It’s easy to get overwhelmed by information overload when you are just starting with SEO. A quick search on Google will lead you to find many (too many) SEO tactics, strategies and tips. But as search engines are becoming ever more intelligent, are those tips and tactics still useful to improve your SEO?
In this article, we will go over a few key, up-to-date SEO strategies. We will also give you simple, practical suggestions of how to apply these SEO strategies to your website to improve your search engine ranking.
This guide is frequently updated to keep up with Google’s latest SEO trends and standards. Last update: June 4, 2021
Since Google rolled out mobile-first indexing in March 2018, websites with a mobile version are getting the special treatment. Note that it is not a mobile-only policy. What “mobile-first” means is that Google will give priority to websites that have a mobile version. So, if you only have a desktop website, rest assured that it will still be indexed and ranked, but without a mobile twin, you might end up much lower in the search results.
- It is very easy to make a mobile version of your website. If you are using WordPress, make sure the theme you are using is responsive. If you are using the Website.com site builder, make sure switch to the mobile editor to give your website a mobile-friendly version.
- Test your website’s performance and page load speed across all versions. Pay extra attention to site navigation and clickable elements. Ask yourself, are these elements and links easy to click on? How about with a finger on a smaller screen?
2. Page speed
Google loves speed. Desktop page loading time has always been an important ranking factor and now, mobile page speed is a factor in how Google calculates the ranking of mobile websites. You want a lightning-fast mobile website, and Google has a tool to help you: PageSpeed Insights.
PageSpeed Insights evaluates your website and offers suggestions to make your web pages faster. Your speed score is based on a number of factors, and you can optimize for the areas that are in your control.
- You can improve your Speed score by fixing all the issues that prevent your website from loading fast. Check PageSpeed Insights and follow the suggestions to improve your PageSpeed.
You may have noticed when trying to visit websites that aren’t yet https, Google will add a “Not Secure” label in the URL bar. We actually posted an article on this specific topic in 2018, and today, an SSL certificate to secure your website is now essential.
- If you are subscribed to one of our cPanel-based hosting plans, take advantage of the free SSL that is included. This is a hosting plan enhancement that we have made in 2018 that gives your domain an HTTPS:// prefix, which ensures your website meets the Google Chrome (and other web browsers’) HTTPS security standard – at no added cost! If you have questions about the SSL certificate, just talk to us and we will gladly assist you.
4. Featured snippets
Snippets are the paragraph excerpt displayed above the search results, often appearing in response to a question.
The displayed excerpts come from websites that Google interprets as suitable for answering the user’s query. The spot that these featured snippets occupy is also commonly referred to as “position zero” and 2019 is all about getting into this 0th place. So how does one make the jump from the first page to “position zero”?
- Consider putting an FAQ section on your website, with well-structured answers that Google can read and use to answer a user’s question in the fastest way possible. If you are going for a list featured snippet, make each item on the list an H2 or H3 subheader (header elements catch Google’s attention more than regular text).
- If you need help coming up with the perfect content, just imagine the questions that users might ask. You can also use tools like Answer the Public or Google Trends.
5. Voice search
If you’ve been monitoring Christmas and after-Christmas sales, you would have seen that the Echo and Echo Dot, and the Google Home and Google Home Mini were all on sale. And if you have been car-shopping in 2018, you would have noticed that Apple Car Play and Android Auto are now standard features in almost all major models. With these virtual assistants and smart devices becoming more popular, people are becoming more conversational with mobile devices.
- Because users communicate with the search engine in voice-controlled searches, you need to focus more on longtail keywords when optimizing your web content.
- It’s also helpful to optimize your website for local SEO, as most voice searches are “near me” inquiries.
6. Quality content
The above points wouldn’t matter if you don’t have quality content on your website. In August 2018, Google confirmed the release of a broad core algorithm update and among the changes was a strong emphasis on E-A-T: Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.
- Offer fascinating blog posts and thorough knowledge bases. The more in-depth you go on your topic, the better.
- In addition to written content, consider adding video or images to break up the content and engage the user in a more interactive way.
- The key to creating better, more relevant content can be found by reading Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines.
- Moderate all user-generated content (UGC) on your website. Make sure the information provided in the UGC is accurate and relevant to what your website offers.
7. Frequently check Google’s SEO guides
Stay on top of Google’s latest standards and get tips for improving your SEO. Google provides explanations and SEO tips.
- Visit Google’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO and apply the tips to your website
- Tips include using Search Console and submitting your updated content for Google’s crawlers