The world of SEO is dynamic.
As Google and other search engines continually update their algorithms, your previous tricks that kept your website on top of SERPs may not work anymore.
To stay relevant and a top search result, you’ll need to adapt constantly.
There are many moving parts to keep an eye on, from optimization and content to keywords and backlinks.
While it might seem like a daunting task, we’ve rounded up 20 surefire ways to improve your site’s SEO performance.
1. Analyze Your Website’s Foundational SEO
When you build a house, you need to lay a solid foundation to ensure that the structure stands strong. When it comes to building your SEO performance, that foundation is your website.
Before undertaking any new efforts, you must clearly understand your site’s current performance and areas that need improvement. Clarity starts with an up-to-date SEO analysis of your website.
Because most people are concerned with getting quick results, they skip this essential foundational work.
However, conducting this audit will give you a sense of how search engines read and rank your site — page titles, descriptions, spam scores, and load speed are often overlooked factors that affect SEO.
2. Prioritize User Experience
Staying with your website’s analogy as a house, you know you must design a blueprint before you build. If you build a house without a blueprint in hand and add new features and elements on a whim, you’re going to wind up with something completely unlivable.
Like a house, your website needs solid architecture rooted in user experience.
When determining how to update your site and improve search engine performance, you must prioritize your users’ wants. If your site is challenging to navigate, visually unappealing, or otherwise unfriendly for users, you won’t reach your SEO performance goals.
Much SEO is based on website traffic KPIs — if you can’t keep users on your site, you can’t expect search engines to view your site favorably.
Even if your site looks good on the front end, you must build with SEO in mind.
A clear site map (your blueprint) will add structure from the beginning, making ongoing growth scalable and consistent.
In addition to a clearly mapped out structure, be sure that your site’s categories and subcategories are well-defined. This will help bots understand your website’s design more efficiently. It also allows your users to see how your pages relate to one another and what your website is all about.
This SEO technique is particularly important for eCommerce websites.
If your website navigation is simple, it’s easier for your users to find (and purchase) your products. Multiple factors affect user experience, not to mention conversion rates. Button position, product categories, and checkout flow play a role in your site’s success.
3. Consider the Details
With your audit and blueprint in hand, it’s time to start making changes. While you might be tempted to focus solely on the significant changes that need to occur, don’t forget the little things.
Small details on your site can significantly impact the amount of traffic and conversion rates from SERPs.
For example, Google now displays Favicons in search results. These little icons were initially only displayed at the top of your browser in each tab. Now they also appear next to your name in SERPs.
Making sure your favicons appear alongside your page names and metadata gives your site a more polished and professional look.
Favicons might not make a dramatic difference, but searchers are more likely to click on results that contain useful information with an appearance that makes your site look like an authority.
Breadcrumbs help users navigate between pages on your site.
These navigational cues are beneficial to add to the content that falls into specific categories — think blogs and shops.
It’s easiest for users to get lost in these larger repositories. Giving them a simple way to get from an article or a product back to a previous category encourages more browsing of your site for extended periods and exploration of more pages.
4. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices
It’s more important than ever to make sure your site is mobile-friendly. Nearly 60 percent of all online searches are now carried out on a mobile device, and depending on your industry that number is even higher.
Google recognizes that most users now access websites via a mobile device. So, they introduced mobile-first indexing.
This means Google now uses the mobile version of a page’s content for indexing and ranking purposes. And because It’s not possible to create a separate site index for mobile, your site must perform as well on mobile as it does on a desktop.
One of Google’s criteria for the evaluation of a website is now its readiness for mobile-first indexing — a clear indication that Google insists you choose a responsive web design and prioritize your mobile customers.
Whether your site is genuinely responsive or just mobile-friendly, make sure that your mobile load times are quick, your appearance consistent, and your title and header tags are styled to display correctly on mobile devices.
5. Improve Your Page Loading Speed
When a user lands on your website, how long does it take your web pages to load?
This is an important question that all webmasters need to ask themselves. If it takes too long, it can turn away potential visitors from your website. Slow loading speed creates a bad user experience.
Search engines also view this as a red flag.
Page loading speed is an important metric that can influence your website’s SEO immensely. Since 2010, we’ve known that page loading speed is an important ranking factor for desktop searches.
But in 2018, they took it up a notch.
