Page speed recently became a significant ranking factor in SEO, making it more important than ever before. Many will have to put their site under a magnifying glass to make sure their ranking doesn’t drop in the following months. The Google Page Experience update launched in June 2021, and from that moment onwards, metrics such as visual stability, site loading speed, and mobile responsiveness are have become vital. If you haven’t heard of this update before and don’t know what it entails, make sure to get more acquainted with the topic here.
In light of these new changes, understanding these elements of your page as well as optimising them will soon become crucial for website owners. So what can you do about it?
In this article, you’ll learn just about everything you need to know in short, so grab a pen, keep reading, and ensure the future success of your site on the SERPs.
What is Page Speed?
While this might seem all too easy of a question, page speed is often confused with site speed, and these two, while similar, are very far from being the same thing. In a nutshell, site speed represents the average loading time of a few sample pages on a website, while page speed is the amount of time it takes for a browser to receive the initial batch of information from your server, aka. how long it takes to display all of the content contained on a single page.
How Page Speed Affects SEO and Its Importance for Your Site
The most apparent impact of page speed on SEO is that slow loading speed is detrimental to user experience, and hence it increases your bounce rate and lowers conversions. No user wants to wait an eternity for the content they’re after to load, especially when they can probably just find the answer somewhere else much faster. According to data provided by skilled.co, pages that load in 2.4 seconds or less had an average conversion rate of 1.9%, while pages that take over 5 seconds to load had only an average conversion rate of 0.6%. Google likes web pages that users like; it’s really that simple.
Just like site owners, web browsers try to provide their users with the best experience possible, and if your load speed is bad, you’re just not providing a good experience. Every search engine takes site loading speed as a ranking factor, and now with the new Google update, it’s more important than ever before, so don’t ignore it and act quickly.
How to Analyse Your Page Speed
One of the best tools to use to check your page speed is Google Lighthouse. This is a comprehensive tool that can show you how your page is doing across various metrics. The only downside to it is that tests can be run on only one page at a time, and everything has to be saved manually, but besides that, this is your golden ticket for understanding what works and what doesn’t. To run the analysis, you can either use Lighthouse in Chrome DevTools or navigate to PageSpeed Insights to do it straight from the browser. Then, just paste the URL into the text box, and that’s it.
There are four basic metrics this tool uses to analyse your page: First Contentful Paint (FCP), Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). All of them are scored from 0 to 100, and depending on the page’s speed, you’ll get either a great or a bad result.
To help your site get a good score across the board, these are the results you should be getting:
Under 1.8 seconds
Under 2.5 seconds
Under 100 milliseconds
How to Improve Page Speed and SEO
Now that you know just how important this is, how much it affects your SEO as well as how to analyse it, you should also know how to improve it.
Reduce the Number of Redirects
Each time a user is redirected to another page, they face additional loading times while waiting for the HTTP redirect requests to be completed. That means that having multiple redirects requests is rather taxing when it comes to loading speeds, as it uses up more of the browser’s resources and is hence slower to load.
This problem can be handled manually, but it can be a rather tedious process, so acquiring a tool like WP 301 Redirects might help you get a handle on it quicker. It can automate all of your redirections and catch any typos in the URL a user might make, correct them, and make sure they end up in the right place no matter what.
Enable Gzip Compression
Be sure that the images are not too large and are of the appropriate size. A full-size featured image should be no larger than 400KB, and in-content images should all be under 200KB. Another important factor is the image format, and it’s usually recommended to use PNG for graphics and JPEG for photographs. There are tools you can use for image compression, but this is not a must. If you do choose to DIY it, make sure the images are not too big, that you’re naming them correctly, and be mindful of the alt text as those are the most critical factors.
Use a CDN
Short for content distribution networks and often referred to as content delivery networks, these can result in a massive decrease in loading times. In essence, they are used to store copies of your site in multiple locations that are geographically closer to some of your users than your own servers or your host. So, when using a CDN, your visitors can access the site much faster regardless of their location.
Update Plugins and Clean Your Database
Assuming that everything is done properly, plugins should not interfere with the loading speed. However, sometimes if a plugin hasn’t been updated in a while, or there are too many heavy-duty ones on the site, they can interfere. Some plugins make database calls in the backend and other load assets on the frontend. Making those database queries and loading those assets can affect your loading times, especially in the aforementioned situations.
With some coding knowledge and a substantial amount of free time on your hands, you could probably take care of this yourself. But, there are easier ways to go about it. The first thing to do is get a caching plugin, and the second is to use a tool like WP Reset. This tool takes automatic database snapshots of your site, so you can restore it back to its previous working state should something go wrong with a plugin. Even in case of disaster, there’s always the Emergency Recovery Script that can save you even if the situation seems hopeless and you’ve encountered the white screen of death while messing about with your plugins. You can also use WP Reset to bulk install, update or uninstall plugins, so it’s very versatile in this regard.
Ready for Rocket Speed
Considering the importance of Google’s new update, no site owner can afford themselves the luxury of putting page loading speed on the sidelines. So make sure to utilise all of the information from this article in improving yours. Analyse your speed and take all the steps necessary to make it the best it can be to ensure you won’t experience a fall in ranking, but a rise instead.
Did you know that renters make up 34% of the population? That is over 100M people looking for properties to rent.
You may be wondering why your property management company has not been able to gain significant website traffic. The renters are out there, but how do you reach them?
The answer is marketing and SEO.
If you are unsure about what your company should be spending on marketing services to get better SEO results, keep reading! We’ll break everything down for you.
Why Should You Spend Money on Marketing Services?
Finding a place to rent is already a stressful experience. Your potential clients are looking for a trustworthy property management company that is easily accessible. They want to be able to see reviews and know they are in the best hands possible.
If they can’t find your website, they won’t know how amazing your company is.
Over 25% of people click the very first result when they Google something. If your company is on the second page of Google search results, you are at a disadvantage.
Putting money and time into a proper marketing budget can help your Google rankings and put your company in the lead.
How to Calculate Your Marketing Budget
There is a general rule of thumb when trying to determine your marketing budget. Instead of putting aside a fixed sum of money for marketing, you want to allow a percentage of your gross revenue.
If you have an established brand, you should be spending between 6-12% of your gross revenue.
If you are a new company and need to establish a presence online, you should spend closer to 12-20% of your gross revenue on marketing.
These numbers should give you a pretty good idea of how important marketing is for your company.
How Should You Spend Your Marketing Budget?
This will depend on where you are in your marketing journey. A company that is just starting will have different needs than an established brand.
A common need between a start-up and an established company is a marketing plan. They will vary based on where you are in your marketing journey, but a plan is necessary for both.
A marketing services company will help you come up with this plan. They’ll determine pain points and if you should be focusing on things like SEO services or email marketing services.
If you are a new company, how do you want potential clients to see your brand? You will build your marketing strategy around your beliefs and goals as a company.
Building Your Brand
If you are brand-new to the marketing space, you should spend more time building your brand and establishing your online presence.
To start, you want to build a positive reputation online. That means having a great website and putting up reviews or awards your company has received.
Building a brand requires a solid strategy, using all of the online marketing tools at your disposal. If you create a solid marketing foundation at the beginning of your journey, you are set up for success moving forward.
Set Your Marketing Goals
At the beginning of your marketing journey, you should set goals. This way, you have something trackable. Marketing without a plan and set goals can be inefficient.
