6th July 2020
10 essential long-term SEO wins to help give your website a shot in the arm
Compared to other digital marketing methods, such as pay-per-click marketing, SEO is a longer-term strategy. Search engine optimisation is a blend of many components, each of which take their own length of time and all of which contribute to great online performance.
Short-term quick wins are often seen as the ones to get, but here at Varn we have learnt to appreciate the longer wins. You know, the ones that have lasting impact rather than those that only bring short term gain. We have found that it is always best to focus on growth that is strategic and measured against businesses targets and ROI over a long period of time.
Quick wins are great, especially in times like these. But if you want to see continuous and consistent growth, then you can’t rush your SEO. Therefore, we have put together some quick, and not-so-quick wins list below which we thought would be helpful and can feed into your long term SEO strategy.
SEO tips to give your website a boost
- Create harmonious copy
You may have heard the phrase ‘content is King’, and well, that is true. The copy that you have on your pages can have a huge impact on SEO and how your website ranks in search engines.
Aside from having well-written and high-quality content that is relevant to the products and services that you offer, you should also ensure that you optimise any content further for SEO.Each page or blog article should be written around a chosen keyword/phrase. You should then make sure that your page URL, meta title, meta description, H1 title, H2 title and opening text include the same chosen keyword(s).
This may seem simple, but making sure all pages are optimised and include great copy can really help give your website a boost, plus it makes it nicer for visitors to read!
Another top tip is to go through all of your pages and ensure there is no duplicated content, as Google and other search engines view this negatively. You can read more of this in our blog.
- Improve your usability
Search marking isn’t just about traffic, it’s about improving overall brand awareness and ultimately increasing sales. Websites need to both function well and be user friendly in order for your customers to stay and browse, and this skilful blend of aesthetics and usability is often something that many businesses seem to ignore.
Something else that we have noticed is that it’s just so easy these days for businesses to create a website in no time at all, yet they forget one key thing. What is the purpose of the website? If you do not know the purpose of your website, you will not be able to best serve your customers and perform well in search engines. To create a great website, you need to really think about what your goals are as a business and how your website will fit a purpose.
- Link ‘em up
Links may not seem like they should be a key focus when it comes to improving your SEO, but they really should be.
Firstly you need to check that you have a good internal linking structure, which you can read more about in this dedicated blog about internal linking. This will help search engines to better navigate and understand your site, and Google will also investigate the quality, placement and volume of internal links in order to produce a score that may impact your overall rankings.
Check that you have a nice amount of relevant internal links, and also check for any that are broken! If you notice that some links are going to pages that no longer exist, you should redirect them.
Next up you should take a look at your backlink profile. Backlinks are another way that search engines might determine how your site should be ranked and how trustworthy it is. Building up your backlink profile should be part of your overall strategy, but make sure that the links are genuine, good quality and relevant.
- Check your speed
As we mentioned above, you should always be looking to improve the usability of your website. Site speed is part of this!
Ultimately, site speed is a big indicator of whether you are offering quality user experience. Users do not want to be sat for 2 minutes waiting for pages to load, especially in an era where people are getting busier and busier every day.
So, speed is a ranking factor and an even larger ranking factor for mobile and you should look to improve site speed on both. You can use the Google Developers PageSpeed Insights tool to determine how your site performs on mobile and desktop. This will give you an idea of how much you need to improve.
There are many things that impact loading speed. Our key tip is to invest in good hosting, as you really do get what you pay for when it comes to quality and speed. Other tips include reducing image file sizes and reducing the amount of bulky content on pages.
- Optimise existing pages
Firstly, we recommend having a look at pages that have a low click-through rate (CTR) in Google Search Console, and then consider whether these pages can be improved with optimised meta title and description.
Some pages or posts may simply get a lower click-through rate from search engines or social media, but it is good to look at them all properly to see if improvements can be made. Algorithms in search are forever changing, so you should always review past content to see if you can bring it back up to scratch.
Next, have a look at all of the pages on your website and really consider whether they are serving their purpose. Do they provide quality information that is easy to understand? Do they read well? Are they optimised with keywords, correct headers and well-written content? Do they look smart?
