Did you know that search engine optimization not only helps to raise your business website profile but it helps to attract more traffic and improve your conversion rates?
Well, according to a study conducted by Infront Webworks, the first page at Google has the potential of attracting 95% web traffic while other pages receive a meager 5%.
I think you will agree with me when I say that SEO is a vital component to the improvement of a website’s visibility and ranking. The problem is many people assume that there is a magic button that automatically ranks your website on the first page.
Well, that magic button does not exist. You need to be resourceful, persistent, dedicated and creative.
Google changes its algorithm frequently and as a website owner, it is important to keep up if you don’t want to end up in the second, third or other pages. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover the important aspects of SEO.
What is SEO?
This refers to methods and practices implemented by professionals with the goal of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic as well as improving your website profile. Search engine optimization is an ongoing process and as a result, different strategies must be implemented to ensure success.
There are different methods that a website owner can implement even without a budget for SEO. In this guide, we are going to focus on 2017 SEO strategies that will ensure your website attains first page ranking and gets to maintain that status as we move to 2018.
1. Improve your UX
Yes, it’s true that Google announces new changes made to its search algorithm but what many people don’t know is that Google engineers make changes to the algorithm each day. Most of these changes are never announced but they do impact how websites are ranked on the search engine.
Thanks to the many changes incorporated in the algorithm, the search engine has become even smarter. When combined with new features like deep machine learning, search engines are able to determine what comprises a good search result.
One factor that search engines consider is customer experience. This is primarily dependent on the website user interface. Today, all websites are required to be responsive.
As such, older websites must update to the current Bootstrap version – Version 3.3.7. Other elements to change include navigation, add videos, add photos, post relevant and informative content among others.
To learn more tips about improving your website UX, click here.
2. Make your website super fast
Let’s face it. Online users no longer have the patience to wait for a slow website to load its pages. As a website owner, imagine if you encountered such as a website. I bet you wouldn’t spend more than 10 seconds.
What you need to know is that Google factors in website page load times when it comes to ranking websites on its search engine results. To be at the top, you need to seriously optimize your website. The first step you need to take is to test your website’s page load times. One of the best tools to use is Google PageSpeed Insights.
All you need to do is input your website’s domain name for example “mycompany.com.” Once you are done, just tap return on your computer and let Google bots do their work.
After the test has been conducted, the tool will display your page speed for desktop and mobile as well as the user experience. Furthermore, it will provide items that need to be fixed in order to improve page speed.
Here are the top 10 items to fix beforehand to improve page load times.
1. Lower server response time
2. Enable compression
3. Allow browser caching
4. Compress your images
5. Minify your CSS files
6. Minimize HTTP requests
7. Select Dedicated server hosting instead of shared
8. Optimize above the fold content
9. If using WordPress, use less plug-ins
10. Use a content delivery network for example MaxCDN
3. Use short video excerpts and compressed images
Content is king and that cannot be disputed. What website owners have forgotten is that customers rule. If website owners were to research on current customer behavior especially when it comes to interacting with websites, they will learn that readers no longer prefer bulky and long text but short videos and images.
Why? Pictures speak a thousand words and videos are entertaining, informative, relevant and current. Furthermore, they make the experience interactive.
Since Google wants to remain relevant thus the reason for buying YouTube less than a decade ago, as a website owner, you have to incorporate short videos and images. As a result, you will provide a much better online experience thus attracting more SEO traffic.
What is SEO traffic?
This refers to online users who browse your website. The reason they (customers) stick around and browse your website for more than a minute is because you have uploaded short videos, images and relevant content that is brief and punchy.
4. Switch from HTTP/1.1 to HTTP/2
HTTP/2 or HTTP/2.0 is the current HTTP network protocol used on the Internet. The protocol was derived from the experimental SPDY protocol which was originally developed by Google. HTTP/2 is the preferred standard because it allows applications to be faster, simpler and robust.
That is not even the best part.
The new protocol helps to open new opportunities that optimize web applications and improve performance. Furthermore, HTTP/2 reduces latency by allowing full request and response multiplexing thus minimizing protocol overhead through compressed HTTP headers.
Another benefit of HTTP/2 is no more source shading since HTTP/2 prompts a browser to request for a single connection when it comes to loading images and videos.
5. Hire professional SEO experts
As of 26th October 2015, Google unveiled RankBrain, an algorithm learning artificial intelligent system that aids Google search engine to process results as well as provide relevant search results to users. In 2015, Google announced that RankBrain will be the third most vital factor in its ranking algorithm.
Here is how RankBrain works. If the system stumbles upon a word or phrase it’s not familiar with, it will try to guess words or phrases that have similar meaning finally filtering the results for the user. As a result, it has become an effective tool for handling never seen before phrases or keywords.
It is a common practice among website owners to purchase links and over optimize their keywords with the goal of maintaining first page status and top rank. What you need to know is that this practice is no longer acceptable especially after the implementation of RankBrain.
The smart system has the ability of identifying patterns and penalizing websites that use unscrupulous methods to maintain top page rank. To prevent being penalized, it’s wise to hire ethical SEO professionals.
6. Focus on mobile indexing
Google has issued official statements stating that more than 60% of search queries originate from mobile devices. What you need to know is that this number will continue growing as more people adopt smartphones and tablets as their preferred internet browsing devices and not desktops.
Google has even gone ahead to post on its Webmaster blog at the start of 2017 that pages with inaccessible content to users on the transition from mobile search results will not rank higher.
To ensure that your website is mobile friendly, you must first run the appropriate test. Use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. Not only will this tool provide you with a straight “yes” or “no” answer that informs you whether your website is mobile friendly or not, it will also list suggestions that you need to implement to ensure your website is mobile friendly and ready for mobile indexing.
By doing this, your website will be easier to browse thus increasing your organic traffic, improving customer experience and converting online users into paying customers.
What you will realize as you implement the above SEO strategies is that they are just a tip of the iceberg. There are more strategies that you will have to implement if you want to achieve top page rank and maintain that position.
To make your work easier, hire ethical SEO professionals with a proven track record. Doing so will ensure that your website benefits from white hat SEO strategies like identifying long tail keywords, using backlinks, creating killer content, using Google’s Search Console and fixing penalties.
All the best,
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