Whenever a client contacts us to either increase sales or boost profitability, we always start with basic SEO on their website. Not because it’s the best thing to do first, but because it’s one of the easiest things to rectify quickly.
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Table Of Contents
- 1 Onsite SEO Factors
- 2 External SEO Factors
- 3 Conclusion
Onsite SEO Factors
This is still one of the most underused SEO strategies by the vast majority of websites and it can be easily fixed by producing engaging and interesting page titles with your keywords in.
Each page and post on your website needs to be unique by ensuring your main keywords make up part of the title as close to the beginning as possible.
For example, if you were writing a blog post about the best WordPress themes online at the moment, my advice would be to include the keyword “Best WordPress Themes” within the post title. Maybe adding the year of the post for further traffic possibilities.
It may not seem like you are doing very much. However, whenever your reader types in a variation of “where can I find the best WordPress themes” you have a much greater chance of being shown because you have included the keywords.
Note: If you’re in a competitive niche, then writing great seo-optimised title won’t be enough, but it’s a main fundamental part of ranking.
A meta description is basically a piece of text that is shown below the title in the search engine results pages (SERPS).
Google and other search engines with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning now have the ability to produce a credible meta description for your page or post even if you haven’t included one.
For example, at Xenmedia we don’t write a meta description at all. We leave it up to search engines to figure out what our page or post is all about and let them produce one to be displayed.
There are still a few search engines that don’t have the AI ability so it doesn’t hurt to write one. Using the best WordPress themes as an example. You could write something like:
Need help trying to find the best WordPress themes in 2017? Then look no further, this article provides a full list.
This would be a half decent meta description since it contains the main keywords.
Hold on! If you don’t use them at Xenmedia, why are you advising us to use them?
Good question……There’s no real solid proof that not writing a meta description can hurt your rankings. In fact, Google has suggested that there’s no need to write them, but this isn’t an official line and for that reason it’s a good idea to write them for your prized content.
The structure of your URL has to be spot on.
What do I mean?
The URL has to be both search engine friendly whilst being as short as possible. Shorter URL’s have been proven to perform better in the SERPS. However, ensure you still have the main keywords in the URL.
would perform better than:
Body tags often referred to as Htags are the bits of text that breakup your content and separate sections and paragraphs. In the vast majority of cases you will use H1, H2, H3, H4, (in order of priority) etc.
- The H1 tag is normally used for your title
- H2 tags are main topics
- H3 and H4 tags are used to be talking points of the main topics.
Using these tags properly and with the correct structure is vital. Google and other search engines are now using these Htags to show in the SERPS as a basic summary to your content. Pages and posts that don’t use them won’t get shown and will certainly not be seen at the top of the SERPS.
Note: The new voice speaker systems like Google Home and Amazon’s Echo are rumored to use these Htags to respond to your query. Not using them could be detrimental to your website and your business.
Long Form Content
Google and other search engines now favour long-form content, i.e. a page or post with at least 1000 words. Posting long form content consistently will go a long way to outrank the competition. Just ensure the content is relevant to the subject matter.
There’s no need to ensure that the keyword is placed in multiple places throughout your content. This is something that mattered in the noughties. Thankfully this isn’t the case any more.
Just write compelling and engaging content and you won’t need to worry about inserting the keyword into your content multiple times.
If you insert images into your content ensure the file name of your image is relevant to the topic and ensure you have a description of that picture. This can be easily done by adding an Alt Tag to the image.
Even though Google can recognise what your image is about using AI, it’s still a new technology. Adding images with a non-search engine friendly file name and no description is as good as not adding a picture at all. Great for your readers but useless to search engines.
Come on, have at least one image
A lot of companies write content which is great, but they don’t provide corresponding images. Content with at least one image ranks better than content without.
Another underused tactic that you’re going to take full advantage of. If you are writing a new post on a topic that is related to a previous post topic. Make sure you link back to the earlier post (this is called interlinking). Cross linking has 2 clear advantages:
- You’re using this previous post as a main reference instead of linking to an external article that has nothing to do with your site.
- If Google see’s that you’re linking to this post (as long as it’s relevant) it considers this content as a valuable resource.
- Your old post will be re-indexed by the search engines. Great if you have forgotten buried posts laying deep down in the depths on your archive.
Avoid Duplicate Pages
What I mean by duplicate pages is having the same content on several of your pages and posts. Using a paragraph here and there is absolutely fine. Just don’t copy huge swaths of text and re-purpose it somewhere else on your site.
The more unique your pages and posts are, the more your content will be shown in the SERPS. This means a greater chance of ranking for keywords since you have more pages and posts in the race.
External SEO Factors
The faster your website loads the better rankings it will receive.
You can use several tools like this one to test how fast your website should be. If you need to speed up your website, here’s a few pointers:
- Minimize HTTP Requests
- Reduce server response time
- Enable compression
- Enable browser caching
- Minify Resources
- Optimize images
- Optimize CSS Delivery
- Prioritise above-the-fold content
Social Networking Sites
Never underestimate the power of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google+ (yes it’s still around).
Used as part of your content marketing strategy and online reputation management, posting your content on social media sites not only gets your content massive exposure, you also have a link back to the original content on your website.
