When looking for information, a specific service, or user reviews and ratings, search engines play a huge role in directing consumers and clients to appropriate businesses. 97% of consumers research a company via the internet. 78% of location-oriented searches will lead to an offline conversion (Safari digital)
No matter what your business, your most valuable piece of real estate is a place at the top of a search engine’s organic results. While 97% of people searched online to find a local business, 75% percent of people never scroll past the first page. (Hubspot)
Search engine rankings give your business visibility and connect you to consumers who are ready to take action. So how can you make sure you are visible to your target market?
A quick glance at Google’s new “How to Search” report or their Quality Rater guidelines make it clear that what worked 10 years ago in SEO optimization, won’t necessarily work today. Your on-page SEO is the crucial factor in earning relevant traffic through higher rankings.
Here are six key tips from our Atlanta SEO Agency to help your business be seen and heard by the people who need it.
1.Create Great Content
Per the How to Search and Quality Rater guidelines above, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, also know as E-A-T, have been a factor in the ranking algorithms for years. But of late, they are gaining increasing importance. Google wants to deliver its users the most engaging search results and they do this by giving them exactly what they want — reliable, trustworthy, and authoritative content.
So, utilize knowledge in your area of expertise by writing interesting and shareable articles or blog posts. If you don’t have time to write, explore guest posts by knowledgeable writers. Additionally, pay particular attention to the use of reliable sources.
Transparency is another key metric that helps with ranking. Easily located About Us sections, contact and location information, and terms of service information are all seen as favorable.
But it’s just not what you say, it’s also how you say it. Making pages easy to read for users — and easily interpreted by the search engine — involves making good use of headings.
While H1 headings and H2 headings are perhaps not as powerful for SEO as they were a decade ago, they’re still a big factor. This recent experiment by Moz suggests that while there is scant evidence that headlines in and of themselves are a ranking factor, the context and readability they provide does help with SEO.
A H1 or H2 heading will appear on a search engine results page (SERP). Get it right and consumers are more likely to click through.
Targeted use of keywords is also recommended. Title tags and the main body of content are important places to place your unique keywords. Including them in the meta description and also the alt-text in HTML code are other ranking factors to consider.
2. Page and Site Speed
Page speed and site speed play a significant role in site ranking and it’s not hard to see why. A page that opens slowly will test your user’s patience and reflect poorly on your organization’s professionalism. If a page takes more than 3 seconds to load, over 50% of users will leave it.
That stark statistic is all the convincing anyone should need about making sure they deliver pages swiftly, but when you factor in the case that site speed also affects where you rank, it becomes imperative to address this issue.
The first course of action is to use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to test how your page is performing. It’s a free and useful diagnostic tool that can identify problem areas. Some of the more common causes for slow page loading are poor code or images that are not web optimized through compression.
Improving server speed and, in some cases, using content distribution networks can give you the edge. Other ideas to improve performance are using browser caching or — to facilitate mobile users — you can serve uncluttered and stripped-back versions of your page by implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages.
Interested In SEO? Check out more on our blog at https://thekoolsource.net/category/seo-ppc-sem/
3. Mobile SEO
60% of all Google searches are done through a mobile device. (Safari digital) We know this and Google knows this, meaning that mobile-friendliness is an important ranking factor. Making sure your site is optimized for mobile and tablet users’ different display sizes while also accounting for their longer load times is crucial in fostering an enjoyable mobile user experience.
From as early as 2016 — soon after mobile searches first outstripped desktop searches — Google warned that eventually, their algorithms would use mobile experience as the primary way to rank a site within their index. A lack of attention to this will hurt your page ranking. What’s more, Safari digital also reveals that 51% of consumers trust a site that has been optimized for mobile search.
Between this list of mobile best practices from Google Search Central and their Mobile-Friendly Test, you can gain an edge over your less tech-savvy competitors by ensuring the mobile experience is tailored toward that ever-growing majority of users who are coming to your landing page on mobile phones and tablets.
4. URLs, domains, and extensions
The URL, or “web address” as they are commonly referred to, matters in SEO ranking for a number of reasons. Once more, user experience is a factor that search engines use in their ranking algorithm, so a URL that both read well and contains contextual information performs favorably. For example, a digital marketing team from Atlanta could use the URL atlanta-digital-marketing.com which would clearly communicate who they are, and what they do, to both users viewing a link and the search engine indexing sites.
As for keywords, the URL or domain (i.e. the text that makes up the site name) is not as big a factor as you might think. Site content and authority are a far greater influence on ranking, so an awkward URL that targets keywords is not recommended because the google algorithm is designed to tackle this kind of exact-keyword targeted domain name trickery.
Domain Extensions aka Top Level Domains (TLDs) are another opportunity to cultivate easily readable links that will play well with your potential audience and the search engine. Google has confirmed that a TLD will not perform better at SEO ranking than a .com or .org, but their readability and potential to direct traffic can inadvertently affect ranking through a good conversion rate.
5. Internal and external links
Internal links that point from one part of your domain to another can be a very welcome addition to a website, providing they a linking useful information. Another plus with internal links is their ability to provide easily navigated site architecture that both your users and the search engine index will use. This can help group together relevant information and make your website a more pleasurable place to visit and locate information.
The benefit of external links is slight but worth considering. Direct your users to useful, authoritative sources to improve the credibility of your site. Popular and authoritative links — especially in your area of expertise — are a good way to earn trust. In terms of SEO, external links lead to a small boost in your site’s relevance and have the potential for garnering a reciprocal backlink from a bigger, authoritative site. Those backlinks are a huge factor in SEO rankings.
6. Voice and Visual Search
Two as yet underexploited aspects of SEO are visual and voice search.
With home devices like the Amazon Echo ubiquitous, and statistics suggesting that 40% of adults use voice search on a daily basis (Forbes) and with 20% of all mobile queries now voice searches (Search Engine Land), it makes sense to explore Voice SEO optimization.
“Near me” searches are growing year on year, so give this captive audience what they want with relevant keywords, blog posts, and answers to the type of questions that might bring them to their door.
Google, Pinterest, Snapchat, and eBay are all heavily invested in visual search. It is a strong growth area that deserves your attention. Though probably more impactful for eCommerce and retail businesses, other services can utilize image searches by generating shareable content like graphs and charts.
Another useful tip is to properly name all your images so they can be easily indexed by the search engine. Similarly, adding useful metadata will be seen favorably by the algorithm. These are little things that your competitors may not be doing that could make a slight ranking difference.
So there you have it, six key tips from our Atlanta Marketing Agency on how to give yourself an edge and climb up the rankings. The main takeaway is that good content is really the most important aspect of SEO. Google is a business that wants to keep its user’s attention by keeping them engaged and returning.
The last few years have seen a further shift toward favoring the best and most useful content. Quick fixes may be a thing of the past, but these six tips are actionable and will result in a better website for your target market to visit, which in turn, will drive more organic traffic to your door.