SEO Articles

301 Redirects: The Ultimate Guide for 2020

Understanding how to execute 301 redirects is a fundamental SEO skill. That’s what this guide is all about. Make sure you read until the end because I’m going to show you two of my favorite 301 redirect tactics (that produce massive results). Let’s jump in: What are 301 Redirects? Do 301 Redirects Affect Your Google …

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Buck Up, Even Google Screws Up Technical SEO

GMB Arab Spring

I am located in the U.S. yet yesterday afternoon when I searched for “Google My Business” in Google, the first result I got was the UK URL for GMB: https://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/business/.

It wasn’t like that yesterday morning. So what changed?

A canonical tag.

According to Archive.org, yesterday morning the canonical tag for the URL that usually ranks #1,  https://www.google.com/business/, was https://www.google.com/intl/en_us/business/. But looking at the source of that URL now shows the canonical tag has changed to https://www.google.com/intl/en_ae/business/:

GMB Canonical

I’ll leave it you all to figure out how this set-up confused Google enough so that it had to show me the UK URL instead of https://www.google.com/business/, or why previously Google was ignoring the canonical to the /intl/ URL, or why this morning Google is again showing https://www.google.com/business/ at the top of that SERP even though the AE canonical tag is still there.

My only aim in pointing this out is that while SEO is not always rocket science, it is often tricky.

UPDATE:

Famed tech SEO nerd extraordinaire Patrick Stox couldn’t resist digging into the canonicalization issue on Slack.

ohhh, I can answer your last part. The canonical that was https://www.google.com/intl/en_us/business/ is sort of correct, in that the page is a duplicate and the duplicate cluster lead for this is https://www.google.com/business/ so it “technically” pointed to the right page. /business is what is specified in the sitemap for hreflang for en-us and x-default. They likely have a bit of a mess by breaking both duplicate and hreflang clusters that will take some crawling by googlebot to sort out which is why you’re seeing 2 results in your search instead of just 1 that swaps with the right version now.

The post Buck Up, Even Google Screws Up Technical SEO appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

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10 Advanced SEO tactics to drive more traffic to your website

30-second summary:

  • SEO has evolved to cover a wide range of efforts that contribute to traffic generation. 
  • The easiest way to improve search visibility is to have an arsenal of tactics at your disposal for creating a top-ranking page. 
  • Improving the quality of content and backlinks are prime ranking factors that influence the placement of a page in a search result and can be done in a variety of ways. 
  • Founder of Digital Ducats Inc, shares in detail 10 different advanced SEO tactics to drive traffic by improving the quality of the content you’re publishing for users.

Learn how to drive more traffic to your website and you will have learned how to ensure the growth of your business. Driving more relevant traffic is the overarching goal of every website owner that wants to increase revenue. 

The success of your website relies on the volume of relevant traffic that you’re able to generate on a regular basis. Here are 10 advanced SEO tactics to increase the traffic to your website on a regular basis. 

1. Increase content production

Did you know websites that publish SEO optimized blog posts two-to-four times a week produce the highest number of leads and conversions? Increasing your content production allows your website to expand the range of keywords it targets and provides more answers to the questions people are searching for. 

The frequency of the content you create should align with the goal you’ve created in your overall content strategy. Neil Patel had the goal of increasing his page views to hit 100k. 

When he was publishing once a week his views were at 46k page views. After increasing his content production to twice a week he was able to hit 100k page views in under a year. 

Don’t mistake frequency as the only factor that will improve your website traffic. Learn how to write articles for marketing to build trust and accumulate backlinks.  

Aim to publish informative articles and provide value to your audience. According to Conductor, even a week after reading educational content, people are 48% more likely to buy from the company that educated them. 

Pumping out low-quality blog posts that lack quality will eventually hurt your website. Publish content with the intention of providing solutions to problems and relevant questions. 

2. Cluster your content to drive more traffic

A web page ranking is highly influenced by the topical relevance of the page to a search query. Google favours sites that demonstrate Expertise, Authority & Trust (E.A.T.). This makes establishing topic clusters using pillar page best practices ideal for driving more traffic. 

A topic cluster consists of pillared content (central keyword theme) and clustered content (articles with a narrow focus).  

The pillar pages are typically long-form and cover a broad keyword topic. Pillar pages link to clustered content to go deeper into detail about more specific topics that share the central keyword theme. 

The clustered content links back to the pillar page, lifting the authority of the pillar page which highlights its importance. Clustered content will also link to other clustered content on relevant topics. 

SEO advanced tactics: Pillar page topic cluster

This internal linking strategy strengthens the topical relevance of your pages and contributes to improved ranking, increased traffic and higher click-through rates. 

Tips for creating effective topic clusters

  • Select well-researched keywords to create the most effective topic clusters. Target long-tail keywords in your clustered content to lower competition and drive traffic that is a better match to your website.  
  • Publish 10X content that solves a specific problem to rank highly and be the best solution in a search result. 
  • Perform a content audit to make sure you use existing content to target keywords in your cluster and avoid keyword cannibalization. 

3. Optimize for featured snippets

Featured snippets appear for just about every question that is searched on Google. Drive more traffic using pages on your site that already rank on the first page of Google.  

