Search Engine Optimization has become a critically important marketing strategy for every business. If you invest in your website’s SEO, you are making a direct investment in improving user experience, visibility, customer acquisition and ultimately revenue. Optimizing your SEO strategy is relatively easy and cost effective.
Here we answer some critical questions about SEO to help you assess some key practices and tactics you may need to improve before taking the next step on your optimization journey.
How often should you conduct an SEO audit of your website?
Website SEO audits should be completed annually, at a minimum. This helps identify issues that may be impacting your search rankings and marketing efforts. The Bluespire approach is three-pronged:
1. In-site audits look at all the technical pieces that determine how search engines crawl a website. During the In-Site audit process we:
- Check for broken links
- Check for areas where search engines are blocked
- Check robots.txt and sitemap.xml files
- Check page load speed
2. On-page audits look at all the user-facing elements of a page that search engines use to determine a page’s relevancy and authority. During the On-Page audit process we:
Check that each page is targeting a relevant keyword or topic, and that keywords/key phrases are used in title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, body copy and internal links where relevant:
- Check URL structure
- Check schema markup
- Check image ALT text optimization
SEO Tip: To rank in search engines, on-page optimization is essential. Ultimately, the goal is to prove to search engines and users that you are a trusted, authoritative source of information about the topics that are relevant to your business.
3. Off-site audits look at backlink profiles, local listings and social profiles — all indicators of trust and authority to search engines that exist off the actual website. During the Off-Site audit process we:
- Check for a healthy link profile that includes a variety of links from trustworthy and relevant sites
- Check that all local listings are claimed and optimized
- Check that there is NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency for the brand/site across the web
How do your top product pages rank in Google Search results?
According to Moz, a reputable SEO resource, the first page of Google search results receive 71% of clicks and it’s been reported in recent years the number could be as high as 92%. That means that if your key pages aren’t ranking on Page 1, you’re missing out on a lot of potential traffic.
You can ensure product pages are properly optimized by doing keyword research to understand how users search for your products. Using Google Keyword Planner or another keyword research tool, find keywords that are relevant to your products and are searched more than 100 times per month, on average. Select 2-3 keywords or phrases most relevant to each product, then be sure to use those keywords or phrases throughout the product page in the following key areas: Title tag, meta description, primary header, body content and within image ALT text.
SEO Tip: Be sure to include keywords in any links on your website that point to your product pages.
Are local listings relevant to SEO strategy and optimization?
According to Google, 77% of consumers who search for a local business on their smartphone end up contacting that business within a day. What should you do?
- Claim and verify your business listing(s) on Google My Business.
- Ensure all of the fields in your listing are filled out, including your business hours, phone number, description, and products and services.
- Ensure the name, address and phone numbers on your listing match your website and anywhere else that information is listed on the web.
- Select the most relevant primary category for your business and be sure to add additional categories.
SEO Tip: Selecting relevant categories for your Google My Business listing is one of the best ways to optimize your listing. Categories affect whether your business shows up when users search for products or services that you offer.
- Add a logo, cover photo and additional images highlighting your business.
- Utilize Google My Business posts to promote offers, products or news about your business.
SEO Tip: Businesses that regularly update their listings with new photos and posts get shown more often in searches than similar businesses that do not.
Should you have a proactive local listing management strategy?
According to the annual Google Local Rankings Survey, reviews accounted for 15.44% of the criteria Google uses to rank a local business. This is up almost 5% from 2015 when Google only valued reviews at 10.8% of how they rank a business. That’s why managing and responding to reviews on local listings should be an important part of your SEO strategy. Our recommendations include:
- Ensuring your email address is set up to receive notifications about new reviews posted on your listing.
- Replying to all reviews, even the negative ones. This increases users’ trust in your business, and shows Google you are actively managing your listing.
- Personalizing your responses. The reviewer is more likely to view your business favorably if you’ve taken the same to speak directly to them and their feedback in your response.
- If you utilize a local listing management service like Moz Local or Yext, ensure you check your dashboard and respond promptly to reviews left on the various citation sites, like Yelp, Foursquare and others.
SEO Tip: Include keywords in your responses. For example, a senior living community might reply to a review with, “Thank you for reviewing our assisted living community….” A bank or credit union might reply with, “Thank you for your review about your experience at our financial institution.”
Do backlinks affect SEO?
Toxic backlinks affect SEO. And weaker SEO means fewer organic visitors. Fewer organic visitors can mean fewer leads. Many factors can make a backlink toxic. What’s key is that is that you can improve your search rankings by disavowing/deleting toxic backlinks. For the non tech-savvy, this may seem confusing. And it should. This is an advanced task that if not done properly, can harm your site’s SEO. It is best to work with an SEO professional to handle toxic link disavowal. Nonetheless, here’s a quick overview:
- Log in to Google Search console
- Navigate to the Links Report
- Check your Top Linking sites list. Evaluate the domains that may look suspicious.
- If you have a large number of suspicious domains linking to your site, you may want to submit a disavow file to Google, telling Google to ignore those links.
SEO is an ever-changing industry. Keeping up and staying effective means always adapting. To boost your overall SEO in 2020, you will need a user-friendly website with content that’s optimized and engaging. We’re here to help with intelligent SEO optimization strategies. Contact us to learn more.