In today’s overly competitive world of online businesses, you need to be among the best players to make a profit. To drive more traffic to your site and boost your conversion rates, you need to be on the first page in the SERPs. According to studies, 75% of searchers would never scroll past the first page of Google.
Unfortunately, Google isn’t making this simpler for online marketers. Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird- these are major updates it has added to their search engine algorithm. Those updates bring new rules to the table, telling you how your site should be structured and what SEO practices you should(not) use. And, if you don’t play by those rules, you’re likely to get penalized.
However, no matter how big these updates are, one thing never changes- Google is getting smarter day by day and everything it does, it does to make users happy.
Precisely because of this, your SEO efforts need to be smart, too. Here are a few basic on-page SEO techniques you need to implement to boost your rankings and yet make search engines satisfied.
1. Invest in a Responsive Design
When Google Panda was introduced, many sites didn’t take it seriously. Of course, that cost them a lot. For instance, eBay lost more than 80% of their prime rankings. Ouch!
Ever since then, Google has constantly been introducing new updates (such as the 2015 Mobile Algorithm Update), forcing webmasters to meet the needs of mobile searchers. They have announced the transition to the mobile-first index later this year, meaning that they won’t index a site based on its desktop version anymore. From now on, Google will crawl the web from a mobile browser view, which is an enormous change for those sites not optimized for mobile.
So, to sustain your rankings in today’s mobile-first landscape, you need to invest in a responsive website design. Not mobile-friendly. Responsive. The difference is huge, and you need to be familiar with it. While mobile-friendly sites work similarly across all devices, responsive ones change according to the size of the screen. So, we can say that all responsive sites are mobile-friendly, while not all mobile-friendly sites are responsive.
A responsive website design provides users with the utmost browsing experience, and it’s no wonder that Google defines it as a preferred mobile configuration. It will not only boost the overall searchers’ satisfaction, but also simplify your site’s navigation across various devices, reduce the bounce rate, improve conversion rates, and boost your rankings.
2. Boost your Site Speed
Researches show that 47% of your target audience wants your website to load in less than 2 seconds. Moreover, more than half of all U.S. customers won’t buy from a site if it loads slowly. They will simply leave it and choose a faster option to complete their purchase.
In light of statistics like these, it’s not surprising at all that Google cares a lot about the page load time. Even though Google’s Matt Cutts announced that site speed will carry less weight than other ranking factors, nothing could be further from the truth. Recent studies show that a delay of just a second in page response may mean 7% lower conversions.
There are numerous speed test tools that will help you check your current page load time. You can even take your research a step further and analyze your competitors’ page speed and compare it to yours. If your results aren’t optimal, don’t worry. There are numerous ways to boost your site speed and here are a few of them:
- Use browser caching.
- Optimize your plugins and images.
- Switch to faster hosting.
- Clean up your HTML and CSS coding.
- Remove ads.
- Cut redirects.
3. Meta Tags
One of the most important aspects of your on-page SEO is the implementation of tags. Even though some aren’t useful to your SEO as they were in the past, if written and used properly, they will definitely boost your traffic. Meta tags are used to provide search engines with the information about your page. Having great meta tags will also tell your readers what your page is about and, in this way, boost your click-through rate.
One of the most important tags on your page is your title tag. Namely, the title is what users see first on Google for both organic and paid results. The title tag tells what the page is about. When ranking a page, Google analyzes its title tag and compares it to the content on the page.
This is exactly why you need to optimize your title tags properly. Keep them descriptive and short. Namely, Google has recently enhanced the character limit for page titles to 70 characters. Still, you should try to stay below the character limit so your title displays properly. To get the most of your title tag, you should make sure that all important information is included, such as your keywords or location for local businesses.
A meta description is immensely important, given the fact that it tells a user what they will find on a page. Even though it is not a direct ranking factor, it is may give you a competitive advantage, generate a higher CTR, and drive more traffic to your site. Namely, Survey Monkey says that more than 43% of users click on a given result based on a meta description alone. This is why it needs to be concise – no more than 160 characters. Don’t stuff your keywords in your meta description. Instead, you could use latent semantic indexing of your main keyword or its synonyms and keep Google happy at the same time.
4. Create Awesome Content
You don’t have to be a marketing expert to know that content marketing is the backbone of every successful digital marketing strategy. The only way to establish yourself as authoritative in your industry and boost customer engagement is to create and share high-quality, informative and relevant content regularly. Only such content will drive more traffic, conversions, and links to your site and, in this way, tell Google that you’re relevant to your target audience.
Think of your content as a conversation with your customers. It needs to show them the value you offer to them, solve their problems and be well-written, concise, and grammatically correct. Most importantly, it needs to be relevant to both your business and customers. It doesn’t matter if you’re an e-commerce business discussing the most popular products to sell in 2018 or a digital agency writing about the latest digital marketing trends, you should always stick to your niche and to the topics relevant to your target audience.
Back to You
To rank well, your site needs to be perfectly optimized. Never forget that digital marketing is about building relationships with your potential customers and guiding them to take the desired action. This is why you need to provide search engines with the right signals. Most importantly, once you go through all these steps, you should take advantage of tools like Google Analytics or Google Search Console to understand how well your site is performing.
About the Author:
Nate Vickery is a marketing consultant and an online author. He is mostly engaged in providing his expertise to startups and SMBs. He is also the executive editor at Bizzmark Blog and an author on TheNextWeb.