However, if you create a thorough strategy for your page, you start implementing it properly and consistently adjust tactics and tools…the reward can be huge!
Think of how many search queries happen each minute on major search engines.
And think of how many qualified leads can land on your site if you rank high for very specific keywords connected to your product or service!
Not only will you see a temporary peak in traffic (as it would happen with a massive advertising campaign) but a good page rank will make sure that your page will have a constant flow of clicks over time.
Therefore, it is necessary to be familiar with some of the most important concepts which might influence your position on search engines and other elements which will make sure that your page is visible and attracts the right kind of people (leads/prospects) to it.
That’s why we decided to come up with these tested SEO tips you really need to look into when trying to improve your SEO rankings.
SEO Ranking 2020
301 Redirects & SEO
There are many reasons why your website needs to be permanently relocated. If this happens, you certainly don’t want to lose all the privileges (visibility, rank, reputation…) you gathered through hard work and appropriate digital marketing strategies. 301 redirects will guarantee that search engines understand that your page moved.
Additionally, search engines may struggle with duplicate content. That means that they might not go onboard with pages which report the same information. But because they treat jasaseo.be as a separate website from www.jasaseo.be.com, they might interpret the same page on the two sites as duplicate content.
In this case, it is also worth considering a 301 redirect on one of the sites that point at your favourite version!
404 Redirects & SEO
We all agree on the fact that a 404 error is extremely annoying. But you can easily personalize your 404 pages in basically every environment. If you’re not sure how to do that, simply search for “404 custom page” in connection with your website technology.
Custom 404 pages are well-received by search engines and, if created with a certain amount of creativity, can also be accepted by customers!
These pages can even attract attention and spread through social media as it happened with these tailored 404 redirects. 404 redirects can really affect your SEO rankings.
AdSense/Google Ads programs & SEO
It is worth noticing that, according to Google, buying ads will not algorithmically influence your SEO ranking.
You can hear this directly from the source, in this videos on common SEO myths and the embedded video below on correlation of Adwords and organic search ranking by Matt Cutts.
Advertising & SEO
Nonetheless, it is important to underline the fact that promotion (any form of promotion) always has a secondary effect on ranking.
Attracting people to your page or to your content through promotion will obviously increase traffic and search engines know that sites that attract constant, real traffic must be relevant and useful.
On top of that, promotion (as social media marketing, Paid Search Results, Adwords and so on) that direct people to great content will increase the chances that people will be willing to share your content on social media.
And the more your content is shared, the more relevant it is considered by search engines! Advertising and promoting content can result in backlinks and mentions ultimately improving your SEO rankings.
Buyer Persona & SEO
No matter what product or service you want to sell. You know that everything, from features to design, communication to media channels has to be designed around an extremely detailed picture of your standard customer.
That holds true also for page ranking: the whole website design, content, and structure has to reflect specific needs of your standard buyers persona.
Inconsistency is penalized by search engines and consistency can improve your SEO rankings. If you sell cleaning products, you can lose lots of point by adding content on lotteries, talk shows, vegetables or anything else that is not considered relevant to your specific target group.
Search engines can easily be confused.
You need a clear statement, who is your target group, what you’re offering them and how. All the information you add to your site must somehow fit this scheme.
Bounce Rate & SEO
Even if this concept should actually be treated as a sub-point for a following term on analytics, it is important to underline that bounce rate is a very difficult topic and therefore, it must be mentioned here too.
In theory, you’d think that the longer somebody stays on your site, browsing through your pages, the more interesting and relevant your website should be considered.
However, the whole idea of bounce rate is not that simple.
It really depends on what your website is about: If you offer definitions like a dictionary, the fact that your audience comes and leaves right away might be an indicator that your page is effective at providing the expected results.
And that can be rewarded by search engines.
A blog, on the other hand, is effective if people linger and reads the whole story and maybe clicks through other posts.
The debate on bounce rate is alive and ongoing!
Google rewards or penalizes your site based on a certain bounce rate based on the kind of site and sector. A lower bounce rate can improve SEO rankings.
