It looks like SEO is getting more complicated by the minute. Sadly, further complexities mean that more resources are required, which in effect makes optimizing search engine websites a costly matter.
Yet this must not be the way it is! This guide gives you a list of 15 SEO tips, that will help you win in 2020 to give your wallet a bit of a break.
Title Tag Optimization
A title tag for search engines and searchers briefly describes the content of a web page. Title tags are among Google’s most significant, if not most, ranking component. It’s very important that you have your keywords here.
When optimizing title tags, we have to view them from two different angles:
- What will gain me the most significant benefit for my rankings?
According to Moz, adding your most important keyword(s) at the beginning of a title tag is the best SEO practice, and it helps increase your click-through-rate. Most users choose to search the Search Engine Results page (SERP) quickly, only taking in the first few words of a page title instead of reading it in its entirety so it is important to have such keywords at the forefront.
Internal Linking (increase them to your important pages while decreasing them from less important pages)
From a user standpoint, internal linking allows you to navigate through a website. If a site had no internal links at all, that would clearly ruin the user experience, while too many links can lead to confusion and information overload.
External links also give more detail to search engines about the layout of a website, meaning which material is linked to each other, and what the hierarchy of the different pages is.
Therefore, it’s important that when you place an internal link, you make sure not to link between pages that are totally unrelated in terms of content. It doesn’t make sense to link from a page about vegan dog food to a page about how to saddle a horse, right?
At the same time, internal links help to distribute incoming link juice throughout your website. Pages that have more links pointing to them get a bigger ranking boost in search engines.
And if you think about it, it makes sense to point out more links to the most important pages that are essential for the overall function of a site (such as a product page or a page with a sign-up form) while reducing the number of links pointing to less important pages (such as communication or pages).
Content-Length & Re-Crawls
Don’t get me wrong, longer content doesn’t mean that it’s automatically better content. However, as you can see here and here, the numbers clearly indicate that the total word count of a page has a direct impact on how well it is going to rank in Google and other search engines.
The optimum word count seems to go far beyond the average 500-word post and ranges between 2,000 and 2,500 words.
In terms of social media, content with 3k – 10k words get the most amount of shares and almost twice as many shares as content that has up to 1,000 words. (source)
And let’s not forget that usually the more content a page has, the more keywords it’s going to rank for, which means more traffic coming to your site.
In the point of view of the reader, it is necessary to eliminate all the fluff and not attempt to make an article longer than it actually needs to be, only for the sake of getting a higher number of words. Simply put, concentrate on providing just enough detailed information to answer all the questions a reader may have about any given subject, but not more.
If you decide to revise some of your already existing content, don’t forget to have it re-crawled by Google using the Fetch as Google tool in your Google Webmaster dashboard. Although the re-crawl won’t happen immediately, it usually shortens the time period that Google needs to revisit your site to recognize and index the changes you’ve made.
If you conducted a simple website audit, you may have stumbled on a couple of technical SEO issues that may have a negative effect on the rankings of your website. You’ll be able to resolve some of these issues on your own in under 5 minutes. In some, an accomplished developer may be required to get to the bottom of things.
The great benefit of running a technical site audit is that oftentimes, you will find really low hanging fruits. One example of this might be getting an immediate 20% increase in conversions of your eCommerce store simply because you could reduce page load times by half.
Addressing all the technical issues a website can have would go too far within the context of this guide, but if you want to run a simple site audit yourself, here is what you can check:
- Robots.txt – Your robots.txt might prevent the Googlebot from properly crawling your website.
- Broken backlinks – Broken links pointing to your site lose their link power.
- Page load times – Long page load times are bad for SEO and UX.
- Mobile responsiveness – Again, it’s bad for your rankings and the user experience if your website can’t be properly viewed on a smartphone or tablet.
- Duplicate content – If two more or less identical versions of the same webpage exist, this can lead to duplicate content issues.
- Redirects – Redirects are important when reclaiming broken links or preventing duplicate content issues.
- Sitemaps – A broken sitemap can lead to indexation errors.
NAP stands for ‘Name, Address, Phone Number‘. When the name, address, phone number, and possibly other information (such as an email address and the website URL of your business) are mentioned somewhere on the web, let’s say on yellowpages.com, then this is called a ‘local business citation‘ or just ‘citation‘.
The number of citations that can be found online, their quality, and their consistency is what’s super important when it comes to local SEO. Especially when you want to rank in the Google Snack Pack and be found in Google Maps.
What you have to know is that for local search results, Google browses the web collecting all the data that it can find about your business. For verification purposes, it compares the data to information from other sources like telephone or post office records.
If the information that Google has found is inconsistent, meaning that there could be two different phone numbers or two entirely different addresses, then this will almost guarantee a negative influence on your rankings.
