Updated: Sep 13
Make these 9 tips work on your website and you will have success.
Machine Learning and AI
1. Mobile First
Google now searches mobile site first then deck-top second. Because a mobile website is more challenging to create because it has less space to fit all the content, being mobile-friendly should be the first to be designed. Being mobile-friendly is essential because more people are using their smartphones to get the information they need. When the desktop version is created first, you will need to eliminate content that slows down your load speed on mobile devices. Make sure the user experience on mobile is top-notch then carry over the design for tablet and desktop. It is far easier to add content than take away content. Make sure your most important information is set up for smartphone usage. Keep in mind search engines want to send people to the sites that are easy to navigate with high-quality content. Another critical thing to remember is your mobile site needs to load in 3 seconds or less, any longer, and you will lose that potential customer to the faster sites.
2. Voice Search
One of the biggest things happening right now is voice search. Mobile devices (smartphones) and personal assistants like Amazon's Echo are making a strong presence in our lives these days. Voice search is more conversational and uses more words. If you think about how people talk, searching for keywords takes on a different approach. Voice search queries are more extended, about three to five keywords in length and sometimes more. The long-tail keyword is the common term in SEO. Asking a question using: who, how, what, where, when, and why or best can be very helpful when you are working on your keywords. Speak your queries out loud to see if it makes sense. Then start your keyword research to see what the numbers are saying about the usage of those terms. With the right amount of keyword research, you will find words that will work well for your site.
3. Schema Markup
Search engines respond to the structured code. Schema markup is one of these structured codes. Schema.org refers to this coding as: "These vocabularies cover entities, the relationship between entities and actions, and can easily be extended through a well-documented extension model."
This type of system is a particular formulation that organizes content for better recognition. Search engines are very fond of schema markup because it does an excellent job of explaining the purpose of the website and webpage. There are markups for articles, recipes, and business information to name a few. You may want to hire a professional consultant to work on your schema markup because it can be quite technical if you don't know what you are doing.
4. Featured Snippet
Displayed at the top of a search engine results page (SERP) a Google featured snippet is a summary for a question asked in a query. Snippets come from authoritative websites that provide the best answers to the question asked. The location of these snippets naturally brings attention to the website it came from. You can leave comments and feedback with the "Give Feedback" link on each featured snippet. Unfortunately, you cannot control the snippets Google chooses. If your site provides high-quality content that answers the questions asked by real people your page may be chosen as a featured snippet. If you do not want your webpage in a snippet, use this tag on your page to let Google know. <meta name="googlebot" content="nosnippet">
5. Link Building
Links from other websites, or shared information, to and from your website is called backlinking. Link building is an essential part of SEO ranking. If one's site has links from and to authoritative websites, it gives more authority to your website. Make sure you follow Google's guidelines when working on backlinking. All sites you link to and from should be relevant with high-quality content. A good question to ask yourself when writing, linking and backlinking is "Are real people helped with the content my links provide?"
6. Technical Search Engine Optimization
Technical search engine optimization (SEO) is the process that helps web pages rank better in search engines. Technical SEO digs much deeper than just keywords, and it involves the other eight items in this article plus more. I have listed it here to bring attention to the fact that SEO is an ongoing process that should have someone working on at all times. The web designer may know of SEO but not know all the ins and outs of how it works. A tech professional may build websites and is responsible for how the site functions and may know some SEO, but that is not their area of expertise. What you need is an SEO professional who's responsibility is just the technical SEO. A professional technical SEO professional will work with the marketing team and creative team to present the right approach to do an excellent job of attaching real people to your website or blog. All you Technical SEO professionals please be kind to your tech professionals, you may need their help someday.
7. Site Speed
Site speed is talked about at the beginning of this article, but it is so important that it deserves a bullet point of its own. A website that loads in three to five seconds will receive a higher ranking, and more importantly, more people visiting the site. Slower speeds risk the person will skip to the next result because real people have a very short attention span and are very impatient. Google endorses its amplified mobile pages (AMP) code, which is designed to help site speed. AMP does work well, but an excellent SEO consultant should know how to test for speed and improve speed load time with or without AMP. Make sure you optimize photos and videos; these are usually the culprits that slow down the load time.
8. Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
With the BERT algorithm update at Google and other AI updates on other search engines, you need to keep informed as to what Artificial Intelligence (AI) is doing in your industry so your competitors don't get ahead of you. AI is learning with data. AI would be the Machine Learning (ML) data organized to make educated guesses or sense what all the information is to figure out a task or problem. Both of these are changing at the speed of light these days. AI is used in projects like self-driving cars among other not so glamorous tasks such as factory work and robots.
Content is the information on a web page. It includes copy, photos, charts, infographics, artwork, articles, products, and more. Content is the relevant information consumers are searching for in their queries. Search engines are demanding high-quality content on all website pages. If there is a "lightweight" page on your site, you might want to pay attention to how you can provide a better user experience with better content. All content should be written in a simple language that the average person can understand. Informative content does not assume everyone understands technical terms in your industry, which means leave out technical terms. Spending the time necessary to explain those terms will provide a better user experience and understanding for real people. If people don't understand what you are talking about, they will go to the next best option, which means they will be leaving your site. Remember your content is for real people, write for them, not the search engines.
I have mentioned a few times throughout this article that portions of this list above can be very technical and complicated to understand, let alone do. Hiring a professional to get the job done right is a "good thing." If you say "I can't afford one" what I'm hearing is "I don't want any new traffic to my website." Please don't be that person. SEO professionals are here to help you succeed.
Remember Technical SEO is an ongoing effort, with waiting and testing to figure out what is working and what is not. Collaborate with an SEO professional and have them work on your site 10, 15 maybe 20 hours a month for 10 to 12 months or longer.
Work on what you do best in your business and hire a professional SEO consultant to help with attracting new clients to your website.
Setting Your Website Up For Success!
About the Author
Wendy Danko is an SEO Consultant and Web Designer at WenKo LLC. A design background has its perks, especially regarding SEO and website design. Wendy is determined to help all her clients understand and improve their SEO and website design. As a result, her clients have uncovered new leads to grow their client base with website improvements.