Optimizing for SEO isn’t always intuitive.
As you continue to deepen your understanding of this mainstay of online marketing, you’ll probably kick up more questions than answers.
At this point, you have the standard SEO tactics down. But perhaps you’ve hit a wall and you’re not seeing as much growth.
Well, it might be time to think outside the box. Sure, the SEO basics are essential but oftentimes you’ll need more to give your campaign that extra oompf.
Here are 5 things that boost SEO that aren’t your typical strategies.
1. Mind your landing page
Maybe you’re already familiar with a landing page, but let’s dive deeper. A landing page is where a user arrives after they click a link to your website. In terms of SEO, this will likely be a user clicking on a link from the search engine result page (SERP) for their search query. From here, you can inform the visitor, give them the chance to buy your product, get their contact information, and more. In many ways, your landing page is the pillar of your SEO efforts.
Why is it so important? Bounce rate % and time spent on page! Among the hundreds of ranking signals search engines like Google use to analyze a site for ranking, the bounce rate and user session duration are extremely important. Obviously, the higher the bounce rate, the lower your ranking. For duration on page, the less time spent on the page before leaving the website, the lower the ranking.
When you’re setting the groundwork for your SEO efforts, it’s important to carefully consider the details of your landing page. Ultimately, the aim of SEO is always to improve the user’s experience. The algorithm rewards ease of use. Part of that means creating landing pages that make sense from the initial click to the landing page experience.
Be sure your landing page is exactly what you promote it to be. Your meta title and description need to align with the actual content on the page.
If you happen to rewrite your content, be sure to update this information. Avoid keyword stuffing. Instead, write something a visitor to your site will actually find useful. On search, your greatest asset is finding what call-to-action (CTA) will work best in the metadata. Finally, be sure when you link out to another page on your site (internal linking), the anchor text fits the destination.
2. Conversions via organic and ads
Conversions occur when a visitor to your site completes a desired action/goal. That could be anything from making a purchase to signing up for your newsletter – you get to set the parameters for your conversion goals. When building out your pages, it’s important to keep these goals in mind in conjunction with your SEO strategy.
Conversion goals and strategy should vary from organic to ad landing pages. However, you can learn from both marketing strategies. When building out a landing page, be sure to tailor it to a specific purpose. If you intend to use it for ads, it’s important to clearly display the information you advertised would be there. Likewise, if you’re optimizing a landing page for organic traffic, be sure that your content matches what you signal is there to search engines.
Then, compare results! A landing page can act for ads and SEO in tandem, but only if you do it right. If you start noticing that your SEO traffic is converting much higher than your ads, then maybe it’s not the ideal landing page for your ads budget. But, if the landing page is meant to serve for both ads and SEO and SEO isn’t converting well at all, rethink your strategy.
Why? Aside from the fact that you need to know where high-converting traffic comes from, Google is already aware of your stats. If you have Google Analytics connected to your website, you can see where leads are funneling, but so does Google automatically. A page won’t necessarily rank well just because you have a lot of ads traffic coming in and converting.
3. Local SEO – spam fighting
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the big picture of SEO that we forget to tap into an all too important audience – our community. Local SEO is a great way to connect with the folks that could potentially walk into your brick and mortar shop or call for your local services. Basically, it’s the practice of optimizing for relevant local searches. Your goal is to make it to the top of the search results for your neighborhood or city.
Google My Business is pivotal in your local SEO efforts. If you play your cards right, you could earn a spot in the coveted Map-Pack. That means when a potential customer Googles your industry/service, your location will be one of the first they see.
Spam fighting is another important facet of local SEO. A lot of businesses will try to get away with less than honest SEO practices to give them a leg up. For instance, a business may include a keyword in its company name on Google My Business. When you notice this kind of behavior, be sure to report it to Google. This can knock their business lower and give you a chance to rank above them.
You want to compete with real competitors, not spammy competition that bypasses Google’s policies. Admittedly, Google is terrible at cleaning up the spam within local listings. This is why it’s becoming a coveted strategy. However, spam will always exist, so it’s a very time-intensive Local SEO strategy. The results are always significant in the end.
While you’re in the process of configuring your website, it’s important to make it as easy as possible to navigate. Breadcrumbs are a great way to assure that both visitors and crawlers can make their way through your website with ease. Basically, they offer a clear path from the homepage to the landing page.
Here is an example of how breadcrumbs may appear on a website:
Home > Services > SEO
If you want to keep that SEO juice flowing through your site, breadcrumbs are a must-have. You’ll give search engines a clear path to crawl your site and users a sense of where they are regardless of the page they enter your site from. They can reduce bounce rates and give your site a generally intuitive path from page to page.
This strategy is something that has become overlooked on many websites. But even if you are a small business owner with only 20 pages on your website, it matters.
Maintaining realistic, achievable goals is the final SEO tip you should consider. Key performance indicators – or KPIs – are a set of metrics you can keep track of to evaluate your SEO efforts. There are a few important KPIs you should keep your eye on as you continue to optimize your business.
Here are some KPIs to keep track of:
Track your web traffic. If you don’t have a good idea of where you stand at the beginning of your SEO push, it might be difficult to see real results as you continue your efforts. Pay attention to growth beyond keyword ranking. Don’t neglect to track data such as organic traffic and on-site behavior such as click-through and bounce rates. You can use resources such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console to watch your progress.
Track conversions. We touched on conversions already but it is vital to know if your SEO efforts are resulting in actual conversions. Ads are known for being the source of conversions, but you need to make your SEO campaign just as if not more efficient at converting traffic. Just because you have good SEO doesn’t mean that you’re converting well organically.
Maintain a page speed of less than 3 seconds. To clarify, page speed is different than site speed. Page speed refers to the speed at which a specific page will fully display your content. Search engines reward speedy load times, especially on mobile devices. Make it a goal to keep that load time as swift as possible. You can track page speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Maintain a crawl depth of fewer than 4 pages. Crawl depth is the number of pages a user and search engine bot needs to crawl in order to get to a given destination page. Think back to breadcrumbs. But rather than a visual, written out path, crawl depth refers to the number of pages a bot or visitor must pass through to get to any area of your site. The goal is to keep the crawl depth to fewer than 4 pages. You lose traffic for each page a user must load on their device. This is why internal linking is so important to your SEO and marketing strategy.
Guest author: Joseph Jones is the Director of SEO at Beyond Blue Media. He is a fanatic of learning user behavior and neuromarketing science to better understand the online user intent and how real world actions interact with online decision-making.