Search engine optimisation is a digital marketing tactic that aims to improve a website’s rank in the search engine result page through a variety of actions. The actions themselves are closely tied to what search engines consider ranking factors, meaning the factors they deem a high-quality site should have.
A better position in the SERP brings with it more organic traffic from search engines, as well as more trust from the users that visit your site from a search query. Naturally, these benefits make SEO a big priority for a lot of business owners, looking to leverage SERP positions to meet their bottom line. But, a lot of times it can be confusing to know which SEO techniques work best to help you meet your goals.
In this article, we’ll go through the top SEO techniques we know can improve your strategy and help you generate amazing results.
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Improve User Experience Across Your Site
User experience is a big ranking factor for search engines. Their objective is to give people the best results for their queries, and apart from making sure the results are relevant to the question, they also make it a point to recommend websites that are high-quality and offer a good user experience.
But what does this translate to?
Well, it actually means a lot of different things. User experience has to do with how easy, and good a website is when it comes to user expectations. This can relate to aspects of technical SEO, content, and even just the overall look of your website.
Here are some elements that tie into a good user experience:
● Easy to Use
A good website is intuitive and doesn’t require much effort to navigate. You need to analyse your website’s structure to see if all the pages are connected and whether a user can easily jump from one section to the other.
A website should be easy to read. If you go on a page that has a bright green background and a red text font colour, you’ll likely close the tab well before you’ve managed to learn what the page is about.
But apart from choosing a pleasant colour scheme, it’s important to also structure your text in a way that facilitates reading. This involves breaking down the text into shorter paragraphs, using headings, bullet points, as well as images to ensure users can easily go through your content without putting too much effort into following along the text.
● Fixing Technical Issues
A website’s technical issues can lead to a lot of frustration from users. This involves any broken links, slow loading times, irrelevant content, useless internal links, and other technical aspects that do not work as expected.
There could be a lot of these technical issues, and for more developed websites, it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all the time. This is why we’d recommend using an SEO tool to run quick website audits to uncover these issues. You don’t necessarily have to do these audits daily, but they do need to be recurrent. You can use the Google Search Console to assess the performance of your website for free.
At first glance, content may not seem like a relevant criterion for SEO, but reality paints a much different picture.
The UX and UI aspects of a website aside, content is the most important element of your SEO strategy. Both users and search engines love high-quality content. Search engines cannot read websites as people can. They have no idea, by default, what kind of content a page has, whether it includes pictures or other visual elements, or what else is going on there.
But content allows you to target keywords that are valuable to your business and help search engines understand what the page is about.
Other benefits of high-quality content include:
● Keeping users on the page longer, and engaged;
● If you spark their interest, they may even look for other information on your site, increasing their time spent on it;
● Unique content can help you get new rankings for new keywords;
● Can help improve your position in your industry
The perks of having high-quality content are endless, which is why you’ll hear the common “content is king” among many SEO experts and marketers. But, does this mean you should just start writing whatever? Not exactly.
Here’s a quick step by step rundown of how to approach your content marketing strategy:
Determine Your Goal
First, you need to establish why you’re creating content. Even if the initial reason why you’re looking to improve content is search engine optimisation, the piece of content itself will likely have its own goal meant to support your business goals.
Are you writing content to increase user retention? Do you intend to write pieces that position you as an expert in your industry? Are you using content as a way to promote certain products? Having clear goals will help you decide later what type of content you need, and how you should create it.
Define Your Audience
You will never be writing content for Google or other search engines. You are writing content for users, so it’s worth looking into who these users are, and what type of content they respond best to.
You will need to do a bit of research to define your target audience and learn what their expectations are when it comes to content. You can use social media, forums, as well as discussions with your own clients to assess what needs your audience have that you can address through content.
Find the Right Topics
The topics you will write about have to be relevant to your business and industry, but what exactly does that mean? If you also want to engage your audience, you’ll have to meet their expectations and identify the burning questions they have.
You can start by doing keyword research to see what are the common questions people have about your industry. You can use several keyword research tools such as Google Trends, or Moz’s Keyword Explorer as a starting point.
You’ll need to do keyword research regardless if you’re doing a broad content marketing strategy or not, as valuable keywords need to be included throughout your site to signal to Google the relevancy between your page and the search query.
Create a Content Calendar
If you’re adding a blog section to your site, then it’s essential to create a content calendar for what topics you’ll be posting, and when. This helps you not miss on any important and recurring topics of your industry, and allows you to keep a close eye on your content.
For example, let’s say you need to write a blog post about a big event you have coming up next week. Is that the only article you need to post? Probably not. You need a stream of fresh content consistently to give people the best experience possible with your blogging. So, you can identify a few topics and add them to your calendar.
Look at the calendar again. Are the topics relevant to your goal? Are they too similar? Should they be spread out more across the calendar? These are just some of the things you notice when you are a bit more organised with your content.
Focus on Mobile
Having a mobile-friendly website is not a new SEO requirement, but if we look at Google’s new approach to ranking newer websites, mobile is now more important than ever.
Starting with July 2019, Google has been taking into consideration the mobile version of a website when crawling it and deciding it’s rank. This change applies both to new websites and websites that have previously never been ranked by Google.
Up until that point, all websites were first analysed based on their desktop versions, although their mobile-friendliness was still a ranking factor. Even if this change may not affect older websites right now, we are clearly moving towards a mobile-first mindset.
But what does this mean for you?
It’s high time websites catch on to how important being mobile-friendly actually is. This doesn’t mean your site should simply have a mobile version, but also to be fully accessible as it is on desktop versions. In the past, the workaround this issue was to create two different versions of a site, one more complex for desktops, and a simpler version for mobiles. This practice is outdated nowadays and does nothing in terms of SEO, so if that’s your case right now, it’s time to call a web designer.