According to a study by Ahrefs, if your site is featured in the snippet (also referred to as position zero) it adds an additional 8.6% of the available traffic to your site. 

Identify every keyword that your site ranks for on the first page. You can use Moz, SEMRush, or Ahrefs or any keyword-tracking tool to get a list of your first page appearances. 

Keep in mind that with the new format, if your site is in the number one position, there is some debate on which position is more valuable in terms of traffic. 

Tips to win position zero

  • Duplicate the current snippet’s optimization. 
  • If there’s a paragraph answer, provide a paragraph answer immediately after your featured snippet heading. The sweet spot is between 40-60 words. 
  • If there’s a list featured, use the HTML for an ordered list 
  • Use title tags for the question or title that represents the snippet. 
  • Use title tags for subtitle headings that Google could possibly use as a list. 

4. Add FAQ structured data markup to performing pages 

Google introduced FAQ structured data markup that shows up as a rich result. You can use FAQ schema to increase the click-through rate that your page receives. The rich result displays each of the questions you have listed in an interactive drop-down styled format.

SEO advanced tactics: FAQ Schema

This can be useful to sites for increasing the click-through rate because of the extra space that is being taken up by the SERP result. 

You can use the following markup found on Google’s developer reference page to make your FAQs eligible to show up as a rich result.  

You can also test the markup to make sure it works: 

FAQ schema code test

Tip for adding FAQ schema 

If you’re using Yoast, it has a feature specifically for adding these to your content. It can save you the time of cutting and pasting code to your content. 

  • Target the PAA box by publishing a FAQ page: The PAA box (People Also Ask) requires similar optimization to the featured snippet. The PAA box can drive additional traffic when users click through to your site. Increase the likelihood of being featured by publishing a Frequently Asked Questions page. 
  • Research commonly asked questions: Research the questions that are appearing in the top 3 or 4 spots in the PAA box. Click on any relevant questions that you will use on your FAQ page. Every time you click a question you should get another three or four questions that are added to the bottom of the box.  
  • Optimize your answers: The first paragraph answer you provide should be roughly 50 words in length. Use the Inverted Pyramid style of writing to improve the likelihood of your answer being selected. Give people what they need to know in the first paragraph and what is nice to know afterwards

Advanced SEO tactics: Inverted pyramid

Tips for driving more traffic from the PAA box 

  • Never use one-sentence answers as responses. Make each response to a question detailed enough to be a complete answer.  
  • Provide links to relevant content within your site to promote a higher CTR. 
  • Enhance optimization with jump links at the top of the page. Not only does this improve the UX (user experience) but it also helps search engines locate specific content on your page. 

How to create a jump link

The HTML of a jump link can be implemented using the following code: 

Choose a name to use as the link ID. In this example, the link ID is “jump”. Use the following HTML code to add the link to your questions at the top of your page: 

<a id=”jump”>Question and answer you want to jump to</a> 

Next, you will need to place the code for the linked target before the beginning of your answer in order to take users directly to that spot on your page: 

The HTML code for the linked target is: <a id=”jump”></a> 

Alternatively, you can insert the answer within the code as the linked target: 

<a id=”jump”>ANSWER</a>

5. Repurpose top-performing content

Use the top-performing pages on your site to create new variations of the same content. By creating a new version of popular content you’re guaranteed to spark interest and encourage more traffic. 

Identify the pages that receive the most traffic on your site. You can do this by checking Google Analytics. On the left navigation panel, click on the following: Behaviour > Site Content > Pages. 

Analytics navigation

The report will give you a break down of the volume of page views and the time spent on the most popular pages.  

Select the period of time you want to compare pages (six months to a year).  

Make your decision based on the pages that attracted the most clicks and that people spent the most time on. 

You can take any blog article and create an infographic, video or slide presentation in order to mix things up.  

Use your new multimedia such as a video or slide presentation to post to external sites and social media to generate new streams of traffic. 

6. Guest post on healthy relevant websites

Backlinks fuel the ranking ability of your content. Good content attracts backlinks, however, if you don’t want to wait around for links to appear, you need to take action. 

Use guest posting as a strategy to build links to internal pages on your site to create more entry points for visitors to find your content (referral traffic). 

Building links from high traffic websites earn streams of targeted traffic as well as a boost in authority and credibility by linking to your content. 

The links you receive from guest posting are contextual, which is considered the best type of link. Include links to relevant content on your site within the article to provide your reader with a reference that enhances their experience.  

Tips for guest posting

  • The most ideal sites to guest post on are healthy, authoritative and have high subscribership for referral traffic. 
  • Topical relevance is key in providing the most impact on links you point to your site. Link to content that enhances the user experience. 
  • Create alliances with authors or websites to scale up your efforts. If you include a link in your content to a partner’s site, and they do the same for you-your efforts are doubled with every article you publish. 

7. Build your local presence

Drive more local traffic by brushing up on the essentials of local SEO. Ask clients for reviews, keep your NAP details consistent and your GMB profile updated and accurate. One of the most powerful tactics that will help surface your website in localized searches is acquiring local backlinks.

