While SEO is an evolving field, certain basic principles remain unchanged. For example, website owners still depend on keyword research to reach their potential customers. Similarly, marketers still prefer creating a robust website architecture that will help search engines better index their website.
SEO is the process of optimizing a website and its content to be easily discovered by search engines and target audiences.
If you haven't optimized your website for SEO yet, this SEO basic 2020 guide will help you get started. In this post, we have highlighted 15 proven SEO optimization tips that will help you attract more traffic and get better opportunities to convert your prospects.
Why SEO Matters?
SEO is critical for the success of any online business. According to research, more than 70% of customers are more likely to click on one of SERPs' top 5 suggestions. For this, you have to ensure that your website should appear in those five results.
Here, it is also essential to understand that SEO is not just about improving your website's visibility in front of search engines. It also helps you improve the user experience and overall accessibility of your business website.
Apart from that, SEO is also good for the social promotion of your e-business. People who find your business through search engines are more likely to promote it on their social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Finally, optimizing your website for SEO will give you a noticeable advantage over websites that are not optimized for SEO.
There are three main aspects of SEO:
Technical SEO: With the right technical SEO strategies, you can ensure your site is correctly crawled and indexed by search engines.
On-Page SEO: On-page SEO revolves around page and content optimization.
Off-Page SEO: Off-page SEO allows online business owners to promote their websites.
15 Essentials You Need for Optimizing Your Site
Make your Website Useful for Your Target Audience
The primary goal of search engines is to provide their users with the most relevant results. From your homepage to category pages and blog posts, you have to ensure that each and everything on your website is useful for your target audience.
When a search engine crawls your website for indexing, your ranking will depend on how well Google can crawl your website for the most user-friendly and relevant content.
Many SEO specialists feel that they're having a massive drop in traffic after Google updates its algorithm. But the fact is that your goal and search engine's goal is the same - to serve up the best content and deliver the maximum user experience.
If you're optimizing your website for conversions, you must create foolproof website optimization strategies to give your audience what exactly they want.
Get Rid of Things that Slow Down Your Website
Page load speed is a critical SEO factor that significantly impacts your conversions.
Unlike in the past, when getting away with a slow loading website wasn't an issue; today, this experience can frustrate the user.
There are thousands of websites working in the same niche as yours. If your website fails to load within the first 3-seconds, your potential customers will immediately switch to other websites without even giving their decision a second thought.
According to Strange Loop's research, a 1-second delay in website load time can result in a massive 7% drop down in conversions.
Another study indicates that more than 40% of website visitors abandon a website that takes more than 3-seconds to load.
First things first, make sure your website's theme supports fast load time. You may also want to get rid of those website elements that slow down your website. Deactivate plugging and uninstall apps you're not using anymore.
Also, keep only those widgets you use consistently. Optimize and compress videos and images as they can also reduce your page load time.
Build Trust with Internal Linking
To help push traffic around your website and build trust, you can also leverage the best internal linking practices.
Simply put, internal links are links that go from one page of a website to another page of the same website.
As long as your internal links are relevant and include a clear anchor text, your website visitors will get an opportunity to find useful and relevant pages on your website.
Also, internal linking helps to improve your search engine ranking for specific keywords. Internal linking also enables website owners to guide Google and visitors to their most important pages.
To create your internal linking strategy, make sure you keep the following factors in consideration.
- Determine the ideal structure of your website
- Determine what your most important content is
- Add contextual links
Link Out to Other Blogs
While some people believe that linking out to other blogs is a bad practice as it takes visitors off your page, it is critical to your online growth and success when done right.
According to Rand Fishkin, Founder Moz, "Linking out sends trackable traffic, it makes your site a more valuable and scalable resource."
Just ensure you link to websites that are reputable and have high domain authority.
Meta Descriptions and Title Tags
A meta description is a short description that you see under your website's URL in search results.
While meta descriptions do not improve your website's SEO, they encourage searchers to click on your website and visit your product pages.
If you have a WordPress website, you should stick to a 155-160 character limit for your meta descriptions. Similarly, if you run an eCommerce store on Shopify, you can create
320-character descriptions for your product pages.
Similar to meta descriptions, title tags also tells search engines what your website is all about. Make sure you use keywords contextually in your title tags along with your brand name to give readers and search engines a clear idea about your offerings.
Conduct Keyword Research
SEO and keyword research go hand in hand. The old SEO strategies were targeted towards rankings, but this isn't the case anymore. Present-day SEO is all about focusing more on how people engage with a particular brand and its offers. In other words, businesses are more concerned about optimizing ROI instead of ranking only.