Other mobile-friendly things to include are:
● Going for a responsive design that can adapt to different screen sizes;
● Using structured data;
● Think of how people navigate websites on phones and reflect that in the design to make their experience better.
Never Ignore the Keyword
The reason why keywords aren’t at the top of this list is that technically they are not a ranking factor per se. In the beginnings of Google and search engines, the only thing that mattered was the keyword, but that proved to be quite a problematic issue that leads to a lot of user experience problems.
As a way to get to the front page of the SERPs, websites would stuff as many keywords on a site as they possibly could, regardless of whether the keyword was relevant to the content or not. The goal was simply to get ahead of the search queries. Now, we refer to this tactic as keyword stuffing, and doing it you are potentially getting yourself banned from search engine indexing.
But this doesn’t mean the keyword holds no weight in the context of SEO. But instead of adding as many keywords as possible, the website needs to leverage valuable keywords in a few key areas. Search engine crawlers use keywords to initially connect a query to the content of the page, and it takes into account all the other ranking factors to decide how to organise the results.
The valuable keywords for your business are the ones that:
● Are descriptive of your business, products, services, content, etc.
● Have a high search volume
● Match user intent
You will uncover these keywords through research, using the tools mentioned previously in this article. Now, let’s quickly look at the type of keywords there are, and their benefits:
● Broad keywords – there are generic words like “SEO” or “marketing.” They usually have a high search volume, but they are also highly competitive and do not match user intent. Still, you should be using some broad keywords in your content;
● Long-tail keywords – or keyword phrases like “how to improve SEO.” These can help you match user intent, but if you are too specific you may not get a good influx of traffic;
● Location keywords – these are essential to local businesses. Google will look for these keywords even if the user does not type in their location. They look at the intent to assess what the user wants;
● Long-term keywords – these are keywords that are relevant all the time, at least for your industry. You can count on them to always deliver organic traffic;
● Short-term keywords – keywords that arise from trends or viral moments are usually considered short-term keywords. They may get a lot of traffic at one point, but will most likely become less searched as people move on.
We recommend you target multiple types of keywords, as they all bring powerful benefits into the mix. Focusing on just one type may sound easier, but it may lead to a lot of missed opportunities.
Now, let’s consider where you’ll put the keywords. An obvious answer would be “throughout the content,” but for a better SEO approach, you should be more strategic with your keyword placement.
Add them to:
● Your title tags and meta descriptions
● Image descriptions
● Headings and subheadings
● Your URLs
● Link anchor text
● Even social media
Using these keywords in several places through your site helps to reinforce both to the search engines and users that your content is relevant. Plus, you get to make the most out of the keyword without going into keyword stuffing territory.
Create a Sound Link-Building Strategy
Lastly, link-building is another important technique of any SEO strategy. You actually have two main types of links on a website:
Internal links are meant to ease navigation and make the user spend more time on the page. For example, you likely have a lot of internal links on your homepage, with all the sections of your menu. But other pages need their fair share of internal links as well as separate from menu bars.
Consider adding internal links throughout your content as well to help the user find their way through your website and discover more about what you have to offer. Say you have a blog post meant to help you promote a specific product. Obviously, you should link the product page in the content to allow the user to easily see more information about it.
But this blog post can also be a good opportunity to promote additional sections of your website. Depending on the content, you can also add links to other products, services, or even other related articles to your site. Mark these links with a relevant anchor text to let the user know what they’ll find if they choose to click on it.
Building a good internal link structure may take some time, but it’s generally the easiest component of the link-building efforts. External link, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated.
There are the external links you have on your site that redirect your audience to other landing pages. These are great when you want to reinforce your claims, such as when you are mentioning statistics or information a user might want to double-check.
The real struggle comes when trying to build backlinks. These are the links from other websites that redirect users to you, and they are also some of the hardest ones to get, but very worth it. Link equity, or link juice, is a big ranking factor based on the concept that websites can pass authority and value to another through links.
Having a reputable website link to you is a lot more beneficial than a low-quality blog nobody’s ever heard about. But getting there isn’t so easy, though it is doable:
By Being Good
The only thing you can bet will get you an amazing influx of backlinks from reputable websites is to publish high-quality content and position yourself as a leader in your industry. This is done by putting in the effort to go out of your way to make your company’s voice heard, and bring thoughtful insights and perspectives to it.
This is also the thing that takes the most time, but it’s incredibly worth the effort. Some types of content that may get reputable websites interested include:
● Research papers
Meaning a bit more than a 400-word blog post.
Guest-posting involves publishing articles on other platforms under your name. You essentially take your voice and company experience and share with the existing audience of another website – a form of op-ed pieces you’d see on media sites.
Be careful where you send your articles, however. You should still be looking for platforms your potential audience may be reading, so not every platform that agrees to publish your blog post will do. Additionally, note that some of these platforms have specific requirements when it comes to the style and tone of the piece of content, so take that into consideration as well. It might not fit your brand’s style at all.
By Reaching out to Journalists and Bloggers
The art of the press release will likely not disappear anytime soon. Because we’re in such an informational boom, you cannot wait for journalists and bloggers to find your company and write about you. It’s much faster to reach out to them directly, and send them a press release.
To Sum up
There are few things about running a 2020 website that SEO doesn’t cover. This tactic stretches throughout most corners of it, so much so that you were probably doing at least some on-page SEO techniques without knowing it.
But to see these awesome results, you need a good strategy to focus your efforts, and that’s where we come in. Book a 30-minute strategy session with Australian Internet Advertising now to get started or call us at 1300 304 640.