Apart from the common places to link from, such as structured citations (directories, review sites, profile links, etc.) aim for unstructured citations on local business blogs.  

12 Web Design Trends by Toronto Experts is an example of an infographic that was used in a local outreach campaign. This local SEO strategy combined an expert round-up with an infographic to result in a 63.64% increase in traffic to local landing pages. 

Add the fact that infographics generate 172% more backlinks than your typical blog post, and there’s a pretty convincing argument to incorporate them into your local link building strategy.   

8. Become an expert on Quora

Quora is a site that gets over 300 million unique visitors every single month. There are loads of questions that are asked on a daily basis that fall into your area of expertise. If you consistently answer a few questions a day, you can build a reputation that ultimately leads to referral traffic. 

All links on Quora are no-followed but you can still leverage the opportunity to send people to your site with high quality, in-depth answers. The idea is to go above and beyond the quality of a standard response to get your answer upvoted. 

The answer with the most upvotes will float to the top of the answers. This means when other people search the question, your answer will be the first one they see.  

If it’s really good, it should also be the last one they see. 

9. Use the Barnacle SEO method

Where you can take your traffic generation to another level is to combine Quora’s traffic with the traffic from Google search. There are literally hundreds of thousands of questions that Quora ranks for on the first page of Google.  

Not only can your answer receive thousands of views from Quora, but you’ll also get users to find your answer on Google as well.  

You can use tools like SEMRush to get a list of the keywords Quora ranks for and filter the results to search for your keywords in the top ten organic results.

SEMRush Quora keywords

Tips for getting more referral traffic from Quora 

  • When choosing questions to answer, look for the ones that already have a high number of followers. The number of followers on each question will mean they will be notified every time the question receives a new response. Choose questions with a minimum of 15 followers to guarantee a decent-sized audience as a long-term strategy. 
  • Optimize your profile by including a detailed bio with a link to your website. When users read the answers you’ve provided, they will want to know more about you. Don’t disappoint them by leaving a blank bio with no way of getting to your site. 
  • Too many self-promotional calls to action may put your account at risk. Users get suspended and even banned from Quora for leaving affiliate links or too many links that lead people off-site.  

10. Invite guest authors 

Inviting authors to write an article on your site is a great way to spice up your content with a fresh perspective. Publishing articles from guest authors contribute to increased content production, attract a new audience and backlinks. 

Increased focus on topic coverage

Your content production increases with submissions from guest authors. This can allow you to focus more on the topics your blog is covering and the keywords you’re targeting. The added depth to your content production will contribute to an increase in traffic. 

Attract a new audience

Authors who are publishing regularly share their content with their network. This brings a whole new audience to your site.

Most authors share their published work with their social network or even on their own website. This can be worth a nice addition of new visitors if you have a contributing author with a large network. 

Acquire more backlinks

It’s common practice for a regular blogger to reference a previously published article with a link. If your contributors are publishing regularly on other sites you should inevitably acquire a few links you wouldn’t have received otherwise. 

Create a “write for us” page

Create a page on your site that invites authors to contribute. Use “write for us” in the URL and title. Guest bloggers use that phrase to find sites to contribute articles.  

Define your requirements for posting on your blog to give contributors an idea of what is expected to get an article approved. 

Recruit your writers

Reach out to writers that are regularly publishing content in your niche. Whenever you read a good article on a topic that’s relevant to your site, make the connection and invite them to write for you. Most authors leave a link to their site or social media or website so it isn’t too difficult to make contact. 

Explore, experiment and do what works for you

There are so many ways to drive traffic to a site that it’s worth exploring new options and experimenting with new tactics to see what works for you. 

Whichever advanced SEO strategy you use, make sure you give it a fair shot by seeing the process the whole way through. 

Thre’s a learning curve to every new tactic but you’ll learn the most through personal, hands-on experience. Whenever something works, stick with it and scale-up. You now possess the knowledge of using 10 different strategies to drive more traffic to your website.  

Choose wisely and drive safely. 🙂

Christian Carere is an SEO consultant and the founder of Digital Ducats Inc. He can be found on Twitter @DigitalDucats.

The post 10 Advanced SEO tactics to drive more traffic to your website appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Google’s New Algorithm: Page Experience

Don’t worry… your traffic hasn’t gone down (or up) because of the Page Experience algorithm update hasn’t rolled out yet.

But it will in 2021 according to Google.

Due to the coronavirus, they decided to give us all a heads up on the future algorithm update and what it entails… that way you can adjust your website so your traffic doesn’t tank.

So, what’s the Page Experience update and how can you prepare for it?

Page Experience

In Google’s own words, here is what it means…

The page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Optimizing for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces, and helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile. We believe this will contribute to business success on the web as users grow more engaged and can transact with less friction.

In other words, they are looking for how usable your website is.

Here’s an example of what they don’t want…

As you can see from the graphic above, the user was trying to click on “No, go back”, but because an install bar popup up at the top, it pushed the whole page down and caused the user to accidentally click on “Yes, place my order.”

The purpose of this update is to make sure that sites that rank at the top aren’t creating experiences that users hate.

