Sound SEO strategies lead to online success and business growth, but with the web and search engines constantly evolving, it can be hard to know what those are. To complicate matters, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. The solution is pretty simple, though: keep abreast of changes and follow industry best practices.
In case you haven’t been doing that, here’s a list of nine things you can start implementing today that will increase your traffic, leads, and conversions, as well as enhance your online reputation. Take your business to the next level in 2016!
SEO Strategies: 9 Ways to Boost Your Business
1. Optimize for Mobile
If this isn’t one of your top priority SEO strategies, it should be. As this recent comScore study indicates, mobile has become the leading digital platform. Internet usage on mobile devices now exceeds desktop usage, and Google has made it clear that they prefer responsive and mobile-optimized websites. They’ve even started including “mobile-friendly” labels in mobile search results.
2. Stop Tracking Keyword Rankings
Well, maybe not completely, but it makes much more sense to track ROI metrics. Marketers often get excited when they look at ranking reports and discover that their website is ranking for several keywords. But are those keywords generating leads? Are they capturing new sales and business? There are tons of low competition keyword phrases out there that are quite useless.
3. Build Fewer, Better Links
Inbound links have always been a Google ranking signal. This probably won’t change any time soon. However, link quality is important. A few links from trusted authority sites are better than hundreds of links from mediocre sites. Also, relevancy is a factor. Make better link building one of your SEO strategies. In fact, focus on earning your links rather than building them.
It all starts with creating link-worthy content first.
4. Focus on User Intent
Since the introduction of Hummingbird, Google handles queries differently. Whereas in the past it would simply match keywords to pages, it now considers context and user intent. What does this mean for you as a business or marketer? It means that your content should contain conversational keyword phrases that prospects are likely to use when searching for your services, as well as broader, semantic terms.
5. Consider HTTPS
In August last year, Google announced that HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure – a secure method of exchanging web info) had become a ranking signal and that encrypted websites would have a minor ranking advantage going forward. To encrypt your site, you’ll need to get an SSL certificate, which isn’t free. Also, it may not suit every site. Still, it’s one of the SEO strategies that is worth looking into.
6. Define Your Social Presence
There was a time when having a social presence meant signing up on all available platforms and sharing a bunch of content. Today, social media is a powerful marketing tool and customer service channel. Prospects expect you to engage with them more actively and personally, and search engines like Google tend to take notice. For best results, focus on two or three platforms and be very active.
7. Improve Your URL Structure
Change your URLs to static. Search engines find dynamic URLs (those with long ID numbers and “=” and “&” characters) difficult to crawl and index. Searchers don’t find them very useful, either. Use descriptive, page-related keywords in your URLs, and keep them simple. Optimizing URLs can affect your rankings and click-through rates and could be one of your best SEO strategies. Don’t forget to use 301 redirects.
8. Boost Site Speed
Website speed affects user experience and can increase or decrease conversions drastically. In the longer term, it can have an impact on search rankings and traffic. Page speed is a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. Things that can slow page loading times include unoptimized Images, plugin/widget overload, and bulky code. Use tools like PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, and YSlow to test your site.
9. Don’t Ignore Other Search Engines
While Google may be the king of search, there are signs that other search engines are gaining traction. For example, Google is no longer the default search engine on the popular Firefox browser – Yahoo is. Also, Safari’s “default” search placement is currently up for grabs. This could go to Bing or Yahoo. Then, there’s DuckDuckGo, which is slowly, but surely making progress. Be visible on all search engines.
Have a few of your own SEO strategies to share? How will your business be capturing more business this year?