Search ranking has never been more competitive than it is now. There are millions of website all competing for the #1 slot on specific keywords. So what can you do to get your site in front of users? Here are a few tips that can increase your search visibility in 2019.
1. Mobile-first Websites
Google rolled out its mobile-first indexing late last year, and the design community has been in a scramble ever since. You’ll need to follow a few steps to see what Google’s crawlers prefer, but suffice it to say that if you’ve been a bit lax on your mobile site, you can’t afford to be anymore.
Linking to websites that are related to yours helps search engines understand the people you’re trying to reach. Outbound links help establish your niche, while internal links help the robots understand the structure of your website and its connectedness.
Backlinking is also crucial for SEO, so try to do some guest blogs or create content that other people will want to link to. Being authoritative on topics is a great way to do this, but try to stick to white hat methods. Paying for backlinks isn’t sustainable since Google is prowling for the sites that sell backlinking.
3. Correct Technical Issues
The meta tags are boring, but they’re ridiculously important to Google. Make sure that you don’t have any problems without outdated links, duplicated pages, or old sitemaps. While this isn’t the sexy side of SEO, it’s something you absolutely have to do correctly. Websites can be severely punished in the rankings for having outdated or broken sitemaps. Duplicate content also has a negative impact, so it’s imperative for you to keep up with it.
4. Content Quality
Google has spent the past decade or more trying to defeat blackhats gaming the SEO system. It used to be that you could dump the dictionary into the meta description and rank that way. This isn’t the case anymore, and for a good reason; Google wants to promote quality pages. Generating hits and backlinks by creating good content is the only way to rank with on-page content now.
Google typically prefers pages where the content is around 1000 words or more.
5. Use HTTPS
Since around July of 2018, Google has marked sites using HTTP as “Not Secure”. Switching to HTTPS has the dual advantage of reassuring your users as well as avoiding ranking punishment.
If money is a concern, you can get an SSL certificate for free, though it won’t have some of the advantages that business-level certificates offer. It takes no time at all, but it does require a bit of knowledge and host-level access.
6. Design for Intent
While figuring out your keywords is all well and good, it’s more important to understand the intent of users searching for you. Figure out why they want to know what they’re searching for, and you’ll be able to get ahead of the field. Perhaps your website reviews headphones. Who is going to be using them and why? Will gamers be your audience? Link to some gaming-related pages to help establish yourself in that niche. Will audio engineers be the target? Link to recording resources to connect yourself to that market.
Determining the intent of your visitors will help you implement several of the link- and tag-based initiatives for your SEO. If you want Position #0, you have to start here.
7. Keep Up With the Changes
As we mentioned above, the standards regarding what Google looks for are constantly shifting. Keeping up with their press releases will be critical in staying competitive with an ever-growing internet.
Recent changes like the mobile-first indexing are causing a huge stir. If this article is the first you’ve heard of it, then you’ve got to sign up to mailing lists, set alerts, and join groups where these discussions are central. Stay connected to the SEO scene and get ahead of the shifts.
8. Improve Page Speed
Another way that Google ranks your pages is based on how quickly they load. Be sure to optimize images and effects. Make use of CDNs if larger images or videos are an absolute must. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to see how they rank your page speed. If you don’t rank well, you’ll receive a breakdown of every major area where your webpages suffer in speed.
This is calculated by emulating a cellular network, so the insights measure how nearly 50% of the internet will interact with your website. It’s a handy tool that can help you improve your rank just by following some of the steps mentioned.
9. Take Advantage of AMP
The Accelerated Mobile Pages project is an initiative meant to increase the speed of mobile pages. While responsive layouts are good in a pinch, AMP would be the next step towards mobile-friendliness. With Google’s mobile-first indexing, AMP is going to be the minimum requirement for any website hoping to be competitive in their rankings.
If you’re working with a CMS like WordPress or Joomla, there are typically plugins that utilize AMP and allow you to improve mobile page speed this way.
10. Write Your Tags
The meta tags haven’t entirely gone the way of the dinosaur, at least not as far as Google is concerned. Meta tags are as important to Google as Open Graph is to all of the big social media sites. You won’t bump anybody out of #1 with meta tags alone, but leaving them unattended is going to make it literally impossible to get on the first page unless you are the only viable result for a search.
Staying in the rankings is a non-stop endeavor. The seas are changing by the minute as Google attempts to cater to their users and give them the best quality search results. It’s up to you to do everything you can to ensure you are one of those results.
Are you looking to increase your brand’s visibility and reach new audiences? Contact us today.