The simplest way to think about this update is that user-friendly sites will rank higher than sites that aren’t user friendly.

But this change is the start of a big shift in SEO.

Why is this update so important?

What sites do you think that Google wants to rank at the top?

Take a guess…

Maybe sites with the best backlinks?

Or sites with the buttoned up on page code?

It’s actually none of those.

Google wants to rank the sites at the top that users love the most.

Here’s what I mean…

When you want to buy athletic shoes, what brand comes to mind?

If I had to guess, I bet you’ll say Nike.

And if you were to get a credit card… I bet Visa, American Express, or Mastercard will come to mind.

This is why brand queries (the number of users who search for your brand name on Google and click on your website) impact rankings, which I’ve broken down as one of the most important SEO lessons I learned.

Just look at how the Neil Patel brand has grown over time… the graph below shows the number of people searching for my name over time:

And here is my SEO traffic over time:

As your brand grows so will your SEO traffic.

But that is old news, that’s been part of Google’s algorithm for years now.

Here is the thing though, most sites don’t have large brands and Google knows that. So, if you don’t have one, you can still rank.

At my ad agency, when we look at our clients and their growth over time, only 4% have large well-known brands. The other 96% are still seeing traffic growth.

What Google is doing is adapting its algorithm to more closely align with the mission of showing the sites first that users love the most.

And yes, brand queries are one of the ways they can do this, but user experience is another metric.

Over the next few years, I bet you will see many algorithm updates focusing on user experience.

So how do you optimize your user experience?

It’s starts with each page

If you look at the original article Google posted about the future algorithm change, they emphasize “page experience” or “website experience.”

It doesn’t mean that your whole website shouldn’t have a good user experience, but instead, I bet they are going to focus on their algorithm from a page-level basis.

Because if you have a few pages on your websites that have a poor experience, but the rest are good, it wouldn’t make sense for Google to reduce the rankings of your whole site, especially if many of your pages provide a much better experience than your competition.

Here’s how you optimize your user experience:

Step #1: Optimize your speed and reduce 400 errors

The faster your website loads, the better experience you’ll have.

Go to this page and enter in your URL.

You’ll then see a report that looks like this:

You’ll notice two important aspects of that report that impact user experience that I’ve highlighted in the screenshot above.

In the health checkbox, you’ll want to make sure there are no broken pages. Broken pages create bad experiences.

In the site speed box, you’ll see the load time of your site. The faster your site loads the better. Try to get your website load time for both desktop and mobile under 3 seconds.

Ideally you should be in the 1-second range if possible.

Step #2: Compare your experience to your competitions’

You may think you have an amazing user experience, but how does it stake up to your competition?

So go here and type in your biggest competitor.

I want you to go into the navigation and click on “Top Pages.”

You should see a report like this:

The Top Pages report shows the most popular pages on your competition’s site from an SEO perspective. The pages at the top are the ones with the most SEO traffic, which means they are doing something right.

I want you to go through their top 50 pages. Seriously, their top 50 pages, and look at the user experience of each of those pages.

What is it that they are doing? How does their content quality compare to yours? What are the differences between their website compared to yours?

For each page that ranks, I also want you to click on “View All” under the “Est. Visits” heading. This will show you all of the keywords each page ranks for.

When evaluating your competition’s user experience, keep in mind how they are delighting people who search for any of those keywords. This will give you an idea of what you need to do as well.

But your goal shouldn’t be to match your competition, it should be to beat your competition.

Step #3: Analyze your design

Remember the graphic I showed above of what Google doesn’t want? Where the user tried to click on “No, go back” instead of “Yes, place my order” due to design issues.

In most cases you won’t have that issue, but you will have other usability issues.

The way you find usability issues is through heatmaps. Just like this one:

What you can do to find usability issues is run a Crazy Egg test on your site.

Once you log into Crazy Egg, you’ll see a dashboard that looks like this:

On the top right, I want you to click on “Create New” and select “Snapshot.”

Then select “Multiple Snapshots.”

From there, you’ll want to add at least 3 popular URLs on your site. Over time you’ll want to do this with all of your popular pages.

Then you’ll see settings like the image below, you don’t need to do anything here. Just click “Next.”

You’ll then be able to review everything. If it looks good, you can click the “Create Snapshots” button in the bottom right.

Last but not least, you’ll have to install your tracking script.

So, click on “Install Tracking Script.”

Select the option that works for you and then you are off and to the races. For example, for NeilPatel.com I use WordPress so I would select the WordPress option.

Once you are setup, it will take at least a day to see results, if not a bit longer. It depends on your traffic.

If you get thousands of visitors to your site each day you’ll see results within a few hours.

After you set up your test and it has been a few days, log back into Crazy Egg and click on Snapshots in the sidebar.

Once you are there you will see a list of snapshots you have created.

Click on any of your snapshots and you’ll see a heatmap of how people are engaging with your web page.

What’s cool about snapshots is they show you every single click, or even scroll that people take. Just look at this example from the NeilPatel.com site.

As you can see, people are clicking on those images above the text. But there is an issue… can you guess what it is?

If you click those images, nothing happens. But for all of those people to click on those images, it means that they believe they are clickable and that something should happen when they click on them.