In July 2018, Google announced that page speed was a ranking factor, even for mobile searches, and it’s continued to grow in importance.
Users are more likely to abandon a site if it’s slow to load or doesn’t load correctly. In fact, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load, and 73% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered and abandoned a website that was too slow to load.
To improve your page loading speed, you first need to identify the factors slowing down your pages.
- Are your images too heavy for the page?
- Are you using the wrong theme?
- Do you have too much external embedded media?
Any one of these could be the culprit causing a lag in your page loading speed.
To get better insights, you should first test your page speed with the PageSpeed Insights tool by Google. For personalized reports, tools like Lighthouse and TestMySite can help.
6. Work From a Content Strategy
Congratulations! Your house is built, and you’re ready to start personalizing it. In website SEO terms, it’s time to start writing and publishing content.
When you set out to write blogs and publish SEO-focused content, you need to work from a well-considered strategy that accounts for not only SEO but your audience’s expectations as well.
Start by conducting keyword research using an SEO tool. ProRankTracker, for example, allows you to track keywords and find keyword suggestions relevant to your top-performing URLs, competitor’s websites, and other keywords you track.
Next, do a deep dive into your target audience. Look at relevant pages and hashtags on social media.
- What is your target audience talking about?
- Which platforms do they prefer?
- What pain points are they experiencing that you can solve?
- How can you connect with them?
By combining your keyword analysis and your audience insights, you can begin formulating blog topics and content ideas that appeal to search engines as well as people. Mold your SEO strategies accordingly.
Your SEO content strategy mantra should be: Publish, Measure, Adapt.
Your SEO content strategy isn’t set in stone and should evolve based on your capacity, user expectations, and content performance.
A consistent stream of high-value content will gratify both Google and your audience. Share content on social media, read the comments on your posts, and monitor which posts are most popular.
Don’t forget to measure traffic on your content’s URLs.
You can track specific URL’s SERP performance using ProRankTracker, and understand stats like bounce rate, time on page, and new site visitors using Google Analytics.
With the complete picture in hand, you can continue adjusting and optimizing your content strategy, adapting to user needs.
7. Revamp and Relaunch Old Content
You don’t have to exclusively publish new content to keep your content SEO strategy moving. Optimizing and relaunching old content can sometimes be more beneficial to your overall performance.
To make the most out of your content, go through your older blog posts.
- Are the topics that you have written about still relevant?
- Do you have new information to share?
- Could you add more internal or external links?
Maybe you wrote about the best SEO techniques two years ago. But since then, Google announced significant changes to their algorithm.
It’s time to update that article with the most timely, relevant information.
Instead of writing a new article, it’s advisable to add more information to your existing piece. You could update the headline to bring it current with the latest trends, edit the copy or make it more SEO-friendly.
In addition to updating the content itself, be sure to update your internal links (point your readers to more of your own content), fix any broken external links, and check any statistics and facts for relevancy and sourcing.
This SEO technique is an easy way to come up with more content in less time.
Revamping and relaunching content also gives you a reason to reshare it, potentially helping your site reach a new, wider audience. For popular posts, you may even have a better chance of getting ranked higher up in search results.
8. Research Your Keywords Well
Before you finalize your blog post ideas, take some time to find relevant keywords. It’s an easy way to figure out what people are looking for. Based on that, you can tweak your content to fill the interest of your readers.
If you’re using the right keywords, you have a better chance of driving conversions as well as higher rankings.
To research keywords you don’t know you’re ranking for, you can use ProRankTracker.
Type in your target keyword, and ProRankTracker will fetch all relevant keyword combinations for you. You can also see the search volumes for the discovered keywords.
When listing your keywords, don’t use generic terms.
Words like “car” or “camera” are too broad, so they may not help you with SEO. It is better to be more specific and descriptive when it comes to keywords. Long-tail keywords like “Where to rent a Sony Camera” work better.
You might be tempted to jam-pack your content with keywords to boost your chances of ranking. This tactic, called keyword stuffing, is hugely frowned upon and hurts more than it helps. When crawling your content, search engines can tell if you’re just publishing a wall of keywords.
Google, in particular, favors content that people want to read — make sure you’re using keywords organically within sentences to avoid this trap.
