Search engine optimization is an important part of any company’s website strategy. As a matter of fact based on a recent study, it shows that 93% of online activities start with search engines. And how you rank for certain keywords will depend on your domain authority, which of course is affected by other SEO factors too. However, Google and other search engines like Yahoo and Bing continuously make changes to their algorithms to create a better search experience for their users. That’s why it’s important for small business owners and marketers to stay up-to-date on the latest in SEO tricks if they want to continue to rank higher on the search engines.
We’ve made it easy for you. Below, you will find just a few of the top SEO tricks that you can use in 2018 and beyond to improve your SEO rankings and bring more qualified leads to your website.
Want us to make it even easier? No problem. We’ll do all the work for you. Just contact us, tell us more about your business goals, and we’ll take it from there.
1. Make your website faster.
Site speed is one of the most overlooked SEO tricks. Google has been using site speed as an SEO ranking factor since 2010. Almost 50% of web users expect a website to load in 2 seconds, with many abandoning the site if it fails to load in 3 seconds. This shows that site speed is not only important to the search engines but also the search engine users who may decide not to return to your site if it takes too long to load.
There are a few different elements that contribute to your site speed. One of the biggest components of your site that could be affecting speed are your images. When you compress your images, you are able to cut down the page size by up to 30 or 40%. This results in faster loading pages for your site visitors.
Optimizing your images can have a drastic effect on your site speed, but it isn’t the only thing that you can do to increase your site speed. Here are a few other SEO tricks that you can use to reduce site load times and improve overall search engine rankings:
- Review page elements. Review the elements on each site page to ensure that you are not providing any unnecessary elements that add to your site load time.
- Enable browser caching. Browser caching makes it possible for repeat visitors to experience faster load times by storing elements of your site pages in a cache, or temporary storage.
- Reduce plugins. Another way to improve site load times is to deactivate and delete any unnecessary plugins on your site and get rid of those that are slowing your site speed.
These are just a few ways that you can work to make your website faster. However, it’s important to remember that there are a number of technical factors that impact your page load times that you may not even be considering. If you are struggling to improve your site speed you may want to consult a professional web design company. Those who specialize in web design and development services will take all factors of your site into account when working to improve your load times.
2. Secure your site with HTTPS.
Another one of our top SEO tricks is to make your website secure. If you have not already, it’s time to switch your site to HTTPS. HTTPS is a more secure version of the http web protocol. HTTPS works together with SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, to communicate information in a safer way. HTTPS encrypts the data for security, not allowing data to be altered or corrupted as its transmitted. This provides a more safe and secure experience for your site visitors.
In addition to helping you improve the security of your site, HTTPS also has some SEO benefits. For one, Google prefers HTTPS. In fact, as of October 2017, Google warns Chrome site users who navigate to non-HTTPS sites that the page is not secure. This may cause potential leads to turn away from your site before they even get there. Google has also included this as a ranking factor in its search engine algorithm, as the search engine wants to provide the safest experience possible for search engine users.
Another benefit of switching to HTTPS is that it helps provide more accurate data on referral traffic in Google Analytics. On an HTTP site, the traffic from referral sources can often appear as direct traffic. However, with an HTTPS site, the referring domain is visible, making it easier to more accurately see where your site traffic is coming from.
3. Optimize the mobile version of your site.
Though many brands have treated a mobile-friendly website as a “nice-to-have,” the truth is that Google is making it more imperative for brands to have a site that caters to the mobile visitor. As of 2015, Google has prioritized mobile responsive sites in its search results. This should come as no surprise given that a recent BrightEdge study found that 57% of web traffic comes from mobile devices.
You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out if your website is mobile-friendly.
When building your mobile site, it’s important to remember that there is a difference between how keywords rank on mobile vs. desktop. For this reason, it’s important that you work on creating mobile site content that is optimized for the user on the go. Mobile-first content should be quick and easy-to-read on smaller device screens. Similarly, you should make sure that images load quickly and pages are easy to access and scroll from mobile devices. Leverage one of the most important SEO tricks and start optimizing your website.