An easy fix for me is to make them clickable and when a user clicks maybe I would take them to a page that goes into detail on each of those features. Or maybe I could expand upon each feature right there on that page.

Once you make the fixes to your page, you will want to re-run a new Crazy Egg snapshot on the same page to see if the changes helped improve the user experience.

Step #4: Install the Ubersuggest Chrome extension

If you haven’t already, install the Ubersuggest Chrome extension.

Here’s why…

When you do a Google search, you’ll see data on each ranking URL.

When you are naturally using Google throughout your day and searching for keywords related to your industry, I want you to look at 2 main metrics in Ubersuggest:

  1. Domain score – the higher the number, the more authority a website has.
  2. Links – the more links a website has, usually the higher it will rank.

So, when you are doing searches, look for sites that have a lower domain score and fewer backlinks than the competition, but yet still rank high.

Chances are, they rank high because of things like user experience. Maybe their text is more appealing than the competition, maybe their bounce rate is lower… it could be a wide variety of reasons, but these are the sites you want to look at and analyze.

In the image above, you see that the result from the AMA ranks higher than Hubspot yet they have fewer links and a lower domain score. So, if you were trying to rank for that keyword, you would want to spend more time analyzing AMA because they are doing something right.

Conclusion

User experience is going to be more and more important over time.

If you love a site and everyone else loves that site, Google will eventually want to make sure that the site ranks high.

On the flip side, if everyone feels a website has a terrible user experience, then Google won’t rank that website as high in the long run.

Just like any algorithm update Google does, expect to see multiple revisions over time. As they learn, they adapt to make their algorithms more effective over time.

But what is unique about this update is you have advanced notice, which is nice. So, take the opportunity and fix any usability issues you may have.

What other ways can you make your website more usable?

The post Google’s New Algorithm: Page Experience appeared first on Neil Patel.

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11 Simple WordPress SEO Mistakes to Avoid

SEO is one of the most complex and intricate things website owners have to deal with. It covers so many facets of websites that it is often easy to overlook some very common SEO mistakes and tank your own site ranking.

Today we’re going to look at some of the things we can focus on to ensure that you cover the majority SEO mistakes that are often overlooked. Follow this guide and you will at least fulfil the basic requirements with ease.


1. Host With a Reputable Provider

You might wonder what your web hosting provider has to do with SEO. The fact is that the performance of your hosting server covers one of the most critical elements of SEO – site speed.

Google places a strong emphasis on site loading speed and penalizes websites that are too slow. This means that if your site is slow, the more likely it is that you will lose some ranking in search results.

Although it is true that how you design and code your site will affect loading speed. The first element of the overall site load time that comes into play is Time to First Byte. This is how quickly your web server responds to a request on the web.

The better quality your server is, the faster it will respond. This is why it can be very helpful to use a site like HostScore which actively monitors web hosting servers to share their average response speeds with users.

Simple WordPress SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Caption: HostScore shows tracked data from multiple server locations.

Take for example the HostScore performance graph for InterServer above. This lets you see how fast their shared hosting response speed is over a period of time. It also shows you response speeds from varying places around the globe.

Working with information like this can help you identify the ideal web host for your needs. The faster your web host can respond, the faster your overall website loading speed will be.

To see how fast your current web server response is, use a website performance monitoring tool and pay attention to your TTFB. Some free tools you can use include;


2. Publish Content Regularly

There is a very direct relationship between SEO and content. Search engines like Google rely on algorithms to rank web pages and content is what helps them to decide where your page fits in.

Content offers Google a glimpse into the quality and scope of your website, allowing it to help you reach out to the right audience. As you publish more content on a regular basis, the number of keywords you’ll likely rank for will increase, bringing in more traffic.

The relationship between visitors and Google directing them to your site is symbiotic. If your site has more visitors, then Google will crawl it more frequently to check for updates. This is the key reason why your content base should grow steadily.

It is understandable that not all of us are writers, so if you’re a small operation and looking for content providers with which you can easily manage cost, consider outsourcing. Some good sites you can find freelance writers include;

  • Upwork – Freelancers that charge hourly
  • Fiverr – Great resource for those on a tight budget
  • ClearVoice – Lots of excellent quality talent

3. Produce Quality Content

Information that is current is always preferred so even if you have a page that ranks well, do make sure to review it periodically to ensure that it is top quality. As mentioned in Google quality rating guidelines that sites on the top end of the spectrum are having high-quality content.

If visitors reach your site and realize the content they are seeing is poor or out of date, they might bail quickly to look elsewhere. This kind of information will let search engines know that your page is lacking quality and you might find your search rankings drop for no apparent reason. Your value to readers is a key reason for your rank on search.


4. Optimize Your Content (on-page SEO)

Simple WordPress SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Caption: Schema markup and data structure can help with click through rates

Many new website owners tend to make the mistake of trying to ‘bulk up’ their sites quickly with a high volume of content. Unfortunately, this usually results in lower quality content which might also not be optimized correctly. Weak, poor quality, under optimized content can do your site more harm than good.

