Optimizing your website to be more easily discoverable on Google is one of the most effective ways to expand your market share and increase conversions. But how can you improve your SEO performance?? The answer is simple: Search engine optimization (SEO)–or the art of refining a website to increase the number of people who see your website in their search engine results.
While SEO takes time, know-how, and patience, you can begin to climb your way up Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) using a few techniques and the help of user-friendly software.
We’ve designed this article to help you pinpoint where to invest your time, energy, and other resources to improve your website’s performance in the SERPs and rank in 2022 and beyond. Whether you’re a site owner, content marketer, or SEO strategist, these tips will help your web pages get to the top of Google’s SERPs.
Before you dive into improving your search engine optimization performance, it’s important to figure out what aspects of your website require the most immediate attention. Otherwise, you could wind up focusing on minor issues while major problems continue to drag down your performance.
If you want to improve your SEO ranking, you will need to understand your numbers (or metrics). Deciphering the meaning of these numbers requires analytic skills, but software can make quick work of turning numbers into a strategy you can implement.
A successful strategy requires technical SEO, content SEO, and knowing what Googlebots measure and how they work. Luckily, SEO tools offer a simple solution to understanding search engine algorithms, your SERP positions, and your overall website performance.
SearchAtlas is one of the most helpful SEO software tools that anyone can access and use. Within one login, users have tangible access to Google Search Console data, keyword research, competitor research, SEO content creation assistance, SEO site auditing reports, and more.
If you have keywords that are ranking on the first page of Google’s results–Congrats! That’s great news! To boost your overall search engine visibility, you want to move more of your pages to the top results page.
Starting with the keywords where your web pages rank on the top of the second page is an easy way to push your overall site visibility higher. To identify the keywords where you’re ranking on page 2, use the GSC Insights’ Top Keywords report.
Identify any keywords that fall into positions 11 to 14. While most SEO software require users to manually assess the potential of a keyword, SearchAtlas’s GSC Insights tool provides an SEO potential score for each. After identifying the keywords with the most potential, begin optimizing your pages with more impressions first. Then move on to those with fewer impressions and less organic traffic.
Contact pages are one of the under-utilized forms of web content when it comes to SEO. You don’t have to paste your phone number and email address on a barebones page to qualify. You can use a contact form and provide information regarding when someone should reach out.
Not only does your contact page give users the ability to reach out to you, but it also tells Google you’re a legitimate business–and it gives visitors an opportunity to interact with your page.
Compare your content to your competitors’ to get a sense of why they’re ranking.
After you find what websites are ranking for keywords your company wants to target, you will want to examine their content to better understand why they’re ranking so well. Then adopt some of their techniques in addition to targeting keywords in your own existing quality content and new content.
Long-tail keywords are easier to rank for because they’re often less competitive. A long-tail keyword is a keyword phrase that is more specific than a traditional keyword. They’re usually three or more words linked together to make the search results better tailored to what the searcher has in mind.
For example, “places to camp in Nevada with dogs” would be considered a long-tail keyword phrase. If you offer RV and tent campsites that are dog-friendly in Nevada, you’re more likely to capture more organic traffic by appealing to this phrase rather than more general search terms such as “Nevada camping.”
SearchAtlas’s Keyword Researcher will generate a list of related keyword suggestions along with a SERP overview report. This allows you to gauge the difficulty of ranking for specific keywords and what your competition is like. From there, you will want to select long-tail keywords that are relevant to your business.
Like long-tail keywords, Latent Semantic Indexing keywords (or LSI keywords) allow you to increase your search engine visibility by selecting strategic keywords and keyword clusters for your web content.
LSI keywords are words that Google recognizes as being related to a primary keyword. When you include an array of LSI keywords in your content, you are creating more indicators or signals that Google will pick up on related to specific search terms.
Using a variety of LSI terms also helps prevent keyword-stuffing–a huge no-no that Google likes to demote web pages for.
A frequently asked questions page and highlighted questions on other content pages give you the opportunity to expand your topical depth, include more LSI keywords, and utilize common questions asked in Google searches.
