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Your step by step strategy to SEO success this year!

As the world (well some of it) opens up again, it's high time you started afresh with your SEO strategy and get some much needed clicks in. We’ve put together the best tips we have come across from the past few months and sorted them into bite-sized chunks for you to implement.

We have split them into four sections below, so let’s go…..

Increasing clicks

Starting with the end result, getting clicks onto your site. One of the beauties of SEO is that you don’t always need to be higher in the rankings to get more traffic, you just need to get more clicks from whatever ranking you are already at. We have some specific strategies to target more clicks from your ranking. 1. Favicon optimization Something that is not talked about very much in the SEO world is making sure that your Favicon is well optimised. These can be quite the influence over your clickthrough rate if they are visible or not or even how high contrast they are when Google displays them in the mobile search results. It doesn’t make a huge difference with Googles algorithm but every little helps right? 2. Breadcrumb optimization Next up is breadcrumb optimisation. As breadcrumbs are displayed in the desktop and mobile search results they can help with your clickthrough rate as long as they are keyword rich breadcrumbs. As Google uses multiple sources for the breadcrumbs they display, you want to ensure that they are displaying the breadcrumbs that you desire. In order for this to happen correctly, make sure that you have your breadcrumbs actually on your page linking to the correct places. 3. Meta descriptions This may seem like SEO 101 but unbelievably 30% of websites do not have a meta description, we see this all the time with new customers so the struggle is real! Added to that, Google now rewrites the meta description that it displays because they do not have the keywords within it that the user is looking for. If your meta description sound like what the user would like then they are far more likely to click on your site over another one in the rankings. It is so important to make sure it is concise but also gets the information across, think of it as a mini advert for your site.

4. Numbers in titles Think about adding a numbers in titles. If you are adding some content then make sure the title has the relevant date within it, that way it can quickly be identified as fresh and it also will help with clickthroughs as well.

5. Title boilerplate It would be a good idea to audit your boilerplate for your title tag. If you don’t know, a boilerplate is the part of your title tag that is repeated every time. Sometimes it helps with your ranking if you remove it entirely as Google likes to see variety. This is not always the case got try removing a few and check how the ranking changes. 6. FAQ and how-to schema By implementing schema markup for your FAQ page, you can improve your website’s visibility as well as increase your website’s authority. Very few websites seem to be taking advantage of this easy, yet incredibly, effective SEO hack. Amazingly less than 1% of businesses online seem to be implementing this. So, now’s the time to get on board and ensure the schema markup is set up on your FAQ page. Content/on-page SEO

So now we’ve covered that we can follow on to your content and on page stuff.

7. Relaunch top content Static websites do not do well in the eyes of Google so a great idea to keep things fresh is to relaunch your content. If you are blogging, you write an article, launch it and share it via your social channels, then completely forget about it. We would suggest going back to your best content after a few years or even more and relaunch it by updating it. Always keep it on the same URL as well. You may see huge gains just by updating and relaunching your old content.

8. Increase internal linking An easy way to get a ranking boost that SEO agencies use for new clients is to make sure that the title tags and meta descriptions are up to scratch. However, the next go-to strategy is to increase the internal linking. You can nearly always increase the internal links so there are most likely ideas that you can use to do this so read on and we can show you how to do this quickly and easily.

9. Update old content with new links It’s a very common thing for people to skip and we see it so often. Every time you publish new content or blog posts, make sure that you go back and update your original content with the new links that you have created. The best thing to do is to look at the top search term you wish to rank for and check which pages rank for the search term, then make sure that you are adding links from your new content to the original content. This not only helps you rank better it can also help lower your bounce rate too. 10. Remove unnecessary links In layman’s terms the old adage “less is more” actually applies really well to this. There is often little point in having a link on each page for example; to your “meet the team” page as this can be taking link equity away from your better links that will actually be helping you in algorithm terms. You may find that it helps improve your ranking quite considerably.

11. Mobile link parity audit It's definitely time to have a look at you link parity. This means checking that your mobile site has the same number of links as your desktop site. This has recently become a lot more important because Google now uses a mobile first index model. This means that to them, your mobile site is the site that will determine your ranking and not your desktop site. A common mistake when editing your mobile site is getting rid of secondary menus etc, meaning that a lot of the links within the site are lost. A recent study showed that there are 61 links on an average desktop page whereas the average mobile site page has 54 . This is quite a lot of lost link equity being lost when you start adding up the total pages within the whole website.