The reason behind that is that Google doesn’t know which of the data is the most appropriate to display. So it’s essential that you find all your business’s citations on the web and double-check that they are consistent and up-to-date.
By the way, consistency also means that every quotation must use the same format. For example, if you register your business with Yelp using ‘105 Main Street’ as the street address, be sure to use that format and don’t enter ‘105 Main St.’ when registering with Yellow Pages for business.
Google My Business
A Google My Business (GMB) listing helps you to rank in the local search results of Google and is therefore crucial for businesses’ local SEO.
You can add pictures to your listing in the GMB dashboard to give your company a ‘name’ You should add operating hours so customers know when you’re open to business. You can also collect and highlight feedback from consumers, and much more!
Here is how you can create a new GMB listing or claim one that already exists:
- Visit https://www.google.com/business/.
- Click the green ‘START NOW‘ button.
- Sign in with your already existing Google account or create a new one if need be.
- Type in the name of your business. If it shows up in the results, that’s great. Click on the name of your business and hit ‘NEXT‘. If it doesn’t show up, that’s not a problem and you still have to click ‘NEXT‘ to continue.
- Now it’s time to add all your business’s information, most importantly the correct address and phone number. As already mentioned in the NAP section above, it’s important to make your business listings consistent.
- Last but not least, you have to verify your new or claimed business listing by having a postcard sent to the registered address via snail mail. Once that’s done you get full access to your GMB dashboard and can use all the awesome features, such as the new video upload function.
Labels in Google My Business are optional and only needed if you manage more than 1 location. If that’s the case, the labels help you to better organize your locations and divide them into groups.
You can assign up to 10 different labels to each location and use them to filter the different locations in your GMB dashboard and also in AdWords.
You can create and share a direct link pointing to your GMB listing. By clicking on the link, your customers can view your business on Google Maps, which is great, if they are trying to find out where exactly your business is located and how to get there.
You can also create a link for your customers to rate and leave a review of your business. What’s great about these types of links is that it’s so much easier for you to get more positive business reviews, which also helps your SEO.
SSL stands for ‘secure sockets layer‘ and an SSL certificate is used to create an encrypted connection between the server your website is hosted on and a user’s web browser.
A website that is secured with an SSL certificate uses an HTTPS instead of the regular HTTP protocol, which I’m sure you have all seen many times before.
From an SEO point of view, adding SSL to your website has the following benefits:
- Google has stated that it’s ‘working towards a web that’s secure by default‘. Although that doesn’t prove anything, it’s a broad hint that secure connections are the future and an important part of SEO. Also, multiple case studies have proven that switching to SSL can have a positive impact on rankings.
- When correctly setup, websites running on https have faster loading times than HTTP sites.
Secured websites also have the advantage that they get displayed with a lock icon in browsers, which today the majority of users (especially those purchasing products online) consciously look out for. What’s more, Chrome even labels HTTP websites as ‘insecure‘.
Images – EXIF Data & Alt Text
Above all, screen readers of visually impaired people use alt text or alt tags to find out more about the meaning of an image.
Alt text also tells the Googlebot and other crawlers about what an image is all about on your website, and lets search engines understand the meaning of an image.
Does the proper alt text being applied to each picture on your site have a meaningful effect on ranking? Perhaps not. Yet this is yet another step in the right direction-a step you shouldn’t miss from now on! Adding alt text to your images is also a great way to have additional keywords included on your site.
Exif (Exchangeable Image File Format) is a format that allows you to add metadata tags to image and sound files. These metadata tags cover:
- a description,
- information on copyright,
- a thumbnail preview for images,
- camera model and settings (e.g. focal length, ISO speed),
- and most importantly date time, and geolocation information.
As you can see, for example, you can store geolocation information in an image file with the aid of Exif data, which basically means telling search engines where a certain picture has been taken.
Today, this strategy is very sophisticated, and can be used in your local SEO campaign as one measure. In essence, you give crawlers another indication that your website is super relevant to a specific local search query
Authority Outbound Links
An authority outbound link is a link that points from your website to an external domain that is highly trusted by search engines. Two examples for high authority sites are Wikipedia and usually the web presence of your local city hall.
The benefits of adding authority outbound links are that:
- you increase the trustworthiness of your own site,
- search engines can better determine your niche, as you show what kind of content your own content is related to,
- you refer your readers to other sources for high-quality information.
For local SEO, linking out to the official site of your local government is one more indicator for search engines that your business is highly relevant for that particular location.
Want to find out whether or not a site is authoritative?
Simply use Moz’s Open Site Explorer and look out for sites with a DA (Domain Authority) above 60. (Please note that DA is a metric made up by Moz and not Google, but is still a good indicator of authority)
Lastly, here are a couple of best practices for placing authority outbound links:
- Only link to topically relevant content.
- Don’t insert too many outbound links for better readability.