Setting goals will also allow you to see what is working and what isn’t. Your plan does not need to be set in stone. If you find certain aspects of your marketing strategy aren’t working, adjust, and try something new!
If you have a strong foundation set in place, you can be agile in implementing your marketing strategies.
If you hire a marketing company to help in your marketing strategy, they’ll be able to provide you with reports to show your progress. These reports will show how your strategy is being implemented and how your website is moving up through the rankings.
Understanding how your potential clients interact with your content is key to the success of your company. Discovering what keeps clients engaged will help you narrow your focus, allowing you to specifically target the things that work for you.
Once you have been following your strategy for a few months, you’ll be able to see what is working for your company and what needs to change. You will have determined what keywords get you the best results and how to use them to your advantage.
As mentioned earlier in this article, the needs of a well-established company are different than a new company. Once you have implemented your strategy and received the results you want, you don’t want to stop your efforts.
Keywords and marketing tools evolve over the years. You want to stay competitive with the other companies out there that are consistently implementing marketing strategies.
If you let your marketing or SEO remain stagnant, you will start to fall in the rankings. This is why it’s best to create a long-term plan and stick to it.
Once you have hit the ranking you want and have succeeded at your marketing goals, you can set new ones to make sure you stay relevant!
Property Management Marketing Services Get Results
Marketing is essential to get your name and reputation as a company out into the world. Setting up a solid marketing plan will get you results over time.
If you are struggling to figure out a plan that works, consider hiring a marketing services company. Even better, hire one that understands the unique needs of the property management market.
Tech SEO fans and anyone passionate about the SEO industry, this episode is for you!
My guest for this episode is Jori Ford!
Jori Ford is currently Chief Marketing Officer at FoodBoss, which is a food delivery search comparison engine.
Prior to that, she was Sr. Director of SEO and Content at G2 among many other roles.
In addition to her vast SEO, Content, and Marketing experience spanning over 15 years – Jori also has a very extensive Engineering Background as well and is experienced in how search engine algorithms are actually created.
She has been a Speaker for Search Summit, Tech SEO Boost, and SES – and a columnist for Search Engine Watch.
In this episode:
Demystifying the “Magic” of Google
Different algos for different industries
Historical Content Records in Google
How Brand Search Volume may impact Rankings
Advanced Crawl Budget and Optimization
Crawl budget vs Crawl demand
Conserve vs optimize vs expand crawling
Why it’s possible for SEOs to be both technical and creative
Ways to learn SEO
Problems with SEO income studies
And lots more!
Related Episodes You Might Like
Show Agenda and Timestamps
Articles, Resources, and Links Mentioned
Find Jori Online
About Dan Shure
Hi! I’m Dan Shure.
I write all of the posts and host all of the podcast episodes you’ll find on the Evolving SEO blog.
“Two SEOs walk into a bar, a sports bar, a pub, an Irish pub, a sports bar near me…”
The lame SEO joke above makes fun of the fact that SEOs have to create a page for each keyword variation that they want to rank for.
The process is tedious and sometimes downright annoying, but the discipline to do tedious work is what makes SEOs successful.
This guide is intended to give you the (relatively) simple rules to win in the local search results—but it is up to you to be a “better SEO” and act on these rules more than your competition is willing to.
When you search for something in Google with a local search intent, you’ve surely come across the local map pack as well as local search listings:
While ranking in the local map pack may seem like a “black box,” there is a set of factors Google looks at when determining which listing to show.
This guide breaks down Google’s local ranking factors and actions you can take to improve your rankings in the local search results.
There are 4 primary local SEO strategies to win in local search:
Submit Data to Data Aggregators
Optimize Local Landing Page
Create Business Profiles and Listings
Acquire Ratings, Reviews and Check-Ins
Let’s look at these in local SEO more detail.
1. Submit your NAP (name, address, and phone number) to the following data aggregators:
This is the first place you should start, as Google relies on these data aggregators for its local search listings.
A “data aggregator” is exactly what it sounds like—there are platforms which collect large amounts of business listing data which Google has deemed “reliable.”
This is similar to how Google has deemed Wikipedia’s introductory paragraph as reliable enough to pull into the search results.
The more it finds your information correctly listed, the more confident Google becomes that your information is correct.
Just to give you an idea of the potency of this step, if claiming a business listing in a local directory is worth “one SEO point,” then submitting your information correctly to these data aggregators is worth 10+ points.
2. Areas of focus for local landing page optimization:
According to SEO expert Steve Wiideman, “There are easily a dozen focal points Google and other search engines will analyze on your local landing page when it determines how relevant the page is to a location-based search query.”
Below are some of the most important focal points:
Exceptional user experience (UX):
Obsessing on the user experience of your site.
This requires an honest comparison between you and your competition, ensuring that the page answers the search query of the user, and keeping the user from hitting the “back” button to return to Google.
Mobile & browser optimized:
Ensuring that the content on your site looks exceptional on mobile, tablet, and desktop, as well as each different type of browser.
Don’t assume that everyone’s device and browser is the same as the one you’re editing the site from—you’ll need to check what other people might be seeing, especially the most common devices and browsers.
Fast-loading for slower devices:
Ensure that images are optimized—lowest image size possible without compromising quality.
Spend the extra money on a faster hosting platform, consider using Cloudflare as your DNS to improve “time to first byte.” Plug in your domain to Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool for more load time optimization ideas.
Google Maps and directions:
Include Google Maps and directions on your local landing pages so that users don’t need to leave your website in order to find how to get to your location.
Take Applebee’s local landing page, for example:
Storefront and interior images and 360 virtual tour (optional):
For the best user experience, consider taking professional photos within your store and creating a “360 degree virtual tour.”
Google’s Street View tool can connect you with a local agency—the cost is usually a couple hundred dollars, but could prove to be worth the investment if showcasing your business’s interior is important to you.
Keyword usage and prominence:
To be clear, better content and user experience wins over time. Period. However, for “money” pages, content can only be so compelling.
On your local business listing landing page, place keywords naturally and prominently within the most important HTML elements on the page.
The most important elements to include your keywords are:
The page’s title tag (aka Title)
The page’s Heading 1 (H1)
The page’s Heading 2s (H2)
Each page should have one “focus keyword,” with the most searched for version of the keyword placed naturally within the title tag of the page, 2nd highest keyword variation placed within the H1, with the 3rd+ most searched for keyword variations in the H2’s.
Roughly 3-5 H2’s are recommended.
A sitemap is a list of all pages on your site.
Create and upload an XML sitemap to the root of the domain using an FTP solution such as FileZilla, then submit the URL where the sitemap is located to Google Search Console (usually /sitemap.xml).
Plugins such as Yoast will automatically add new pages taken live to the sitemap.
Smart internal linking:
There is a great emphasis placed on getting external links pointing to your site, but internal linking to your own content is also very important.
Whenever a new page goes live, that page should internally link to other pages wherever applicable, and existing pages should link to that new asset.
The anchor text (or visible text linking to the page) should function as a doorpost telling Google the name of the room they are about to enter. The anchor text should therefore be the keyword that the page is intended to rank for.
Structured data (schema.org):
Google recommends marking up content with “structured data” telling Google bots information about the content on your page.