12. Invest in long-form content In this case more is more! Short form content has its place and often does rank very well but studies have shown that time and time again, long form content trumps it in terms of the links and shares that it earns for the site. Long form content also usually ranks a little higher in the search results. Don’t start only adding long form content as short form is a quicker way to get content on the site so they both have their place but do make sure that you are also doing long form content.

13. Use more headers So now you’re industriously hammering out your long form content, make sure that you are using more headers in the form of H2 and H3 tags. Generally the more header tags that you have, particularly keyword rich header tags, the better you will rank for keyword rich snippets. Recent research has suggested that sites with large amounts, say 12 or 13 header tags tend to rank for the most featured snippets. It also makes articles easier to read as you are breaking up your content into bite-sized chunks as well.

14. Leverage topic clusters Always plan to launch multiple pieces of content all about the same subject that are all linked together so that it engages your audience a lot more as they will tend to read more than one article if they have an interest in the topic. Make sure that you are adding the right contextual inner links as well so that the search engines pick up on it as much as possible.

15. Bring content out of tabs Try to create content that is not accessed by dropdown or accordions. It seems that Google prefers that this content is taken out of tabs and dropdown to make sure that people do not have to click on the initial link to reveal another link before they get to the content. It’s not that this seems to be discriminated against by Google but as more people access the content more easily, it seems that these engagement signals help the pages rank just that little bit better.

Technical SEO

So now let’s have a look at some technical SEO tips. Not too many of these for you to worry about.

16. Core Web Vitals Now is the time to get involved in Core Web Vitals. This is something we have been banging on about for many years as we have always advocated that site speed makes quite a difference to your Google ranking as does delivering a fantastic page experience. We like Google’s Lighthouse as the tool to get this sorted on your site. This has become particularly prominent recently as Google is looking to bring this more to the forefront this year. For Wordpress sites, there is Cloudlflare that we would particularly recommend. This speeds up your Wordpress site and is cheap and easy to boot.

17. Limit sitemaps to 10,000 Consider limiting your sitemaps to 10,000 URLs. If you’re particularly clued up or interested in SEO you may know that you are limited to 50,000 URLs for your sitemap but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should use all 50,000. Studies have shown that keeping this down to 10,000 can actually help the speed and efficiency of which Google crawls your site and so may help you be prioritised by the search bits in some way so it’s well worth doing.

18. Leverage dynamic sitemaps So a dynamic site map is one that is modified to ensure that it includes exactly what you want Google to crawl. This is achieved by putting your high priority URLs on their own specific sitemap. You can then change this sitemap to remove the ones that have already been crawled and swap them out with the next batch that you want Google to find. Always keep it small so that the search engines are aware and able to easily find the ones that you want them to the most.

Link building

Everyone knows about link building and we’ve all been doing it as long as we can remember so let’s just touch on this quickly. Very few people are fans of link building but let’s be honest, we all have to do it so we just suck it up and get on with it. I’m sure some people love it and a lot of people are great at it but there are ways to build a lot of links without liking it or being particularly good at it.

19. Passive link acquisition This is a fantastic way to build links without actually having to build links. It’s basically creating great content that makes people link to it voluntarily and naturally earring you this all important passive links. The key is to create content that journalists, bloggers and web creators are looking for, meaning they will just link to it anyway. How to guides are fantastic for this or generally anything that helps people with the subject. It should earn a lot of links passively and is an incredibly sustainable way to build links to your site.

20. Page-level link intersect A very old SEO tip is to find sites that link to your competitors but not to you. However, it makes a lot of sense to go a step further and find web pages that link to two of your competitors but not to you. You will need a tool for this that does a page level intersect so that you can identify web pages that do this. This identifies them more often that not as a resource page and so they are more likely to link to your site when asked. 21. Be the searchers end result This is super important but also fairly easy. What we mean by this is that if you are giving the user exactly what they are looking for, they are very unlikely to continue searching. This is one of the most important ranking signals as Googles overall purpose is making sure that they connect their users to the information or service they are searching for. If you ensure that you are ticking all of the boxes for the user and peoples searches terminate on your site, you can only rise in the rankings.

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