9. Make Sure Your Posts Are the Right Length
For a long time, SEO experts have stressed the importance of posting quality content. There’s no doubt that content quality is an essential factor in improving your search rankings.
However, you can’t ignore content length.
In-depth blog posts that seek to cover a particular topic exhaustively can increase your search rankings. To understand the correlation between content length and rankings, Backlinko conducted a study. They analyzed over one million searches.
They found that the posts on the first-page search results, on average, were 1,890words long.
As a general rule, aim for anywhere from 1000 to 3000 words with your blog posts. The goal is to answer the question as thoroughly and effectively as possible.
Offering insufficient information, or droning on repetitively for thousands of words, is likely to put users off and send them to your competitors.
This SEO technique by itself will not guarantee success. Don’t expect that adding an extra thousand words to a blog post will magically boost its search rankings.
You need to strike a delicate balance between quality and quantity for this SEO technique to work well.
10. Get Quality Backlinks
For search engines, quality backlinks equate to reliability and expertise. When a website with high domain authority links back to your website, your credibility, and domain authority increase.
When you have many quality backlinks, you’ll likely get higher rankings in the SERPs. It’s one of the most critical SEO techniques that can directly affect your website’s score.
You can solicit quality backlinks by guest blogging and collaborating with social media influencers. Reaching out and asking other blogs and websites to use your content as a source can be time-consuming, but it’s well worth the effort.
The backlink game is all about quality over quantity.
Having a few high-quality sites linking back to your content is much more helpful than hundreds of spammy links or websites with questionable credentials linking back.
If such websites link back to your website, your domain authority may be negatively affected. So you must analyze all of your incoming links and disavow any spammy links. A simple way of finding these inbound links is to use the Google Search Central to monitor your links.
11. Write Authoritative Content
If you publish a particularly valuable piece of content, you might get passive backlinks — links from individuals who are writing their own SEO content and cite you as a source.
This will most likely happen on longer-form, authoritative content that contains original perspectives or new research. Investing the time in conducting research might seem tedious and expensive, but becoming an authority in your field is invaluable.
Publishing more extended reports can help you not only rank well but passively gather backlinks from journalists and other outlets.
You don’t have to do this all that frequently — publishing original press releases and reports only has to happen when it’s relevant.
As a rule of thumb, you can get away with publishing this type of content quarterly, semi-annually, or annually to help establish your expertise.
If it’s longer-form content, you can also use it as an opportunity to create a content marketing campaign and gather information from your audience.
12. Take Advantage of Internal Links
Getting a user to your homepage is not your ultimate goal. You want users to spend time on your website reading more articles.
An easy way to achieve this is to link your articles internally.
As you write your content, look for opportunities to link to product pages, other articles, and any call-to-action focused links, such as a contact page or a free trial.
If you link your content internally, it makes your website and content structure more organized.
Search engines are referred to as “spiders” because they crawl your website like a web. Adding additional links helps expand your website’s figurative web with more connection points, making it stronger and more enjoyable.
13. Embrace SEO Schemas
Schemas are tags that Google uses to understand what type of content is on a page and how to serve it in results and answer questions effectively.
These are snippets of code invisible to your users but let search engines know the type of content you’re publishing.
Most useful for SEO experts are FAQ and How-To schema.
This schema indicates to search engines that you’re aiming to answer a specific question.
If your answer is popular enough, you might end up serving in the “People Also Ask” section of Google, pulling your site to the top of the page (directly below paid results but ahead of all other organic results).
Shop and product schemas are also excellent for eCommerce sites. These help search engines more directly link your products to shopping-focused results, including Google Shop results.
14. Write Better Headlines
Your objective behind writing blog posts is to get engagement while also ranking well. Using the right keywords so search engines can find your posts is crucial.
However, stuffing your headlines with keywords may seem robotic. It’s a constant battle between creativity and better rankings.
Your headline should accomplish three things:
- Remain concise so your full title can appear in SERPs
- Entice users with a direct, engaging, and relevant title
- Include the relevant target keyword you’re aiming to rank on
When your headline hits these three points, you’ll appeal to search engines as well as social media audiences.
Always double-check to be sure your headline is enticing enough to make the reader want to click it.
Keywords will give you visibility.
But if people aren’t clicking through to your content, visibility doesn’t matter.
15. Consider Your Competitors
You can get a competitive advantage over other sites in your field by identifying their strengths and weaknesses. One way to do this is through keyword research.