Common types of structured data include:
breadcrumbs (think Hansel and Grettle telling you which path you came down to get to the page you are on)
the **** an article was posted on
the author of an article
the prices of products
data about specific rich media (such as videos)
other recent additions (such as marking up FAQs and reviews)
Be sure to update hours when appropriate:
This is pretty straightforward, but keeping information up to **** on your website and your Google My Business listing is essential to a positive customer experience and building trust with Google.
3. Accrue citations of the business’s name, address phone number, and website on the following platforms (and correct any incorrect information):
Google My Business
Yahoo! Local and Bing Places
Nokia HERE and MapOuest
Yelp, Facebook & Foursquare
Local/regional web directories
Internet yellow pages
Industry web directories
Be sure to research local business directories and niche-specific directories since these will provide the most citation value long term.
4. Acquire Ratings, Reviews and Check-Ins:
Create a review acquisition and monitoring program
Include a point of sale program (on receipt) as a part of review acquisition
Incentivize reviews through coupons and free product, but be careful to not offer to pay for only good reviews
Post native reviews on your website and social media to encourage more reviews
Create a suppression plan for bad ratings
Consider directing feedback that is likely to be negative to an internal reviews/complaint system. This lowers the chance of the negative review being published on a third-party platform
Have a loyalty/rewards program to incentivize customer check-ins
Local SEO Guide Conclusion
“SEO is not about doing extraordinary things. It’s about doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” — Rand Fishkin, Founder of Moz
Like this article began, the fundamentals of SEO are relatively simple to understand, but the rigor and drive necessary to implement the above recommendations is what is necessary to win in the local search results.
By following the above 4 action items, I believe you’ll see a return on your time invested be greater than just about any other marketing endeavor.
In my experience, I expect you’ll see some progress within a few weeks, but that a full SEO strategy doesn’t really come together until one-to-two years have passed.
Be patient, remain steadfast, and remain confident that you will win long term by following the simple guidelines laid out in this guide.
At MHC, our stance on the value of the disavow tool has changed over the years. In 2012, before the tool existed, we cleaned up Google penalties for clients by working hard to remove manipulative links from the web. From 2013 to 2016 we performed full manual link by link audits and filed disavows for hundreds of websites. We had many beautiful recovery stories. In late 2016, when Google’s algorithms changed so that the Penguin algorithm no longer demoted websites with unnatural links, but simply ignored them, our strategy changed again. We stopped recommending link audits for most cases, with the exception being sites currently dealing with a manual action for unnatural links.
In late 2018, our disavow advice changed once again. A new client came to us wanting a link audit, despite the fact that they had no manual action. When this happens, our first plan of attack is generally to recommend what we call a link overview. For this report, an MHC link auditor spends a couple of hours digging through a site’s link profile to determine whether a full manual link by link audit has potential to help. In most cases when we do this overview, our advice is that a full manual link audit and thorough disavow filing would not be worth the time and money spent. If Google is ignoring unnatural links algorithmically, why would filing a disavow to tell Google specifically which links to ignore help improve rankings?
When we finished the link overview for this client, we found that a large portion of their link profile consisted of self made links in articles, or low quality directory links, most of which were keyword anchored. Our conclusion was that if this site was reviewed by a member of Google’s webspam team, they would likely receive a manual action for unnatural links. We recommended a full link audit followed by filing a disavow through Google’s disavow tool. Our thought was that the disavow likely would not help improve traffic, but it was a good idea to file it to prevent the site from receiving a manual action in the future.
We filed a thorough disavow in August of 2018. We were quite interested to see whether this filing had an effect as it does not happen often that the only thing we do to help a website is file a disavow. We had not recommended any other quality fixes for this website. If the disavow was responsible for this growth, it is quite spectacular!
SEMrush’s traffic estimates for this site do an even better job of showing the dramatic improvements this site made after filing a thorough disavow. These improvements were not connected to the August 1 medic or other core updates. You can’t see the traffic going back as far as 2012 as it is quite low, (fewer than 50 visitors a day) compared to the growth seen following filing a disavow. This site had been trying to manipulate Google by building their own links for YEARS. We believe a thorough disavow file released this site from an algorithmic suppression.
Shortly after this happened, I, Marie, had the opportunity to attend a filming of a Google help hangout in New York City where I was able to ask John Mueller whether unnatural links could still algorithmically affect a site’s ability to rank to its full potential. His answer was that yes, it was indeed possible.
We feel that what John was talking about here was what happened with the case I mentioned above. This site had enough truly manipulative links that were made solely for SEO purposes that we feel that Google’s algorithms lost trust in their entire link profile, resulting in a suppression of the site’s ability to rank. When we asked Google to disregard a large number of these links from their algorithmic calculations for this site (by using the disavow tool), our suspicion is that the suppression lifted and this site is now able to rank to its full potential.
We have filed many disavows since then, and in some cases we have seen nice improvements. However, most recently, the only sites that we have seen improvements in following a disavow, are ones that had been building unnatural links on a very large scale.
At MHC, we do still believe the disavow tool can be helpful for some sites…but we believe that most websites will not benefit from filing a disavow in 2021.
When people say SEO has some relation with magic, what they actually mean is that it’s very complex.
It would take several very long articles for me to fully explain how it works.
Yes, it implies user experience, link profile, content strategy, referral traffic or marketing campaigns. And all these SEO efforts might seem very complex.
However, SEO is more simple that you might think, in some ways.
In a nutshell, it’s the multitude of criteria which makes a website the best result for a particular keyword, in the sense that it satisfies the user’s intent.
What you must understand is that Google isn’t trying to rank websites based on some checklist.
Sure, it follows a list of criteria, but it also looks at historical data in the SERP and since Rank Brain has got involved, machine learning really made things a lot more complicated.
It’s hard for us humans to keep pace with how Google decides what actually makes a web page ‘the best one’. At this point… I’m not sure even the makers themselves have any idea how things work anymore.
So, instead focusing on the latest trends and techniques, try to focus more on the basics. Do them well and do them consistently.
Sure, SEO and digital marketing experts like Neil Patel and Brian Dean always try new techniques and tweaks, but one thing’s for sure: They haven’t stopped posting!
Being consistent is difficult, but it’s also the key to success!
2. You don’t really understand what SEO is
So, we know Google is trying to rank the best page.
But what does that actually mean?
Does it mean the page with the most targeted keywords? The page with the best links? The page with the best content? Who wins the Google top organic results?
It’s the page that best satisfies the user’s intent. And in some cases, the website alone can’t do it!
Let’s say you want to rank high in the search engines for a very competitive eCommerce keyword. Well… if your offer isn’t good enough, you probably won’t.
If you want to rank for “shoes” but you only have 3 products in your store, you won’t be getting far.
If you want to rank for “cheap” but your prices aren’t cheap, again, you probably won’t have much success with it even if you optimize your website in this direction.
Moreover, many people don’t understand that high rankings within search results also reflect the quality of a business, at least to some extent.
For example, bad reviews on Google My Business can affect your local SEO rankings and your business listing and people don’t leave bad reviews because your SEO campaign sucks.
Sure, you can invest in search marketing and pump links into a website and get it to the top, but if the business itself doesn’t have the necessary infrastructure to properly satisfy clients (quality, shipping, support), the results won’t last for long!
I’ve seen sites pumping bad links and rushing to the top, only to fall ungracefully a short time after because they did not meet their user’s expectations.
