by Lindsay Valdez
It’s hard to believe that four weeks have passed since #BlogHer18! At the conference, I gave a short presentation with SEO tips on Winning in the Search Results and the very last slide of the deck is what I want to get into a bit more here today.
At the podium, I started to go through on-page SEO, then touched on different opportunities for your site to appear in the SERPs (search engine results pages). I wanted to leave the audience with a few key pieces of actionable insights at the very end, so I compiled a list of my own top five SEO tips that I thought directly applied to the conference audience. By the time I reached the last slide, time was running out and I wasn’t able to elaborate fully.
Let’s run through these SEO tips today!
1. Invest in a great website
There are two reasons for this SEO tip and neither have that much to do with Google. I said this at the conference, but whenever bloggers come to me for freelance work and their current blog or site is very outdated, I tell them to start there. Start by updating your WordPress theme or by building a more modern website.
The first reason is that the competition is tough for content sites and you really, REALLY need to stand out. This means high-res images, easy navigation, seamless user experience and a mobile responsive layout. The second reason is that user experience (UX) often suffers when you haven’t updated your site in a really long time.
Code becomes outdated, page load times may not be optimized in the way that they should. We’ve all heard how users will leave a site if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds or less and then negatively perceive your site forever to come.
But I think the same can be said for sites that look super outdated or when the font size doesn’t adjust for a mobile screen. UX is a huge deal so keep that in mind as you focus more on your site. And if you’re currently in the process of deciding where to build your new, shiny website, strongly consider using WordPress.
2. Understand your performance on mobile
Data shows that more than 50% of global internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Last month, Google moved to a mobile-first indexing system, meaning that your website is now assessed by how it looks/functions on mobile instead of on desktop. Take some time to check out how your site looks from your phone.
Is it fast? Do ads pop up and block the content? Is the text too small to read? These are all things that could potentially deter a user from continuing through your site as well as impact how Google will rank your site.
Make sure your website is responsive to all screen sizes. Use Google’s page speed tool to test how long it takes your site to load. If it’s more than 5 or so seconds, look into Google’s Accelerate Mobile Pages (AMP) as a potential option to address slow load times.
3. Post frequency
People often ask me how many words a post should have for SEO. My answer to that is similar to my answer to this, which is along the lines of, ‘don’t force content, but more is better’. It’s important to understand the idea that when you’re writing just to fulfill a certain subjective quota, it might sound forced.
But it’s also important to understand that Google AND users are looking for expert authors. And expert authors should have more than enough words to talk about their expertise. Quality over quantity is a sure truth, but quantity and posting frequency lends to authority signals for Google.
If you’re a fitness blogger who is trying to build an authoritative presence in the fitness community but you’re only posting once a month, Google may not feel your site is authoritative enough to rank in the search results. Also, check out your competition and create a benchmark based on the frequency of their content.
If you’re just starting out, getting 3-4 well written posts out a week might be a challenge, but start with that as a goal. As you grow and continue to build your brand, daily posting might be the frequency you’re working towards.
4. Use keyword research
When people think SEO, people tend to think keywords! And while it’s still an important part of the process, the meaning behind keywords in SEO has changed. Throughout the last five years, Google has gotten better and better at understanding that different words can mean the same thing.
It’s no longer about making sure that your exact-match target keyword appears a certain number of times on the page. While you should definitely still make sure it’s on the page, Google has more advanced ways to tell if a web page is the best fit in the search results.
5. Focus on quality content
As you likely know, the web is a busy place. There are over 4.5 billion indexed web pages as of today and Google is deciding the best page to serve in the results all within fractions of a second. In order to compete, you must strive for high quality content.
But what does that mean? Let’s go straight to the source and see the instruction Google gives to content creators:
- Have a clear purpose – make sure your content is useful to readers
- Craft clear, concise sentences with proper spelling, grammar and punctuation
- Make sure outbound links are to sites that are also “high-quality, reliable and respectable”
- Sound knowledgeable – use supporting facts and credible information
BONUS TIP: Get to know your data!!
This last bonus tip is worth a post of its own so check back later in the week for a 101-style post from me on how to get the basic information you need from Google Analytics and how to use that data to inform your content calendar.
If you have any SEO questions or have a topic you’d like me to cover, feel free to send my way at Lindsay.Valdez@sheknows.com.
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