Conduct thorough keyword research using tools available online to find out industry-specific keywords. Use those primary keywords to determine long-tail keywords and phrases that fit well with your prospect's commercial intent.
Leverage Web Analytics
Web analytics is crucial for your website's success. There are many web analytics tools available online (both paid and free), including Google Analytics, that can help you track your progress.
Conduct an Annual Content Audit
Content audit revolves around analyzing all web pages on your site to see whether they need any improvement.
You can use AHREFs free WordPress plugin to conduct a content audit for your website (if you have a WordPress website). Make sure you carefully monitor each page individually. Do not discard any pages that you believe are important for your website, even if they're not too strong in terms of SEO.
Pro tip: If you think handling this particular step is beyond your capacity, you can consider hiring a pro to conduct a content audit for your website.
Produce Value-Driven Content
As mentioned earlier, SEO in 2020 is very different from what we had back in 2003 or 2004. Today, customers are not only looking for products but what they want is an overall fantastic shopping experience.
When you post valuable and relevant content on your website consistently, you provide your users with a value-driven buyer's journey.
Unique content is one of the most critical factors that affect the ranking of your web pages. To optimize your freshness score, you have to produce high-quality and valuable content for your website visitors.
We'd suggest you create a dedicated blog section on your website where you can post informative content. This could either be in the form of conversational posts, how-to articles, tutorials, and listicles.
Pro tip: Add high-quality images and videos to your content to make them look more relevant and value-driven.
Optimize Your Website for Mobile
With more and more people using their cellphones, the need for mobile optimization is more than ever.
Google has also introduced a mobile-first index that helps those online businesses rank better on search engines with mobile-friendly websites.
Especially when it comes to Millenials, they prefer searching and shopping for everything online using their cellphones. And you certainly don't want to leave those potential conversions because of an unresponsive web design.
Use Readable URLs only
This is one of the most crucial yet often neglected SEO factors that can increase your business visibility and boost conversions.
A website URL that is tough for your website visitors to read can also confuse search engines.
Your page URL should be memorable and optimized.
As a general rule, you should not use capital letters in your URLs. Always use hyphens (not underscore as Google doesn't read underscores) in your URL.
Pro tip: Use robots.txt to tell search engines to ignore dynamic URLs that highlight your canonical URL.
Optimize Your Images
Just like your content, you should also optimize your images for SEO. Compress images and add alt tags for perfect optimization.
Make sure you use high-quality HD images on your website that supports your content.
Pro tip: you can also repurpose your trending blog posts as videos to appeal to more visitors.
Schema markup is code that you add to the HTML pages of your website. With this website optimization strategy, you help Google or Bing return more relevant results to the searchers.
Schema is also the preferred markup method for Google, and luckily, it's relatively simple to use.
What Schema markup does is it enhances the rich snippets displayed under your URL in search results. Also, it drives organic click through rates.
According to research, websites with structured schema markup can rank four-times more than web pages that do not have this feature.
Try User Behavior Tools to Identify Areas that Needs Improvement
When it comes to the best Web optimization strategies, you cannot rely on guesswork only. Using user behavior tools enables you to gain useful insights into what visitors do when they check in to your website.
In other words, with user behavior tools, you can identify the areas where most click activity occurs on your website. This helps you to focus on those particular pages and offer a tailored experience to different buyers.
The biggest mistake website owners make is they turn off commenting on their blog posts. Having active commentators on your website shows that people care about what you're posting on your site.
Ensure you carefully exclude spam comments and add no-follow value to your comments segments so that search engines ignore spam links that may crop up.
SEO Mistakes To Avoid in 2020
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Remember - you should write for humans and not for search engines. While keyword research is an integral element of your optimization strategy, you should never overstuff your content with your targeted keywords. Readability comes first!
Do Not Buy Links
While it is tempting to buy links from different sources to increase your website's credibility, make sure you avoid this practice at any cost.
The links you place on your website should come from high DA websites only.
Avoid Annoying Ads
Avoid adding any ads that can interrupt your content's readability or slow down your website's speed.
Avoid Duplicate Content
Google hates duplicate content. Be mindful of scraper websites that steal your unique content. Even if you have the same content on two pages of your website, make sure you add robots meta tag to one of your pages to tell Google not to index that specific page.
By following these specifications, you will be able to amp-up your SEO game and yield the desired results.