New Ways to Improve your Website’s SEO Ranking
Search engine optimization or also called as SEO is the actual application to increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website. We all want that! But do note that change is the only constant when it comes to SEO. It is tough to stand firm on its ever-changing ground, when the rules and trends are shifting if not at the speed of sound, then at least way faster than you get a chance to adopt them. There are a lot of techniques, strategies and tactics that we highly recommend to improve your website’s SEO ranking:
- Link-building Is Very Much Alive (But Challenging)
There will always be SEOs that claim link-building dead, and SEOs that desperately brainstorm on new ways to improve links, and turn ‘building‘ into ‘earning‘. It is much better to be on the second team, as there will be a continuous flow of studies and surveys, proving backlinks to invariably remain one of the major rankings factors, and uncovering the direct correlation of sites’ rankings with their backlink profiles.
Google isn’t getting less strict about unnatural backlink profiles and manipulative link-building methods, so stick a fork in it. While the low-quality and spam-like links are more likely to just get discounted and devalued by Google or even other search engines, there’s still a chance that you get penalized if you go for illegal techniques.
To be on a safe side with Penguin (which is real-time since 2016), it should be a routine to make a backlink profile cleanup from time to time. A good chance to be one step ahead is much better as being one step behind (as those who don’t bother).
A recent link-building survey that was conducted by SEO PowerSuite showed that most of SEOs are struggling the same way with the lack of opportunities, ideas or experiences, but there are still some old and new tactics that’s worth trying:
- Not wasting time for grey-hat and spam-like tactics,
- Growing your link profile at a natural pace,
- Creating useful and cornerstone content worth linking to,
- Establishing relationships within the niche instead of just rushing to get as many links as hands can hold,
- Reasonably turning to legitimate paid methods.
- Going Mobile
Mobile search has become more essential to people’s lives, and Google is known for its aspiration to be reflective of users’ needs. In the end of 2016, the so-called Mobilegeddon (expanding the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal) was followed by the announcement that Google starts testing the mobile-first indexing. While 2017 has been a year full of controversy around the topic and delay notes from Google, 2018 is the year when it may finally take effect and the rankings may be determined based on the mobile version of a site.
Load time remains the factor that drastically affects user experience, and has at least some effect on the performance of a page in the SERPs and further interactions and conversions. To prevent a huge shift from mobile browsing towards apps, Google has introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which may load 4x faster than the regular pages and improve the user experience with little hints (like displaying ads in a mobile-friendly way). Case studies show that AMP implementation improves user-behavior factors like CTR and bounce rates as well. So, AMP is not a ranking factor now, but it well may become one.
It’s high time to make some changes, making sure that your mobile pages are informative if your site is not fully responsive. With mobile-first indexing, Google incessantly calls not to panic.
If you haven’t considered implementing AMP yet, it’s also a great time to get on board. According to Google, more than 900,000 domains have adopted the AMP framework by now, but that’s a really small fraction of the 1.2 billion websites on the internet. That would be beneficial for you with basically no risk, while your competitors may regret missing out on it one year from now.
- Voice Search Is On The Rise
Samples of Siri and Cortina are just a number of tools based on voice recognition that continues to evolve – it gives us a hint on ‘where to go for best pizza near me’ and to tell us a joke, Google Home and Amazon Echo to let us shop almost hands free.
The accuracy of the voice recognition continues to vastly improve – Microsoft reported reaching a 5.1% word error rate, Apple SVP Phil Schiller in his interview with John Gruber made a joke that he’s not afraid of saying ‘Hey Siri‘ on stage anymore.
The amount of voice searches is growing real fast. Over 70 percent of respondents to recent HigherVisibility survey admitted using voice search at least once per month, and nearly half is using it weekly or daily. According to Google, 20% of mobile queries are made via voice now, and ComScore even predicts that it will make up 50 percent of all searches by 2020.
What’s good about voice search queries is it tends to be longer and more specific in intent, and the searchers await accurate and concise solutions. If you’re thinking of adapting to it, there are several changes you may consider applying to your content:
- Incorporate long-tail keywords to address the more precise queries
- Use more natural language and conversational tone that answers the What, Where, When and How questions,
- Add an FAQ page, phrase each question the way real people would ask them, and provide clear answers,
- The four most common intents behind the voice searches are ‘I want to know’, ‘to go’, ‘to do’ and ‘to buy’. Understand and know your users’ needs and offer them solutions,
- Take good care of your local SEO, as most voice searches are local in intent.