The amount of “likes”, “shares” and “retweets” your piece of content receives is now a major ranking factor. That’s why I sometimes tear my hair out when clients don’t see the power of social media. Posting good quality content and sharing it on social media sites should be as natural as brushing your teeth (you get the point).
Not only will your clients see your content via these platforms, future marketing and strategic business partners will also see this content too! The advantages are two-fold.
It’s funny, when we build sites for some clients they get all exited and start writing blog posts for the first month. After that, they generally lose interest and focus on something else. Have you done this too?
Don’t worry, this is happens far more than you would think.
Blogging (writing blog posts consistently) is one of the best ways to promote your brand, product or service. Especially if it’s done in a non-salesy way.
We advise our clients to blog at least once a week and then share it on their favourite social media platform. Not only is this great free advertising it’s also a good for your social ranking with the search engines. Like I said previously, the more likes and shares your content receives the better it will perform in the SERPS.
Elements that help:
- How to videos
- how to articles
- list articles (i.e. The 10 best xxxx)
Where possible, try to do some guest posting. This is posting unique articles on someone else’s website making sure you link back to yours.
Make sure the blog or website you’re posting on has some sort of relevance to your own. This means you should be able to pick up some extra traffic, more readers and potential customers simply by guest posting.
If you’re not a great writer then hire someone to write the content for you. There are many different sources out there that are prepared to write for you at a competitive price.
Produce the content yourself
When I say yourself, what I actually mean is your team. Your readers will know if someone has been hired to write your content
Where possible, try to write on a specific topic only and dedicate either a whole page or post to this. Yep I know, easier said than done. However, this little known tactic is helping pages rank higher in the SERPS because you’ve provided it a dedicated post or page on its own.
There is a simple way to do this. You can have a main topic with bullet points to describe different features. Then simply write a post on each bullet point and link the bullet point to that post.
Still quite a new phenomena. Video marketing should be part of your content marketing strategy.
This doesn’t mean becoming a Youtube star. It means producing really informative, helpful videos that your clients will be able to learn from and gather more information on your product or service.
Again, you don’t need to produce these yourself.
There are plenty of companies out there that are willing to do this for you. However, in the first instance, I recommend recording your staff and clients (with their consent) and placing them on your own website as well as video sharing sites like Youtube and Vimeo.
Note: A nice little trick that hardily anyone is doing is producing long form content in the description of your Youtube video. This is a major ranking factor in the Youtube search engine and very few people know this.
Most people only add a few paragraphs in the description. Get ahead of the competition and write at least 800-1000 word descriptions. Provide relevant tags (keywords) and your on the way to video domination.
Youtube is the second largest search engine on earth. Not producing videos with SEO-optimised titles and content is basically leaving money on the table.
Make sure your clients are leaving reviews about your business. The more reviews your business has the better it will perform in the local listings.
Like most things with Google, there is actually an algorithm that chooses which website to rank in the local search rankings and it’s not solely based on the number of reviews. They look at how influential the reviewers are.
If you have over 100 reviews from clients that have never left a review and your competitor only has 10 reviews but are left by people who leave reviews regularly. Their website will outrank yours in the local search box because of the quality of reviews and not the quantity.
To be fair, you can’t really choose who you want to leave a review. We advise that you get as many as possible from your clients and hope some of them leave reviews on other businesses on a regular basis.
There are question and answer sites like Quora and Yahoo answers that are great for linking back to your website. Just make sure you write long detailed responses and try not to link to your website stratight away. maybe after around 10 posts, although you can still provide a link in your bio or in the source section.
These aren’t really strong backlinks but what people fail to realise is. The more traffic you can direct to your website increases engagement which increases sharing and provides more eyeballs to your website. This is a strong ranking factor in the SERPs and it’s another underused strategy.
Your brand and service reputation will also go through the roof. Answering questions consistently will highlight you as an expert in your field. Kind of like the go to person on that topic.
The links aren’t necessarily worth that much compared to a link from the BBC for example, but they will still help your ranking factor since you’re increasing traffic and engagement.
Frequently Update Your Website
Google loves websites that are frequently updated. That’s not just new content but an upgrade on existing content.
Each time you produce new content and you publish it on social media sites Google has to keep coming back to your website (crawling) to see what’s new. This is a major ranking factor for your website and I guarantee your competition aren’t doing this!
Couple this with long form quality content and you’re golden!
Have a few keyword anchor texts
What does this mean?
It means, when you are linking back to your post or page, make sure some of the hyperlinked text contains the main keyword you are targeting. Like this:
Get your hands on the Canon IXUS 182 Digital Camera Kit at a great price.
If you would like to get your hands on the Canon IXUS 182 Digital Camera Kit at a great price then click here.
Notice that in the first example we have linked the actual keyword which is the preferred way. Whereas the second example is still OK but less effective. I recommended mixing up the way you link back ensuring that a nice proportion of the links include the keyword.
Unfortunately, I really don’t know the right ratio of keyword links to non-keyword links. In fact no one does. Just make sure some of them do.
There are several more tips you can use to rank higher in Google, but these are the easiest to implement straight away.
If you don’t know how to do many of the things that are mentioned in the article. Either get your webmaster or person that designed your website to implement them or getting in touch with us and we’ll help you.
— Desmond Dreckett (@DesmondDreckett) February 2, 2017