Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an ever-changing landscape and an on-going battle. Maybe you are new to the game and not sure what to focus on. Or maybe you’ve been at it for a while and aren’t happy with your results. Either way, we’ve got you covered with some great tips, tricks and changes to try for improving your Google ranking and web traffic.
Don’t Focus on Ranking
Wait, didn’t you just say…?
Yeah, I know. And look, being at the top of the page for Google rankings is great, and will definitely help web traffic. But the real things you want to focus on are click-through and conversion.
When it comes to ranking, obviously showing up at the top of the page (or near the top of the page) is the best place to be. However, you also have to be aware of your click-through rates. People seeing your pages come up in their search results doesn’t really mean anything if they aren’t clicking though. Google’s webmaster tools allow you to see your click-through rates for each keyword, as well as total number of impressions and average position. Generally, 30% click-through is considered pretty good. Anything below that and you’ve got room for improvement. Make sure you are making the best use of title tags and meta descriptions, as those can have a big impact on click-through.
Don’t Focus on Web Traffic
Hold on a sec! You said before…
Same trick twice! But the same deal applies here. Obviously, getting loads of web traffic is ideal, and can be a great indicator of how well some of your SEO efforts are taking. But, the thing you really want to keep in mind is conversion. How effective is that web traffic actually being once people are on your site?
To track this, obviously, you need to know what your goals are. Are you hoping to convert visitors into newsletter subscribers? Or are you an ecommerce site in need of converting views into sales?
Whatever the metric, that conversion rate is one of the key things to track. Because 200,000 pages views in a month isn’t going to mean much if only 100 are converting. You want quality views over quantity of views.
One way to help increase the quality of your page views is by figuring out who your ideal customer or client is and setting keywords to specifically target them. Creating buyer personas can be extremely helpful in this.
Good Old-Fashioned Link Building
Internal link building is one of the classic cornerstones of SEO strategy. So much so, that some people take it for granted and flat out forget to talk about it when discussing SEO. If you’re unfamiliar, it is essentially using pages and articles on your site to link to other pages and articles on your site (like I did above with that post on buyer personas). This creates a tiny web of interwoven parts between pages on your website, which tells Google that all the pages involved are more relevant.
Part of the problem with internal link building is that it’s gotten a bad rap in recent years. Proponents of shadier, spammy SEO tactics have really abused this technique with useless, garbage webpages filled with links upon links upon links for no reason at all. The result is that Google’s algorithm has gotten smarter and can sniff out these fishy practices from a mile away.
But that doesn’t mean the foundation of what made this practice great in the first place isn't valid! As long as your content is relevant, useful and of a high quality – and as long as your links are valid and relevant as well – then internal link building is a great practice.
There’s also a lot of opportunity to get creative with your link building. Try doing things like making a fun, customized 404 error page with links back to other pages that might be more stable like a “home” or “about” section. That way, if visitors do run into a 404 error, they are being lead back to relevant pages and helping to index those pages more.
Mobile, Mobile, Mobile, Mobile, Mobile!
We’ll just keep saying it until it sticks. Of all the great many reasons to make sure your website is optimized for mobile (and there are many), SEO might be the most important. Fine, “most important” is hyperbole, and actually trying to make that determination would require a lot of apples-to-oranges-to-papayas kinds of comparisons that aren’t really helping anyone, but the point is, mobile design is a big deal for SEO.
Google has come right out and said that they are making mobile optimization a big deal in search results. Mobile-friendly, responsive websites are going to rank higher than those that don’t "play nice" with smartphones and tablets.
And Google rankings aside, it’s just a good idea to have your website be responsive these days. Mobile traffic has overtaken traditional desktop traffic on the web, and that’s a trend that isn’t slowing down. And if mobile users DO find your site and it’s NOT optimized, they are much more likely to leave. Seriously, you will not like what your bounce rates look like.
If mobile-optimization feels like a really big, unclimbable mountain to you, well… that’s one of the reasons why we love Squarespace.
Finally, have patience with your SEO attempts. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. No, not even a marathon, more like a religion. Okay, that might be too extreme the other way. Point is, SEO is not something that you set and forget. It’s not something you can try once or a couple of times and expect results. It’s very much a slow burn. You’ll probably have to try many tactics and make many tweaks along the way, and give yourself enough time to really see the changes take effect, because they won’t work overnight. But give it a chance. It can make a big difference.
Need help with your SEO and content marketing strategy? We can help take your business to the next level. Contact 10twelve today!