They’re also a great resource for your visitors. Many people utilize FAQs as a way to learn more about what other people want to know regarding a topic. This can improve consumer confidence. For instance, “What size should I order?” is a great way to guide shoppers to the right product for their needs, decrease returns, and improve customer reviews.
One of the easiest tasks you can check off your SEO list is to verify that you have the right keywords in your headings and your headings follow SEO best practices.
When formatting your landing pages, product pages, and blogs, only use one Heading 1. Then you will want to move down in a hierarchical structure with subheadings.
Bullet points have a similar effect to headings. They break up the text, so visitors scroll deeper into the page. Of course, they also display information in a way that gets attention. So, if you notice writing a list with 3 or more things, consider changing it to a bulleted list, instead.
Keep in mind that you do not want to overburden your content with too many headings and too many numbered or bulleted lists. This is distracting and defeats the purpose.
As time goes on, people become more and more visually literate. This adds extensive value to how users will interact with and enjoy using your website. Like headings and lists, images increase time-on-page and scroll distance for visitors. They can also significantly reduce your bounce rate.
Images appear in Google Image searches. This gives you one more way to increase web traffic.
Very few people want to slog through extremely dense, extremely elevated diction. So, make your homepage, landing pages, and blog posts
easy to read.
Keep in mind that most Americans prefer to read content at about the 8th-grade level. However, if your target audience or niche requires a more technical approach, go for it. Just be mindful of sentence length, section length, and other structural elements that can improve readability.
How can you figure out your company’s target audience’s reading level? One resource is Google Analytics. Google Analytics can give you a snapshot of your audience’s age and interest in existing posts. Looking at your social media followers can also provide insight. Want a more direct tactic? Survey your social media followers.
For pages that aren’t ranking well, re-optimize that content for different keyword targets. If the web page is not getting traffic or under-performing, consider making strategic revisions or deleting it.
You can use a tool like the LinkGraph SEO Content Assistant to improve the topical depth and relevance of your landing pages and web content. Our software scans the top-ranking search results for your target keyword and identifies the relevant keyword phrases and topics that you should include in your site content. Try to get your content score over 80 to get better rankings.
SearchAtlas also allows you to identify keyword cannibalization, so you can merge competing content for more in-depth blog content or landing pages.
In the world of SEO, content quality is everything. Web searchers do not want to waste their time sifting through fluff to find valuable information. We can guarantee if your content doesn’t have value, users will notice and your bounce rate will soar. So, invest time in creating content that matters and provides value.
Writing web content for SEO takes time. However, there are some ways you can add value without excessively doubling or tripling your process time. One way you can expedite the process is to write about what you know. The second is to find gaps in your competitions’ website.
When writing blogs, be sure you provide at least 3 “ah-ha” pieces of information for the reader. And stay on topic throughout the page.
As we have pointed out before, web users tend to favor visual information more and more. Additionally, people can retain visual information longer and more readily. This makes adding and creating visual content vital. Videos, infographics, bespoke graphics, and screenshots can have a powerful effect on your web traffic numbers.
Google’s Page Experience Update was no doubt the biggest change for search in 2021. The page experience provided by a website became an official ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. Factors like page speed, Core Web Vitals, user experience (UX), and load times are now determining factors in whether search engines rank your website over your competitors in the search results.
The performance and usability of your website are key to whether users will find your content valuable. Nobody likes a slow website, and long page load times and slow site speed can leave users feeling frustrated, an experience you don’t want any potential customers to associate with your brand. Slow page loads undercut your SEO efforts, decreasing total sessions, raising bounce rate, and negatively impacting other engagement metrics.
Staying current with Google’s algorithm update can be quite the feat. However, if you can update your web pages to reflect highly impactful metrics, then you can stay ahead of your competition. In this case, focusing on your largest contentful paint or LCP can boost your website’s performance.
Your LCP is the most data-dense visual element of a page above the fold (or what is visible to the user before you scroll down). And… it is now a metric Google looks at in regards to the page experience and your ranking. So, taking the time to identify your LCPs and compress them or move them below the fold can improve your site’s SERP position.
