As 2019 starts up, we see how SEO (search engine optimization) has evolved. Many things have stayed the same but some changes have steered the industry in a new direction. Here's a guide to help you optimize your website in 2019. In general, the process is a lot more technical now and that makes sense. With so many websites out there, Google has to look at the smallest details to decide which websites should rank above other websites.
Some of this you may be able to do yourself and with other things, you may need some help (which we are available for). When it's this technical, you definitely want some expert help to make sure it's done right since doing it wrong can really backfire if you're not careful. Make sure you're taking backups of your website files and database in case things get messed up but remember, with SEO, some things cannot be rolled back that simply.
Google uses a "mobile first" index, which means they look at how the mobile version of your website performs. If you haven't yet made the conversion to responsive design, you're way behind. If you have, then you need to make sure your mobile version loads quickly and keeps people engaged (reading it, clicking links, doing things, etc.).
The first step is to actually open your website on a phone and look at it. Does it load quickly? Does it load correctly? Does it make sense? Is it easy to use? Are all pages set to be secure?
There may be plenty of technical issues you can't see. We have tools to help look into your website, see what's happening and fix things, which brings us to the next point...
There are lots of tools to check all the technical aspects of your website. You want to make sure it's technically good on mobile devices (as mentioned), that it loads quickly (an ongoing theme here), and make sure there are no errors. Things like 404 errors need to be checked often and fixed. We have several clients who have us do this monthly for them and Google rewards them with good ranking for taking care of their website.
Other technical SEO factors include:
Not tending to / maintaining your website will only bring you down in rankings. It's not a once a year thing but it's regular maintenance that must be done carefully. Honestly, it's tedious work that's also technical. Most business owners don't have the knowledge, experience, or time to fit these tasks into running their business but if they don't do it and their competition does, then their competition wins.
Make sure you audit your website to find out which content is outdated and where you have content holes that need to be filled in order to keep up and beat your competition.
Need I say more?
Think about it... people check websites for what? Content! People check social media many times a day because the content changes, right? It's about content.
In order to make your content be seen, you can't just publish it and hope it is somehow seen. You must promote it. Writing and publishing content is really only 20% of the work. The other 80% is promotion. This is done through social channels and even offline methods. Just writing content without making a fuss about it won't get it seen.
And content you've published in the past can and should be promoted over and over again. If you set up a promotion calendar for this year, you can plan which content to create and which content to promote on a week by week basis.
It's basically tagging text with meaning so search engines can use it in different ways. One of the best applications for schema is voice search - which is asking Alexa, Siri, or giving a "Hey, Google..." to the nearest device. Tagging your content with schema helps your website be a result when people do these kinds of searches and that, of course, gets your more traffic. You want to help search engines help you.
Did you know that people with disabilities also buy things online and spend money?
If your website turns them away, they won't buy from you or call you.
More and more, we're seeing lawsuits where companies are being sued because their websites are not ADA compliant. And there are definitely SEO benefits to being ADA compliant. Doing this is an opportunity just sitting there - a chance for you to get a leg up on your competition.
Converting traffic better is an SEO tip that really isn't SEO at all!
Let's say, for example, you get 1000 people to your website per day (nice job!). If 2% of that traffic converts, then you're looking at 20 sales, calls, or form submissions per day. But what if you can make some changes to your website and double conversions? Your 2% would go to 4%, getting you double the amount of sales, calls, likes, or form submissions with the traffic (wait for it)... you already have!
This is one of the main strategies we have at Webstix. Before we start an SEO project, we'll first optimize for conversions. We'll work on the calls to action and other issues (maybe with design) to help the website get more from the traffic that's already there. That way, when we do get more traffic to that website, it's magnified even more.
This is the best tip here and, like I said, it's not really even an SEO tip. It's not optimizing for search but website optimization. It happens with expert design and proven methods to get your website visitors to take action. They want to take action and interact with you. Isn't that what you really need for your business?
You can pay a lot for website design and do lots of social marketing but if sales aren't coming in, then what's the point? The bottom line is, you need your phone to ring and you need sales coming through.
This year, and every year, make your website a priority. Make this the year you finally invest in your website in a way where it'll give you a big return. It's not instant - it does take work (sure, there are some ways to boost websites up in rankings pretty quickly but you want lasting results) but if you commit to investing in a website that works for you and gets you results, your business will kick into overdrive where it just cruises along without much pushing but you first have to get some speed going. You'll then finally have the momentum you've always wanted.