These days, the vast majority of businesses recognize that good SEO is critical to a digital marketing strategy. Succeeding in SEO is a matter of employing the right practices and replacing spammy, manipulative techniques with content-driven ones. Due to Google consistently tweaking and improving its ranking algorithm, website owners may be having a hard time identifying successful SEO practices and sticking to them.
Here are 5 effective strategies that will help enhance your website’s SEO and get it to rank better in search engines.
1. Publish Original Content Only
Originality is a vital characteristic of high-quality content. Pulling out content from other websites for the sake of bulking out your own pages is a practice that may get your website penalized. Duplicate content might also be a potential copyright infringement, which can result in the author of the original content filing a Digital Millennium Copyright Act to have your infringing page(s) removed from Google’s index.
Always make sure that your content is original and does not have any phrases copied from other sources (unless you quote the source and include a link pointing to their website). Make use of tools like Copyscape and Screaming Frog to check for any duplicate content on your website, and take immediate action if you identify any.
2. Optimize Loading Speed
Several studies have shown that users abandon websites that take longer than three seconds to load completely, images included. Amazon has also concluded that just one extra second to the company’s website’s loading speed would cost them a whopping 16 billion dollars in lost sales per year. What’s more, even Google has publicly informed back in 2014 (link: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/using-site-speed-in-web-search-ranking.html) that loading speed is now an important factor of their ranking algorithm, which means that websites that load faster will stand a chance at ranking at the top of SERPs.
But despite the importance of this factor, many brands still pay little attention to their websites’ loading speed. Check your site speed with a tool such as Pingdom, which gives you a breakdown of each element and how long it takes to load. You can then make use of that information to adjust imagery and pieces of code that result in your website loading slowly. Compressing large images and upgrading to a dedicated server or virtual private network may also help improve your site’s loading speed.
3. Approach Keywords Strategically
Proper keyword research is one of the most important factors to consider when implementing a SEO campaign – without it, your digital marketing efforts are doomed to failure.
According to Jayson Demers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, suggests optimizing for specific keywords instead of vague ones. The keyword phrase “dog groomer,” for example, may be used by people looking for information on correct at-home dog grooming, or for a good dog groomer in their local area. On the other hand, a specific keyword such as “dog groomer London” will be selected by a user who is ready to book an appointment with a groomer.
Your keywords should always be written in a conversational manner, without any corporate-sounding lingo. It is important to never try to achieve perfection in keyword optimization for every piece of content you publish. Take a long-tail approach to keywords, and try to publish as much quality content as possible, which naturally includes relevant keyword and captures long-tail search traffic as well. This will be more effective than trying to rank at the top of SERPs for specific keyword phrases, which is difficult if you’re just starting out your SEO campaign and there is fierce competition trying to win over your competition.
4. Optimize On-Site Elements across Your Website
There are many on-site elements that can make a difference in how your website ranks – and while title tags are still an important part of the optimization process, meta descriptions are no longer so. However, meta descriptions give you the excellent opportunity to create compelling copies that attract clicks and drive more traffic to your website.
It’s important to make sure that all of your pages have title tags and meta descriptions that are relevant and have been properly optimized. If too short or too long, the title tags and meta descriptions of your pages may actually harm your SEO efforts, resulting in a potential Google penalty. Demers recommends conducting an audit of your site to see if there are any issues with these on-site elements, and whether or not they need improvements.
Apart from meta descriptions and title tags, there are other elements that largely impact how your website ranks in search engines. These include (but are not limited to) H1 tags, internal and external links, content length, ads, images, bullet points, text formatting, and more.
5. Earn Links, Don’t Buy Them
Link building has long been believed to be an important part of the SEO process due to backlinks increasing the authority and relevancy of a website. This has led hundreds of website owners to buying or exchanging links to manipulate their ranking in SERPs. According to Google’s webmaster trends analyst, John Mueller, backlinks are still taken in consideration by Google’s ranking algorithm, but building links instead of earning them may actually get your website penalized.
After years of consistently tweaking and improving its ranking algorithm, Google can now successfully detect suspicious links that might have been artificially created (i.e. paid links or link exchange). As such, paying money to have links pointing to your website appearing on other sites can result in a substantial drop in traffic, or even de-indexation. Keep in mind that many companies providing SEO services London may utilize spammy techniques to generate low-quality backlinks, so consider investing in a more expensive agency instead.
Mueller recommends that webmasters should actually earn inbound links by publishing content that is original, highly informative, and adheres to Google’s Webmasters Guidelines. Efficient content marketing can prove to be more efficient in the long run, helping you build authority and a solid reputation as well.s
If your SEO strategy already consists of the above-mentioned techniques, then another thing you may want to think of is adjusting your website’s navigation and internal links. The structure of your website helps search engines determines how important a page is, so make sure to review its current structure. If needed, consider hiring an experienced SEO company to help you with the optimization process, as they will likely know exactly what to do, and how to do it correctly.