8 essential tips and tricks to improve your SEO in 2019
The SEO landscape is ever-changing and it can be hard to keep up. We've outlined our top 8 essential SEO tips and tricks you should incorporate into your search strategy to enable online success.
Keyword research is essential to identifying what content will appeal to your audience. Start by determining what seed (or short-tail) keywords to target. These will consist of one or two words and are usually your product or service categories so will be quite generic.
Type your seed keywords into Google Auto Suggest to discover the most common phrases people are actually searching for. Soovle and Answer the Public provide a fast and efficient way to gather content suggestions. Then enter your keywords into a research tool such as SEMrush or Moz Keyword Explorer to identify search volumes, keyword difficulty levels and other keyword topics and suggestions that you might otherwise have missed.
You will notice that search volume will vary greatly for your chosen search terms. Typically, keywords with higher search volumes are more competitive and require a greater level of effort to rank for. In some cases it can be more beneficial to target highly specific, lower competition search terms. These long-tail keywords generally increase your chances of conversion as users are more intentional in their searches.
There are advantages to using both long and short-tail keywords for your website. Whatever your objectives, utilise the tools available to help you identify what is most achievable for your business. Moz provides a useful guide to keyword research that will help you get started.
Now that you’ve discovered which keywords to target, ensure you are regularly posting blogs on those topics to build authority in your area. Part of Google’s algorithm ranks content based on engagement metrics including time on site, traffic and return visits. Boost your engagement by becoming a repository of information that will keep loyal fans coming back for more.
Take a look at your Analytics data to discover your top performing posts. You may find that some of this content is months or possibly years old. Refresh these older posts with new information and SEO optimisation then republish them as new blog posts. This will enable you to build upon their existing organic value through user engagement and backlinks to gain even more traffic. Republishing old posts is a time saving way to create fresh content.
Include relevant terms within page tiles and descriptions and front-load your sentences by putting keywords first. This will enhance your Google visibility and improve the user experience by enabling visitors to quickly identify relevant content. Other on-page optimisation techniques include short and compelling URLs, image alt text and using the H1-H6 hierarchy of heading tags to provide structure to your page.
The featured snippet, otherwise known as position zero, is the summary of an answer to a user’s query which is showcased in a box at the top of the Google results page. It is typically shown for question-style queries (how to, who, why, what) or lists, to present structured data in table format, or as a YouTube video that matches the searcher’s intent.
Position zero is important for SEO as Google uses it for its single response to voice searches. It can also dramatically increase traffic to your website: when Hubspot moved a high performing page from first place to position zero, their click through rate increased by 114%.
Page speed is an important ranking factor. Slow page speed could result in search engines crawling fewer pages using their allocated crawl budget and negatively affect your indexation. Page speed is also important for user experience: pages that take longer to load have lower average time on page and higher bounce rates which will have a detrimental effect on your SEO.
Check your page load speed using Pingdom. According to Google’s John Mueller, an ideal page load speed is 2-3 seconds but you shouldn’t compromise the customer experience to achieve this score. For example stripping your site to improve mobile speed when the majority of users visit your site on desktop may deprive desktop users of valuable elements that will negatively impact their experience of your site.
Ways to increase your page load speed include file compression and minification, leveraging browser caching and optimising your images with an minification tool such as TinyPNG. Web Foundry can advise on all these ways to improve your page speed.
Mobile friendliness needs to be a key consideration in your SEO strategy. If your site is driving significant search traffic from mobile searches, how mobile friendly your site is will impact your rankings on mobile devices. Google offers a helpful tool with recommendations on how to make your site mobile friendly.
Internal links are links from one page on a domain which link to another page within the same domain. Internal linking is essential to any website as it helps to establish site architecture (how you organise the pages on your site) and spread the flow of link juice between pages. Search engines perceive links as a vote of confidence and use them to understand what a page is about and how important it is. They build page authority, user experience and hopefully your rankings.
An external link is a link that points to an external domain. Many marketers avoid them for fear of losing traffic from their site however SEO guru Rand Fishkin confirms that such fears are unfounded. Linking is common practice and provides many benefits for your business.
For example, good websites typically link to other great sites whilst low quality sites tend to feature spammy links. Search engine algorithms therefore see authoritative links as a quality signal and will likely reward the behaviour algorithmically in the form of better search results.
Also, when you link to an external site, it shows your willingness to share others’ content which in turn can incentivise others to reward you with an inbound link to your site.
These SEO tips are just some of the key measures you should take to improve your online visibility. SEO is an iterative process and it will take some time to get the essentials right, but the time invested will continue to pay dividends for years to come.
Contact us today for an SEO site audit and guidance on how to drive more traffic to your site.
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