- Link out with do follow links – don’t worry, this won’t harm your site’s rankings unless you link out to dozens of external sites.
Keyword Synonyms For Semantic Search
Google & Co. introduced semantic signals into their search results a long time ago and looking to the future, semantic search will become more and more relevant given that voice search is on the increase.
The idea behind semantic searching is to personalize and enhance the accuracy of the search results by attempting to understand a search query’s true intent.
Thereby, search engines not only get a better idea of what words are likely to appear together on the same page and in what frequency, but they also get a lot better at recognizing natural language patterns and detecting spam.
So if your goal is to create content that matches today’s requirements – and to be honest, why would it not be? – remember this:
- Write in a natural voice, which means that your content will automatically include lots of synonyms of the keywords you are trying to rank for. Writing naturally also means that you don’t have to pay any attention to keyword densities anymore. What a relief!
- Give your sentences a clear structure so they are easy to understand for both search engines and users.
- Focus on providing real value, e.g. by answering the most common questions on a topic.
- Read your content out loud before publishing it. This helps you to identify passages that may sound a little strange.
Schema markup allows you to display specific information in the form of rich snippets in the SERPs, such as product or service ratings, reviews and opening hours of your business.
Here is an example markup that you would have to add to the HTML code of your website:http://schema.org/Dentist”>
1 Main Street
The Benefits Of Adding Schema
First of all, there is no direct proof that schema benefits your SEO in any way. In fact, Backlinko has found that ‘Schema markup doesn’t correlate with higher rankings‘ – at least at this point.
Nonetheless, rich snippets are great to attract the searchers’ eyes and almost always lead to higher click-through rates which means more traffic and ultimately leads to your business.
For local businesses, schema comes in handy when you want to tell search engines ‘Hey, here’s my NAP information so you don’t have to go searching for it elsewhere.’ This helps to prevent the bots crawling your site getting confused.
By the way, you can find a full list of all available markup types on this page.
Starting a blog as a business or brand has so many benefits. Here is a couple:
- Show personality – By telling engaging stories and sharing your thoughts, you can give your business or brand a unique voice and create a strong connection to your readers. Write about your mission, your values, and also about your vision and goals for the future.
- Become an industry leader – Use your blog to demonstrate your industry expertise and set yourself apart from the competition.
- Create opportunities – The more engaging content you create, the more content your followers can share, like, and comment on.
- Build relationships – Blogging is a great tool for building relationships. At the end of each post remember to add a CTA (call to action) and invite people to interact with your content.
- Higher visibility – Google and its competitors love fresh content. Plus, the more content you create, the more keywords you are going to rank for.
- Links – Create high-quality content and you will earn natural links. This is also a great opportunity to build more internal links to your money pages.
Google reviews appear right next to your GMB listing in Google Maps and the local search results. They draw attention and make your business stand out. They also provide additional information about your products and services and build lots of trust with potential customers or clients. Did you know that 93% of consumers say that reviews have a direct influence on their buying decision when they purchase something online?
Also, according to searchenginewatch.com review signals makeup roughly 10% of all ranking factors, something that should not be taken lightly.
Of course now only a satisfied customer can leave a good review for your company. So besides doing what you can to try to please all of your clients, here are two techniques for you to check that will help you get more four and five-star reviews:
- Go out and ask for reviews. Depending on the nature of your business, this can happen in a face-to-face meeting, via automatic emails, or on the phone.
- As mentioned earlier, with Google My Business, you can create a direct link for your customers to review and rate your business.
Facebook Ad Boost
Backlinks are what makes our pages jump higher in the SERP, which is why we all want tons of links pointing to our site, right? One way to achieve this is by establishing a blog where you publish informative, yet engaging content on a regular basis.
But what can you do to make your link building efforts more effective? It’s quite simple; boost your most popular and valuable posts on social media, first and foremost on Facebook.
By “boost” I mean setting up a sponsored ad campaign and paying smaller amounts of money to get more engagement for your posts and more importantly traffic to your website.
If the content you are promoting is good enough, then it will generate lots of natural inbound links from trustworthy sources, which is the most valuable type of link out there.
What’s unique about ad campaigns on Facebook is also that you can set them up in minutes. All you need to get started is an ad account. Instead you create one or more advertisements, identify your target market, and set a budget for everyday or lifetime – and that’s it. Time to get ties!
Get A Professional SEO Audit
There are many tools on the internet that can provide a technical SEO audit. Some tools are better than others when it comes to providing great insight to the issues your site is facing. These tools will reveal issues with things like robot.txt, broken links, www resolve issues, 300/400/500 errors, and many more.
On the other hand, data which is useless without interpretation, right? A qualified audit will give you specific instructions based on your particular expectations and ideas for the sale. A successful, competent audit would consist of reviewing the website content with keyword analysis to ensure that the optimization on page is right.
15 Quick SEO Tips and Tricks