3. SEO just doesn’t fit your business/idea
Another thing you should consider is that your business type should match SEO.
Usually, if you want to promote a short-term trending product, such as the fidget spinner, investing big and long term on SEO might not be the right choice!
Furthermore, if you need a quick turnover and you’re just getting started… SEO might not be the right channel for you, and you should look for PPC advertising or social media remarketing instead.
However, it’s not always a matter of SEO vs PPC. Usually, they go well together.
4. Your expectations are too high
The higher the expectations, the bigger the disappointment.
To be satisfied with your results, you’ll need to have realistic goals.
With SEO, you can’t really expect top rankings and huge websites traffic in a month or two, if your domain has just been registered.
You can’t expect to outrank the online presence of a strong competitor with thousands of links, with a tight budget and no scaling even if you apply some good SEO tactics.
In some cases, the entire competition might be way out of your league. That’s when you have to dig in deeper, to find those keyword opportunities that are easier to rank for.
You should still start with SEO as soon as possible, but start small. Look for keywords with lower competition and build your way up before saying that SEO does not work for you.
5. You’re not patient enough
Sometimes you just need to be more patient.
Most SEOs will tell you upfront that it can take from 6 to 12 months to see the top positions.
Some will claim that they can get you to the #1 spot in the first month. It’s probably false and you should stay away from them.
You should always see progress in the first month.
If it’s a new website, that might be as little as the first pages getting indexed.
So, if you’re not yet in the position you’ve wished for but have increased in rankings compared to the previous month, just give it a little more time. You’re on the right path.
If you want to find out more about why it takes so long to rank in Google and other search engines and what you can do to speed things up, check out this article.
6. Your budget is too small
Actually… you CAN have high expectations. But for the right budget.
If your budget is too small, you might not be able to do everything you want and you might end up saying that SEO does not work for you.
SEO includes things like: good server, fixing technical SEO issues, keyword research, content marketing, social media, investing in links and many others.
If you want to scale it up quickly and efficiently, the truth is that you will need a substantial investment.
Clients often ask me: “Why is it that SEO takes so long?”
Sure, part of the answer is: “Because Google.”
However, I’m always confident I can speed things up by scaling.
But why does scaling speed up the process, you may ask?
Well… it’s pretty straight forward:
More content = more keywords covered faster
More links = faster higher authority
More monitoring = better / faster tweaking
More programmers = faster site, more useful features, better UX, etc.
But all those above = more money.
Are you developing the content for 5 categories per month? Pump that to 10. Are you consolidating the site’s structure with 2 monthly blog posts? Up it to blog posts. Are you securing 1-2 links per month? Make that 5 and so on.
Many people get into SEO because they can use time instead of money to drive traffic to their websites and businesses.
However, time can’t scale things up. Only money can. If you want to rank faster, you’ll need to outsource some work.
7. You’re not focusing on Mobile
I know, I know, you’ve been hearing that Mobile SEO is very important and that most traffic is now coming from mobile devices.
The real thing here is that most professionals work from a desktop computer. So, the first contact with any issue, be it web development or SEO related, is on desktop, most of the times.
Often times I find myself fixing a quick issue on the desktop and completely forgetting to check how it looks on mobile devices.
And although I browse websites on mobile (as a user), when a client asks me something or signals an issue, I immediately check it on my computer (the phone is busy at my ear anyway).
In SEO, you always have to keep in mind that Google uses mobile first indexing.
If you’re mostly working from a desktop computer, like me, remember to always right-click in Chrome and hit inspect.
You can select multiple device types to stop any issues.
But sometimes, phones act differently than the desktop Chrome browser does (even when set on mobile view), so it’s always best to check on a physical phone itself.
And don’t forget to check on both Android and iOS.
Test if links work, test if scrolling works, test the entire checkout process, test, test, test.
Ask your friends to test, ask your mom to test ask your cat to test. If the cat can use it, you’re good to go.
In addition to that, consider that CSS hidden content also follows the mobile-first mentality.
Feel comfortable to combine desktop columns into sliders, or compress long paragraphs of text into dropdowns.
For example, on an eCommerce website, you might have a small description before your products, on the category page.
If on mobile devices the text pushes the products too far down, the users won’t be able to quickly see them when they load the page.
You can shorten the mobile description by using a ‘read more’ link which triggers a dropdown with the rest of the content.
8. You don’t analyze and you underestimate your competition
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” – Sun Tzu
Deep, isn’t it?
Google Analytics and Search Console are very good friends, but they only show you data for your own website.
Sometimes, it’s not enough to only do research about yourself. You have to analyze your competition! Not doing this, might end up in saying that SEO does not work for your website.
That’s why having an SEO Tools Set like CognitiveSEO is a good idea. You can analyze and monitor your competitors to see how they perform and find gaps.
So, if you want to improve your SEO campaigns, make sure you always perform an SEO Competitor Analysis.
9. You’ve skipped keyword research
New clients often come to me because they are not satisfied with the results they got from their previous SEO partners.
Many times, after a quick analysis, I can spot that the title tags and meta descriptions have not been optimized at all!
That lets me know that keyword research hasn’t been performed.
I’ve seen many ‘SEO pack’ offers around, which are mostly PBNs or different link building tactics. 5 links per month… 10 links per month… and so on.
It baffles me and I don’t agree with it, but I guess it’s about money…
They’re easy to sell and can often offer quick results. But those results might only last a very short time and I can bet on who the contract you’ve signed covers (spoiler alert, it’s not you).
However, while those links might be helpful in certain situations, they probably won’t get you anywhere without the right keyword in the right places.
Make sure you do your keyword research!
10. You’re not prioritizing the right things
It might not be that you’re doing SEO wrong. It might just be that you’re doing the wrong type of SEO or at the wrong time.
Why put so much effort into getting that 100% PageSpeed score if your loading times are already between 1-3 seconds?
Why write more blog content when you haven’t finished optimizing your category pages?
If you have a small website and no SEO has been performed, start with keyword research and title tags optimization.
If you have a website with a lot of images, start by compressing your images.
If you have a huge website with a lot of filters, make sure you prioritize crawlability and indexability by optimizing your faceted navigation.
Sometimes, it might be design (if your website is too outdated for your audience). Other times, it might be UX.
It’s different from website to website.
That’s why an SEO audit is crucial for your website’s success, especially if your website is huge.
But not just any SEO audit will do. You need an SEO Audit that actually looks in-depth at all your issues and then prioritizes them properly.
A website’s structure defines how easily users and search engines will navigate and understand your content.
Make sure you structure your website accordingly.
You should always keep important pages maximum 3 clicks away from your homepage.
If you’re using pagination, make sure all your pages are linked to from the first archive/category page.
Moreover, if you’re not doubling down already on internal links, you should.
Use your blog to always link to important pages, such as product category pages, using relevant and keyword rich anchor texts.
There’s no penalty for using too many internal links. Well… just don’t make everything an internal link and you’ll be fine.
12. You’re ignoring backlinks
I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to help most of my clients rank high with very few links if any links at all.
But once in a while, there are projects that even the best SEOs can’t handle without actively pursuing backlinks.
I like to think of myself as being able to do everything without links, but I also what to be as efficient as possible.
Getting backlinks is not bad. They’re just used improperly.
