Search Engine Optimization is the art of appeasing Google and creating a site that helps them achieve their mission statement, “Organizing the world’s information and make it accessible and useful.”.
Of course, this makes SEO sound easy when in fact it is a complicated beast that can rear its ugly head if done improperly. The truth of the matter, however, is that if you proceed with this statement in mind while performing SEO related tasks, you will be one step closer to great website rankings.
Here are 5 great tips to help you succeed in the land of search. These tips are geared directly towards Google’s mission.
Create Content that is Useful
The trend in content this year revolves around Rank Brain and Voice Search. Rank Brain is an artificial intelligence geared towards figuring out what a user actually wants. In other words, it is designed to examine a user’s intent. For instance, if someone searches the word “ice” do they mean that frozen water or are they talking about diamonds? Rank Brain focuses on a few factors based on a person’s past search history, geodata and what the person might actually mean.
Another purpose of Rank Brain’s AI is to handle never before searched terms. Because of Voice Search, these searches are now in the millions. Think about it for a second, because we have the ability to use a natural language and vernacular when searching using our voices, our searches have become longer and more geared towards a specific topic. In the past, we would shorten our search queries as we typed them into the search box.
What this means is that content for a website should be geared specifically towards the user in a more natural tone of voice. Focusing content in this manner will enhance your rankings dramatically.
Tips for writing good content include:
- Identifying who your content is for. Also known as a customer persona, you will want to know things like how old are they, where do they live, what questions do they ask about your business or service. The more questions you can answer about your clientele the better.
- Don’t keyword stuff. Rather, keep your content clear and to the point and answer questions geared around your topic in a conversational manner.
- Write in the present tense and use words like you and I. Address the customer as if they were sitting in front of you.
- Be niche specific. Long-tailed keywords tend to convert better and when you write for a broad audience you are missing out on this tactic.
#2 Site Speed Will Be Huge This Year
It’s official. Google has announced that site speed will be a ranking factor starting in summer 2018. Making improvements to your page load times not only helps with rankings but also the user experience.
A great tool to determine just how fast your site performs is Google’s Page Speed Insights. This tool will not only tell you how fast your page loads, but also gives you tips for improvement.
#3 Optimize Your Page Titles the Correct Way
Title Tags refer to the page titles on your browser tabs. These are the first thing Google sees when crawling your website. Too often than not these are ignored by site owners who don’t understand the importance of these on rankings. Imagine how many websites are out there trying to rank for the word “home”.
Instead, this is a great place for adding keywords. The recommended length is a maximum of 70 characters so use this real estate wisely. You will want to add keywords that are important to your business and what the overall page topic is about.
This will send a clear signal to Google as to what you wish the page to rank for.
#4 Improving Link Structures
Your permalink structure (How your URL reads) is an important aspect to your websites SEO plan. This also sends signals to Google on what the page is about.
- Make URL’s easy to read for search engines and readers
- Separate words with hyphens “-“
- Stay away from longer than normal URL’s
- Use keywords to describe a page but don’t overdo it
Pro Tip: If you change an existing URL be sure to use a 301 redirect to the renamed URL to keep the power of the page.
#5 Link Your Pages Internally
Talking about internal links we are referring to a page that links to another on the same website and not external backlinks. However, think of internal links in the same way you would to an external backlink.
This is an opportunity to push keywords towards a page you wish to rank for using anchor text as keywords. This tells Google what the page the link is going to is all about and sends ranking strength to that page.
- Link related content from one blog to another to increase UX and enhance rankings
- Ensure the links are useful for both the user and search engines
- Avoid terms like click here. Instead, use your keywords but add them naturally.
- No need to overdo it. The more you add, the less power or link juice they provide.
- Link old posts to new and vice versa
So Now What?
By jumping in and incorporating these strategies you will begin to see an increase in rankings for your website. Of course, these are just a few tips, but important none the less. The strategies above are typically the most neglected when it comes to SEO. If done right, you are more than likely one step ahead of your competition.