4. Improve traffic and engagement metrics.
There is plenty of evidence that suggests that Google rewards websites with strong user engagement. When it comes to SEO, user engagement is often measured by the amount of time that the user spends on your site. The more time that users spend on a site, the more likely they are to be engaged by the content they find there.
Typically, a higher average time on site makes for a higher overall organic position on the Google search engine results page.
A recent study from Backlinko found that there is also a correlation between bounce rates, or percentage of visitors who leave your site without interaction, and search engine rankings:
Bounce rate has an impact on a site’s position on the Google search rankings.
More time spent on a site along with lower bounce rates signals to Google that users are engaging with the content because they find it valuable. Since the search engine wants to provide only the best search results for their users, it will reward sites with higher engagement.
There are a few ways that you can work on improving traffic and engagement metrics to boost your site rankings:
- Make your content easy to read. If you want to keep users on your site longer, you need to ensure that your content is easy to read. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short to improve readability. You should also use headings and bullet points to break up text and make your content easy to scan.
- Use images throughout your content. Using high-quality and compelling images throughout your content helps break up some of the text while also working to keep your audience engaged.
- Provide value in the beginning of the content. If you want users to keep reading, you’ll need to give away the most valuable information at the beginning of your blog post or site page. This will help them determine whether or not they want to keep reading.
In addition to optimizing your content for user engagement, you should also work to improve your bounce rate. There are a number of factors that may be impacting your bounce rate. But you can start by improving the user experience, which we will talk about more in the next item on our list of SEO tricks.
5. Focus on the user experience of your website.
User experience is an important part of both SEO and lead generation and conversion efforts. You want your website to be easy to use so that visitors can find the information they need and move on to the next step in their buyer’s journey. Google wants to make sure that they are providing the best possible quality search engine results so they favor sites that provide a positive user experience.
Here are some quick tips for improving the user experience (and your search engine rankings):
- Make your site easy to navigate by using simple menu navigation with clearly listed categories. Site users should be able to navigate to a page without jumping through hoops.
- Simplify the design of your site, making it easy for users to find what their looking for. This includes using a clean, easy-to-read color scheme and font.
- Develop page content that is optimized and easy to read. This includes using headings (H1 tags) and categories to help users find the content their looking for.
Much like improving site speed, creating a better user experience can be a complex process. If you’re ready to work with a professional web design team, be sure to check out our web design FAQs so that you know what to expect.
6. Create engaging and valuable content.
Content marketing also plays an important role in helping your business improve your search engine rankings. Not only does content allow you to target certain keywords and topics that your ideal buyers are searching for, but it also provides a vital opportunity to connect with your readers and provide real value that can set you apart from the competition.
The key to creating engaging and valuable content is doing some research on your target market to find out which topics they care about most. Your content should go beyond just explaining your products or services and discussing what benefits your brand can provide for consumers. If you really want to connect with consumers at every stage of the buyer’s journey, you will need to create content that explores their challenges and concerns as well as communicates how your brand can provide value in their lives.
Content is still king so you need to have unique, original and quality content in long format if you want to rank up in search engines. Yes, 500 word articles are no longer recommended now. That’s a thing of the past. With tons of articles competing for the same keywords, Google now treats word count as content for link building.
In addition to choosing topics that are relevant to your audience, you’ll also want to pay attention to search terms. Do some keyword research to find out how buyers are searching for products and services like yours and what search terms they use to find the topics that are most important to them. Once you have conducted your keyword research, you’ll be able to optimize your content for the search engines.
Yet another important factor when it comes to content and the search engines is how fresh your content is. Search engines reward sites that provide new content on a regular basis. This is where your blog comes in. By creating quality blog content on a consistent basis, you are helping create more indexable pages for the search engines and more opportunities to reach your leads!
7. Strengthen your social media presence.
This is one of our SEO tricks that may just sound more like really good marketing advice. But hear us out. Social media plays an important role in your search engine optimization strategy. First off, your social media profiles rank in the search engines. In fact, for many companies, their social media profiles will appear in the top results for search listings including the brand name. This means that your leads may be clicking on your social media pages to find out more about your brand.
Our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube pages show up on the first page of search results when you look for “LYFE Marketing.”