In some cases, your website simply needs more authority. And the fastest way to build it is by having quality backlinks.
If the number of links your competitors have far outweighs yours, you’ll have a hard time outranking them.
Sometimes, it might just mean it takes longer to see results, considering you’re doing everything else right.
Other times, it’s just plain impossible.
Links can help you kickstart that initial progress to help you gain your client’s trust and secure a long-term deal.
The best thing you can do is to build relationships, through content marketing and shareable content, such as case studies or interviews with industry-leading experts.
Don’t just stop at link building. Try to be involved and build a small community. That’s what Google likes.
Sometimes, however… you can just buy the links.
Of course, you don’t want to buy and spammy links that might get your website penalized.
But it’s wise to understand that links are ads and ads are paid for. The internet works based on ads, so own it.
You can always nofollow your paid links (just like Google tells you to do).
Nofollow links can also improve rankings and I’ve seen this with my own eyes on my own clients.
13. You don’t understand your audience
The audience is much more important for SEO than you think. It can make or break your SEO strategies. You might be saying: neh, SEO is not working for me when the actual problem is the way you tackle your audience.
You might have the best interest and the greatest information in your content marketing strategy. But if you don’t deliver it in the right format or tone of voice, you won’t be getting the best results.
Maybe your audience prefers video content. Then stop spending so much time writing articles. Just use your video scripts as repurposed content on your blog instead.
Make sure you understand your audience well and make decisions based on that.
14. You’ve externalized to the wrong SEO agency
I hate talking about this, but finding a good SEO company or digital marketing agency isn’t an easy task.
Even more… in the pandemic era of 2020-2021, people have rebranded as experts in digital marketing fields. Much to say… they’re not really experts.
So, be very picky when choosing who you work with. Here are some more things to look after when hiring an SEO company.
On the other hand, if you are an SEO company, here’s how to convince your clients to buy your SEO services.
15. You’re not monitoring your results
Correctly monitoring results is a very difficult task. Sometimes, is not that SEO does not work but monitoring results properly does not work.
That’s because monitoring isn’t just about traffic and conversion rate optimization.
It’s about discovering new opportunities to do things better.
But even so, whether it’s a drop in traffic or a drop in conversions, the sooner you see it, the sooner you’ll be able to fix it.
There are many tricks, such as using Google Search Console to identify secondary keywords for articles that are already ranking pretty well.
Go to the Performance Section, select a page that’s already ranking well and then go back to the Queries section. Activate Positions and CTR and look for those phrases that have a good click through rate.
You can then start adding that keyword to your content to rank better for it in the search engines. If you want even better results, try out the CognitiveSEO Content Optimization Tool.
Or, you can use a Secondary Dimension (Behaviour > Landing Page) on the Organic Traffic Channel in Google Analytics to figure out which pages converted the best. Then you can mix those with the Google Search Console query data to know (with approximation) which set of keywords bring the most conversions.
Tools such as Google Analytics have a lot of filters that can help you figure out what exactly happened on your website so make sure you use them for better SEO results.
I hope this list of 15 reasons why your SEO doesn’t work helps you figure out what you’ve been doing wrong or at least gives you a new perspective on your SEO campaigns.
Complex SEO strategies and tactics are awesome, but you always have to make sure you stick to the basics first.
Do you think there are other reasons why someone’s SEO strategy might not work? Share them with us in the comments section below.
Here are 180+ best practices for SEO based on the Google Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide.
If you don’t have time to go through the entire SEO Starter Guide from Google or you need a refresher, you are just in the right place.
Here I am sharing with you my notes from Google’s guide together with my own comments and insights. I was able to find 180+ best practices and tips for SEO there!
P.S. I strongly recommend that you read and study both the SEO Starter Guide and this article.
How to use these SEO best practices & tips
These notes will be especially helpful if:
you are a beginner SEO who wants to discover the best practices for SEO and implement them in their processes right away,
you are an advanced SEO who wants to refresh their knowledge (I learned a few new things from this guide),
you want to educate your client so that they better understand what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what needs to be done,
you have read the Basic SEO Guide and want to reinforce your freshly acquired knowledge.
I divided the SEO tips into different categories for your convenience.
Okay, so let’s jump right into my notes!
SEO indexability & crawlability best practices
Use the site: command to check if your site is indexed by Google. NOTE: Keep in mind that the site: command will only give you a rough number of pages indexed by Google. Check the entire list of Google search operators.
Google may not index your site for many reasons, such as there are no links pointing to your site on the internet, your site is brand-new and hasn’t been crawled by Google yet, your site is designed in a way that makes it impossible for Google to crawl and render it correctly, there were server errors when Google was trying to access your site, or it is blocked from indexing.
You don’t need to submit your site to Google to get in indexed. Google crawls and indexes the web automatically. However, on the flip side, there is no guarantee that Google will find and index your site on its own. NOTE: If you care about your site’s organic growth, always submit it to Google using GSC.
Google Search Console (GSC) allows you to submit your site to Google and monitor its performance. If you are an advanced user, you may want to check my guide on how to audit a site using Google Search Console.
Every new site owner should pay attention to vital SEO aspects, such as whether their site is indexed by Google, whether it offers quality to users, whether their local business is listed in GMB, whether the site is accessible and fast, and whether it is secure.
The best way to help Google find your site is to create and submit an XML sitemap. NOTE: Most content management systems will generate an XML sitemap automatically. Check how to find the sitemap of a site.
Google can also learn about your site by simply following links on other websites pointing to your site.
Use robots.txt to block specific parts of your website from crawling.
Subdomains are treated as separate websites, so you need to have a separate robots.txt for each subdomain.
The robots.txt file needs to be put in the root directory of the site.
Use the Google Search Console robots.txt Tester to test your robots.txt file. NOTE: Most content management systems (like WordPress) allow you to edit and modify robots.txt without the need to manually upload the file to the root directory. Check my guide on how to modify robots.txt in WordPress.
Keep in mind that blocked (disallowed) pages may still be crawled by disobedient search engines that do not comply with the Robots Exclusion Standard.
Anyone can view your robots.txt file and see what you are blocking, so this is not the place to block pages containing sensitive information.
To prevent pages with sensitive information from being seen, use password-protection or remove those pages entirely.
You should block internal search result pages from crawling.
Blocking a URL in robots.txt does not prevent it from being indexed. A blocked page may still be indexed if there are links pointing to it on the internet.
If a blocked URL gets indexed, then only its URL will be shown in SERPs (with no title or meta description being displayed).
To prevent a page from being indexed and shown in Google, use the noindex tag. NOTE: To only remove a given page from SERPs without removing it from the index, use the Removals tool in GSC.
The page should look the same both for users and search engine robots.
The <title> tag informs both users and search engines about the topic of a given page.
The <title> tag you specified in a web page may be displayed in SERPs but may also be rewritten by Google.
Create a unique <title> tag for each web page and place it within the <head> section of the page.
Make sure your titles are both short and descriptive.
Overly long titles may not be fully shown in SERPs. Google may choose to show only a fragment of the title. NOTE: Recent events regarding Google’s update of titles show that Google does not always show the most desirable fragment of a long title tag.
The <title> tag for the homepage should include the name of the site and include some basic information about it (e.g. the physical location).
Do not create titles that do not relate to the content of the page.
Do not use titles that contain default values like “Home”, “Untitled” etc.