By spending your time optimising existing pages, you are less likely to have to spend resources on creating new pages to try and boost the performance of your site.
Don’t just look at the content when optimising your site, you should also look to optimise images by reducing their file size, ensuring they are relevant, and giving them titles that reflect the chosen keywords within a page.
- Use rich snippets
Rich snippets are basically additional pieces of information that the search engine is able to identify on the page, used to enhance the searcher’s understanding of the value of that page
Gone are the days where search engine results pages display a simple list of 10 blue links. Instead, search engines such as Google enhance some standard results listings (meta title, description and URL) to show additional data, creating Rich Snippets. These Rich Snippets are more aesthetically pleasing and often include additional information that brings value to searchers. These Rich Snippets do not appear for all searches but show where search engines think the additional information can benefit the user, such as for ‘how to’ searches. Common examples of Rich Snippets include recipes, events, reviews, product information.
Rich Snippets are often generated when search engines are able to extract Structured Data from your webpage code. Once you have identified the type of Rich Snippet you want to aim for, and which is relevant to the content of your site, you can create Structured Data to add to your code to help Google to understand the content of your page. However, whilst adding Structured Data to your site helps search engines to understand information about your site, it does not guarantee that you will get a Rich Snippet.
Although Rich Snippets are not a direct ranking factor, they are a powerful SEO tool for driving organic traffic to your site. Rich Snippets are more eye-catching than standard results, often take up more space on the SERPs and establish trust with the searcher, therefore improving the click-through rate to your site.
- Fix your local listings
Do not underestimate the power of local SEO. According to a study, 63% of consumers and small business owners use the internet to find information about local companies of which 82% use search engines such as Google.
There are a few ways you can improve your local SEO, and one of these is to ensure you are getting customers to leave you reviews on social media and on your Google My Business profile. Reviews make you more credible and will prove that you are a real business.
Otherwise, you should make an effort to improve your Google Maps listings and your Google My Business profile. These two are essential for good local SEO and can help you to improve both your rankings and your customer base.
We’ve got some more tips on Google Maps here and on Google My Business here, these should give you some more help on how you can make the most of both!
- Make your site mobile-friendly
Mobile, mobile, mobile! Now, this might be all that you seem to hear about in the digital marketing world, but mobile is becoming increasingly important.
Recent studies have shown that more than half of digital traffic online now comes from mobile devices and through mobile apps, so you can see why so many businesses are trying to optimise their websites for mobile.
You need to ensure that your website looks as good on mobile as it does on desktop, that it functions just as well, and that it loads quickly. It is well known that Google uses Mobile First Indexing, and so it is imperative that your mobile site is up to scratch.
- Don’t just use short keywords
Focusing is a great tactic to give your website a well needed boost. Long-tail keywords are longer than more commonly searched keywords. Whilst these search terms do get less traffic, they can have an improved conversion rate as they are more targeted.
In really dense and overcrowded markets it is much easier to rank for long-tail keywords than for shorter phrases because there is less competition for those longer phrases. This can be a big bonus for websites that are struggling to rank for more specific keywords in a popular niche. Another benefit of long-tail keywords is that whilst searches are lower, the users that find your website using longer phrases are more likely to make a purchase or enquiry.
So next time you are writing a blog post or creating a page, try and think about whether you could be targeting more specific and longer phrases which could bring higher quality traffic.
- Get an XML Sitemap
A good XML sitemap acts as a roadmap of your website that shows Google all of your pages and the hierarchy of these pages. XML sitemaps are a good way of assisting with SEO as they allow Google to quickly navigate your site and find all the important pages, even if your internal linking isn’t perfect.
You should create an XML sitemap and submit this to Google Search Console. Keep this regularly updated, especially if you are adding new content frequently.
So, there you have it, our 10 SEO not-so-quick wins to give your website a shot in the arm. If you are in need of help with your SEO, please do get in touch with the friendly team at Varn on 01225 439960 to see how we can help you.