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Better search engine rankings will lead to more traffic for your website, and we all could do with a little more traffic–even if you’re currently pulling in thousands of visitors or more each day. That’s why SEO is so important. According to the team at Ebundant Online Marketing, SEO– is one of the trickiest forms of marketing, however, if done right, it can blast a business from obscurity into the limelight.
In this article we are going to cover the 10 most overlooked and important aspects of search engine optimisation.
- Optimise Your Website for Mobile Search
Mobile search now accounts for 51.3% of all internet browsing, and search engines have taken notice and adjusted accordingly: in November of 2016 Google launched their mobile-first index which places the mobile version of a site as the primary search index. Previously the desktop version of websites held this pride of place but not anymore.
So what does this mean for you?
Your audience searches for answers to its queries on the go, and unless you can keep up with the trend, you risk being left behind. Today, in order to guarantee a pleasant user experience to searchers, search engines intentionally award lower rankings to websites that do not look good on mobile screens and tablets.
Making sure your website is fully responsive and mobile friendly is no longer an option but an absolute must.
- Optimise for Voice Search
KPCB’s 2016 Internet Trends Report purports that voice search queries have multiplied more than 35x since 2008. And this trend is set to continue with the rise of personal assistants like Cortana, Siri, Echo, and Google Now.
And according to Andrew Ng, Chief Scientist at Baidu, this is only the beginning. According to him as speech recognition moves from 95% to 99%, voice search will graduate from being a neat feature we know about to become something we do all the time, every day, “…people underestimate the difference between 95% and 99% accuracy – 99% is a game changer…”.
It’s only a matter of time before search reaches this milestone and the best thing you can do for your website SEO is to optimise for voice search now.
- Supercharge Your Link Building
If you already produce stellar content, then link building is the SEO juice that will power your SEO efforts into the stratosphere. Link building is arguably the most important ranking factor among the hundreds that Google uses, and certainly among the top 3 (along with content and Google Rankbrain).
When building your links, you want to keep them as natural as possible. Link only to websites that make sense to what your website has to offer and stay away from anything that would make Google suspicious of your link building activities. That means all spammy websites and shady link building tactics involving paying rock bottom prices to faceless individuals in the Philippines should be avoided at all costs. Even if these tactics may seem to work for a short while, eventually Google and other search engines catch up and never fail to sanction defaulters.
- Aim for the Answer Box
Rich answers–those snippets of information that provide direct answers to a query in a box at the top of search results–represent an opportunity you should not pass up. In 2015, rich answers were provided for 20% of all queries…and this number is likely to increase year after year.
The chances of your website being chosen ahead of any other are higher when your content is displayed so prominently. To take advantage of this you want to intentionally optimise for these queries: explicitly ask the question in your content, provide clearly worded, direct answers immediately after, and then provide comprehensive background information as a follow up which could take the form of lists and Q&A pages.
- Shorten Your URLs
Descriptive URLs have been an SEO staple for many years, but studies have shown that shortening your URLs can be just as beneficial to your rankings if not more so. There is no set number of words that anybody can recommend, but according to Google, nothing after the first 5 words in your URL is given much credit. So you want to include your primary keywords among the first few words of your URL and restrict it to no more than 5 words.
- Don’t Ignore Local SEO
Mobile search is not the only disruptive trend on the search engine landscape: local SEO is also become more prominent as a factor for a successful SEO campaign.
In an illuminating post dubbed, ‘SEO and Digital Trends in 2017’, Gianluca Fiorelli shows the increased relevance of local search in a world that has shifted towards mobile. A lot of recent Google updates and business acquisitions attest to this fact.
Granted, local search is not a strong factor for every business. But if you have a local or offline component to your business then local SEO optimisation is a tactic you cannot overlook. As an increasing number of individuals are turning to their phones to find local products and services, the relevance of optimising for local keywords is only going to increase.
- Prioritise Long Form Content
Content is King…but not all forms of content receive royal attention from search engines. According to R.L Adams in a Forbes article on how to dominate Google searches, he testifies to the strength of adopting long form content as a strategy. Adams ranks for some of the most competitive keywords because of the length of the contents he provides which typically exceed 2000 words.
But it’s not only the length of your content that matters; the quality of the information you provide is also key. You can’t ramble on an on and expect any favours from Google. The reason long form content tends to do better than shorter content is because of its potential to go more in-depth into a topics and answer more questions that are relevant to the reader.
- Ensure a Great User Experience
User experience is usually gauged with indirect metrics such as bounce rate and click through rate. While these factors have very little to do with the actual experience you provide on your website, they do allow you to ensure that you maintain your rankings.
If your website has poorer click through rates and bounce rates than those below it on the SERPs, it may end up losing its ranking. So to avoid this, pay attention to your title tags and meta descriptions because these act as ad copy for the content shared on your website.
- Aim to Become an Authority on Key Topics
Brian Dean, of Backlinko fame, analysed 1 million search results and found out that long form content vastly outranked short form content…probably because they were more comprehensive in the way they handled the particular topic. His study found that a long, comprehensive piece of content usually outranked shorter content that was highly optimised around a certain keyword…even when the long form content did pay attention to the keyword at all.
- Increase Your Page Speed
Google has been harping on forever about the need for fast loading pages. It boils down to user experience. According to Google, pages that load slowly frustrate users. The result is that 53% of users will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
In their quest to provide the best user experience for searchers as is possible, search engines are taking no prisoners. Unless your pages load super fast once clicked, don’t expect high ranking on SERPs.