Improve your page loading speed
Your page loading time is important for a few reasons.
First of all, if your load speed is too slow, Google will recognize this, and it will harm your ranking.
But a slow website will also impact the way your website visitors engage with your pages.
As a result, those negative interactions will hurt your ranking too.
Look at how abandonment rates increase for websites with long page loading times:
How slow is too slow?
Research shows 40% of visitors will abandon websites if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
What’s even more shocking is that 80% of those visitors won’t return to that website.
This is terrible for your SEO ranking because it ultimately kills traffic to your site.
But on the flip side, if your page loads fast, people will keep coming back.
Google’s algorithm will recognize your website’s popularity and adjust your search ranking accordingly.
This makes it extremely important to optimize both your page speed and server response time.
If you want to test the speed of your website, there are online services such as Pingdom available for free.
This will allow you to test your website from different locations all over the world.
If you find that your site is running slow then you may want to check your website theme and plugins.
The main idea is that offering valuable information to your target group is extremely well-received by search engines.
Content (as blog posts, videos, podcasts, ebooks….and so on) allows you to:
Utilize and integrate specific keywords
Interact with your prospects or existing customers
Offer great value for your visitors
Be seen on social media when your content is shared
…And much more!
Generating content can be time-consuming and challenging. But search engines will certainly reward your efforts!
Promotion on the site doesn’t really add value to the ongoing exchange of information that search engines promote. Content (any kinds of good content) creates information and knowledge that can be accessed and shared at any time.
Many people use the expression “Content is King,” and we certainly should join the crowd too. But the phrase has been used so often that, as it often happens, it has partially lost its true meaning.
This motto doesn’t actually do justice to the importance of a great content marketing strategy!
Important is that you don’t create content for search engines. If you only create content with the purpose to stuff your site with keywords, this will actually have a negative effect on your SEO rankings.
Content Curation & SEO
There’s an ongoing debate on whether on-site content curation actually creates some benefits or not in terms of page ranking.
Many people point out that content needs to be unique in order to have an effect on SEO rankings.
Others show that also re-proposing great content (awesome infographics for example) that other people created provides valuable information to your target group.
It doesn’t really matter what the correct answer is though…a proper amount of content curation on the website and on social media will definitely help search engines understand in what sector you specialize and therefore, give you more authority and credit for specific keywords.
It is important to find an ideal balance between content creation and content curation.
Communities & SEO
SEO tip 10: Social media are becoming an always more preponderant factor which influences your level of authority on search engines.
If your content and your website is shared a lot and if you managed to create large communities around your site, search engines will interpret this as a signal that the information you provide is relevant, original and valuable.
Create easy opportunities to share your content and take care of your communities (followers on social media) and interact with the people.
That will show search engines that you’re credible and dependable and offer some social proof that will also help you convert more customers & ultimately improve SEO rankings.
Produce high quality content
How often do you update your website?
If you haven’t touched it since the day you built it, you probably don’t have a great SEO ranking right now.
To drive more traffic to your website and increase its popularity, you need to give visitors a reason to keep coming back.
Your content needs to be high quality, recent, and relevant.
Another factor that impacts your SEO ranking is so-called dwell time.
This relates to how much time people spend on your website per visit.
If your site has fresh, exciting, or newsworthy information, it will keep visitors on your page longer and improve your dwell time.
Websites that provide highly informative content typically have long dwell times.
You can also use your images to sneak in keywords by naming them accordingly.
For example, let’s say you have a website that sells toiletries or other bath products.
Instead of naming an image something like “shampoo1,” you could name it “best shampoo for long hair.”
You can also strategically use keywords in the title of your image as well as the caption or description.
Domain Names & SEO
Exact match domains can give you an advantage, small but still an advantage.
Make sure that your domain name has something to do with the area in which you work.
If you want to rank high for “marketing consulting for freelancers” for example, try to create a company name that has something to do with the concepts of “marketing” and “freelancers” or synonyms of these terms.
And therefore, choose a domain name that reflects the scope of your business and integrates important keywords.
