How to Boost Your SEO and Get Ahead of the Curve
There have been so many SEO strategy articles published this year that you probably already know most of the practices by heart.
Instead of adding to all that, I aim to help you spice up your SEO routine with a few advanced tactics.
Here is a compilation of unique and extremely effective SEO techniques to help you rank higher and faster without having to put in massive amounts of effort.
1. Get Ready For Mobile-First Indexing
After the first mention of mobile-first indexing, it was featured on every industry blog.
Fortunately, by now all the myths that popped up around the subject have been debunked, and here’s what we now know for sure:
- Mobile friendliness is simply one of Google’s general recommendations.You don’t actually have to be mobile friendly in order to be migrated onto mobile first indexing.
- Once a website goes on to the mobile-first index, there is no way of going back.
- If a website has a responsive design, not much is going to change as the content will basically be the same for both mobile and desktop.Dynamic serving websites and M-dot sites are the ones that call for a bit more attention.
For those who don’t know, dynamic serving refers to a setup with servers that respond with different HTML on the same URL dependent on which user agent is requesting the page. It serves each device with a different code but on one URL.
An M-dot website is one that is specifically designed to work on mobile devices. It exists on a different subdomain. The main benefit of having an m-dot website is that you’re able to customize the experience for mobile users any way you want, all without compromising the desktop experience.
Mobile and desktop results from organic search can be vastly different even if queries are made from the same location mainly because of different user intent particularly when searching on two different devices.
For instance, searching for a company’s contact details using a desktop will pull contact information pages, while the same query on mobile will most likely show you a click-to-call option.
There are also other processes which can make desktop and mobile search engine results pages differ, such as the ranking process (e.g. effects of mobile page speed), penalties (e.g. getting heats by a penalty for intrusive interstitials), or indexing process, such as using/impeding crawlers for seeing all the content.
Tips for Optimization
If you are thinking of going responsive and your site hasn’t yet migrated to mobile-first indexing, now is the ideal time to do that. If you’re comfortable with having separate site versions or a dynamic site, you need to offer parity between desktop and mobile in terms of content, markup, internal linking, and so on.
You can use accordion or hamburger menus for mobile as this won’t hamper indexing.
The ranking process is certainly not in your control, but you can optimize for the process of indexing. To do that, you have to check your website structure in the way that mobile bots see it and ensure that there aren’t any obstacles for crawlers coming to your site.
2. Mobile PageSpeed Optimization
As a ranking factor, mobile page speed was one of the benchmarks of SEO in the last year. But, it’s very interesting to note how this ranking factor actually had an influence on search optimization.
A lot of people have run experiments for before and after that particular update came out in an effort to see how that factor influenced real rankings.
There were no surprises when most of them discovered that the level of optimization was a decisive factor for the position of a page in the SERPs.
However, it’s important to note that this is just the state of things right now.
And we should not ignore Google’s ever-growing interest in things like field data and loading speed of real users through the use of Chrome User Experience (CrUX) report data.
Tips for Optimization
You can easily check how Google views your website with regards to speed using the PageSpeed Insights tool. This is an online tool that helps you to identify performance best practices for your website.
It provides suggestions on how you can optimize your webpages as well as ideas on how you can make your website faster overall. You can access this tool directly from any browser.
Don’t forget, the higher your level of optimization, the higher your speed score.
So, with this in mind, you need to do the following:
Check your website using the PageSpeed Insights tool and analyze the recommendations from Google in the ‘Opportunities’ section.
Although the list of opportunities can be massive, it’s important to learn how to optimize for each and every one of them if you want to give your website the best chance of ranking high.
Be proactive and run regular technical audits on your website so you can fix any issues that are spotted.
3. Make the Most of the CrUX Report Data
If you have been using PageSpeed Insights for a while, then you might have noticed that field data – also known as real-world measurements, has migrated to a different section.
Field data is almost impossible for anyone to optimize for, but there isn’t much doubt that Google is running tons of tests so they can make their next move in their speed crusade.
This means that you need to consolidate all the knowledge you have and find ways of using it to your advantage.
Tips for Optimization
One thing we know for sure is that the data used in the CrUX report is available publicly on Google’s Big Query platform.
