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Top 10 Things to Know About SEO

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Think SEO is dead? Think again. Page rank remains one of the most crucial indicators for success and click-throughs for businesses. When your business is the top hit for a particular search, you are getting more eyes and more traffic than anyone else who would come up in that same search.

When your business is on the first page, it has a 75% higher chance of creating site visits than businesses that are bumped to subsequent pages. Luckily, there are tools that can improve your basic website SEO. Here’s a handy top-10 list to help you get on top of your SEO.

1. Word Count Counts 

Your writing teacher might have understood this better than anyone: the more you’re able to write, the better your ability to demonstrate an understanding of the content. Google certainly understands it—and rewards it.

If your content is longer than the standard 300 – 500 words, Google recognizes that the quality and depth of that content has the potential to be better than a shorter post of the same topic. A focus on depth in your content shows you are thorough and can inspire trust among your readers.

2. Location-Based SEO Boosts Visibility and Sales

The main point of optimizing your content’s ability to be found is that, well, it allows people to find exactly what they’re looking for—you! And when they’re searching for a business specifically, what better way to put yourself front-and-center than to provide them with all the information necessary.

78% of location-based mobile searches result in offline purchases. Basically, location-based SEO is the best and easiest way to take advantage of clients and customers who are in the market for exactly what you have to offer — location-based SEO is like the most accurate matchmaking tool we have for helping those who are already looking for us to find us. 

Location-based SEO is the best and easiest way to take advantage of clients and customers who are in the market for exactly what you have to offer. Click To Tweet

Luckily, there are some pretty approachable ways to ensure that your online presence is optimized for being found by those locals who are looking for you:

Additionally, for these basic strategies, you’ll also need to ensure that your local information is accurate. Check to make sure addresses, contact information, and other details are rendering correctly. 

3. Understand and Leverage Semantic Language Indexing

Every time Google rolls out another algorithm, we must pivot! In the past, keyword density would often do the trick for bumping up a website’s page rank. However, Google’s crawlers get smarter and smarter, and it’s no longer enough to simply stack relevant keywords in your content and metadata.

Natural language has become the queen of SEO. So in addition to knowing your keywords, you want to know how your audience is using those keywords and in which contexts. 

So if you’re writing about small business software, Google wants to ensure that you’re talking about things that readers will want to know with regard to that small business software. Therefore, Google will “read” for the attendant natural language that users frequently associate with small business software, such as ERP, analytics, data, CRM, and CEO. 

4. Kill the Zombies

Also known as Content Index Bloat, Zombie Pages may not be eating brains, but they can definitely be harming your page rank. 

Do you have old blog posts from 2004 just hanging out on your archive? Do you have any duplicate content?

Search engines penalize content that doesn’t have high or unique value, and if no one is visiting or linking to some of those older pages, you should consider axing them. Determine which are your worst performing pages and remove them. 

Search engines penalize content that doesn’t have high or unique value, and if no one is visiting or linking to some of those older pages, you should consider axing them. Click To Tweet

By pruning out content that is old, irrelevant, or otherwise deemed unnecessary, you will avoid polluting your rank with these zombies. These pages can slow processing time, consume more resources, and open up the potential for search engines to get stuck. Sometimes less is more!

5. Give the Little Guys Some Love

There are little fish in the big pond of the internet that can also help your page rank and visibility. Don’t just focus on Google. Behind Google, YouTube is dominating users’ attention, with up to 30 million visitors each day, making it the second biggest search engine on the internet. 

Don’t just focus on Google. Behind Google, YouTube is dominating users’ attention, with up to 30 million visitors each day, making it the second biggest search engine on the internet. Click To Tweet

And in some ways, courting the YouTube ranking system is similar to getting pretty for Google. Well-chosen keywords anticipate your audience’s needs and wants. Using those keywords in strategic fields like in the title and description of the video will create some bang for your buck.

But there are other tactics, like promoting your videos on social media with sizzle reels or snappy clips, which can increase your viewership, engagement, and subscribers—all of which result, ultimately, in better visibility overall. 

6. Mobile-Friendly is SEO-Friendly! 

People bouncing from your mobile site because images are loading slowly (or not at all) affects your ranking. Search engines are looking to both match the query and deliver the best experience. So if your website is making mobile browsing a challenge for your audience, you might find that it’s negatively affecting your rank. 

How can you tell if your mobile site might be turning people away? Well, first, your users shouldn’t be navigating a mini-version of your desktop site.

Instead, your mobile site should be offering dynamic, responsive content that essentially morphs to fit whatever size device your audience is using—Google, who tends to be mysterious and tight-lipped about their algorithms,  makes no bones about this. 

7. Social Media CAN Impact SEO

People put lots of stock in a claim made a few years ago by Matt Cutts, who argued that social media posts did not affect a website’s optimization. However, change on the interwebs happens in the blink of an eye. In this case, we’re putting our stock in the opposite notion: social media can and does affect your visibility.  

Here’s how, and why:

  1. Content that performs well on social media channels gets shared, which increases the number of users who see that content.
  2. Content that gets seen more frequently garners more links.
  3. Those links (called “backlinks”) improve overall page rank when they are posted from quality sources. 

It isn’t the actual links FROM social media posts that can increase your SEO; however, the indirect results of a successful social media campaign can boost visibility considerably. But don’t take our word for it; Hootsuite did a study that proves it. 

8. Cover Your Back(links)

Incoming links can generally be a positive thing for SEO. Google considers some links to be a kind of vote for confidence in the relevance of your website.

However, too many links that come from questionable sources can actually work against your ranking. Do you know how many incoming links to your page are considered poor quality? [Neil Patel has a great tool to help you.]

The more poor quality incoming links you have, the worse your page rank. In fact, the worse those links are, Google will actually penalize your page, lowering what would otherwise be a good rank to page 3 or 4 because your incoming links make you look like spam. 

Too many links that come from questionable sources can actually work against your ranking. Do you know how many incoming links to your page are considered poor quality? Click To Tweet

Removing backlinks requires a bit of doing. Your options are either to identify the offending domains, do some footwork to find the contact information or webmaster of that domain, and send them a friendly email asking them to remove the link to your site. 

Your other option is to use Google’s Disavow Tool, which experts do not advise using unless it is your very last resort. Make every attempt to have the link removed before you resort to disavowing links 

9. If You Build It (Using Unique Keywords), They Will Come 

There’s unquestionable value in using keywords, long-tail keywords, keyword variety, and latent semantic indexing to boost your SEO. However, one of the sure-fire ways of getting a #1 hit for a search is to develop your own unique keyword.

Say, for instance, you come up with a specific technique for crocheting doilies. You decide to give it a name: “The Grandma Betty Flair.” As your technique gains popularity, there won’t be any other way for people to find you except to use that specific string of words. 

The lesson here: Unique wording can work in your favor. Name your ideas so that they can be distinguished—and easily found—by the crawlers. 

10. Get Back to Basics

When it comes to SEO, don’t forget about basic bot readability! While most things change with the Google algorithms, some things stay the same. 

Make sure you’re using all the old standbys to stand out: tagging, well-placed words in your headings, quality content, alt image tags, and meta descriptions are all oldies but goodies, and will all serve you in the end.