How to Find Your LCP:
Cumulative Scroll Shift is another signal that Google now looks closely at when evaluating your page’s performance, and another chance to upgrade your UX. While most other loading issues center on site speed, this one focuses on a major frustration factor: shifting page features.
Scroll shift occurs when objects on a page move and push other elements around during the loading process. This most often occurs when an ad, image, or video loads at a slower rate than text. This shift can make users lose their place in a blog article or misclick on a button.
To fix this issue, consider where your elements populate and if images are properly compressed. Placing slow-loading elements lower on a page can help.
(See LCP instructions above to measure your cumulative scroll shift).
When one of Google’s web crawlers comes across a broken internal link, they will follow the link. But if the link is broken, they register the ‘difficulty’ as an issue with the user experience of your page. Why? Broken links frustrate users. And more often than not, they will decide to go elsewhere for the information they were seeking.
To fix your broken internal links, you will want to audit your site using the Site Audit tool in your SearchAtlas dashboard. Here you will find a list of site issues, including broken links.
Once you’ve identified the broken links, you need to assess if the link is broken because the content has been removed or just moved. If it’s been removed, eliminate the link. If it has been moved, update the link to the new URL.
Links leading from your website to another, or outbound links, verify that you are using authoritative sources. However, if these links stop working, they can have a negative effect on your SEO.
These are labeled as 404 errors. When Googlebots explore your site, they will note broken outbound links. The same is true for your inbound links (link from a 3rd party site to yours).
A URL’s backlink profile reveals a lot about the site owner’s off-site SEO strategy. A site owner who doesn’t monitor backlinks for linking site quality, anchor text diversity, and relevance will struggle to raise their overall site authority in the eyes of search engines.
Google ranks websites that are well-trusted by other webmasters and users on the internet. One of the best ways to see quick SEO results is to focus on backlinks.
If you don’t monitor backlinks on a regular basis, it’s possible that your backlink profile has become populated with toxic or spammy links from low-quality sites.
Use an SEO tool like our free backlink analyzer to identify those questionable new links and generate the text for a disavow file. There is no way to remove those hyperlinks to your site, but a Disavow file tells Google not to count them toward their ranking algorithm.
Not all backlinks have the same value. Those from sites with higher Domain Authority and strong SEO metrics themselves will have the biggest impact. Performing a backlink audit every quarter can help you stay on top of your new links and ensure that your links are always working for you, not against you.
Anchor text is the text that is associated with a link. For example, in the sentence: LinkGraph offers an industry-leading suite of SEO tools. “Suite of SEO tools” is the anchor text. Not only does this text indicate to your reader what the link will lead to, but it also tells Google’s algorithms what the linked site’s topic is. This helps it become more discoverable via search inquiries.
While it may seem inconsequential, the text that connects to a link matters for your SEO. So, to improve your anchor text, return to your internal links and revise any misleading or vague anchor text to provide more context. Try to include the keyword of the page you’re linking to in the anchor text if it’s syntactically appropriate.
Secure Sockets Layer certificates (or SSL certificates) are designed to keep users’ data secure through encryption. These safety measures are minute and live on your server, but they can have a profound impact on your SEO.
If you’ve ever come across a warning message from your browser that the site you’re going to enter is not secure or private, you experienced the effects of not having an SSL certificate. If you decided to “go back to safety,” you are similar to the majority of users–and you can imagine what effect this has on the traffic to your site.
Secure websites have the protocol HTTPS (not HTTP). With more and more awareness of cybersecurity, users want their information to be protected through encryption. Not having your SSL certificates can be a huge deterrent to web users. So, be sure to update your SLL certificates on your server ASAP.
When you view Google results, you see a page title with a short description beneath. These are considered meta tags. This text tells searchers and search engines what information can be found on that webpage. They also create an easy tactic to boost your search traffic CTR.
Schema markup is a type of microdata designed to tell search engine algorithms what kind of content users can find on your website or web pages. Schema applies to certain categories of data like restaurants, recipes, and local businesses. Many search engines, like Google, display the information highlighted by the schema as a preview or snippet. This increases your website’s search visibility.
When your code isn’t clean or has issues, it can stymie the progress of Googlebots that crawl your website. To assess if your code needs work, run your website through PageSpeed Insights.