Remember again that Google relies on algorithms, so not just volume is important, but also how you structure it. Failing to fine-tune excellent content means that you’re not utilizing it to the fullest potential.

Do Your Keyword Research

Make sure to do your research and identify what keywords you want your articles to rank for. Knowing that, you can keep your content strategically oriented and flowing in the right direction. Include keywords in headers and text where appropriate.

Pay Attention to Image Attributes

Visuals are important to readers as well and hence, they matter to Google. When including visuals, always make sure they are tagged correctly with clear image titles, caption, and attributes so that search engines know you’re using relevant images to support your text.

Make Use of Schema Markup

Schema markup is code on your site that helps identify content segments to search engines to deliver more accurate results to potential visitors. Although this doesn’t directly affect search rankings, having accurate schema markups can increase your click-through rates if readers can see you have what they are looking for.

Some examples of this are star rating systems for reviews or FAQ segments on more comprehensive articles.

Make Sure to Optimize for Mobile

In today’s digital age, Google has recognized that much of its search traffic is now coming from mobile devices such as smartphones and tables. The format of content for these devices needs to be different – more lightweight and designed for smaller displays. This means that site owners now have to optimize content not just for desktops but also for mobile devices.

If you’re using WordPress, there are a huge number of options that are available to help you with content optimization. These include;


5. Aim for the Right Keywords

Keywords are how search engines know what the focus of your content is. Using the right ones in the right places and with the right frequency will help boost the SEO of your content. Choosing the right keywords can be a bit of a challenge. Keywords that should be important to you ideally will match the search terms frequently used by your target audience.

The Internet is made up of many sites, all competing for the same amount of traffic.Popular topics often have a huge amount of competition in keywords, meaning that it can be supremely difficult for new sites to rank for them.

Always try to rank highly for your chosen keywords. It is better to aim for a high ranking on a lower value keyword than rank terribly for a super popular keyword.

This is where keyword research factors in. By doing some background research, you can get an idea of how competitive a keyword is. If it seems to be challenging for you, consider using an alternative instead that you can rank well for.

Some common mistakes that website owners do include;

  • Trying to rank for highly competitive keywords
  • Choosing keywords that are too generic
  • Aiming for keywords which have no real value

My personal preference for keyword research is Ahrefs, but this is a commercial tool and the price may be a bit prohibitive for newer sites just starting out. Some other resources you can use to gauge keyword potential include;

While these may not be the most accurate around, they are good enough to give you an idea of what to try. Remember that SEO is a bit of art mixed with science. Failing one experiment isn’t the end and you can always try again.


6. Remember to do Off-page SEO

On-page SEO is such a broad field itself that many people get engrossed in those details and completely forget about off-page SEO. Remember that your website isn’t a standalone entity, but is assessed as a sum total including of its interactions with other assets on the world wide web.

For example, search engines also take into consideration how well regarded your site or content is and tracks all external content that links to yours. The more links your site and content gets, the better it will be for your ranking.

This means that building backlinks from a variety of sources is very much desired. Naturally, the better the quality of the sites that link to yours, the more weight it carries. Unfortunately, link building isn’t something there is a quick fix for. Some ways you can focus on this area are;

  • Building shareable content such as infographics
  • Offering to write as a guest on other sites
  • Contributing thoughts on relevant forums

Important Note: There are many sites around offering to sell backlink packages. These are often ineffective and in many cases can lead to serious SEO consequences. Use them at your peril!


7. Create and Submit a Sitemap

Sitemaps are literally directories of your website. Using professionally designed sitemap templates help search engines quickly identify what content you have and what emphasis you place in each area of content.

The XML sitemap that search engines need will essentially list every single asset on your site from page to post to media file. You can create and submit it on your own, but if you use WordPress there are many plugins that can do this for you, such as Yoast.


8. Work With the Right WordPress Themes

One of the greatest wonders of WordPress is how highly modular it is. This means that it works with a massive number of themes and plugins – not all of which are great. This makes it very important to choose the right theme since it provides an essential part of your site structure and layout.

Your chosen theme can affect your SEO more than you know, including affecting your site performance, having the right schema markups in place, and more.


9. Leverage on Social Media

Caption: Social Media integrators like Hootsuite can save you lots of time and effort

Another often forgotten element of SEO is social sharing. Having your content shared and interacted with on social media channels such as Facebook can not only increase your traffic organically, but also count towards your SEO. How many times your social posts are shared, clicked, or viewed is a factor.

The best part of all is that establishing many of these social media channels are free. The only problem is that it increases the scope of your work dramatically and can eat up a huge amount of time. This is where social media integrators can come in handy.

Some web-based applications or plugins for WordPress can help you tie your WordPress activities into social media channels for easier management. Take for example Yoast, which can help you pre-format your WordPress posts for social and share articles at the same time you post them.

While this might not be the most optimal and effective way to do it, it does cover one of your bases with little effort on your part. Consider using some of these tools;

  • HootSuite – Integrates your social media channels and lets you schedule posts
  • Sassy Social Share Plugin – Let your visitors do the sharing
  • AddtoAny – Social share and Google analytics tie-in

10. Don’t Forget the Search Console

Simple WordPress SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Caption: Google Search Console is a powerful tool you can use to identify and fix site ranking problems

One hugely powerful tool that can help you fix problems with your search ranking is directly from Google itself and is often overlooked by many. The Google Search Console is a dashboard that gives a detailed account of how your site and pages are handled by google.