Another important thing to consider is how links to your company’s content on social media can play a role in helping boost your search rank. That is why it’s so important for brands to share quality content on their social media pages. When others link to this content on their own pages, this may help build authority for your content by showing the search engines that other users find your site content valuable enough to share.
Don’t forget that the best social media channels are often also used as search engines. Later in our list of SEO tricks, we’ll go into more detail about YouTube as a search engine. However, users are also searching for topics on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and more. This means that the more present and involved you are on these channels, the more of an opportunity you will have to connect with qualified leads.
8. Use long tail keywords in your SEO strategy.
Using long tail keywords in your SEO strategy is one of the most fundamental SEO tricks.
Long tail keywords are keywords or phrases that are longer and more specific than common, broad keywords that are often limited to one or two words. These are important to use in your SEO keyword strategy as they will help you bring more specific traffic and qualified leads to your website.
As you can see from this graph, long tail keywords make up the largest percent of all search traffic.
Though long tail keywords tend to bring less overall traffic to your site, the traffic that they do bring in is more relevant. This means that the users coming to your site are more likely to be interested in your product or service. Furthermore, the more specific your keywords and phrases are, the less competition you will have to face for these keywords on the search engines.
Concentrating on long tail keywords gives your business a better chance to rank on the first page of Google for relevant keywords and phrases. For instance, if you are trying to rank for broad keywords that turn up millions of results on Google, you will have a harder time competing with bigger, more authoritative sites that already have a wealth of popular content. However, with a less competitive long tail keyword, you have the opportunity to rank well on the search engine results page, resulting in more traffic to your site.
9. Optimize site content for Google’s Featured Snippets.
Optimizing site content for Google’s Featured Snippets is one of our newer SEO tricks. Featured Snippets on Google have become very popular with search engine users. These short answers found at the top of the search engine results page help searchers get the answers to their questions quickly and effectively. Moving forward, it’s important for businesses to optimize their content to improve their chances of showing up in these featured snippets.
This is an example of a Google Snippet result. Notice that underneath the top result is a list of similar additional questions with a drop down that provide even more quick answers.
There are a few ways that you can improve your chances of showing up in a Google Snippet at the top of the search engine results page. First, consider what types of content you can develop in a question and answer format. This makes it as easy as possible for Google to extract this content for their featured snippet. You may also want to use lists, tables, and graphs as this type of content is also likely to show up in these snippets.
10. Create more optimized online video content.
Did you know that 55% of all Google keyword searches return at least one video result? This is because search engine users love video content, and Google wants to provide the type of results that will be most valuable to their users. By creating more optimized online video content, you can improve your chances of showing up in the video results of Google searches.
In addition to creating and publishing more video content, you will also want to pay attention to optimization when it comes to YouTube. Of the video results on the Google search engine results page, 82% come from YouTube. This should come as no surprise given that YouTube is the second most popular search engine with more than 3 billion searches each month.
This infographic shows just how popular (and powerful) YouTube is among Internet users.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when optimizing your YouTube video content for the search engines:
- Create a video title that is both SEO friendly and makes users want to click. Work to include keywords toward the beginning of the video title, and make sure that the title clearly indicates what the video is about.
- Develop an engaging video description that will help Google’s bots “read” your video content. It’s important to include keywords but also be as descriptive as possible so that both Google and readers know what your video will be about.
- Use engaging thumbnails that make users want to click on your video content. Though Google may not take this into account when ranking your content, users will determine whether or not they want to watch your content based on these thumbnails.
Another quick tip for helping your videos perform better in both YouTube and Google searches is to create some longer pieces of content. Though some topics may lend well to a short 5-minute video, you should also work to create longer videos that go more in-depth on certain topics. Aim to create at least a few videos that are between 15 and 30 minutes long. You may even have content, such as on demand webinars, that can last an hour or more.
With these SEO tricks you should be on your way to creating a more optimized site in no time. If you need a little help along the way, why not work with the top Atlanta SEO company? Check out our Search Engine Optimization Services page to learn more about how we can help your business land higher search engine rankings.
We know this is a lot of info and SEO has a number of moving parts, so if you have more questions on SEO tricks, then leave them in the comments below. Have you used SEO tricks we didn’t cover? We’d love to hear them!
Feature image courtesy of: Diggity Marketing