Do not use the same title for a group of similar pages.
The meta description tag is supposed to be the summary of the content of the web pages. It should contain information that will let users decide whether they can find what they are looking for on a given page.
The meta description tag can contain one or two sentences or even a short paragraph.
The meta description tag is placed within the <head> section.
Google may use the description tag as snippets in SERPs.
In many cases though, Google generates the snippet on its own based on the query typed by the user.
Adding the meta description tag to the pages is not a requirement but is a good SEO practice.
There is no maximal or minimal recommended length of the meta description. However, it’s recommended to create meta description tags long enough to be fully shown in snippets.
Do not stuff keywords into meta description tags.
Do not use generic descriptions, such as “This is a web page about SEO”.
Do not write meta descriptions that do not relate to the content of the page.
If possible, create unique meta descriptions for all web pages.
If not possible (i.e. the site has thousands of pages), automatically generate meta descriptions based on the content of the page.
NOTE: Most content management systems (including WordPress with an SEO plugin like Rank Math installed) will automatically generate meta description elements based on the first sentences of text.
Best practices for headings
Use headings to indicate important topics within a web page.
Headings help create a hierarchical structure of the content of the web pages.
Think about headings as outlines for a large paper with main points and sub-points.
Don’t place random text into headings. Only place text that will help indicate the structure of the page.
Don’t use headings for styling purposes. Use <em>, <b>, or <strong> instead.
Aim for the logical structure of headings.
NOTE: You can use the Chrome Web Developer plugin to check the structure of headings on any site. Go to Information > View document outline. You may also want to check my entire list of SEO Chrome extensions.
Best practices for structured data
Structured data is there to help search engines better understand the content of your web pages.
Thanks to structured data, search engines can display your web pages in a more attractive way in SERPs, which can encourage more users to click on your snippet. NOTE: In other words, structured data (rich results) can help increase the CTR of pages.
This enhanced representation of pages using certain types of structured data is called rich results.
You can use a variety of entities to mark up your business in search. Some examples include products, business location, videos, opening hours, recipes, and more.
Search engines need a unique URL to crawl and index a given piece of content.
Different types of content should be placed on different URLs.
URLs are divided into different sections, such as protocol://hostname/path/filename?querystring#fragment and on the example of a real URL this may look like https://www.example.com/RunningShoes/Womens.htm?size=8#info.
It’s recommended to use the https:// protocol.
The domain name is in other words the hostname.
Google differentiates between the www and non-www versions of URLs. It also differentiates between the http and https versions. NOTE: Each variation is a separate URL to Google.
Path, filename, and query string determine what content can be accessed from the server.
Path, filename, and query strings are case-sensitive, which means that FILE is a different resource than file.
The hostname and the protocol are not case-sensitive. It makes no difference whether you type HTTPS://SEOSLY.COM or https://seosly.com.
It makes no difference if you put a trailing slash after the homepage (the hostname). Both https://seosly.com and https://seosly.com/ point to the same content.
It makes a difference if you put a trailing slash after the path in the URL.
If you don’t use the trailing slash like in https://seosly.com/seo, then it will signal that this is the file.
If you use the trailing slash like in https://seosly/com/seo/, then it will signal that this is the directory. NOTE: Content management systems like WordPress automatically add / at the end of URLs.
Create a simple directory structure that organizes the content of the site well and allows visitors to know where they are on the site.
You may try using the directory structure to indicate the type of content at a given URL like /product/ or /article/.
Use directory names that relate to the content present in a given directory.
Do not use a complex structure of deep nesting many subdirectories like seosly.com/seo/beginner/easy/guide/.
Create friendly and descriptive URLs that are more useful and easily understandable.
Avoid using long and cryptic URLs that contain few recognizable words like in seosly.com/fold/222/34.
Avoid using generic names in URLs like “page”.
Use real and meaningful words in URLs.
Avoid keyword stuffing in URLs like seosly.com/seo-services-best-seo-service-seo-expert/.
Remember that URLs are displayed in some form in search results.
Provide one version of a URL to reach a specific piece of content and refer only to this one version in your internal linking structure.
Having different URLs for the same or very similar content can split the reputation between these URLs.
If users are accessing the same content through different URLs, you can implement a 301 (permanent) redirect from the non-preferred to the preferred URL.
You can also use the rel=”canonical” link element to indicate the preferred version of a URL. NOTE: Remember that rel=”canonical” is treated as a hint by Google. 301 redirect is a much stronger signal.
Best practices for site navigation & sitemaps
Navigation is important both for users and search engine robots.
Navigation can help both users and search engines understand the most important content on the website.
Google pays attention to the site navigation to better understand the role a given page plays in the overall structure of the site.
The homepage is usually the most important and the most often visited web page of the site and is the starting place of navigation for both users and search engine robots.
Unless your site has few pages, you should think about where the homepage directs users and search engine robots.
The homepage usually should link to the more specific web pages and/or groups of specific pages (e.g. category pages).
Breadcrumbs are a great way to help users quickly navigate to the previous section or the homepage.
Breadcrumbs have the most general web page (the homepage) usually placed as the first (the leftmost link) and the most specific one as the last (the rightmost link).
Create a navigational page for users, an HTML sitemap that would show the entire structure of the website and help users better understand the hierarchy of the website and the topics it covers.
Create a navigational page for search engines, an XML sitemap to help search engines discover new and updated content on your site.
An XML sitemap should list all relevant URLs of the site together with the last modification dates.
Make sure that navigational pages (whether it be an XML sitemap or an HTML sitemap) do not contain broken links.
You should create a naturally flowing hierarchy in which users can navigate from more general content to more specific content. To achieve this, you should create navigation pages and make use of internal links.
All the pages of the site should be accessible through internal links.
It is a good idea to link to related pages where it makes sense.
Avoid creating overtly complex navigational structures where every page on the site links to every other page or where pages are 5+ clicks away from the homepage.
Make sure to use text links for navigation. It makes it easier for search engines to crawl and understand the site.
Avoid building navigation based on images only.
Make sure your site has a custom 404 page that guides users back to a working page or the homepage and is in line with the design of the site. You may add links to popular or similar pages on your custom 404 page.
Don’t allow 404 pages to be indexed.
Don’t block 404 pages in robots.txt.
Best practices for content optimization
Create compelling and useful content.
Use the Google Ads Keyword Planner to discover the keywords your users may use when looking for the content your site offers and learn their approximate search volumes.
Write easy-to-read and easy-to-follow content.
Avoid writing sloppy text with spelling and grammatical errors.
Don’t embed text in images and videos in the case of textual content. Search engines cannot read this form of text.
Clearly organize the topics you cover.
Break up long content into logical chunks or bullet points (like this one) to make it easier for users to find the content they are interested in.
Create fresh and unique content on a regular basis.
Avoid having duplicate or near-duplicate versions of your content across your site.
Create content for users but also make sure it’s accessible to search engines.
Don’t insert unnecessary keywords only aimed at search engines.
Don’t add frequent misspellings of keywords to your content with the purpose of ranking for those keywords!
Don’t hide text from users while showing it to search engine robots. NOTE: And vice versa.
Best practices for E-A-T & YMYL
Aim at providing expertise and trustworthiness in your specific niche.
Provide information about who is behind the site, who writes its content, and what goals of the site are.
