desktop site and if elements are missing or changed, it negatively impacts your ranking.
- Automatically resize graphics and content for the device and size or screen.
- Make changes to the layout to allow the menu to automatically consolidate and allow customers to browse page content without excessive scrolling.
- Resize widgets and other features like search bars and product browsing so that there is no the need to zoom in and out of pages.
Quality Link Building
Links are important to Google©, alongside great content. Ranking without links is hard, and why would anyone try to rank without links in the first place? Google© cares about links more than anything, and so should you. In fact, according to Google©, it is one of the top 3 ranking factors alongside Content and RankBrain and numerous studies have confirmed this. You should be implementing a strong link building strategy and here are a few important tips:
- Ask for backlinks from relevant websites in your industry
- Build relationships with other websites in your industry
- Start a blog if you don’t already have one and link that blog to pages on your website (just like we do here at NTX Designs)
- List your sites in trustworthy directories
- Write good guest posts on other sites within your industry and link back to your website
- Get an indirect backlink from your competitor. It is quite common that some of your competitors link to the same sites. Find places where your competitors commonly link to. These sites are usually big authorities in your industry.
You should spend a good amount of time on building good quality backlinks as part of your SEO strategy to be able to get better search engine rankings. This is a process that will take up quite a bit of your time but in the long run will be one of, if not the most important thing you can do to have a strong and successful SEO.
Optimize For Voice Search
Now that we have Google©, Cortana© and Siri© voice searches almost becoming the norm, it is important that you optimize your website for voice searching.
“The destiny of Google’s search engine is to become that Star Trek computer, and that’s what we are building.”
This was what Amit Singhal, the head of Google’s search rankings team, famously said about the future of Google’s search technology during a conversation with Guy Kawasaki at SXSW Interactive in 2013. During the past decade, Google has taken several big steps toward this lofty, ambitious goal, and one of the most exciting advances has been in the field of voice search and natural language processing technology. However, there’s far more to Google© voice search than its mere convenience; it’s changing the way Google© handles search queries, how it’s users search for the information they need, and even their user’s attitudes toward search engines in general. Here are a few tips to get you started on good voice search optimization:
- Think like a human – Concentrate on a phrase that a person would naturally use in speech.
- Use question phrases – Think about when you use voice search. How do you typically phrase your query?
- Semantics – Rather than writing keyword-rich content, you should put users first by creating content that’s inherently valuable and addressing any questions or concerns your audience may have. By doing this, voice search will figure out what the best and most relevant results are in an extremely organic way.
- Use plenty of Microdata – When performing a voice search, users will often reference microdata such as a business’s location, phone number, price and so on.
- Be mobile friendly (this goes back to the first piece of advice).
Use Shorter More Descriptive URLs
Using descriptive, keyword-relevant URLs has been an effective SEO strategy for years. However, some research seems to indicate that using shorter URLs may actually lead to higher rankings. Google© has indicated in the past that anything after the first five words won’t be given as much credit, so using your best and most descriptive keywords at the beginning in a shorter URL could be useful in garnering you higher rankings in the SERPs.
Optimize For Local Search
With more people using search engines on mobile phones, the relevance of local search is even higher. Google© now prefers to serve up local content as the first few links in it’s SERPs so making sure that you optimize your website for local content becomes extremely important. If you have a local component to your business, optimizing for local search in 2018 is imperative. As more of your customers turn to mobile to find local businesses, products and information, getting found for local keywords is a must.
Use Relevant Keywords In Your Content
This is one tip that should be already familiar to you, but it is still worth noting. Having strong keywords in your meta tags is important, but making sure that you use your relevant keywords in your content is way more important. Be sure to not only include those keywords in your paragraphs but also use the keywords in titles, headings and other areas that make those keywords stand out on the page.
Choosing the right keywords can also be a difficult task, even for an SEO expert. It takes time to sit down and write out all the relevant keywords but once you take the time to do this, you spend more time on the placement and usage of those keywords so that you get the maximum impact. Keep in mind that Google© is all about relevance so using synonyms of those keywords and writing copy that take advantage of the keywords is just as important as the keywords themselves. This makes the entire page relevant to what the Google© user originally searched for and ultimately, that’s what Google© is all about is making sure their user gets served content that is relevant to what they searched for.
Size Matters – Write Longer Content
One specific study on Google’s rankings determined that the first page of its SERPs with the top spots were all above 2,000 words. So size really does matter. The idea isn’t to write 2,000 words of rambling non-relevant content. While size does matter, so does the quality in that size. You need to make sure that you write copy that is relevant, easy to read and gets your point across to your visitor in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
There is a huge difference between writing good copy and writing good SEO copy. Sometimes it takes a seasoned SEO specialist to be able to best communicate your points and ideas to your potential visitor. When writing long articles it can be a difficult task to choose the right keywords and amount of those keywords and use those keywords in the most effective manner (Headings, Titles, Asides, etc..) to be able to rank well in the SERPs. You’ll want to sit down and take the time to get this right as getting it wrong can really hurt you in the long run.
Be The Topical Authority
In a recent analysis of 1 million search results, Brian Dean of Backlinko found that comprehensive content vastly outranked more shallow content. If you’re already writing long-form, comprehensive content there’s probably a good chance you’re achieving this. Pages that comprehensively covered a particular topic outranked shorter content that was highly-optimized for a certain keyword – even when the comprehensive page didn’t use that particular keyword at all.
This is too important to ignore. As important as the keywords are to your SEO using those keywords while being the topical authority is more important. If you write long content that just rambles and really does nothing to help you be the topical authority, no matter how well you use your keywords, you are going to rank lower than those who don’t use the keywords and do comprehensively cover a topic, even if their copy is much shorter than yours.
Lastly, Focus On User Intent
Now that the one to one relationship between keywords and rankings is all but gone – or is at least significantly diminished – optimizing for intent is even more critical. It’s important to understand exactly what your end user actually wants. What are people actually looking for from your website and are you giving it to them in a way that best serves their needs?
You should be concerned with writing Long-Tail keywords and phrases and making sure your visitor understands the meaning and motivation behind those words and phrases. Which keywords should you focus on in order to drive conversions and not just traffic? Ultimately, your goal should be to get conversions and not to just get traffic that doesn’t return.
Implementing these SEO strategies is a sure fire way to garner your website more qualified traffic as well as get you higher conversion rates. Take the time to work on these and I promise you will thank me.
Annihilation will be unavoidable – Disturbed
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January 28, 2018