From here, you can get a bird’s eye view of your site performance in search rankings and click throughs. Even better is the fact that Google alerts you on performance issues and even lets you know why it considers them a problem and how to fix the issues.


11. Build Branded Anchor Text

Earlier we discussed the importance of link building and part of that is also a focus on how you link your own anchor text. Using branded anchor texts helps you establish your brand authority and improve overall search results for your site.

Branded anchor text is essentially just linking your brand name in your anchor text at strategic locations. One way of doing this is by including it in your site footer. This will establish it as a constant on all the posts and pages your site has.


Conclusion: Simple WordPress SEO Mistakes to Avoid

I’ve built a number of sites over the years, some with greater success than most. Admittedly, a good part of this has been due to the proportion of time I’ve spent on content building and other optimizations.

This leads me to a very good note for new or potential site owners. The value of your site is directly proportional to the amount of effort you put into it. Optimizing for SEO may not be a perfect science (since Google holds secrets closely) but there are established lines you can follow as a start.

Other than that, it is a matter of fine-tuning and painstaking trial and error that will lead you to the top of search results. Remember, there are no shortcuts.

The post 11 Simple WordPress SEO Mistakes to Avoid appeared first on WP Fix It.

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Crisis Adaptation – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BritneyMuller

Businesses all over the globe are struggling with new challenges as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With consumers turning to the internet for the majority of their needs, it’s never been more vital to ensure your online presence is easily found and your business updates clearly communicated.

In this special edition of Whiteboard Friday, Britney Muller outlines a checklist that businesses can use to meet the changing needs of consumers and improve visibility for local searches.

Bonus — We’ve adapted these tips into a free checklist you can download and share:

Get the checklist

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we’re going over crisis adaptation, and I first have to give a huge shout-out to Miriam Ellis, who really helped me package all of this up to deliver to you today.

If you’re not already following Miriam on Twitter, I highly suggest you do. She is a local SEO genius. So let’s dive right in. 

Meet your customers where they are

You often hear this phrase in marketing and in SEO about meeting your customers where they are. This might be important now more than ever because the current landscape, it’s changed so much.

Listen to your customers & understand how their needs have shifted

In order to better meet your customers where they are, you really first have to listen and understand how their needs have shifted, how have their concerns shifted. What are they searching for now? Just really paying attention and listening online to your current target market.

One of the things I also like to suggest is listen to competitive reviews. Keep an eye on competitive reviews being posted on Google and other spaces to get a gauge of how desires and concerns have shifted. 

Know where your audience is

This could have also shifted a bit. Whiteboard Friday’s OG, Rand Fishkin, launched SparkToro that does exactly that. So you can really deep dive into real-time data around what your audience is listening to, who they follow, all sorts of great stuff for you to leverage in today’s climate.

Connect with potential customers in meaningful ways

Now is a great time to reach out and engage with not only potential customers but current customer base and remind people that you are still here and serving them in various ways. This is key.

Partner with relevant businesses

I’ve seen this do really well in some great examples of pivoting, where a fruit delivery company partnered with a bakery to include these free cakes within orders. What a great way to get some visibility for that bakery, and vice versa. I think it’s a great time to leverage industry relationships and help one another out. I absolutely love that tip. 

Communicate all changes and updates

Now the other big, big priority right now is all around communicating changes and updates to your website visitors. So what do you need to cover?

  • Changes to hours is so important right now. It’s essential that you have that information readily visible to anyone visiting your website, if this applies to you. All forms of availability, video, curbside, no touch delivery, have that information available.
  • Any expected delays and product availability challenges. 
  • Sanitation and any adopted safety precautions. 
  • Payment methods accepted. 
  • Any philanthropic efforts that you’re doing to help support people in need.

I’m seeing a lot of these show up in banners and readily available information for people visiting websites. I think it’s great to consider making sure that this information is easy for people to access. 

Immediately communicate this information:

Set up online orders and catalog inventory/services

In addition to these things, set up online orders. At the very least, catalog your online inventory or services for people to let people know what you’re currently offering.

If you’re a struggling business and you don’t want to go into a huge website build, you can absolutely check out and explore things like Squarespace or Shopify. 

I would have never thought I would be suggesting these platforms a year ago (just because they’re not usually great for SEO reasons). But they can do a beautiful job of solving this problem so quickly, and then you can roll out V2 and V3 down the road when you’re ready to make those improvements. But I think just getting businesses off the ground is so important right now. 

Add products for free on Google Shopping

This was such a neat thing that Google offered several weeks ago, and it’s doing great. It allows you to list products for free on Google Shopping, giving you that extra visibility right now. So if you’re an e-commerce brand, definitely check that out. 

Create maps showing delivery radiuses

Miriam had this great idea to create maps showing delivery radiuses, if that applies to you, so really giving someone visiting your site quick information about the areas that you serve. Sometimes when you see the ZIP codes, it’s a little overwhelming.