For e-commerce or financial transaction websites, always provide clear and satisfying customer service information.
For a news site, provide information on who is responsible for the content of the site.
Use a secure connection.
Make sure that your site and its content are created and edited by experts on a given topic.
Avoid representing topics and conclusions that go against the established scientific consensus.
Make sure the content you provide is factually accurate, comprehensive, and clear.
Avoid using distracting ads that make it difficult to access the main content of the site.
Best practices for internal linking
Use text links.
Write good link text that is descriptive and concise (a few words or a short phrase).
Remember that link text (also called anchor text) informs both users and search engines about the topic of the page to which it points.
There are two types of links, internal and external. Internal links point to other pages on your site while external links point to other sites.
Use descriptive text for text links so that it conveys at least a basic idea of what the linked page is about.
Don’t use generic and meaningless anchor texts like “click here”, “read more”, etc.
Don’t use anchor texts that are unrelated to the topic of the linked site.
In most cases, you don’t want to use the URL as the anchor text.
Don’t use entire sentences or paragraphs as anchor text.
Make sure users can recognize links easily (e.g. use a different color).
Don’t style links as regular text so that users can accidentally click them.
Pay a lot of attention to the anchor text of internal links. This may help both users and search engines better navigate and understand your site.
Don’t overdo internal links by stuffing unnecessary keywords in their anchor text.
By linking to another website you may confer some of your site’s reputation to it.
If you don’t want to confer your reputation to the site you are linking to, use the nofollow attribute.
If you are using a third party’s widget, make sure that it does not contain links and if it does, add the nofollow tag to them.
Nofollowing a link means adding the rel=”nofollow” or a more specific attribute like “ugc” or “sponsored” to the link element.
To nofollow all links on a page, use the tag <meta name=”robots” content=”nofollow”>.
Add the nofollow or ugc tag to user-generated content. This includes the comment section, forums, guest books, etc.
Most content management systems (WordPress including) automatically nofollow user comments which are prone to spam.
One of the ways to deal with automatically-generated spammy comments is to use CATCHAs.
Best practices for images
To embed images on your site use <img> and <picture> elements.
The <picture> element allows for specifying multiple options for different screen sizes for responsive images.
Use the loading=”lazy” attribute for images to make your pages load faster.
Don’t use CSS to display images that you want to get indexed.
Use the alt attribute and a descriptive filename.
The alt attribute is the text that will be shown if the image cannot be displayed.
The alt attribute is also extremely helpful for people using screen readers.
The alt text also acts as the anchor text for graphic links.
The alt text also helps search engine robots better understand the images on your site.
Create an image sitemap to help search engines find your images and increase their likelihood of being found in Google Image search.
Use standards image formats, such as JPEG, GIF, PNG, and WebP.
Best practices regarding mobile-friendliness
Keep in mind that having a mobile-friendly website is critical nowadays.
The recommended mobile strategy is to use responsive web design.
Use the Mobile-Friendly Test to check if the pages of your site are mobile-friendly. You may want to check my guide on how to check if a site is mobile-friendly.
Use the meta name=”vieport” tag to instruct the browser to adjust the content to the screen size of the device.
Make sure all the resources of the site are crawlable or Google may not detect that your site is mobile-friendly.
Avoid using full-page interstitials and anything that may cause a poor user experience.
Make sure that the site is fully functional on all devices.
Make sure that all important images and videos are accessible on both mobile and desktop.
Make sure that structured data and other metadata are present on all versions of pages.
Best practices for promoting the site
Active promotion of your website can help your site grow faster and quicker.
In some cases, offline promotion (listing your site on business cards, posters, etc.) can also be helpful.
Another way to promote your business and your products is to send out recurring newsletters to clients to inform them about new content on your site.
For local businesses, creating a Google My Business (GMB) profile will help reach local customers on Google Maps and Google Search.
Use social media to promote your big campaigns
Avoid promoting each and every new piece of content on your site on every possible social media channel.
Reach out to sites that cover similar topics to yours.
Avoid spamming link requests to sites related to yours.
Avoid purchasing links from other sites with the purpose of increasing your authority.
Best practices for analyzing your site and users
Use Google Analytics (GA) to monitor and analyze the users of your site.
Use Google Search Console (GSC) to monitor and analyze how your site is doing in search.
I hope that thanks to my notes you were able to get even more out of the Google Basic SEO Guide. If you like this article, please share it with other SEOs so that they can become even better SEOs.
Here are other similar articles about SEO and technical SEO you might like:
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Olga Zarzeczna is a senior SEO specialist with 8+ years of experience. She has been doing SEO for both the biggest brands in the world and small businesses. She has done more than 150+ SEO audits so far. Olga has completed SEO courses and degrees at universities, such as UC Davis, University of Michigan, and Johns Hopkins University. She also completed Moz Academy! And, of course, has Google certifications. She keeps learning SEO and loves it. Olga is also a Google Product Expert specializing in areas, such as Google Search and Google Webmasters.
Every year, search engine ranking factors update alongside Google’s advances and algorithm updates.
Given the complex nature of SEO, this means that SEO-focused agencies (like RankPay) need to stay nimble and be ready to adjust. In fact, this is pretty fundamental to our ability to deliver consistent results.
There are tons of on and off-page ranking factors impacting performance to varying degrees. So much so that it’s easy for even experienced search marketers to miss (or just plain forget) the occasional consideration.
For novices or DIY types, it means that the task of trying to gain any headway yourself can seem pretty daunting.
With all of the above in mind, we’ve compiled the most important SEO ranking factors and will continue to regularly update this content. Let’s begin!
1. Authoritative Content
These days, you simply can’t have a list of SEO ranking factors without talking about content!
Authoritative content is the bread and butter of SEO. Arm in arm with quality links, these two factors are extremely important. And it makes sense right?
Search engines like Google strive to provide users with useful, relevant content. To get on their radar, your site should have authoritative posts that capture your target audiences attention and provide real value.
Want to see some data supporting these claims? Check out this survey that ranks on-page content as the most effective SEO tactic.
Image courtesy: Ascend2
Surprised? Hopefully not! Content has been of growing significance for the past 5-10 years.
But don’t worry, if you haven’t already invested in this approach, it’s not too late. In fact, there are any number of great ways to start gaining ground on the content front.
You can start small by writing the occasional blog article yourself, but if your really want results you’re going to need a content marketing strategy, fueled by smart research.
If you’re not looking to hire internal talent, many organizations find success outsourcing their content marketing. This is perhaps unsurprisingly an area of vast expertise for us here at RankPay, so please don’t hesitate to reach out and request a free consultation or quote if you think we might be able to help.
We’d be happy to meet with you and learn more about your content marketing needs, and build a strategy focused on results with you.
Another SEO factor that’s on par with content is backlinks. As you saw above, it’s in lockstep with content as one of the most crucial elements of any SEO campaign.
After the initial on-page optimization of a website, you’ll inevitably want to focus on high-quality linkbuilding. Funnily enough, some of the best ways to do this involve leveraging content.
Tactics include guest posting, earning mentions, influencer marketing, and link reclamation.
It’s no coincidence that the top sites on Google have more links than the rest. Brian Dean of Backlinko conducted a study that pretty much sealed the deal.
Don’t forget though… quality over quantity. This isn’t 1999 folks. Link stuffing and other black hat tactics are not going to help you, and they could earn you a penalty.
