The Google algorithm has hundreds of signals that ensure the pages are ranked are relevant to the keyword search terms. By knowing which factors play an important role, you will be able to optimize accordingly. This can be the ultimate difference between success and failure. In this post, we will concentrate on areas that give better results and a good return on investment.
Go the Mobile First Route
There are more people who use the internet from their mobile phones than from their computers worldwide. Mobile is here and is no longer “the future”. Those who did not listen to the warnings beforehand to take a mobile first approach are paying the price.
Google is now doubling down on a mobile first approach, and penalizing pages where the content is not made readable to a user on the transition from the mobile search results. These pages wouldn’t rank as high. In other words, Google’s search algorithm is going the mobile first route and if you don’t make your website mobile-friendly, you will likely take a huge blow in the SERPs.
That’s increasingly true for those websites that are making use of intrusive interstitial ads. If you aren’t very sure about whether your website meets the criteria for being mobile friendly, log in to your Google Search Console account and check out the Mobile Usability Report. Google will list down all the mobile issues with regards to your website there, so you can take the appropriate action as required.
On a related note, keep a close watch on Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This open source initiative is gaining huge momentum and it relies on AMP HTML, which promises to deliver “instant” loading—a real benefit for users on mobile devices. Google has been pushing hard for it and a lot of big content sites have taken it up. Your mileage may vary, but it’s worth giving a shot.
Take Efforts to Improve the User Experience (UX)
For a long time now, Google has encouraged webmasters to make sure that their users get the best user experience while using their websites. As Google’s search algorithm gets smarter by the day, websites that put user experience at the forefront are positioned to benefit a lot from it.
A good user experience goes much deeper than writing clean code.
Based on a study published on the Oxford Journal, “The goal of UX design in business is to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty through the utility, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction with a product.” For our SEO purposes, your website is to be considered as the product. The objective here is to determine your visitor’s intent, then develop a methodology that helps towards a smoother navigation—a methodology that helps in evoking a positive emotion in the user and leads to an overall good experience with the website.
It is very easy to Incorporate UX best practices. The web is filled to the brim with templates and advice that help you achieve that. What separates the pros from the amateurs is A/B testing. Each one of us will have our own biases that influence how we design a web page. By running a series of experiments on that front, you will be able to quantify it to the metrics as to what is working and what isn’t working and you will be able to improve further by continuing the testing process until you get it right.
Keyword research is still important and will be so for more years to come. With Google providing less keyword data as time goes by, two of the biggest SEO tool providers in the market, Moz and Ahrefs, have developed and improved their keyword tools in the hopes of filling the void. However, the way one goes about using their keyword research has changed, thanks to Google’s RankBrain algorithm.
At its core, RankBrain is a machine learning algorithm. This enables Google to put things in context and perspective rather than relying solely on strings of metadata. Google’s algorithm is now able to understand the nuances of language such as stemming, synonyms, and answers.
A new generation of keyword tools will be needed to take this into consideration by making use of components such as Parent Topics and Keyword Groups. When you use these information, you will be able to develop content that incorporates a series of contextually relevant phrases. Just make sure that you are smart about it and drop the temptation to stuff every single variation of a phrase to avoid being penalized. You can also seek the help of an inbound marketing agency to help you with this as well.
Content Marketing Plan
The Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 B2C study shows that, only 37% of respondents believe they are effective at content marketing. Content is one of the top two Google ranking factors, it’s really important that you get it right from the get go. This gives a huge opportunity to those who are willing to put in the time to make these happen.
A lot of people talk about creating “great content”, but does that really mean anything? It really boils down to having useful content, finding relatable audience, and then reaching to that audience. This shouldn’t be a difficult exercise to start with. It comes down to having some empathy with your potential prospects and your customers.
One should also keep “conversational” search queries in mind as well. As of July 2015, over 30% of all the searches returned rich answers only. Many of these answers were a response to the wh queries like “who, what, when, where, why, and how”. While some would consider it great to appear in the first position and garner significant traffic associated with it, the benefit is short lived as the average churn rate for rich answers exceeds 55%.
Schema for the Win
Searchmetrics in their 2014 report said that over a third of Google search results have Rich Snippets incorporated in to them by Schema, however, only 0.3% of websites were making use of the Google-approved Schema tool for these purposes. That percentage might have improved in the years from then, however the inherent opportunity to make use of schema as a competitive edge is still large.
Schema, that is found at Schema.org, is a collection of various HTML tags that can be added to a web page.These tags can help in the creation of an enhanced description that appears in search results (commonly known as rich snippets). Schema is most regularly used to create Rich Snippets for Organizations, Events, Music, People, Products, Recipes, Review Ratings, and Videos.
Bonus Tip: Link Building
There might come a day in the future when links and link building is less important to rankings, but that day hasn’t arrived yet. If you are ignoring one of the top two ranking factors to help turn the tide for you, you’re really doing yourself a great harm. The ultimate key is to get the right kind of links. Links that have relevance to your site are the ones that you need to focus on. Links that require a human editorial review. The kinds of links that are earned.
A good way to go about earning relevant links to your website is by building a resource center. A resource center is something that can work on just about any kind of website. In addition to providing you with links, a good resource center will also help you in building the required trust and authority.
The bottom line here is that you don’t have to work hard on all those 200 ranking signals out there in order to significantly improve your organic traffic metrics. You will have to start by focusing on the areas mentioned above. If you do so, it’s highly possible to double, triple, or even 10X the traffic coming to your website in the years to come.
If you’re local to the UK, seek help from an SEO Agency in Manchester if you need any further assistance on this topic.
I hope this article was useful for you to learn more about the some of the most important White Hat SEO strategies and how you can use it for the growth of your business. There are so many possibilities that are unlocked with the help of this. Make the most out of it. If you have any doubts with regards to this, let us know through the comments and we will be glad to help you out. If you have any suggestions regarding how we can improve the article, let us know them through the comments as well for us to improve.
Do you have any other reservations against trying out these simple and easy to use White Hat SEO strategies for your business? Are you using any other white hat SEO strategies at the moment? If you are already using some, what is your experience with that and how has the results been so far? What do you think about our workflows and processes? Let us know through the comments and we would love to discuss about it with you.
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