If you can’t do that (because all company names are already in use or if the domain you’re looking for is already taken) try to create other combination of words that you can use in micro-websites that point (or are connected) to your main site or an additional external company blog connected to your site, whose domain name includes keywords.
Note: Try not to include your company name in page titles and descriptions, though. You only have a few characters to tell search engines what your page is about and you certainly don’t want to waste resources stating the obvious. It would be like signing each Tweet with your full name…I mean you only have 140 characters to send a message and your name actually appears as sender. Totally useless waste of space!
Email Marketing/Subscriptions & SEO
Although having a large number of newsletter subscribers doesn’t have any algorithmic effect on SEO rankings, also in this case e can take advantage of secondary benefits generated from a long list of email contacts.
A larger community you can engage through newsletters and social media can generate traffic you can redirect to your blog when you have a new post and a great audience willing to know more information, receive and hopefully spread great content you purposely prepared for them.
Having people sharing your content can increase social signals and improve SEO rankings.
Together with great webmaster guidelines, search engines offer users the opportunity to interact directly with all the important aspects of page optimization, keyword planning and general elements which influence SEO rankings through a series of tools which include analytics, webmaster tool and planners.
Spending some time understanding how these resources work will have an invaluable effect on your site’s SEO.
Submit a sitemap, optimise headlines, internal and external links, navigation, appearance, level of content vs. code, keywords and much more following tips and hints provided directly by search engines.
If you do everything correctly, half of the job is done!
Understand all the analytics you’re presented, from bounce rate to exit rate, keyword density, flow, page views and so on to make sure that your page is actually designed according to its purpose (which, if you sell a product or service should be a conversion.)
Hyperlinks & SEO
The web is an ocean of information that moves from island to island.
It is a global dialogue that allows us to share common knowledge and information across the globe.
Unless you want to be that kid at the party who sits in the corner with his iPhone instead of chit-chatting with all the other guests, make sure you add value to this worldwide conversation.
Add information and link to other sources, comment and expand/re-elaborate ideas.
If your site has no connections to the external world it means that you’re only rehearsing a monologue or a boring sales pitch.
And search engines don’t like that!!!
Open the doors and connect to the world.
Continue talking about something starting from the point at which the others have stopped! This will slowly improve your SEO.
Headlines and structure & SEO
If your website’s structure is confusing for people, it will be the same for search engines.
Robots go through your website simulating the behaviour of a normal user. If they can’t understand where they are and where they need to go next or even why they landed on a certain page, that means that your website is chaotic.
The whole structure needs to be planned from the very beginning, during the inception phase.
Clear headlines and internal links should clearly let people (and therefore search engines) understand where they are, why and what to do next! Website structure can improve your SEO rankings if done correctly.
But the whole concept of inbound marketing includes a lot more tactics and elements which need to be put in place.
Again, the mantra here is always the same: no matter how you attract traffic through your website, search engines like traffic under the condition that your inbound strategies are clean and legit.
If you bring value to your audience you automatically bring value to search engines and improve your SEO rankings.
Make sure that all the widgets, tools, channels and content that you implement in your inbound strategy are related to your business field and to your company while keeping in mind your main proposition and mission.
Alignment in your marketing strategy, sales strategy, and the tools you decide to adopt generate the kind of consistency that will positively affect your SEO rankings.
Java scripts and Flash (Careful!) & SEO
It might be tempting to add lots of utilities and include cool presentations and gadgets using ueber-awesome java and flash applications. But the problem here is twofold.
1) Search engines can’t deal with this kind of content
2) A streamlined website will perform much better in terms of speed compared to a website that looks great but involves plenty of apps and animations.
And speed is now a key element for SEO rankings!
Jacking (memes/news) & SEO
You know how popular a particular hashtag can become on Twitter, right?
And how you can try to attract more attention by participating in that discussion.
The same bandwagon effect can be used on search engines. You can always take a particular piece of ultra-relevant piece of news and cover it from your own point of view within the sector in which you operate.
The attention that the news receives will partially be mirrored in your results.