Most people only find relevant keywords for their own websites. But the truth is, the effectiveness of your SEO strategy is dependent on how competitive your target keywords are.
Keeping a tab on your competitors’ keywords can point you to growth opportunities.
Not only do you gain a better understanding of your competitor’s strategy, you can also learn from them. You can even get new ideas for different keywords for your site.
If you want to get particularly crafty, you can write some articles that use your competitor’s brand and product names to rank on searches for their site.
This tactic, called conquesting, is typically used for paid search but can be leveraged organically by writing content that directly discusses your competitors, such as product comparisons and reviews.
Finding your competitors’ ranked keywords is easy.
Pro Rank Tracker can help you gain a panoramic understanding of how your competitors are ranking with their keywords.
16. Use Appropriate Tags for Visual Content
When search engines crawl your web pages, they can’t identify images and videos.
You need to make sure that crawlers can identify the content. You must use the correct title tags, alt tags, and metadata if you want search engines to see your visual content.
The title tag defines the visual content on your webpage.
Images also need alt text to inform the search engine about the graphic’s relevance to your content.
To optimize your visual content, you need to add focus keywords. This makes it more relevant for search engines.
As a bonus, when your images and videos have appropriate alt text and metadata also helps screen reading software serve your site to visually impaired users — going a long way for ADA compliance.
17. Optimize Your Content for Voice Searches
Thanks to products like Amazon Echo and Google Home, our lives are becoming easier. We’re no longer bound to a single task at a time.
You can clean your kitchen while browsing the internet.
The shift towards voice-based searches has begun.
To stay at the top of your game, you need to tailor your content and SEO techniques with this in mind.
We express ourselves differently when we write and when we speak. For voice-based searches, your content must be tailored for speech.
To increase your chances of ranking at the top of voice-based query searches, you need to be mobile-friendly because most of the voice-based searches come from mobile devices.
70% of requests made to Google Assistant are expressed in a conversational language, typically considered long-tail keywords.
Instead of “Paris-London flights fare”, people are more likely to search for “Cost of Paris to London flight” for voice-based searches.
Many voice-based queries come in the form of What/How/Why/Where questions.
Your content needs to be focused on answering these questions and optimized for conversational keywords.
“Near Me” and local searches are also prevalent on voice devices, so if your business has any type of local component, be sure to make the most of this tactic.
18. Leverage Youtube SEO
If content is king, then video content has been crowned queen.
The popularity of video content isn’t surprising — it has a higher retention rate than textual content.
Youtube is now considered one of the top search engines, and Google includes Youtube and other video results at the top of SERPs. Most of these are How-To videos that can be viewed directly on the SERP.
To get the most out of your SEO strategy, produce more video content and leverage Youtube SEO. Just like any other piece of content, ensure your video’s title, description, and metadata all map back to your SEO strategy.
Not many SEO tools include Youtube in their results. ProRankTracker includes Youtube among the search engines you can track, ensuring that your video content is always performing as expected.
19. Share Your Content
Don’t just rely on your website to gain credibility and traffic. You need to build a solid social media presence too.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are the obvious choices. However, to build authority and improve your search rankings, you need to look beyond these.
Quora, Slideshare, and Medium are great platforms to reach out to audiences looking for quality content. On these sites, you can improve your brand’s visibility and awareness.
At the same time, this SEO technique will help you build a following and generate more leads.
20. Aim to Be the Last Click
If you’re publishing content that speaks to your audience’s needs and answers their questions, their search should stop with you.
This is the goal.
If they return to SERPs and keep clicking, you’re only fueling your competitors’ rankings (and hurting your own). If your content is valuable, detailed, and in-depth, users shouldn’t have to continue searching.
If you’re creating interesting content, there’s a good chance visitors will continue browsing your blog, devouring more of your content.
Every marketer and SEO expert wants to improve their search rankings and get more traffic. But only a few use the right SEO techniques to improve their websites.
With mobile, voice, and video searches gaining popularity, optimizing your website and content strategy will help you make the most of these technologies.
If you’re ready to get more robust insights, improve your website, and publish more substantial content, ProRankTracker will quickly become your best friend.
Get started with a free trial to track your first few URLs and keywords to understand for yourself how powerful this tool is.