It’s a well-known fact that Google changes its algorithms all the time. What worked fine last year might not work at all today. Learning about SEO best practices is a continuous process that never ends. You and your team must stay up-to-date with all of the latest SEO techniques if you want to see your business get the rankings it deserves.
Re-optimize existing content
As you learn about the latest changes in SEO, there are two action steps to take. The obvious one is to create a strategy for all content going forward. The other step is to look back at your existing portfolio of content and make a strategy to update it accordingly to the latest SEO techniques.
Ideally, your team should regularly go through your website content and see what should be improved, updated or removed. You want your team to look at your analytics and really study the data. Find out which content is attracting which kinds of traffic from what kinds of keywords and queries. Then, utilize this information to tweak and improve the rankings where applicable.
The specifics will vary, depending on your business and the content you have produced so far. At DemandZEN, we do a lot of content (re)optimization and content restructuring for large businesses in many industries, so feel free to reach out if you want a more specific re-optimization strategy.
Improve site speed
If you want to get a handle on your SEO basics, you must improve your site speed. Since 2010, site speed has been one of the leading ranking factors. Fortunately, Google offers two tools which help developers improve their website performance: PageSpeed and Test My Site.
How fast should your website load?
The exact definition of website speed is still open for discussion. Some surveys show that users might abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Logically, the website should load in no more than 2 seconds. That’s just the bare minimum, though. The real answer is that you want to make your site as fast as possible. The larger your business, the truer this is.
Manage your redirects
If you run a large B2B business, your IT team is most likely changing and updating the website constantly. This often includes making structural changes that may break the URLs of certain pages that rank high in search engines. Unfortunately, this means that the pages in question will lose their SEO ranking.
Unless you inform the search engine that a page has moved permanently, it will fail to transfer the rankings to the new location. This is where 301 redirection comes into play. It is a way to inform search engines that a webpage has moved from one location to a different (and permanent) new location.
If you’re using WordPress for your website, your team can look into a plugin called Redirection – a fully fledged redirection manager. Or alternatively, consider Yoast SEO which has a redirection manager included with its pro version.
Get to know RankBrain
A while ago, the RankBrain algorithm was announced by Google. It was and is still considered a huge deal in the SEO world. For the first time ever, the algorithm utilizes advanced artificial intelligence.
Specifically, this is the first Google algorithm to utilize machine learning. It aims to measure how each user interacts with the results on the first page and how they feel about it. So, the happier your site makes the users, the higher it will rank.
How do you optimize your site for RankBrain?
- Improve your organic click-through rate (CTR) – Google wants to see that a lot of people are clicking on your site in the search results
- Improve your bounce rate – Google doesn’t want the users to leave your site after 3 seconds. If the users do this, Google will see you as a site which users don’t like. The longer the users stay on your site, the higher you’ll rank.
While we’re on the topic, let’s talk about a metric called engagement. In terms of your SEO basics, engagement is the ability your website has to hold user attention. Plenty of SEO research has found a correlation between search rankings and engagement metrics.
Google uses a very simple assumption – if the user spends a lot of time on a certain page, it means that the page is useful. Since Google always wants to offer the most useful results, it will rank “useful” sites higher. While a bit of an oversimplification, we can summarize it as such – websites with higher engagement will rank higher.
How do you improve your site’s engagement power?
There are many things that go into creating engaging content, and we’ve published a lot about it on our digital marketing blog. However, there are several key things you want to consider right away.
- Use images in your content – professional, high-quality images can improve the design of your page, help you break your content into pieces and help you visualize key points.
- Use the Inverted Pyramid Style – organize the content in the following order: most newsworthy info, important details, and other general background info.
- Format your posts, so they are easier to read – use shorter paragraphs, bullet points, sub-headings and shorter sentences.
This is just a brief overview. There’s a lot more that goes into creating compelling content. In fact, an entire book can be written on this subject alone, but that’s beyond the scope of this overview. If you want more personalized help, feel free to reach out to our experienced team.
Utilize Accelerated Mobile Pages
The way your website looks and loads on mobile devices is extremely important. Aside from the general speed optimization discussed earlier, it is becoming ever more important to make additional optimizations for mobile users. Fortunately, one of the best solutions comes from Google itself.
Google originally introduced AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to help website owners create mobile-optimized versions of their pages. However, over time Google came to strongly prefer websites which use AMP. In fact, AMP pages will rank much higher in the results. Hence, it’s extremely wise to consider adding AMP to your website.
Focus on topics instead of keywords
Over the past years, there has been a seismic shift in what we would define as “SEO Best Practices“. Quality SEO experts today approach search engine optimization very differently than they did just a couple of years back. In the early days, we put all of our focus on keywords. Things have evolved quite a bit beyond that, primarily because Google has changed.
Your business probably has employees in charge of handling SEO. If you want to make sure that they know what they’re doing, notice where they place their focus. Are they primarily concerned with seeing each page as this standalone unit where all that matters is the keyword? If that’s the case, you might have some outdated SEO practices inside your business.
A modern SEO strategy will try to structure your entire website around a set of topics. These should then be organized inside of different themes – all relevant to your industry. This is the exact opposite of a long-tail keyword which is much more specific and situational.
To take a look at our very own blog, a long-tail keyword would be something like Cold-call techniques for a B2B meeting. It would fall under the topic of “cold-calling,” which in turn falls under the theme of helping large B2B businesses like yours get more high-end clients.
In the old days, SEO strategies revolved around producing a lot of individual content on every possible long-tail keyword you could find. This was a scattered random strategy where you try to produce content for every random keyword under the sun. And today, this approach no longer works.
Effective SEO techniques for your business include learning which themes your prospective customers care about the most.
You would then find topics to organize inside of these themes. And then finally, you would have keywords that relate to specific search engine queries on said topic.
All this leads to clearly defining the themes and topics that are relevant to your industry, then producing high-value pillar-content on each topic. It is only then that all of your additional content and keywords come into play. They exist to reinforce and support your pillar (cornerstone) content, as well as establish your authority on the given topics and themes.
Consider utilizing professional help
SEO is very complicated and it takes a lot of work to constantly keep things up-to-date. Your business has two options here. You can build a quality in-house SEO team and give them a solid budget to do their job and get the continued education this requires. Or you can partner with an outside SEO expert. Most large businesses are finding the second option much more effective, both in terms of results and ROI.
The DemandZEN team has many years of experience in helping large businesses attract high-ticket B2B deals through all forms of digital marketing, as well as some offline tools such as cold-calling. Whether you need assistance in crafting or implementing an SEO strategy or seek help with any part of your marketing strategies and implementation, feel free to give us a call. We’ll be glad to devise a strategy that will take your business to the next level.