Guest post by Nathan Elly.
Google has released a flurry of algorithm updates in the first half of 2018, which has made it difficult for SEO professionals to work out exactly which tactics are working to help sites rank at the top of organic search results. Whether a website has been practicing white hat, grey hat, or even black hat SEO, the entire industry has been affected by the recent updates.
To make things more challenging, Google hasn’t provided any indication of what factors may be contributing to SEO improvement or deterioration. SEO pros know there have been algorithm changes. They just can’t identify exactly how they have been affected.
Despite the uncertainty, there are still certain practices that stand the test of time with SEO. So, if you want to virtually guarantee improvement in your website’s organic search position, here are a few ideas you should implement in addition to on-page optimization.
Ensure that all of your site’s 301 redirects are going to the right URLs.
It’s likely your website has permanent (301) redirects pointing to the wrong URLs or even broken links that are sending 404 error messages to search engine crawlers. Your URLs have a certain amount of PageRank associated with them. If you want a percentage of the PageRank from these web pages passed onto your new URLs so the authority passes throughout the website, you need to correctly implement 301 redirects.
You can view your redirects either by running a crawler on your website, analysing the server logs, or viewing the list in your redirection plugin (if you have one installed).
Analyse your server logs.
The server logs will unearth the most valuable technical data for your site’s SEO campaign. They will show the exact timings and navigation path that search engine crawlers take on your website. It’s essential that you analyse the URL paths, redirections, loading success, or errors flagged in the server logs.
Additionally, you will need to identify how many URLs the search engine crawler is visiting each time it’s on your website. This way, you can optimise your “crawl budget” to ensure the search engine crawler finds and indexes the URLs and the content that you want it to access on your website.
Add a responsive mobile design to your website.
Google continues to put more emphasis on mobile-friendly websites. The easiest solution is to add a mobile-responsive design for smartphones, tablets and other portable devices. If your site is also configured to a mobile application, Google provides developer guidelines to allow users searching from mobile devices to open the app directly from the organic search result.
Add AMP to your site’s content pages.
If your website hosts informative articles, blog posts or news articles, you’ll want to incorporate accelerated mobile pages (AMP) on your site. This will allow you to serve content more quickly on mobile devices. Google tends to look favourably on sites that incorporate AMP.
Minimize your web page size to improve the loading speed.
Web page loading time is important because the search engine crawler will attempt to download as many pages as it can to crawl and index the web content. If a web page size is too large, it will slow down the crawling process and may force the crawler to leave the website prematurely.
Aim to limit the size of your web pages to 1MB or less. This should allow the crawler to download and crawl more pages, thus improving the organic search visibility of the website.
Develop long-form content that is valuable for your target audience.
Content is key when it comes to improving the organic search relevancy of your website and its web pages. Ultimately, your content needs to demonstrate value to its target audience. However, the content on a page should be at least 500-1000 words in order to incorporate good keyword relevancy.
Participate in interviews to acquire natural links to your website.
Links are what bind together the Internet and also how Google passes PageRank from one website to another. You can participate in interviews where they will cite your link on their web domain, which should pass PageRank back to your website (as long as the link doesn’t use the rel=nofollow attribute).
Engage in strategic guest posting to improve the authority of your website.
Influencer marketing is one of the best ways to acquire links, because you have a degree of control and a contextual link tends to carry more weight with PageRank, which will help your site rank more highly in search engines. Simply find websites that are happy to receive guest post pitches and ask to contribute a topic to their website. Ensure that the post is valuable to their audience and that you also have the opportunity to gain traffic from the post if readers click on your web link.
Nathan Elly is the branch manager for the SEO marketing agency Digital Next. When he isn’t busy doing marketing, you can find him playing futsal with his colleagues.