But make no mistake about it, high-quality links are still essential to earning higher rankings. Google has simply become much more sophisticated and effective at determining what links are actually high quality.
3. Anchor Text Profile
Another way to maximize the impact of the links you earn, is to assess the anchor text used. This refers to the string of text where the link is embedded.
Typically you want to use anchor texts that are relevant to the content being linked to. Web crawlers and users will then use it to determine what the post is about. The more effective you are at conveying what a page you’re linking to is about, the more likely the user is to be satisfied.
As you might imagine, these are a similarly great opportunity to include your targeted keywords as appropriate.
But be careful, there is such a thing as “over-optimization.” Avoid this by building a diverse anchor text profile. Optimize for anchor text types such as branded text, ***** URLs, and topic-related phrases.
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. Your best bet is to conduct a competitive analysis to find out competitors in your industry are doing.
A competitive research tool like Ahrefs is perfect for this. It works by breaking down a competitor’s organic keyword profile. With the “Keywords Explorer” tool, it can also provide you with keywords to target.
4. On-page Performance Factors
So we’ve talked a bit about off-page factors, and we’ve covered content. But there are still a ton of on-page factors that we’ve yet to talk about.
Providing a memorable user experience is a lot trickier than it sounds. It depends on numerous on-page SEO factors. Here are some of the most important worth considering.
Page Loading Speed
Whether you like it or not, online audiences can be a picky. According to statistics, 40% of web visitors will leave a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. This leads to a high bounce rate, which indicates a bad user experience. Here’s our guide to optimizing site speed. We also did a collaborative study with GTMetrix that you can check out here.
Two years ago, Google announced that mobile searches have topped desktop searches. With initiatives like mobile-first indexing and Google AMP, it’s clear that mobile is a priority. Conforming to these changes is easy thanks to responsive themes and tools like the Mobile-Friendly Test.
Aside from complying with what Google describes as a ranking signal, HTTPS also boosts the confidence of visitors. If you can assure data security, users are more willing to become subscribers or paying customers. Read more.
The click-through rate or CTR measures the number of clicks to your site in contrast to the number of times the link appeared. Aside from ranking higher in search, you can also improve CTR by optimizing page titles and meta descriptions.
Internal Link Structure
An optimized internal link structure allows visitors to see more of your site. It also helps crawlers discover more indexable pages. This helps spread the “link juice” coming from authoritative and contextually-relevant sources.
5. Brand Signals
SEO and branding go hand in hand when it comes to discoverability, authority, and trustworthiness.
Start by focusing on the social signals on and off a website. This includes the number of likes on a post, the number of followers in a page, etc.
These numbers help users determine the value of a piece of content. As a result, it can increase traffic, re-shares, and the content’s potential for more links.
Finally, remember that Google treats Facebook and Twitter links as if they’re regular backlinks. Their crawlers also use them to measure relevance and discover indexable content — but not as ranking factors.
These ranking factors are just the tip of the iceberg folks.
There are so many to consider when building your SEO strategy, that we could keep covering these all day! Alas, we all need to start somewhere, and these are the more important worth your time, consideration, and energy.
COVID-19 has changed consumer behavior, forcing the world to interact remotely. In a world where the number of digital consumers was already growing with younger generations trending towards less face to face interaction, less contact is looking like the new normal. Take a look at delivery services today: You don’t even have to physically swipe a credit card to make an order. Most bars and restaurants will drop off food at your front door. Patrons now order online without any interaction and don’t even see or speak to the delivery person, they just hear the doorbell ring.
Real estate agents are now doing showings through virtual tours with their clients’ via zoom and videoconferencing software. The search term “online yoga classes” has increased by 10x since the beginning of March, according to Google Data Trends. It’s time for all businesses to start preparing and adapting to this trend.
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Your Customers Are Staying Home, How Can You Reach Them?
As the CEO of a digital marketing company, I spend a good part of my day looking for ways to increase my clients business and make user experience easier. I’ve found recently that many consumers are increasingly interacting with the brands they **** from the comfort of their own home whenever possible. This isn’t going to change. Businesses that are ahead of the curve recognize this and are starting to interact with their customers in new ways. Here are some applicable examples:
Psychiatric practice, this might mean instituting a telemedicine protocol
Office furniture store, it could mean ordering online.
Implementing text message strategies, social media communication or even starting a facebook group to engage your customers in an active way. Companies should recognize this change in consumer behavior and stay ahead of it, streamlining remote interaction whenever possible.
Get Inside Your Customers Brain During The Decision Making Stage
Whiteboard all of the ways your customers get in touch with you
Do they have to buy through actually seeing you?
Can they purchase your product over the phone?
Are they able to make a purchase without ever actually speaking with your business?
If your customers have to see your or speak with you, it’s probably time to consider digitally productizing your offerings, which can be done for both low-ticket and high-end products and services. Providing your customers with the option to buy in a self-service platform can create a brand new stream of revenue.
When you start thinking about creating an automated online process, never assume buyers have extensive knowledge about your own business or service. Educate them while making process more consultative and personal. More information is better than less information. Always strive to answer questions through educational sales collateral that can be accessed remotely. Some of the best engagements online right now comes through quizzes.
Example: Brand North saw much higher engagements in the mortgage space when we changed the add language from “fill out this form to get a pre approved for a mortage” to, “take our 30 second Quiz To See If You Can Get Pre-Approved, and Find Out What You Can Do To Get Pre-Approved In The Future”
People wanted to know if they could get pre-approved and if not, what they could do to change it. They filled out the quiz like crazy.
We took the user through a talk track online and it resulted in a more personalized process. If the person isn’t qualified at the end of the quiz, you can offer them a separate product that will help them on their journey to becoming a full time customer. This can work for any business.
Increase Customer Retention And Brand Loyalty
Whiteboard all of the ways your customers speak with your company post purchase
If this isn’t documented, it should be.
Do you contact your customers on their birthdays?
Do you have a loyalty program?
How many channels do your customers see your brand on and are their more?
Telephone follow up
Text follow up
Email Follow Up
Social Media Follow Up
Once you have all of these channels documented, you should look at them individually for their viability. Are you making money from all of these channels? If not. it’s probably best to rethink the way you are using each channel, and then think about solutions. What do your customers want to see? Can you put out guides or helpful tips that will make their lives easier. The Goal is for these channels to “not be fluff” You want them to actually serve a purpose and answer a question that your consumers might have. The more helpful you are, the more engagement you will get. Posting a static “special” isn’t going to help. But if you post something about how they can implement your service or product to make their lives easier, it will help. That’s the difference. We created a Coronavirus Business Toolkit that can help you with a lot of this at a very low cost.
Taking The Plunge
In conclusion, I believe the trend toward remote communication isn’t going anywhere. So, make an effort to streamline your customers buying experience NOW. Make the transition easy by putting your customers first and giving them every opportunity to interact with your brand by implementing a frictionless buying journey. You heard it here first, I predict that there will be a major shift in communication and that it will continue. This pandemic has catupulted the world 10 years into the future. We will innovate in the next 2 years more than ever before. It’s time for your company to be part of the trend and hop on the bandwaggon. If you don’t it might be hard to survive. Don’t be surprised when you can purchase a car or buy a house with no physical human interaction. Instead, be prepared.