A guide to better SEO and rankings for 2019
Before I go into my guide to better SEO for 2019, I want to say that SEO is only one part of your overall digital marketing strategy. Conventional branding is still really important for your business to improve it’s visibility. Plus, don’t forget about UI/UX Design or user-friendly web design.
Therefore, as you read my guide please keep in mind SEO needs to be used in conjunction with your overall online strategy.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the process of helping improving your search ranking, visibility and placement when a web user inputs a Keywords vs. Search Queries in terms of Organic Search.
12 Steps to better SEO and rankings
- Quality Content
- Branding to Improve Visibility
- Web Design UI/UX
- Mobile Optimization
- Site Speed & Performance
- Research for Keywords
- Key phrases (Long-Tail Keywords)
- Add SSL Security
- Videos SEO
- Social Sharing
- Titles, Headlines, Alt Tags & Meta Data
1. Above All – Quality Content is Key to SEO – Why is it important?
For the answers I’ll turn to Google’s Quality Guidelines.
Google’s basic principles to quality content:
- Write content for real people (users), not for search engines.
- Don’t deceive your web users.
- Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings.
- Ask yourself what makes your business unique or valuable.
- Make your website engaging with well-written content.
Certainly, there are more factors that go into quality content. – See #9 Blogging
2. What is Branding?
Branding is all of the ways you market your company to your customers.
These are the 4 main parts of Brading:
- Identity – Logo, fonts, colors, design guidelines.
- Image – The impression your company has on consumers.
- Personality – Your company voice, emotional qualities associated with your business.
- Equity – Value of having a well-known company and positive consumer perception.
Aristotle said that, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Consequently, good branding and web design needs to incorporate your logo, colors, voice, images and company personality. Which in turn will improve your online visibility and ultimately Google placement.
3. Web Design: Benefits of Great UI/UX Design
After researching focused keywords and writing your “Quality Content” your ready for web design. UI design stands for “User Interface design”, which is the visual or graphical side of design and UX stands for “User Experience” Design, which helps guide a users or customers online.
In other words: Designing a professional looking website that’s user-friendly and on brand is important because it’s often your first impression to new customers. Based on your website design and ease of uses customers will form an opinion about your business.
As a result, better web or UI/UX design will keep customers on your website longer, lower bounce rate, build brand equity and engage them to take action.
4. Mobile Optimization – What is Mobile Optimization?
Mobile optimization means a website looks great on a cell phone, has mobile-friendly menus and content that stacks and sizes for mobile. Like with great web design, when you optimize for mobile your making it easier for a mobile web user to engage with your brand.
Google has moved to Mobile-first Indexing: to learn more: Prepare for mobile-first indexing.
Consequently, mobile optimization is a key factor to consider when designing your website.
5. Site Speed & Performance
Google announced that page speed is used by its algorithm to help rank pages. Therefore page speed is a ranking factor and can help improve your ranking.
The good news is Google has built an online tool to test each page of your website. It’s called Page Speed insight. > Test your pages
Site performance goes back to my earlier point about user experience. No one wants to use a website that is slow to load or respond. Slow site speed is a BIG reason users bounce off sites.
Slow site = high bounce rate, which negatively impacts your Google rankings.
6. Research for Keywords
It’s very important to understand what your potential customers want to find when searching with Google.
Things to think about when deciding on content and keywords for your website:
- What are potential customers searching for?
- How often are they searching for it?
- What are your relevant topics?
7. Key Phrases (Long-tail keywords): Reasons to use them to Impact Your Rankings
Long-tail keywords are important to help your site gain organic search traffic.
For instance, if a web user wanted to plan a trip to Peru. More than likely they wouldn’t just type in one word “Peru”. They would use a phrase “How to Plan a Trip to Peru” or “Suggested Itineraries in Peru”.
Therefore, when writing your web content think in keyword phrases that help define your page content.
8. SSL Security: How is an SSL Certificate good for SEO?
When an SSL Certificate is installed on a website it will activate the padlock icon and show the connection is secure. Google now ranks websites with SSL’s higher because they help protects against attacks, encrypts user data and builds trust.
For more information on SSL read my blog post: Why do I need an SSL Certificates for my website?
9. Blogging: How to Write SEO-friendly Posts
I might sound like a broken record at this point, but do your research. Find topics or themes related to your industry and words your customers are searching for.
To start, I suggest you plan a year of blog posts and shoot for at least 1 a month or 12 posts. Pick your topics based on your research and schedule it to be posted at the beginning of each month.
Other quick blog tips:
- What do you want to tell your readers?
- Have a purpose to your blog post.
- Write a introduction, body and conclusion.
- Make is easy to read, by using subheads, bullets, numbers, etc..
- Share your new blog post via Social media.
- Add unique content to your industry.
10. Videos: How Do Videos Help SEO?
Video SEO is simply optimizing your video to be indexed and rank on the search engine results pages for relevant keyword searches.
- I recommend to all my clients who have videos to start by uploading their videos to Youtube or Vimeo.
- At the time of upload make sure you write a thoughtful title and description for your video. Again these should be based on the content of your video, topic and your keyword research.
- After that embed the video on the relevant web page.
In addition, many SEP experts agree that video are more engaging. Today’s web users like to watch videos to get information. For instance, a “How to Video”.
11. Social Sharing: How Does Social Media Impact SEO?
It’s been debated if Social Media has much impact on SEO. My thought is if your sharing quality content that engages your audience or customers to action or to visit your site it will help factor into your Google ranking.
Therefore, it’s one more piece to the puzzle to get your message to your potential customers and part of the broader marketing strategy.
12. Titles, Headlines, Alt Tags, Meta Data and Rich Snippets
This is the technical side of SEO after you have perfectly crafted your pages content. Metadata is the information you will see in the search engine results.
Subsequently, you need to think about each pages meta title and description.
Page title: Your page title is what will show in Google and in my case it’s “Minneapolis Web Design, Web Development, SEO, Digital Marketing“.
Meta Description: The meta description is “Minneapolis Web Design: Freelance designer focused on web design and development. I can also help with SEO, graphic design and digital marketing“. This is a summary of your web page and let’s the user know more about what’s on the page. It’s an important factor for click-through rates.
Rich Snippets take Meat data a step further by showing extra information between the URL and the description like Google Reviews, an image from the page and a bit more information from your page.
More info on Rich Snippets from Yoast SEO: SEO basics What are rich snippets?
In Conclusion: SEO is only one part of a bigger online strategy
Follow my 12 step guide on how to improve SEO in 2019 and improve your web traffic and search engine rankings.
Hopefully, with well crafted brading, quality writing, online marketing, advertising and the new traffic gains you’ll see will give you a leg up in 2019!
To sum up, there is no magic pill or trick to improving your rankings. It’s a combination of all your hard work.