SEO can be a minefield to some; it is continually changing, so it’s understandable if you have trouble keeping up. However, the value of SEO for your business is something that is not changing. SEO, in general, isn’t a quick process; it takes time to improve your websites search visibility and rankings.
With that said, there are some SEO tactics which can help you be ahead of the game and can result in some fantastic results, in a short space of time. Google updates its algorithm hundreds of times per year, it is the gatekeeper to massive amounts of traffic and leads, and search engine optimization (SEO) opens the doors.
Here are the top 5 things you must know about SEO:
1. It’s All About Google
Last year, 73.62% of all global desktop search traffic was conducted on Google, this was followed by Baidu at 12.71%, then Bing with 7.90% and finally Yahoo with 3.61%. To win at SEO, you have to play by Google’s rules. Ranking high on Yahoo or Bing is nice, but companies who rank on Google are most likely getting the most business.
Using Google Search Console will help you understand how people are currently getting to your site through Google Searches. This can be helpful for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your content.
Remember that Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day. Potential customers don’t want to feel heavily marketed to but if you’re ranking well in search engines enables them to do their own research, and it works out for you because A lot of people are online searching for what you offer.
Google Algorithm penalties can be significantly damaging for your website, and these can occur when Google updates their Algorithm, so make sure you keep an eye out. Your website will be penalized if it doesn’t comply with the most recent update and this can affect the site by decreasing the traffic to the site, you might see a drop in organic rankings and a drop in SEO visibility too.
One way you can check if you have your site has received a manual action is to use Google Search Console, a handy SEO tool to use. If you have received this manual action, it is essential that you lift the penalty to help increase rankings, traffic and search visibility dramatically.
2. Prioritize Mobile
Today, we are a society obsessed with our mobile phones, and every year an increasing amount of people spend more and more time on mobile devices and tablets. More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the U.S. and Japan.
Even with knowing how important mobile devices are, so many many websites are still not designed to account for different screen sizes and page load times. Mobile optimization takes not only a look at your site design, but also the site structure, page speed, and so much more. All of this is done to make sure you’re not inadvertently turning mobile visitors away.
Google is now implementing mobile-first Indexing which means that the mobile version of your website becomes the starting point for what Google includes when they index your website and is a benchmark for how they determine the rankings for a site. You might think that your website mobile friendly, when in fact, it really isn’t. You can check this using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
3. Speed Is Essential
When it comes to visiting websites, there is nothing more annoying than seeing the page loading speed being slower than your broadband provider. Site speed is a HUGE ranking factor, so improving it is a fantastic opportunity for your website.
It’s also really easy to check how your sites page speed currently stands with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, which is entirely free to use and all you need to do is copy and paste your website URL into the tool.
This page speed test will offer you suggestions to improve your site speed which is really useful. Enhancing your site speed by even a single second is great for user experience, and this is so important to your website users. By making these improvements, you can also decrease the bounce rate throughout your website.
4. Tell People You’re There
No one is going to accidentally stumble across your website unless you tell them about it and where they can find you. A really easy quick win for SEO is Sitemap submissions. By submitting your sitemap within Google Search Console, you are essentially telling search engines ‘This is what pages my site has, please come and check it out!’.
By submitting your Sitemap to Google Search Console, you are helping search engines crawl your site. It is also essential to do this when you are setting a new website live, as it allows Google to identify the new pages within the site.
You can create one of these sitemaps for free, there are a range of tools available, for example, if you are using WordPress then all you will need to do is download Yoast, which is a great plugin which allows you to update SEO data simply. Once you log in to your WordPress site and access Yoast, all you will need to do is click General > XML Sitemap > See the XML Sitemap.
Then all you do is get the link and merely submit in within your Google Search Console account and add in the website, then submit the sitemap. This allows the search engines to crawl your pages.
You should also crawl your website on a regular basis to make sure it’s running to its utmost potential from an SEO perspective. One of the best tools out there which crawl websites immediately is Screaming Frog. There is so much data that you can obtain just from using Screaming Frog and similar tools. For example, you can check any site to see if they are;
- Missing & duplicate page titles & meta descriptions
- Missing & duplicate H1 & H2 Tags
- Any 404 errors
- Duplicate Pages
- Missing ALT tags on images
By identifying these errors, you can then begin to create an SEO plan of action and resolve any issues which you may have identified. While you may not have the capacity to use this tool or resolve these issues, there are Small Business SEO Services which can help and do all of this for you.
5. Re-Claim Old Mentions
Yes, getting online coverage and mentions for your company is fantastic, it’s great to increase your brand awareness and can result in more branded searches for your business. However, it could be better… the coverage could include a link to your website!
One of the quickest SEO wins (which is frequently overlooked) is reclaiming unlinked brand mentions. All you need to do is to search your brand name within Search Engines, and locate the online publications which mention your business – but don’t have a link in. You can also you some great tools such as Buzzsumo and Meltwater to track this.
Then all you need to do is get in touch with the publication to see if they are willing to include a link within their article – and most of the time they will be. This is a really great way to utilize the existing content and build up your backlink profile.
Backlinks are extremely important for your brand’s search visibility and organic keyword positioning. So always try to a link your website wherever you can.
You can also be updating and republishing old blog posts with new content and images which can increase organic traffic by as much as 111%. Don’t let that good content go to waste, update it, add length to it which is more valuable to your readers or re-purpose it. If you’ve got a strong baseline and were once ranking for keywords well with older articles, this is the perfect tactic to take back for your digital strategy.
A digital strategy is vital, and it can be scary, overwhelming and seem like a lot to do, but there are an increasing amount of companies specializing in this and can take it off your hands, or you could employ just one person to look after this for you or a freelancer.
Whatever you choose, remember that your website is effectively your shop-front and you wouldn’t decide to buy a shop down a dark alley where no one will find it, so don’t put your website down there either.
Your website has the potential to be at the top of those search engine results, so get it up there. Whatever it is that you do, make sure when people are searching for your product or service that you are the first place they see. No one goes onto the second page, so don’t get stuck there.