SEO is constantly evolving. The best marketers are the ones who continue to revamp their existing SEO strategies in order to drive the best results.
Google makes changes to its ranking algorithm almost every day, so it is critical for businesses to adapt to these constantly changing ranking factors.
A business website that remains updated as per the nature of the ranking algorithm gets a respectable share of the top three organic search results and is able to reach more customers.
9 Essential SEO Strategies
I have compiled a list of nine SEO strategies that every SEO should follow in order to stay ahead in the game of organic rankings.
1. Build AMP Pages
If you have been browsing search results using your mobile device, you must have noticed that some websites load faster than others.
Pages that load quickly are actually AMP pages that have the word “AMP” written at the bottom of the search carousel that Google returns. You can see this in the below example:
The key takeaway here is simple. AMP pages load faster than other types, thereby improving the mobile browsing experience for the searcher. Above all, Google directly recommends creating pages using AMP HTML so that they load faster and across multiple platforms.
I understand most of us are aware of the advantages that AMP offers, but still haven’t implemented AMP for some reason. If you are one of those, I suggest you get started asap.
Here is how you can create AMP pages in an extremely easy manner:
- Read the Google search guidelines for creating AMP pages.
- Create your AMP pages using the markup provided here.
- Add small tags in both AMP and non-AMP pages in order to let Google discover both of the pages accurately.
- Check your AMP page using the AMP test tool and upload it to your server.
2. Optimize Sites for Featured Snippets by Using Q&A Content
Searchers love featured snippets because they make it easier to find direct answers to questions. As Google explains, “The featured snippet block includes a summary of the answer, extracted from a web page, plus a link to the page, the page title, and URL. “
Search Engine Land says, “Google Now Displays Rich Answers For 19.45% Of Queries.” And this percentage is expected to rise in the coming months. You must make every effort to get your website ranked as a featured snippet.
So how do you get your site ranked in the answer box in the zero position? Nick Van published a case study on Moz, and here are some key takeaways out of this study:
- Answer the question preferably within the first three paragraphs, and include the target keyword in crawlable parts of the content.
- Do not include fluff. Simply answer the question straightforwardly.
- Include the keyword in the title and the H1 tag.
- Create separate landing pages for each question.
- Build backlinks to the newly created Q&A content pages.
3. Choose Social Channels Based on Target Audience Persona
Traffic plays an important role in SEO. The more traffic you can drive to your website, the higher your Alexa rank will be. Sites having lots of traffic can indirectly generate a buzz, which can impact the organic rankings on Google.
You should base your selection of social channels on your target audience persona and the presence of micro-influencers. You can easily identify micro-influencers using tools like Influence.co and use the influencers to reach your target audience.
Moreover, hashtags remain an underutilized strategy when it comes to social marketing. Most of us simply use a word or two as hashtags and share the content. Is that enough?
Here are some great ways to pump up your social marketing efforts in order to scale traffic and drive positive results:
Ideal for: Every type of business or individuals looking to promote their services
Post frequency: Multiple times a day
Strategy: Twitter is ideal for interacting directly with customers, networking with potential customers, sharing informative content, and improving your overall branding efforts.
Engage in Twitter chats and use the hashtag holidays calendar by SproutSocial. Tweet out questions, use visuals, and make use of cards. You should also use Twitter analytics tools and curate and connect with retweets and replies.
Ideal for: Almost everyone
Post frequency: 1-2 times a day
Strategy: Do not blindly follow your competitors. Instead, create a strategy that closely matches your business needs.
Use videos, Facebook Live, and Facebook Stories. The latter two are known to increase engagement levels. The ideal day for posting content is Thursday, and the best time is around 1 PM. Head over to this article to get more insights.
Ideal for: Restaurants and fashion businesses
Post frequency: Once a day
Strategy: Instagram is a great platform for marketing your restaurant because it uses images and has a large character allowance for captions.
Apply tactics for restaurant marketing on Instagram, and use more than 11 hashtags. Posts with over 11 hashtags are able to generate the highest number of interactions. Here is a list of 75 popular Instagram tags as listed by ShortStack.
Ideal for: B2B businesses
Post frequency: Once a day
Strategy: Have a clear strategy and post useful updates to improve your brand awareness. Be careful and do not share excessively promotional posts.
Use attractive visuals and take every chance to connect with customers by using personalization at scale. Join groups and don’t forget to foster relationships. Have a look at some of the top brands who are nailing it with their LinkedIn marketing strategies.
4. Adopt a Content Relaunch Strategy
Brian Dean was able to improve organic traffic by more than 260% using a content relaunch strategy.
The strategy is pretty simple and is summarized in the three points below:
- Identify all the underperforming content pages on your site using GA. Visit Analytics ->Behavior -> Site Content -> Landing Pages.
- Revise the content and improve its quality, length, and presentability. Match it with the searcher’s intent.
- Republish your content once you have updated it.
With a content relaunch strategy, you don’t need to identify new keywords or content topics. Simply improve the existing content and start seeing the results. The process is efficient and easy.
