SEO Hacks – The SEO Factors That Can Make or Break Your SEO Efforts
Perhaps you believe that you already found the easy stuff, the “low-hanging fruit,” as it were: good keywords for your niche, optimized titles and body copy, an XML sitemap. Nevertheless, you can’t seem to break past your competitors in the Google SERPs for your most coveted keywords.
You may not have the time or resources right now to do an expensive site overhaul or to even commit to SEO long-term. You may only want a few simple tweaks that will help move the needle.
Well, look no further. You are in luck, because you won’t need years of SEO training for the following hacks. And these hacks also won’t cost you a lot of time or money to implement. You won’t even need to change significant parts of your site. Intrigued? Then let’s continue.
Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
There’s a good reason we’ve put this as number 1.
Your Google My Business page is easily the most important ranking factor when it comes to local pack ranking, and optimizing it is easy. Here’s what you have to do:
- Claim your listing
- Verify your account
- Ensure your business details are up-to-date. Common mistakes include wrong opening hours, erroneous opening hours, and incorrect category listings. If you leave ANY information out, the Places listing will show a link to “Update Details”. Literally anyone on that page can then edit or amend details crucial to the listing, such as hours, location and contact details. Keep an eye on this.
- Link the listing to your website
- Upload high-quality business images (or refresh existing images if they’re more than a year old)
- Once your Google My Business page is set up, the best way to keep optimizing is to win customer reviews and build citations for local listings. A great way to ascertain good reviews is to keep hot on the heels of new customers; do all you can to allow them to have the best experience with you, and then ask for a review from them. Make sure you keep that customer happy, though, as a 5-star review can be turned into a 1-star review quicker than you can down a cup of coffee on a Monday morning.
Curate Customer Proof
Social proof is among the most powerful content at your disposal. Reviews, testimonials, and case studies are both powerful ranking signal, and persuasive pieces of copy that often decide whether a customer hires you or one of your competitors.
Getting customer proof takes a little work, but here are a few creative ways to encourage more reviews:
- Offer link building opportunities: Your customers want to build links just as badly as you do, and many will leap at the opportunity to be featured in a case study if it means free publicity.
- Encourage customers to leave reviews: the reviews can be done on Google, Facebook, or even as a quote (they will have to give you permission to make their quoted review public, remember that)
- Ask for reviews: Yes, it really can be this simple. You won’t win reviews from all of your customers, but all you need is a trickle of positive feedback on the platforms your customers frequent (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Amazon, etc.) and you’ll soon build up a solid reputation.|
Don’t Forget to Track Video & Image Ranking – Not ONLY Keywords
While most businesses measure metrics like visitors and CTR, surprisingly few realize that quality rank tracking software can also check your video and image rankings.
Check your rank tracking tool for an option to enable universal search results, and your software should gather results from search engines like YouTube as well as Google, Bing, and other search engines.
Optimizing images is often as simple as compressing your images to reduce their file size. Make sure your images are properly formatted (usually .jpg or .png) and then compressed with a tool that preserves image quality.
To improve your videos, optimize your titles and metadata to be more clickable and include at least one keyword, creating unique thumbnails, and transcribe your video text to help YouTube’s indexing.
Check that people aren’t linking to 404 pages on your website
Look for URLs that are returning a 404 on your site and have external links pointed at them. Google Search Console gives you the ability to check the 404 pages on your site and see whether they are being linked to (and from where). If you have an externally linked page which returns a 404, prioritize fixing it ASAP, as you are squandering link authority every minute that remains unfixed. Recovering that link equity and/or traffic is a very easy “quick win.”
To do this in Google Search Console:
- Crawl -> Crawl Errors -> Not Found
- Click on each URL returning a 404.
- Google will usually sort the errors by the most to least important and the most important include the ones with external links. After clicking on a URL, select the “Linked From” tab and it will show you the URLs linking to the page in question. Make sure these 404 URLs are 301 redirected to the next most relevant URL on your site.
Work hard on getting featured snippets
Snippets are like putting a bow tie on a cute cat.
Cute cats on their own are great, as are first-page listings. But put a bow tie on that kitty and you’ve got something that few can resist. Rich snippets are among my favourite SEO tactics. Coupled with a great, enticing meta description and title tag, they make your snippet stand out from the crowd. In this case, if you’re looking for the best slack line to give to your outdoorsy significant other, you are going to want to look for the listing that looks like it is an awesome product from a quality supplier.
Each rich snippet added to the SERP is an opportunity. The rating shows the searcher that this product is high-quality, as evidenced by pleased past buyers. The price and the “in stock” markers tell searchers what they need to know to invest in your quality product.
The extra product information and review stars naturally draw the user’s eye to your listing and increase your click-through rate. Rich snippets won’t increase your rankings, but for the rankings you already have, they will drive more visitors to your site.
Remember Webpage Speed Is Critical to the SERP
Along with mobile-first indexing, updated webpage speed is another item to put on your 2018 SEO to-do list. According to Moz, speed is one of the biggest webpage ranking factors. Search engines allot a certain amount of time to crawl each site, so the slower your site is, the fewer pages it can crawl – which is detrimental to your rankings on the SERP. Higher bounce rates, less time on page and fewer conversions are other negative metrics associated with long load times – but fear not! There are multiple ways to improve speed including using compressed files, optimized images, minimized code, reduced redirects, cached browsing and improved server time.
Voice Search Optimisation – The New Normal
With smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home popping up in households around the world, a hefty slice of SEO in the near future will largely be based on voice search queries. 7% of American households have a smart speaker in their homes, meaning there are over 20 million households using their voices to search the net. Forecasts predict the number of households with smart speakers is set to increase, so it’s wise to optimize your website’s search terms and keywords for voice search now.
To stay ahead of the curve, include questions and conversational queries on your site using long-tail keywords that match and answer complete questions. One way to do this is by featuring a FAQ page on your site that contains common questions and answers specific to your site, products or services.
Increase the Word Count of Blog Pages to 2500-3000 Words
If you want to rank for an informative search query like “how to improve WordPress SEO”, then make sure that you have at least 2500 words of content in your page.
Snapagency did a survey and found that blog posts having a word count of 2500 words or more received the maximum social shares.
Hence, the best blog post length that you should always aim for is 2500 words. Simply find out all the informative search queries based on Google Micro Moments that will help the customer to reach the end of the funnel. After that, create content that provides actionable and interactive text to help the user find answers to their problems or confusions.
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