SEO & Digital Marketing

10 Tips for Better SEO in 2020

by 

Jonathan Cook

Top search rankings drive real results, so why aren’t you there?

Competition for strong search visibility has never been fiercer. The only way to get ahead? By being proactive, not reactive. With algorithms constantly evolving, you can’t beat the competition if you’re not up to date with SEO must-dos. Read on as we explore what you need to be doing right now.

01. Focus on Local SEO

If you’re not doing it, you’re missing out on leads. 

Because everyone today wants the nearest and most accessible option, that’s exactly what they’ll search for. “Pizza near me”, “cafes near me”, “EVERYTHING near me”.

Instead of optimising website visibility for the entire internet, local SEO calls to target your geographical location. By adopting this strategy, your website will rank higher for searches relevant to your specific location. 

Tips to kick-start your local SEO:

  • Plan your location strategy. E.g. smaller city? Greater region? Country?
  • Choose relative keywords.
  • Create content that uses the keywords.
  • Create your Google My Business account (essential for people searching local to easily find your information).
  • Update your company information on your GMB.
  • Upload relevant and professional imagery on your GMB.
  • Encourage clients/customers to leave reviews! These will also show up on your GMB. 

02. Understand Search Intent

What people search in Google is never a word-for-word reflection of what they actually want to find. Google knows this. So naturally, it will predict a searcher’s intentions in order to deliver the best results. 

What’s it to you? If you create quality content that’s in line with your target audience’s intentions then you’re more likely to show up in their search results. Which means more web visitors. 

There are four types of intent to take note of. But a good place to start is by searching keywords relevant to your business. The results will show exactly what people care about (or at least what Google thinks people do). Look at the meta titles and subtitles. These long-tail keywords are exactly what you should include in your content strategy. 

03. Choose your Keywords

To get the most out of your investment, you need to choose your keywords wisely. Here’s how:

  1. Look at your business: Neon Hive, for example, is a Hamilton based website design agency. Already, that gives us four words to start with.
  2. Consider search intent: It gives you a solid idea of what people actually want to find and some nifty long-tail keywords to use.
  3. Ask clients: Whether it’s a previous, current, or prospective client, ask them what they’d search when trying to find you.
  4. Search traffic - where’s it going? Once you have some short and long-tail keywords, head to Google Trends and Google AdWords Keyword Planner to check what’s trending.

Pro tip: if your budget is low, it’s better not to aim for the most popular search terms. Larger businesses will have strong resources behind them, making competition a costly exercise. Instead, target slightly less popular search terms that are more niche to you and then evolve from there.

04. Design Responsively

When websites are designed solely for desktop it’s unlikely they’ll present adequately enough on a smaller screen. Instead of the superb user experience you’d get on a desktop, you’re more likely to experience poor website performance on mobile devices.

Today, with the rate of mobile users increasing rapidly, it’s never been more important to have your website designed responsively for mobile devices. 

Big SEO benefit: because Google wants to recommend user friendly websites, it will tag websites that are designed responsively as ‘mobile friendly’. With this tag, your website will rank higher for searches made on mobile devices. 

05. Use 301 Redirects

The quick fix for lessening bounce rates and retaining SEO equity. 

When updating websites you often end up deleting pages or changing where they live. This can be great for optimising your web experience but becomes problematic when people click old links.

By using a 301 redirect you can have old links redirect users to a new page with similar content. This avoids sending people to 404 pages that they’re likely to bounce from and transfers any SEO equity to the new page. Meaning new pages get to enjoy the same rank the old page had (and hopefully better from the new improvements).

06. Canonicalise

Almost every website has multiple variations of URLs that lead to the same page. The problem with this is that Google will interpret it as duplicated content and severely down-rank you for attempting to game the rankings system.

Fortunately, you can avoid this common SEO mistake by adding concatenation to your management routine.

Concatenation requires joining multiple character strings (URLs) together to become a singular body. This then signals Google that they belong to a singular page as opposed to duplicates of the same. Thus, you won’t get down-ranked for an easy mistake. 

07. Build Content Clusters

Content clusters are a relatively new concept that help businesses build substantial authority on topics they want to target. At a high level, it’s an assortment of content covering one topic which is glued together by linking to a core ‘pillar page’.

Because Google is a genius, it can identify when content is connected and deem it to have a semantic relationship. Subsequently, this signals to the search engine that such clusters hold rich and extensive information on the topic. 

The reward? Your pillar page will gain significant authority on the topic, which means Google will rank it higher for searches relevant to your targeted topic/keywords.

08. Create a Wicked User Experience

Google is constantly aiming to provide searchers with the most relevant and high-quality results. To do this, it has RankBrain; a system that focuses on user behaviour.

If a user enters a website, interacts, and continues browsing, RankBrain will consider the website relevant to the search and of high-quality content. On the flipside, high bounce rates and low interaction signal the opposite. Google is then notified and will penalise or up-rank you accordingly.

In short, don’t be the website with the high bounce rate. Be the website with the quality content, progressive design, and overall great user experience that encourages visitors to explore endlessly.

09. Make the Best First Impression: Improve Speed

How long do you wait for a website to load? There’s a reason I’ll wait no longer than five seconds... Time is the most valuable asset.

Needless to say, with slow page loading you can expect high bounce rates - which Google hates and will down-rank your website for. Let’s avoid that.

The best place to start is by heading over to Google’s PageSpeed Insights to check out your current loading speed. Then, with that performance update, go ahead and optimise to get your website loading faster.

10. Track Performance and Adjust 

There’s no point in working hard on SEO if you don’t have a system in place to track performance. Measuring the success of your adjustments is the only way to know if they were worth your time or not effective at all. 

We strongly recommend at a minimum using Google Analytics to track performance. Alongside using this, ensure to set up a management routine so that you’re always clued-in on what needs adjusting. 

Need a Hand? Let’s Talk

Of all the factors involved with maintaining a website, search engine optimisation is both the most time consuming and most rewarding.

But because great SEO can be highly valuable for businesses through increased brand credibility, more qualified traffic, and increased conversions, it shouldn’t be overlooked.

If you want to know how we’ve helped countless clients achieve first page results, let’s talk. We’d love to get to know your business and put in place a winning strategy.

Jonathan Cook

Since founding Neon Hive in 2015, Jonathan continues to work passionately on both client and agency-side projects. With extensive industry experience and two first class honours bachelor degrees across finance and computer science, Jonathan brings a strategic and results driven mindset to helping clients transform and grow.

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