The aim of search engine optimization is to have the search engine spiders not only find your site and pages but also expressly rank the page relevance so that it appears at the top of the search engine results. The progression of optimization is not a one-time route but requires maintenance, tuning, and continuous testing and monitoring.
Knowing what these strategies are means you can spend time doing things that will actually drive results.
Below is a broad multi-step process for an approach for search engine optimization. Use this as your top-level checklist.
These most effective SEO strategies you should be using right now. These are based on my own experience, as well as the latest research in the field.
Important Steps To Optimise Your Website for Better Rankings
Target Market Business Analysis
Are You Aware Of Website Analysis? – Analysis of Meta sets/keywords, visible text and code to conclude how well you’re positioned for search engines. For example, how much code do you have on a page compared to text?
Competitive analysis – Examination of content keywords & present engine rankings of competitive websites; To determine an effective engine positioning strategy. Pick the top ten results in the Google listing results to begin this process. Expand as required. Use tools available online (free or paid).
Initial keyword nomination – Development of a prioritized list of targeted search terms related to your customer base and market segment. Begin with this: What would you type into a search engine to find your business website or page? Then, ask your customers!
Keyword Research and Development
Keyword analysis. From nomination, further identify a targeted list of keywords and phrases. Review competitive lists and other pertinent industry sources. Use your preliminary list to determine an indicative number of recent search engine queries and how many websites are competing for each keyword. Prioritize keywords and phrases, plurals, singulars and misspellings. (If search users commonly misspell a keyword, you should identify and use it). Please note that Google will try to correct the term when searching, so use this with care.
Baseline ranking assessment. You need to realize where you are now in order to accurately assess your future rankings. Keep a simple Excel sheet to start the process. Check weekly to begin. As you get more relaxed, check every 30 to 45 days. You should see progresses in website traffic, a key indicator of progress for your keywords. Some optimizers will say that rankings are dead. Yes, traffic and conversions are more vital, but we use rankings as an indicator.
Goals and Objectives. Clearly classify your objectives in advance so you can really measure your ROI from any programs you implement. Start simple, but don’t skip this step. Example: You may settle on to increase website traffic from a current baseline of 100 visitors a day to 200 visitors over the next 30 days. Or you may want to perk up your current conversion rate of one percent to two in a specified period. You may begin with top-level, aggregate numbers, but you must drill down into specific pages that can progress products, services, and business sales.
Content Optimization and Submission
Create page titles. Keyword-based titles help found page theme and direction for your keywords.
Create meta tags. Meta description tags can authority click-throughs but aren’t directly used for rankings. (Google doesn’t use the keywords tag anymore.)
Place strategic search phrases on pages. Integrate selected keywords into your website source code and existing content on chosen pages. Make sure to relate a suggested guideline of one to three keywords/phrases per content page and add more pages to absolute the list. Ensure that related words are used as a natural insertion of your keywords. It helps the search engines rapidly determine what the page is about. A natural approach to this works best. In the past, 100 to 300 words on a page was recommended. Many tests show that pages with 800 to 2,000 words can smash shorter ones. In the end, the users, the marketplace, content and links will establish the popularity and ranking numbers.
Develop new sitemaps for Google and Bing. Make it easier for search engines to index your website. Create both XML and HTML versions. An HTML version is the first step. XML sitemaps can effortlessly be submitted via Google and Bing webmaster tools.
Submit website to directories (limited use). Professional search marketers don’t submit the URL to the chief search engines, but it’s possible to do so. An improved and faster way is to get links back to your site naturally. Links get your site indexed by the search engines. Some may choose to include AdSense (google.com/adsense) scripts on a new site to get their Google Media bot to visit. It will likely get your pages indexed quickly.
Optimize For Mobile Search And Browsing
Mobile optimization has been vital for years. However, in October 2016 mobile overtook desktop with mobile and tablet accounting for 51.3 percent of all web browsing.
Around this same time (November 2016), Google launched their mobile-first index. Previously, Google crawled the desktop version of a site, using that as their prime search engine index. However, with this update, Google has now started to use the mobile version of a site as its primary index. This means prioritizing your mobile site and mobile content is a must.
Engage in Intentional Link Building
Links have been the most central driver of rankings for years now. Google has confirmed they’re one of the top three ranking factors (along with content and RankBrain), and numerous ranking factor studies have confirmed this.
A recent study from the folks at Stone Temple seems to designate that links are even more influential than we thought. However, they also found that links alone aren’t sufficient to redeem low-quality content.
Their advice? “If your content is not relevant or competitive, links won’t help your ranking. If it is, links will make the difference.”
Optimize For Voice Search
According to KPCB’s 2016 Internet Trends Report, voice search queries have seen more than a 35X increase since 2008 and more than a 7x increase since 2010.
Google Voice Search Queries : The report also cites Andrew Ng, Chief Scientist at Baidu, as saying, “As speech recognition accuracy goes from say 95% to 99%, all of us in the room will go from hardly using it today to using it all the time. Most people undervalue the disparity between 95% and 99% accuracy – 99% is a game changer…”
It’s only a matter of time before we hit that 99% mark. Prepare now by optimizing your content for voice search. Here’s a great briefing on how to do exactly that: Optimizing For Voice Search With Siri, Google Now and Cortana.
Optimize For Rich Answers
As of 2015, Rich Answers were displayed for nearly 20% of all queries. This number is likely to be appreciably higher in 2017.