In order to learn about your website visitors’ devices, connection types, data on DCL, FCP, and other metrics, you just need to create a project on the Google Cloud Platform after which you can access it within the CrUX public project page.
Basic SQL knowledge will help you to uncover data that Google collects for your website.
And with this information in your corner, you can then tweak and improve your strategy. For instance, if you break up the reports by country and device type, you can easily learn that website visitors from a certain country prefer to browse your sites on mobile devices, and so on.
4. Take up more of the SERPs Space
Searching on Google can give you a different result every time. The organic results are shrinking faster than most people can keep up, and it’s time we learn how to transition beyond organic.
Here are a few techniques that you need to master in order to win this game:
Tips for Optimization
Tip #1: Get the featured snippet
Featured snippets aren’t a new thing, but their positioning above all other search results makes them very important in any SEO discussion.
But how do you go about getting a featured snippet for yourself?
Here are some of the steps you can follow:
- Always consider the questions your visitors have when you are creating content. You can use the rank tracker to get question ideas. All you have to do is create a project for your website and then go directly to Keyword Research > Related Questions. Type a few target keywords and you will be met with question ideas and other important metrics such as traffic, keyword difficulty, competition, and so on.
- You also need to format your content in a way that Google can easily snip it by using small paragraphs, tables, lists, images, and videos, etc. Just remember that the success of your formatting techniques is highly dependent on your type of market. You can take a look at some of your previous articles to see which ones perform best, find out which formatting traits they have in common, and start from there.
If you offer answers to hot topics in your industry, make sure you write small paragraphs of text that are more less the size of featured snippets.
Avoid using dictionary definitions since these are already covered by search results answer boxes.
Tip #2: Use Schema Markup
When implemented the right way, schema markup can help you get your website a few SERP features.
But before applying any schema or tweaking the ones you already have, it’s important to run experiments directly in Google SERPs.
First, see which types of SERP features come up when you conduct your target queries.
Then check whether any of your content already occupies any of the SERP space. You can then look for gaps that your content can cover in the current search results.
Tip #3: Optimize for Site Links
Site links take up a lot of space in the SERPs, but of course, you can’t make Google show site links the way you want.
But it is possible to create the ideal conditions when they are displayed. You can do this by having an internal linking structure that is logical. What this means is that you need a logical hierarchical website structure that has internal links to important pages.
Website auditor has a very convenient visualization feature which allows you to easily see the structure of your website. Once you have a picture of your site’s architecture, you can then make sure that none of the important pages are buried beneath endless clicks.
The entire structure should be shallow, and ideally, no page should be more than three clicks away.
5. Include Short Videos
Content is and always will be the pillar of your website, but these days people are developing a deep liking for videos.
Think about it, how many times have you gone to YouTube to watch a video about 3-D printing or something like that, and then found yourself an hour later learning how you can survive for years on a diet of bananas and milk?
The fact is, YouTube is the second largest search engine and people on this planet are watching over 1 billion hours of YouTube every day. Knowing that videos significantly boost the time spent by visitors on your page, this is something that you need to consider as part of your advanced SEO strategy.
Videos also take up a lot of SERP space, and the number of Google search result video carousels has nearly doubled in recent years. Listed below are some of the tactics you can use to help you leverage videos as part of your advanced SEO strategy.
Tips for Optimization
According to stats from experts, brand videos that are viewed the most are between 30 and 60 seconds long. Also, demand for YouTube how-to videos is growing by over 70% every year. So what does this mean for you?
It means that you need to make brand videos, product demos, etc. that are short and to the point.
Create educational videos to show your audience how to use and get the most out of your products or services. And you can also run webinars, interviews, and other live broadcasts.
The next step is to help users to find your videos by adding the relevant metadata (rich descriptions, shorter titles, etc.) you can also add transcripts of your videos to help Google gain a better understanding of their intent.
Use exact keyword matching because this is still effective on YouTube.
Fill in the keyword tags that are used for recommended videos and upload your videos to different platforms in addition to YouTube. You can use Facebook, Vimeo, Wistia, Instagram, and so on. The last step is to submit your video site map to the search engines.
These are just a few of the advanced search engine optimization tips that you can use to help you get an edge over your competition.
Pick one to implement on your website right now to start seeing an improvement in the results from your SEO activities.
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Updated: Originally published May 9th 2019