If your business relies on web content, then it relies on Google. Whether you love or hate them, Google’s tech colossus supplies the de facto infrastructure by which the majority of people access web content. Because Google’s consumer-friendly framework is always evolving, marketers and advertisers should always be on their toes and ready to adapt to new standards, new practices, and new technologies, lest they fall behind in search rankings and lose out on potential consumer engagement. These 4 advanced SEO strategies will give you a head start in your approach to strengthening your internet reach in 2021.
1. Bounce Rate and SEO
Imagine you run a brick-and-mortar storefront, but nobody can seem to figure out how to open your front door; when they finally make it inside, there are no prices on your merchandise, and your employees are too uninformed to answer their questions. Would you be surprised if your sales aren’t up to quota? You might be pleased to see a high number of unique visitors, but you shouldn’t let this satisfy you. Unless there is visitor engagement, these numbers are less meaningful than they seem. We define bounce rate as a percentage of visitors who leave a website without making any engagement, like completing a purchase or simply navigating to another section of your website. As your various pages suffer a lack of engagement, your bounce rate will rise, and your Google search ranking will suffer in turn.
If you want to shrink your bounce rate, take a look at your high-bounce webpages and see where visitors may be put off, confused, or frustrated. Does a Google search link to a specific page redirect to your homepage, repelling impatient customers? Is the graphic layout of your homepage disorganized, unintuitive, or overloaded with a daunting amount of information? Do you have any broken links or code errors that might be directing visitors to 404 screens or blank pages, when all they want to do is find out how much it costs to ship your product? Retaining visitors is paramount to maintaining a productive website. For example, GoPromotional, a promotional products wholesaler, as a case study was able to decrease their bounce rate by redesigning their category pages to have smaller top-level banners and higher quality images.
2. Optimize for Voice Search
If you’re like me, you don’t usually make use of voice commands, but there’s no denying it’s a popular technology that’s here to stay. 55% of smartphone owners use the feature, and with Google constantly working to refine it into “an ultimate mobile assistant that helps you with your daily life so that you can focus on the things that matter,” it’s a good idea to understand how voice command can help your website and add it to your advanced SEO strategies toolbox.
Increasingly, search queries both written and spoken are phrased in conversational language. Whereas good search results once relied on thoughtful and efficient syntax, modern search technology means this is no longer necessary, and those using voice command are especially likely to phrase their searches as questions or requests. For a smartphone user on the younger side, “Thai food open now” is a less likely search query than “hey Alexa, where can I get Thai food right now”.
Your written content should be formatted to reflect the growing trend of casual language in web searches, acknowledging interrogative keywords such as why, when, how, or what, as well as conjunctions like if, and, or to. If you have prior correspondence with web visitors, you may have received some Frequently Asked Questions; treat these as building material for an F.A.Q. page which will very likely include words and phrases used in a typical spoken search query, increasing your search ranking.
When you search a topic on Google, what’s usually perched at the top of your results? Since their acquisition of YouTube, Google has positioned the monolithic video-sharing website as an invaluable and ever-present accessory to their search engine. YouTube’s own search engine is the second largest in the world, with the website hosting content relevant to any search query you can imagine. As such, you need to include YouTube videos in your advanced SEO strategy anytime it’s feasible.
If you want to make the most of the Google-YouTube power couple, not only should you make and publish YouTube videos for onsite embedding, but you should also take some simple steps to make your videos more appealing to a search engine. Your video title should be SEO-friendly. Wordiness can help, but vagueness won’t. Compare Dr. Jacobs Demos the Meanest Strings Under the Sun with 12 Best Thick Gauge Guitar String Brands for Heavy Metal Shredders. Which do you think will turn up first in a search for “what are the best guitar strings for playing metal”?
The same rules apply to video descriptions, which should contain ample keywords for search accessibility while effectively describing your content. Consider transcribing the content of your video for inclusion in the description; doubling that content in written form may reduce the number of complete views your video receives, but it will only increase page visits, which may be more beneficial if you are prioritizing visits over in-video ad revenue.
4. Tech SEO
Technical failures and compatibility issues will negatively impact your SEO, so your website should always be up-to-date with technical trends to ensure maximum reach and compatibility with search engines and consumer technology. The fact that most internet access is now made via smartphones necessitates the use of AMP, a framework that streamlines webpages for better display and functionality on mobile devices. Mobile users are more willing to invest time in a website that won’t require them to pinch-zoom and tap hyperlinks with absolute precision.
Similarly, people are less comfortable visiting a website when prompted with a security warning, and some browsers even make it difficult to willingly visit such websites. This can be avoided by using HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol, the successor to HTTP. You may recognize these initialisms as appearing at the beginning of a URL, but many are unaware of the significant security advantage of HTTPS. If your website is still using the now outdated HTTP standard, switch to HTTPS as soon as possible to avoid low rankings and high bounce.
If you’re relying on Google to provide a pathway for visitors, it’s only advantageous to get a glimpse of what Google sees. In the same way that Google and other search engines make use of web crawlers to bolster the accuracy of their engine, website administrators can and should make use of web crawlers to gain valuable insights into the search performance of their site, as well as internal performance stats. Some internal issues to prioritize are 404 links, or dead links, which should be repaired sooner than later, and poor information organization; the latter can be as simple as reformatting headings and subsections with smarter HTML tags, increasing the ease at which visitors can find the information they’re looking for.
We hope that this article will help you with some practical ideas to implement as you plan your advanced SEO strategies for 2021.
Contributing Writer: Richard Larson
Author Bio: Richard Larson is the marketing manager for GoPromotional, for over 12 years, the UK’s leading Award-Winning distributor of promotional merchandise. They specialize in helping small to big businesses promote and improve their brand online and offline by creating innovative and highly competitive promotional products.
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