There are fundamentals in the search engine optimisation (SEO) game that everyone should be aware of. Those that decide to cry ignorance or continue to outsource their efforts are neglecting their basic duty. This applies to domain owners, employees and anyone who has a digital presence of any sort of repute.
Don’t study up for our benefit, but your own. The educational investment will reap dividends in the long-term. SEO on the surface might appear too broad a subject to understand with keywords at one end of the spectrum and social media management sitting at the other. How do they connect? What should be the focus?
The good news is that there are a series of “tricks” out there to implement that will accelerate the process and get your optimisation game back on track. We’ll use quotation marks in this instance because while they sound like they’re the equivalent to insider trading secrets, they’re really just clever methods that marketers tend to neglect.
So here are some of the most simple SEO tricks out there:
Social Media Connectivity
The social media space is more relevant today than it ever was. Take any of the central hubs that people visit in their billions – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ or YouTube. All of them are drivers of organic traffic, placing a greater emphasis on their use internally and externally.
Let us explore the latter for a moment. One element of social media management that so many business owners overlook is the “social” aspect of social media. This is a platform that opens up a variety of pathways to sharing, discussing, debating and promoting the works of others.
Such generosity will be rewarded via other channels and those relationships will prove to be valuable down the road. The other accounts might have blogs to connect with, websites to plug, forums to engage with or other avenues that are worth exploring.
To have serious viability within a niche, you have to build and develop connections with other authorities. This takes time to come to fruition, but the results speak for themselves.
Review, Review, Review
So how does Google exactly decide what is popular and what businesses should be ranked? There is a multifaceted answer to that question, but one of the key performance indicators centers around reviews.
The Google review score will go a long way to judging your performance, whether that be on quality or quantity. Applications like Yelp, Trip Advisor and Uber all fall under the banner of the shared economy and the search engine has recognised this change in behaviour.
How you rank out of 5 stars will matter, and it will be boosted if consumers leave extensive feedback that can act as testimonials. It might be purchasing a mower or heading out to a restaurant on a Saturday night – reviews provide an immediate judgment that potential customers and search engines analyse daily.
Should you have a happy consumer base that regularly visit your store or site, ensure they are giving reviews. Provide an incentive like a prize or discount to generate are many reviews as possible.
Google+ Is a Plus
Next to the likes of Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram, Google+ is not considered a sexy option. Yet what this little add-on manages to do is promote your listing through Google’s own social media channel. Those Google+ accounts that have a personalised profile will enable a personal touch to proceedings and helps to accelerate SEO performance.
Given the sheer dominance of Google in the SEO game, it is strongly advised to make use of every Google element possible. The search engine will recognise that you trust their own platform and it therefore makes it easier for them to identify your efforts.
Have a Local Focus
The growing trend that is local SEO continues to outline just how important a domestic footprint is to a business. Gaining the trust of local constituents is one thing whereby an enterprise would entrench themselves in the community and build rapport that way.
Yet when it comes to SEO, the global reach of the Internet has managed to narrow down companies who have a standing in one specific region. It is therefore imperative that a listing on Google can pinpoint where you are in the world for a country, state/ territory, city or town.
Shopping centers have caught onto this trend. All of the operations that hold a monopoly over this niche from Coles to Woolworths and ALDI will make their “store locator” tab a priority where locals and visitors can identify with their nearest outlet is. That tactic will drive traffic through given that location.
Stay Relevant and Up-to-Date
Content is a key driver to SEO performance. There is no escaping this fact. Operations that begin a bold plan to start a blog or create a newsletter have to be in it for the long haul.
Search engines love to prioritise sites that keep their readers, listeners, viewers or visitors informed. Those domains that start the process and drop off will quickly lose all credibility as Google will reflect the disinterest shown by the owner and the consumers.
The good news is that content does not have to be a static, boring process that is contained to one format. Think of all the different ways you can stay on the cutting edge:
- Social media campaign
Many of the strongest performing sites will utilise a multitude of different content types. The more quality and variety used will only boost SEO performance, as well as keeping the domain owner engaged and enthused about the task at hand.
Guide Writing Builds Authority
Let us build on that newsletter and blogging part for just a moment. So many of the top ranking sites for a niche will have articles that are dedicated to that subject. On the surface they might appear to be written by a scholar of great repute or someone who has studied the industry extensively.
Now research is obviously a key element that must go into content, but writing a definitive guide can be undertaken with a touch of application and awareness of the target market.
If you are an owner of a business or a content website, you will already have a degree of knowledge and expertise that will be sought after. Find out about key advancements in your field, ask some questions and write a guide that can be published onto your site.
Should it be relevant enough and stand out from the competition, this piece of content will have a lasting impact and help to elevate what you release from that point forward.
Get Video Savvy
Video content might come across as a luxury item on a site, but it is far more important than that. Statistics emanating from WordStream outlines just how significant the platform is:
- YouTube sees 500 million hours of video streamed daily
- 33% of global Internet time spent is on video
- 51% of marketing professionals consider video the best return on investment (ROI)
- Organic traffic is boosted by 157% through video
- A video on a landing page increases a page one SERP chance by 53%
- Video is expected to account for 80% of all consumer traffic by 2019
Consumers engage with video more than any other format and that trend is only curving upwards. To make it more of an important facet for your business, search engines like Google like to incorporate video content into their internal algorithms.
Gear Your Strategy To Mobile
By running your domain through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, you can discover just how compatible your site is to smartphone users. That is step number one in a long and crucial process.
The central aspect to being mobile compatible is two-fold: site speed and efficiency. Your domain should load as fast as any of your competitors on an iPhone, Samsung or Blackberry and not produce any glitches or structural problems.
Many of the advancements you will make for your site through a WordPress redesign or elsewhere will have reciprocal benefits for tablet users as well.
This is a major box to tick. According to research undertaken by Yump, smartphone ownership elevated from 11.1 million in 2013 to 15.3 million by 2015 in Australia. The increase in tablet usage was more stark with those figures rising from 6.3 million to 11.2 million in the same time period.
The actual behavioural patterns by those users are another thing to consider. Remember when we said that a local SEO focus is a big deal? Well, according to SEOPros, advertisements that have a location listed leads 32% of smartphone users to either make a visit or an in store purchase. Furthermore, 19% will make an unplanned visit or make a purchase.
Mobile matters and tweaking your strategy to those demands will reap tangible dividends.
Play the Structure Game
Creating content that appeals to search engines can be interpreted like a language. There are particular turns of phrase and nuances that have to be respected and to do this for sites like Google, there are details that matter.
Any SEO strategy must take into account the following:
- H1, H2, H3 tags
Sticking to a traditional structure is central to speaking Google’s language. They use their spiders to crawl through the World Wide Web and to find your domain, you must tick these boxes.
At a point in the future, these ideas will become nothing more than routine. With so many moving parts it can be hard to decipher how SEO fits into a grand marketing scheme and what concepts overall with one and other, but the important step is to grasp these techniques and utilise them for your own benefit.
What do you think about these tricks? How many of them are you currently using? Be sure to continue the conversation below, we would love to hear what you have to say!
Lucas is the Managing Director and the Head of SEO Strategy at SEO Shark. He has over 15 years of experience in achieving SEO results for small and medium businesses as well as multinational and ASX-listed brands. He is also an author of multiple publications about digital marketing.