This particular content marketing technique is called newsjacking and can be done with events but also with the latest technologies.
Say Google successfully concludes its self-driving car project and stars first tests in California.
You can easily integrate this technology in a blog post.
Up-to-date content always attracts more clicks, is shared more often and is well-seen by search engines.
The same can be done with memes. If a meme is particularly popular it will also be shared more often and will come up in search results. If it’s funny and pertinent….why not? You can’t be serious the whole time!
Careful though with newsjacking and memejacking. Some companies went one step too far and ended up ruining their campaign with miserable marketing blunders.
Keywords/Keyphrases & SEO
This seems pretty obvious.
But you need to have text on your pages. Lots of it (that’s why also having a very rich blog will definitely help you rank better.) And your content needs to include a certain amount of keywords and phrases that your customers are likely to use in their search.
This words can also be included in the meta description of your page and ideally also in the page titles and headlines (to show search engines that these are important to you and to your audience.)
Avoid overstuffing or cheating!
Keywords must be used naturally within the text content of your site.
Adding them as meta tags will actually not help you anymore.
And also using them in the alt description of your pictures (the description that would appear if a picture could not load properly) has a mild effect on your organic SEO rankings.
Search engines identify keywords when used consistently and naturally throughout your content. No need to trick them and no need to force them into your pages…
Be as descriptive as possible with your product or service description.
Create keywords and phrases as focused and specific as possible.
Ranking high for generic keywords could be almost impossible, but if you offer an exclusive service which can be found through a targeted search, the chances of having a good spot in the SERP are much higher.
The reward might come with time…but you’ll be able to attract selected traffic which will convert much more easily.
Especially if you run a very local business or if you sell extremely specific products.
If your business is placed in a particular geographical area, there are many opportunities for you to be listed in lots of local directories (including the online version of the yellow pages) and also include more specific long-tail SEO tools in your marketing strategy.
If you combine all this together with the number of local places for promotion (including classifieds and local ads) and the relatively cheap channels you can implement in your advertising plan to attract traffic and links, you can understand that having a local business is very attractive in comparison to running global operations.
And that’s partially why different beachheaded strategies are put in place when launching startups!
Creating proper links throughout your page is essential for facilitating navigation for both robots and people alike!
And when creating content you can always use intelligent anchor text to link to previous posts so that search engines see these pages as answers to specific questions.
Never link a post that talks about winter tires (for examples) saying something like: “Find more tests here” using the word “here” as an internal link to your previous tests.
That doesn’t add any information!
If you link the whole sentence “Recent performance test results for different kinds of winter tires available in the United States” to your post, search engines will register this kind of pointer to the article you have in your blog and send people to it who use this kind of long-tail, specific search.
Make sure that your description offers a lot of information and that it partially differs from the original headline in the content you’re linking to. Links can have a great impact on your SEO rankings.
Mobile Search & SEO
It’s 2020! If you forget that you’ll end up like the dinosaur at the entrance of the Google Plex in Mountain View: extinct.
You can’t ignore the fact that the majority of your customers will access your site through a mobile device otherwise you’ll lose lots of prospects.
And search engines know that.
That’s why one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to forget to create a website optimised for different devices!
Speed and mobile-friendliness are very important.
Forgetting to create a proper compression for code, snippets and images and optimizing the website for smartphones and tablets will first result in being penalized by search engines and then by potential customers!
Tools like this can help you identify words that might be too long or difficult for people to comprehend.
Fix any broken links
If you’re using authority websites for hyperlinks, you shouldn’t have to worry about the links breaking.
But it can still happen.
Broken links can crush your SEO ranking.
Plus, it doesn’t look good when a link you provide to your visitors brings them to an invalid website.
You can use tools like Dead Link Checker to search for links with errors on your website:
You can use this to check your entire website or specific pages.
If you sign up, you can also set up your account to get checked automatically.
Anytime a link goes dead, you’ll be contacted right away so you can replace it.
You can also use this resource to monitor other websites relevant to your industry.