- Progressive Web Apps Are Gaining Popularity
Another initiative from Google is called the Progressive Web Apps. What it does is it makes mobile web better and faster. PWAs essence is combining all the best features of mobile web and native apps. It’s faster and lighter than an app. It also adjusts its performance to the ability of the device and connection, making the experience flawless.
While it may significantly cut the expenses and maintenance for businesses, PWAs tends to prove to have a fantastic impact on engagement and conversion rates. Having the app-like functionalities (push notifications, offline accessibility, payment apps integration, the ability to download the app to home screen) and being superfast in the meantime, PWAs are also showing amazing re-engagement stat, it’s more likely to win them back with another good option.
A number of world-known businesses that adopt PWAs is growing, and most of them report on endless advantages. If you’re not sure whether it’s the right solution for your business, you may consider a tandem of a native app for loyal customers along with the PWA for engaging with the new or lost ones.
As with any Google’s initiative, it encourages the website owners to adopt by providing an easy guide on how to get started. As PWAs may well become a new standard for mobile web, it’s definitely worth consideration. As a bonus, earlier adoption would equal to lower competition.
- Structured Data Deserves More Attention
Most of the SEOs agree on the fact that Structured Data Markup is underestimated, it’s a great way to make your site crawler-friendly, and help the search engines understand your content.
Over the past few years, Google has also introduced lots of new ways of displaying the data in the SERPs: featuring an immediate relevant answer, adding context, useful nuances and a visual layer to the search results. All these aspects rely on the data organized in a clear and logical way.
With the evolution of the SERPs layout, and with the focus shifting towards user-experience, Structured Data is becoming fundamental, so you literally have no excuse not to make use of it.
New search experiences like Google’s SERP Features are based on the structured data, so the proper markup may help you rank ‘number zero’, and get featured above the boring horizontal listings, to gain more visibility, trust and traffic.
To get most of it, study the available schemas at Schema.org and create a ‘map’: list the pages of your site and consider all the relevant schemas for each. A beginner’s guide will help you to create, implement and test the Structured Data Markup properly.
The markers like operating hours, contact details and ratings may also have a significant impact on your success with local and voice searches, so make sure to implement those and keep them up-to-date.
- Crawl Budget Can Be Spent Wiser
Crawl Budget has been a concept shrouded in mystery for quite a while, until early 2016 when Google has shed some light on the topic. While SEO mostly focuses around user-experience, crawl budget optimization is primarily about making your site appealing to the search engine bots. This still overlaps with SEO a lot, as you are naturally concerned about all the important pages being crawled, indexed and updated in time. Keeping your website ‘healthy’ on the inside, and making sure you don’t waste any of the crawl budget – are your best shots at making Google want to crawl your site more frequently. And what’s good for your crawlability – benefits the search as well.
As the factors that make up your crawl budget are rather clear now, there’s no good reason for putting its optimization on the back burner. There are several other things that bots may stumble upon, leaving out a huge part of your pages:
- Make sure that important pages are crawlable for search engine spiders, while the pages you don’t want to show up in SERPs (duplicates, dynamic pages, etc.) are blocked with your robots.txt or .htaccess,
- Ensure that there are no unnecessary redirect chains, as the spiders may give up before reaching the final destination page,
- Take out any broken links,
- If there are dynamic parameters added to your URLs that do not affect the content of the pages – submit the list to your Google Search Console to avoid both duplication issues and budget waste,
- Optimize the heavy and slow pages and benefit on all levels,
- Keep your sitemap clean. An up-to-date, garbage-free sitemap is a great helper for the search engines to get your site’s structure and discover new content faster,
- Try not to bury any crucial or frequently-updated pages deeper than 3 clicks away from homepage. A neat and clear site structure is good in terms of both crawling and user experience.
- New Approach to Good Old Content
Content will always be here to stay – no doubt about it. However, Google is constantly evolving and learning to be better at understanding search intent, and now relies on topical relevance, context and other factors to return the results a user expects. The content optimization now goes far beyond keywords, and requires much more compound approach. Quality always comes first – most SEOs agree on the fact that producing short pieces of content frequently now tends to be less efficient than creating comprehensive ‘longreads’ and keeping them updated.
You may need to reconsider your keyword research routine and stop focusing around several keywords. You also need to detect and analyze the user’s intent behind each query you target, group them logically and create content that would satisfy the intent accurately.
The keywords still matter but use them in a natural manner and supporting them with relevant context. A helpful content should be tailored to your audience needs.
Our main goal is getting users to stay on your website and interact with your content. That way, it’ll boost your website’s ranking. This is an attainable goal by improving the user experience and how your website can be used. With these 7 easy ways, it’ll make a huge difference to your website. Keep up with the latest developments and for sure, your site will get traffic.