SEO is the fuel that powers your website. It’s the coding and metadata behind the site, and the proper alignment of text and images on the front of the site. If you’re having problems getting the right people to your site, outdated or ineffective SEO is probably the reason. The best SEO strategies increase the quantity and quality of traffic that your website receives. But to do that you need to impress the almighty GOOGLE! Google gets over 100 billion searches a month. (Mashable, 2015) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics) It’s easy to get lost in that chasm of endless searches if you don’t have an experienced guide.
Think keywords are the bread and butter of SEO? Think again! Keyword rankings should no longer be the primary focus of your SEO strategy. Yes, it's still very important that your longtail keyword shows up in your page title, URL, subheaders, image descriptions, and meta descriptions, HOWEVER the data related to keywords is not 100% accurate. The reasons behind this can be broken down into three points — personalization, device and location.
Google will deliver results that are personalized to a user based on their search history. This means that if you were to search for a query like “electric cars” and you’d previously been browsing the Tesla website, it’s a possibility that Google would tailor the rankings of the search results to show Tesla near the top. This wouldn’t be the case for someone that hasn’t previously visited Tesla’s website, which makes it very tough to determine which website actually ranks #1 (because it can be different from one person to the next).
Personalization plays a huge part in search results, but what matters even more are new query factors like device and location. One of Google’s major advancements in search over the past couple of years has been the ability to gather data and use it to yield the most relevant results to a user. Hubspot did a great job putting this into a real-life scenario:
Go back to 2010 and a search for “Boston restaurants” would yield a list of relatively generic websites that either talk about restaurants or maybe are a restaurant. Fast-forward to 2018 and a simple search arms Google with a whole lot more information than before. They’re able to see which device you’ve searched from, where you’re located whilst you’re searching, even if you’re currently on the move.
It used to be that constantly repeating yourself was the only way to get noticed by Google. But great news for all the writers out there! You no longer need to repeat your keywords at least 7 times in the body copy anymore. This is a tactic that no longer works. Marketers who have been keyword-centric in the past should start learning about the other methods of improving SEO, such as topic-clusters. Bottom line is that Google has gotten a lot smarter. It can use semantic search to determine the best results to display. Semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding searcher intent and the contextual meaning of terms as they appear in the searchable dataspace, whether on the Web or within a closed system, to generate more relevant results.
As you may have noticed, SEO has been going through a lot of changes lately. Google has gotten a lot smarter and a lot better at retrieving information from websites. And as search metrics have greatly improved, the battle for first page is as fierce as ever. We all want to win. And many of us will go looking through blogs, forums, Youtube, etc. for tips to boost our page results. However, some of these tips — especially from a few years ago, are considered black hat practices and will get you penalized by Google. There’s a chance you could be breaking the rules and not even know it. Here’s what to watch out for.
There was a time when many marketers thought keyword stuffing was the best way to get noticed by Google. Keyword stuffing involves injecting search terms into your content in a way that creates no value to the reader. Not only does this create a bad user experience in terms of readability, but it is now a practice that is penalized by Google. Keyword stuffing can include:
What’s so sneaky about a redirect? Well if you are sending a user to a different webpage than the one they clicked on… that’s pretty conspicuous, according to Google. This is a practice commonly seen in spam where the URL you click is not really where the link takes you. Similar to cloaking, this might include redirecting a search engine crawler to one page that is rich in content and all other users to another page. You may have seen this when a highly authoritative page, one that ranks well with Google, uses backlinks to another low-scoring page simply to boost search results.
Testing your websites performance is critical for gaining traction with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) efforts today. The internet and mobile devices continue to consume our waking moments, allowing us to get information where and when we want. This is not something new, and is the core underlying reason your website, the #1 Sales person of your company, needs to be responsive and reactive to user visits and user inputs. Using the following tools and a few others, our agency makes it mission critical to get your site in tip top shape for you and your customers and for the devices and services that help them through their day, ie. Google, Apple, etc.
Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your site's presence in Google Search results. You don't have to sign up for Search Console for your site to be included in Google's search results but doing so can help you understand how Google views your site and optimize its performance in search results.
Web analytics is the measurement and analysis of data to inform an understanding of user behavior across web pages. Analytics platforms measure activity and behavior on a website, for example: how many users visit, how long they stay, how many pages they visit, which pages they visit, and whether they arrive by following a link or not. Businesses use web analytics platforms to measure and benchmark site performance and to look at key performance indicators that drive their business, such as purchase conversion rate.
Lighthouse is an open-source, automated software tool for improving the quality of web pages. You can run it on any web page, either public or secure that requires authentication. It has audits for performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, and more. You simply type a URL into Lighthouse, it runs a series of audits on the page, and then it generates a report on how well the page did. From there, use the failing audits as indicators on how to improve the page. Each audit has a reference document explaining why the audit is important, as well as how to fix it.
PageSpeed Insights reports on the real-world performance of a page for mobile and desktop devices and provides suggestions on how that page may be improved.