If you want your content to show for ordinary industry-related questions, it’s essential that you intentionally optimize for these queries. There are a number of ways you can do this, including plainly asking the question in your content, including a direct answer followed by more in-depth backup info, using lists and creating Q&A pages.
Consider Using Shorter URLs
Using expressive, keyword-relevant URLs has been an efficient SEO strategy for years. However, some research seems to specify that using shorter URLs may in reality lead to higher rankings.
Backlinko Graph: Shorter URLs Better Rankings
While there’s no set number of words you should include, Google has indicated in the past that something after the first five words won’t be given as much credit.
Whenever possible, use your chief keywords in the first few words of your URL, and try to keep your entire URL to around five words total.
Local Optimization Is A Must
Given the move toward a mobile-first mindset, it’s no shock that many experts are placing increased importance on local search these days.
In this outstanding post, SEO and Digital Trends in 2017, Gianluca Fiorelli writes, “In a mobile-only world, the significance of local search is even higher. This seems to be the strategic reason both for an update like Possum and all the tests we see in local, and also of the attainment of a company like Urban Engines, whose purpose is to analyze the “Internet of Moving Things.”
If you have a local module to your business, optimizing for local search in 2017 is crucial. As more of your customers turn to mobile to find local businesses, products and information, getting found for local keywords is a must.
Focus On Improving User Experience
We’ve known for years that providing a good user experience is key to rankings. However, the connection between user experience metrics (click-through rates, bounce rates, etc.) has always been a fairly indirect one.
A recent study published on the Moz blog now shows a direct connection between high rankings and beating out the expected CTR of other pages in the SERPs. In other words, if your content shows up in the SERPs but doesn’t smash the other results in terms of clicks, you may not hold onto your rankings for long.
One of the most vital things you can do to make sure your CTRs remain strong is to optimize your metadata for your chosen keywords. Remember: Your Title Tag and Meta Description act as your Ad Copy in the SERPs, and should appoint viewers and entice them to click-through.
Use Related Keywords In Your Content
Keyword research is still a critically chief aspect of SEO. However, it shouldn’t just be about finding one or two words or phrases to use in your content.
Ideally, look for phrases that are semantically connected to your main topic. For instance, if I’m writing a blog post about making a black forest cake, I’ll most likely need to use words like “cherries”, “chocolate” and “whipped cream.”
Using these words will establish to Google that I’m lengthily covering my topic. It will also mean I have a much more balanced and detailed article — which is an immense for user experience.
Write Longer Content
In a recent Forbes article, R.L. Adams writes, “I rank #1 for so many of the most competitive searches, and almost all of those articles are over 2,000 words.”
He goes on to illuminate that it’s not only content length that has led to increased rankings but content quality: “The goal isn’t to simply write 2,000 words of rambling content. No, size matters, but so does the quality in that size. It needs to be well written for starters, and it can’t go off on tangents. The content has to be laser-focused.”
Anecdotal evidence aside, nearly every study done to date shows a correlation between longer content and higher rankings. Some suggest 1,200-1,300 words, while others say 1500 words should be the minimum.
If you want your content to rank, I propose aiming for a minimum length of 1,200 words for standard blog posts, and 2,000 words+ for evergreen content.
Speed Up Your Site
For years, Google has been highlighting the need to have a fast site. However, in light of the upcoming mobile-first index, I envision site speed will become an even more noteworthy ranking factor in 2017.
In September, Google again emphasized the weight of speed, chiefly in relation to mobile devices: “Slow loading sites frustrate users and negatively impact publishers. In our new study, “The Need for Mobile Speed,” we found that 53 percent of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load.”
Not sure how fast your site loads? Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Mobile-Friendly Test to find out.
Aim For High Topical Authority
If you’re writing long-form, inclusive content there’s a good chance you’re already achieving this. However, it’s too imperative a strategy not to explicitly spell out.
In a recent analysis of 1 million search results, Brian Dean of Backlinko found that wide-ranging content vastly outranked more shallow content.
He even found that pages that widely covered a particular topic outranked shorter content that was highly-optimized for a certain keyword – even when the all-inclusive page didn’t use that particular keyword at all.
In other words, focus more on the depth and breadth of your content rather than on word count and keywords. This will undeniably be better for rankings as well as user experience.
Focus On User Intent
I’ve talked about the shift in the use of keywords above, but need to take it a step farther. Since the one-to-one relationship between keywords and rankings is now gone — or is at least appreciably diminished — optimizing for intent is even more crucial.
This will mean focusing not just on precise keywords, but on the meaning and motivation behind those words and phrases. What are people really looking for when they use those queries? What long tail phrases should I be using to draw highly-relevant visitors? Which keywords should I focus on in order to drive conversions and not just traffic?
16. Continuous Testing and Measuring
Test and measure – Analyze search engine rankings and web traffic to conclude the efficiency of the programs you’ve implemented, including assessment of individual keyword routine. Test the results of changes, and keep changes tracked in an Excel spreadsheet, or whatever you’re relaxed with.
Maintenance – Ongoing addition and alteration of keywords and website content are necessary to recurrently improve search engine rankings so increase doesn’t stall or decline from neglect. You also want to review your link strategy and make sure that your inbound and outbound links are relevant to your business. A blog can provide you the essential structure and ease of content addition that you need. Your hosting company can classically help you with the setup/installation of a blog.
While none of the strategies above are new, they’re the ones experts concur will give you the best chance of ranking in 2017.