Routific

Then this was mentioned in a recent GatherUp webinar by Darren Shaw — Routific. So if you are doing local deliveries and they’re getting a little out of hand, Routific is a company that creates delivery routes to make them most efficient for you, which I thought was so cool.

I didn’t even know that existed. 

Double down on SEO and content marketing

I absolutely loved Mike King’s correction: Nathan Turner’s post on this — I think it was a couple weeks ago — where he explains why economic downturns favor the bold. It’s brilliant. There are incredible use cases around this, and we’ll link to that down below. 

Someone who has impressed the heck out of me the last couple of weeks is Kristin Tynski — I hope I’m saying that right — over at Fractl. She is going above and beyond to create content pieces that are not only genius but are link building opportunities, apply to various clients, and use traditional journalism tactics to gather offline, unique data to present online. I highly suggest you pay attention to what Kristin is up to. She is a genius. Kristin, we have to meet sometime. I’m a huge fan of you. Keep up the great work. 

Local & Google My Business

Now let’s dive into some GMB stuff. While this might not apply to you if you’re not a local business, I think there are still things to take away for larger companies that also either have a local listing or just to be aware of.

So here’s an example of Uptown China Restaurant, a local Chinese restaurant. 

Correct any GMB errors

Just correct any GMB errors. Make sure that the current data shown and information is correct and up to date.

Add special business hours to remove warning

Then this is probably my favorite hack of all, from Joy Hawkins, about this warning that we see on all businesses currently, because of the pandemic, that says hours or services may differ. You can get this removed simply by adding special business hours (towards the bottom of your business info). How incredible is that?

Highly suggest you add special business hours. Joy also mentioned in this webinar I keep referring to, that was so good, she suggests using the hours that you are available to take phone calls. Google has never had an issue with that, and it tends to make the most sense. So something to think about.

Respond to reviews

Now is also a great time to invest and be engaged with these reviews. I think it’s one of the most overlooked PR and marketing tactics available, where customers exploring your brand, exploring your location want to know that (a) you care and that (b) you’re going to engage with a customer and that you have a timely response. 

Confirm or reject any new Google My Business prompts

We’re going to continue to see new GMB things roll out (these changes rolled out right before posting this WBF). Senior hours available were added to various businesses. No-contact delivery. These things will always be changing. 

I’s important to frequently keep an eye on any new Google My Business options that you can activate or clarify (perhaps put a reminder in your calendar). Google loves that, and it also helps fill out your listing better.

Update menu and product listings

What a great time to take some good new photos. Update your menu items. I wish Uptown China Restaurant did this. They can add those things to make their GMB listing more robust and entice interested individuals.

Use Posts

Posts have always been really, really great for Google My Business listings because they give you a big photo. +They last for around 14 days. It’s very prevalent when you see it. 

Now, Google has also been offering COVID-19 posts!

There isn’t an option to add an image with the COVID-19 posts. It’s text only, but it lasts longer and it’s more prominent than a regular post. So it will show up higher in your Google My Business listing, and we’ve also seen it pop up in the organic area of SERPs. You have control over the messaging.

Use Product Posts

So a shout-out to Darren Shaw, who noticed this.

People are getting really savvy with product posts, which again it would show up in your Google My Business listing with a big photo and a description. What he’s seen people do is have a photo of a car with text on it that says “No-Touch Delivery” or different service options as the product.

Google is currently letting that slide. I don’t know if that will last forever. But it’s an interesting thing to explore if you really want that visibility (if someone is struggling with their business right now), and you can kind of get that to pop up on the SERPs. 

Enable text messaging

I’ve heard from so many SEOs and businesses that GMB text messaging has continued to go up and to the right during the pandemic, and it makes sense.

People want to quickly get information from businesses. You can create a welcome message. So I highly suggest exploring this if that’s available to you. 

Update images

Again, I think I’ve said this like three times, but update images. It’s a great time to do that, and it can really help make your stuff pop. 

Share these tips with businesses in need!

Lastly, don’t forget to share these tips with businesses.

Understand that there are a lot of people in need right now, and if there’s anything that we can do to help, by all means let’s make all of that stuff happen. The fact is that you’re not alone. So whether you’re doing this work on behalf of a client, or you yourself or family or friends are really struggling with a business right now, there are different support groups and options as far as financial support.

We’ve created a free PDF checklist of all this information that you can download and share with any marketers, clients, or businesses in need:

Download the free checklist

I know we at Moz are going to be putting everything we have into helping you and others during this time, and so I created a form at the bottom of this post where you can fill in some information and let us know if there are specific problems that we could help with. We’re in this together.

We want to help you all as much as we can. I will be taking that very seriously and spending lots of time on replying or creating material to help individuals struggling. So please fill that out. Also, feel free to leave comments and suggestions in the comments. I think some of the best, most valuable takeaways sometimes happen in the comments where you’re either clarifying something that I said or adding something really great. I would really appreciate that. Just want to get all the good information out there so that we can help everyone out. I really appreciate you taking the time to watch this edition of Whiteboard Friday, and I will see you all again soon. Thanks.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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