5. Optimize for Mobile Micro-Moments
People try to live in the moment. In the words of Google, “Thanks to mobile, micro-moments can happen anytime, anywhere. In those moments, consumers expect brands to address their needs with real-time relevance.”
Google is making it easy for searchers by presenting the search results that closely match the micro-moment. Here is how you can optimize for micro-moments:
- Compile a list of keywords that your potential customers will use when researching for products or services that your business is selling. Know your customer journey, and align your main marketing strategy with it.
- Make your website fast by using AMP HTML and CDN service, optimizing JS and CSS files, and leveraging lazy loading. Also, use HTTP response headers, adopt browser caching, and test your site under Page Speed Insights.
- Identify the keywords users will enter when searching for your business locally. Technically, we call such keywords “near me” searches. Ensure you have a properly structured and highly usable website with lots of local business listings having a correct NAP.
- Have lots of genuine and positive reviews from loyal customers. Reviews help millennial audiences to make decisions in your brand’s favor.
- Measure the results consistently, and make changes accordingly.
6. Improve User Experience with the GA Metric, “Session Quality”
SEO is all about getting potential leads and generating conversions. Understanding marketing analytics is extremely important for uncovering important data related to goals.
“Session quality” is a new metric that Google Analytics (GA) launched recently. In the words of Google, “Using similar machine learning as with Smart Lists and Smart Goals, Analytics calculates the Session Quality and Average Session Quality metrics to estimate a user’s proximity to conversion.
User engagement is evaluated for each session, and the resulting proximity to conversion is expressed as a score of 1-100 for each session during the date range, with 1 being the farthest from and 100 being the closest to a transaction. A value of 0 indicates that the metric is not calculated for the selected time range.”
The session quality report is useful for e-commerce sites. You need a minimum of 1000 e-commerce transactions before you can see this data in your GA report. You can find this report under GA -> Audience -> Behavior -> Session Quality.
Identify sessions that have a low-quality score, and try to enhance the user experience so that you can improve the score.
Maybe the keywords that are bringing audiences to low-quality score sessions are different from the keywords in high-quality score sessions. You can also use Google Optimizer to understand the refinements needed in your site content to easily convert users.
7. Keep Your Website Safe from Malware and Hacking
Google does not like sites that are repeatedly infected with malware. You might waste all your SEO efforts and organic rankings if your site is caught in the trap of hacking. Here is what you can suggest as an SEO in order to keep the site safe:
- Update all the plugins you use, and follow the best practices to keep the site safe from malware and hacking.
- Make use of web application firewalls to block malicious traffic from visiting your site.
- Ensure your server has round the clock monitoring and takes everyday backups.
- E-commerce sites selling products online should be PCI compliant.
- Keep a backup of all files and encrypt the login files.
- Scan your site regularly using tools such as Sidelock and Sitecheck.
- Make sure your site is HTTPS because HTTPS is more secure and is also a minor ranking factor.
- If hacking occurs, then quarantine your site and take it offline. Use Search Console and access the malware damage. Identify the type of vulnerability and clean your site. Lastly, request a review.
8. Produce In-Depth Content and Follow the UPA Approach
Google prefers long-form content in contrast to shorter pieces. Sites having 2000+ words of content are preferred over shorter content as displayed in the graph below:
We recommend you suggest your clients produce longer content based on relevant search queries so that they rank higher in Google.
However, content quantity won’t do any good if the quality is not strong. The three pillars of content quality include authority, utility, and presentation (UAP).
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind while preparing content:
- Do not produce duplicate content. Ensure that your content is unique.
- Don’t publish pages having too little content in them. The more content, the better.
- Add images and videos wherever necessary.
- Do not skip proofreading. Ensure the content is free of any grammatical errors.
- Keep your focus on helping your audience.
- Make it easy for readers to scan your content. Use proper bullet points and subheadings wherever necessary.
9. Optimize for Voice Search
Voice search is gaining popularity more rapidly than you might think. The trend is similar to the one we saw between desktop searches and mobile searches.
Moreover, Google has already started to prioritize mobile index. We are not too far away from experiencing a tremendous boost in the number of voice search queries. The below graph illustrates this trend:
Here is how you can optimize for voice search:
- Prepare a list of all long tail keywords that people might say when searching for your business on search engines.
- Claim your NAP, and ensure you have the correct and consistent NAP.
- Get your local SEO right as voice queries mostly have local intent.
- Add accurate microdata because it provides more specific information.
- Provide direct answers to questions instead of writing an article on a topic. Voice search is about conversation queries using natural language put mostly in the form of questions.
- Keep the FAQ page updated. Google can take several answers from the FAQ page itself.
SEO is both an art and a science. What works best for your business might not be useful for any other. It is important to understand this concept and apply all the strategies in a manner that helps to solve the pain points of your target audience.
Which SEO strategy that you used recently has given you the best results? Please share it with me in the comments below.
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