How can that help your SEO?
Well, if a link goes dead on another website, you can notify the webmaster of that page and ask them to replace the dead link with a link to your website instead.
You’re doing them a favor by letting them know about a problem with their site, so they might be willing to do you a favor in return.
This will drive more traffic to your website. Outbound links from other websites to your page will help improve your SEO ranking too.
Provide appropriate contact information
Speaking of appearing untrustworthy, have you ever struggled to find the contact information of a business on a website?
I know I have.
This should never happen.
All your contact information should be clear and in plain sight for people to find.
The worst thing that could happen is for people to start reporting your website just because you forgot to include your phone number, email address, and location.
This will crush your SEO.
Encourage sharing on social media
Every business and website needs to be active on social media.
That’s pretty much common knowledge.
But what’s not as well known is that you can get your SEO ranking improved if people share links to your website on social media.
Here’s an example from a JasaSEO.be in which they ran a campaign specifically designed to increase social sharing:
Imagine the results you’ll see if you encourage social sharing as a regular part of your SEO campaigns.
One of the best ways to do this is by including social sharing icons on all your content.
You should also share links on your social media pages.
When that information appears on people’s timelines, all it takes is just one click for them to share it.
PPC & SEO
We also mentioned that paid search doesn’t actually affect SEO ranking while emphasizing the fact that benefits might be connected to awareness and increased traffic.
Additionally, PPC campaigns in combination with keyword planners are very useful tools to test what descriptions and keywords work well with your audience.
The combination of keywords and description that has a higher CTR (click-through-rate) will offer you great insights on how to formulate your content on the site and when showing up in a whatsoever SERP, people will be a lot more likely to click on your link over a competitor’s link.
Search engines can recognize this preference and therefore if you optimize your site for CTR, your SEO ranking will definitely improve.
The more people talk about you, the more important you’ll be perceived by search engines. Engage in conversations and issue press releases. Create awareness and mentions and your page will be appreciated by search engines.
Quality vs. Quantity & SEO
SEO tip 32: This expression belongs to the category of the most overused phrases in history.
Nevertheless, we need to remember that this concept applies to many fields: backlinks, content, social media channels and much more!
Qualified traffic & SEO
Traffic generates more trust in search engines.
But search engines are getting smarter and smarter and they can also identify the kind of traffic that lands on your page.
Try to attract people who are related to your sector.
Design your content marketing strategy to adapt to your buyer persona.
Of course, people who are interested in your content will also be more likely to become clients (if the content you chose is actually connected to their pains and needs.)
At the same time, search engines will immediately notice that your site is a valid answer to their needs and they’ll be more likely to send other people to you as a friend who recommends a great restaurant to you!
Create clean, focused, and optimized URLS
While your title tag needs to be emotional, your URL doesn’t. Let me show you what I mean.
Here is an example that Dan Shure used:
Avinash’s title tag is optimized for SEO and click rates. It’s optimized for SEO because of the keywords “digital marketing,” and it is optimized for click rates because of the words “change or perish,” which are very emotional, wouldn’t you agree?
His URL, however, does not include “change or perish.”
It doesn’t need to because it is only ranking for “digital marketing.”
How might you change this title tag to optimize it further? I’d rewrite it like this: “Digital Marketing: 2015 Rule Book. Change or Perish.”
That way you move the two keywords up front.
Write a great meta description
The meta description is the next element you must optimize.
If you view the source code, the tag looks like this:
Make them descriptive – Front-load keywords that are relevant to the article. If you like formulas, ask “Who? What? Why? When? Where? How?” That’s a formula journalists use to report. It works equally well when writing descriptions.
Make them unique – Each meta description should be different from other pages’ descriptions.
Make them short – Google limits meta descriptions to 160 characters or fewer.
While meta description is not as important your heading is when it comes to getting clicks because people don’t seem to pay nearly as much attention to the description, it is still important from an SEO ranking perspective. So don’t ignore it!
Robots.txt & SEO
You can instruct search engines to avoid a certain amount of pages in your site.
Be careful though!