An often-overlooked aspect of SEO is how you market your website and expertise outside of the site itself. By using some of these off-site tactics, you can draw more traffic to your site and increase your high-value backlinks.
If you excel in your niche, show off your knowledge on a podcast. Not only does this increase your brand’s reputation, but it can also drive traffic to your e-commerce site through backlinks.
You don’t have to wait for an invitation. Instead, do some research and reach out to a podcast producer in your industry.
Interviews are another great way to show off your expertise. Find industry-leading e-magazines and print magazines and offer to be interviewed or offer to submit a guest post. You may be surprised by how many publications will jump at the chance to receive high-quality content from an expert in the field.
Engaging with people online is a wonderful way to build your website’s reputation and get insight into information gaps in your industry. The biggest bang-for-your-buck when it comes to forums is creating a community forum on your website.
By providing users with a place to ask one another questions, you’re creating a self-service help desk. Which increases traffic…—Forums have even more SEO value such as:
By interacting with people, you can create a positive reputation for your business and establish yourself as an authority on a topic.
Without a Google Business Profile, your website is at a search engine disadvantage. With a Google Business Profile, you can appear at the top of the SERPs for local searches or transaction intent searches. Verified and optimized Google Business Profiles can even get you into the local 3-pack of business that appears in Google’s top of the page snippets.
After creating your Google Business Profile, you can better manage your business reputation by replying to reviews and answering customer questions. Be sure to add photos, so you can appear in image search results.
To truly take your SEO strategy to the next level, you have to take a nuanced approach to the changes you make to your website and how you measure their impact. A/B Testing is a great way to make gradual optimizations to your site and measure whether they have a strong correlation with better impressions, search traffic, keyword rankings, or organic sessions.
There are so many website elements that can be A/B tested, like title tags, meta descriptions, internal links, site structure, CTAs, fonts, and even colors. To perform a successful A/B test, you need to have clearly defined variants and the proper staging environment to test out two separate pages. Make sure to use canonical tags when testing out pages so Google doesn’t see the pages as duplicate content and penalize your website as a result.
SEO A/B testing is a more advanced SEO strategy, so if you are new to SEO, work with skilled SEOs, marketers, or an SEO agency before diving in headfirst. If you use a tool like the LinkGraph GSC dashboard, you will get daily rankings updates to measure which variant of your A/B test produces better SEO results.
Choose two clearly defined variants that you want to test (e.g. two meta descriptions, two-page titles, two heading tags, etc.)
Add rel=canonical link attributes to avoid a duplicate content penalty
Measure your A/B variants in GSC Insights
When it comes to your SEO performance, you will need to establish your primary key performance indicators (KPIs) to track and measure based on your website’s needs. However, organic traffic, SERP ranking, leads, conversions, bounce rate, session duration, load times, CCP traffic, and crawl errors are all excellent indicators of your SEO strategy’s success.
When selecting your KPIs, keep in mind that conversions are your ultimate goal, but conversions alone can be vague as to their source. Instead, track analytics such as keyword traffic, referral links, impression and CTRs, and traffic to specific pages.
To track your progress, you can log onto Google Search Console, Google Analytics, or an all-in-one platform like SearchAtlas. SearchAtlas makes finding all of the data from Google Search Console and Google Analytics easy to understand. SearchAtlas is the easiest way to see your website’s performance in one place.
With this software, you can easily see which pages receive the highest search traffic, your website’s overall site traffic, individual page SEO and SERPs positions, how much traffic your site and landing pages receive, what organic search terms you should target, top pages for your targeted focus terms, referral traffic, new content creation ideas, your site speed, mobile users data, local SEO tips and data, search traffic trends.
While 30 ways to improve your SEO may seem like a lot to tackle, keep in mind tip #1–strategizing and prioritizing goes a long way. Create a list or schedule and work on what you can when you can. Group tasks that require additional help together, so you can maximize your budget and efforts of an outside party. And don’t forget to track your campaigns in SearchAtlas’s GSC tool.
As you work to improve your website’s SEO performance, keep in mind that your efforts will be rewarded in the long run. SEO often requires momentum to build over time.
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