Too many blocked resources will give the impression that your site has limited access. If you want to go for the mass, you have to signal that you’re open and welcome all of your guests. robots.txt can have a massive effect on SEO rankings.
Retargeting & SEO
The concept is actually more related to social media marketing. But since you need to implement specific measures on your site to mark visitors who didn’t convert and reach them out at a successive stage through social media advertising, we can briefly mention this strategy in your checklist.
Retargeting can be a very useful tool for attracting leads and turning them into loyal customers.
A successful site is certainly more appreciated by search engines!
Rich Snippets & SEO
Especially if you have a brick and mortar kind of business, rich snippets, and structured information can make your business more accessible.
You can immediately communicate location, contacts, opening hours, services and much more.
The more information you offer, the more visible you’ll be for search engines and through such a great and useful presentation, your link will attract a lot more hits!
RSS Feed & SEO
Integrate an RSS Feed in your blog and try to share it on as many sites as possible in order to attract clicks and attention from users and robots alike!
Communities like Triberr or Ning can influence your SEO rankings a lot both directly and indirectly (through shares and such.)
Social Bookmarking & SEO
Social bookmarking sites like Mix, Reddit or Digg can help you spread content and slowly become a household name for people and search engines!
Trust & SEO
In order to rank high search engines must trust you. Think about it. Would you recommend a particular dentist to a friend if you weren’t absolutely sure that they are in fact a good dentist?
The same is true for search engines.
They redirect traffic to sites which they trust. And the factors which affect trust are numerous:
How long the website has existed
How long you purchased the domain for (they want to know that you’re here to stay!)
Authority (content, mentions, social proof, sources of links…)
Security (consider implementing https and SSL certificates and such)
Stability (you need a good server with an excellent up-time)
Structure and technology
…and much more
Unique Content & SEO
We talked about the fact that there’s an ongoing debate on duplicate content.
No matter what the results of this debacle are, the idea is that we need to offer something useful and original if we want people to access our website, spend some time there and even share it with their friends.
Spend time looking for some great, exclusive content and both your audience and search engines will show their appreciation!
UX & SEO
Can I say it one more time?
Design pages for people not for robots!!!
A great user experience translates into accessible content and a lower bounce rate.
Create a picture that depicts your user journey through the site and try to spot potential areas that can create frustration.
Keep redesigning pages following feedback and tests and eliminate all the problematic areas.
Video Marketing & SEO
Remember when we said that not considering mobile users will definitely translate into a ranking suicide?
The same holds true for video marketing.
The internet world is moving towards video content because thanks to modern cloud solutions bandwidth is not a problem anymore, server space is also irrelevant, the technology necessary for producing great quality videos is getting cheaper, people are getting used to accessing content in the form of videos…and other reasons we can’t discuss here.
Implementing a well-designed video marketing strategy nowadays is essential for reaching out customers and for attracting traffic.
Did you know that after Google, the second largest search engine in the world in terms of a number of searches is actually Youtube?
Be there or be square! (you can also opt for other video platforms though which also offer lots of advantages.)
Wiki and Q&A Sites & SEO
As Forums (treated above) also Q&A sites offer the opportunity to generate awareness, connect to the target group, help, support, start a dialogue and create precious backlinks.
And as we said when we talked about Forums, be respectful, useful and don’t use these sites for plain self-promotion!
With the proper netiquette, Q&A and Wiki sites can help you identify the needs and pains of your audience and design a website that ranks much better on search engines!
Cross-posting is a tactic which involves publishing messages and sharing content through as many channels as possible (social media, aggregate sites, forums, online communities, newsgroups…) If done properly (without spamming and posting off-topic information) this strategy will generate attention and links.
Yahoo/Bing & SEO
When we think about SEO rankings we automatically think about Google. And if it’s true that Google is by far the number one search engine in the world, you can’t forget that Bing and Yahoo directories still represent precious sources of information for a considerable proportion of internet users.
Don’t forget to optimize your site considering also these channels or you’ll lose the opportunity to get in touch with lots of potential customers.