It doesn’t matter what type of business you operate; you pretty much need a website in 2020. It is true that some companies still thrive without a website, particularly construction contractors, but those that do maintain an online presence will eventually and inevitably overtake their competition in workload and relevance. The internet is a fast-paced place—everything is in a constant state of flux, with continuous shifts in search engine algorithms and advancing technology. So, to stay on top, you also need to focus on your search engine optimization (SEO).
Why use SEO? SEO helps increase your visibility on the internet—a well-optimized website provides more growth opportunities and more customers. Since the exponential growth of search engines, all SEO follows similar patterns, regardless of location. Even a minimal understanding will improve your site’s click-through rate, dwell time, and other essential factors—all of which bolster your online presence.
This list of tips will help strengthen your SEO skills for 2020. Overall, SEO is a pretty complicated process. But, despite its sheer depth, there are plenty of useful ways to use SEO to spruce up your website by yourself!
1. Use smaller images
With the surge of technological advancement, we’re all used to having everything delivered to us with the snap of a finger. This remains true with the internet—nearly 40% of people will completely abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. A sluggish website is enough to lose potential clients and hurt your business.
The single most common diagnosis of a slow-loading website is the use of large image sizes. HD-quality images are essential for content, but they’re often quite large and cumbersome, which can have a significant impact on loading times. So, what can you do? You need to save them in the right format and use the right compression tools. This article does a great job explaining how to reduce your image sizes without sacrificing image quality!
2. Rich snippets
If you Google a question, the top result will now often be presented in a box called a “rich snippet.” Featured rich snippets are incredibly useful for websites, as they account for 55% of all clicks on Google.
Snippets consist of a small paragraph of text with information or answers most relevant to your search. They’re a fantastic way to both advertise your site’s valuable information and increase your number of visitors. A great thing about them is that you don’t have to rank in the first position either (position 0). Being around the top-five in rankings is enough for Google to grab content from your site for a snippet.
Step one of setting up a successful snippet is identifying what keyword(s) your site is already ranking in the top-five for. After you have a list of crucial keywords, you need to provide clear and concise answers to commonly asked questions in your relevant niche. There is no way to request or ensure Google will use your content for a snippet, but they can display anything from product review stars to helpful information bits. Rich snippets do not increase your website’s overall rankings, but if you can land one or a few, they will increase the number of visitors to your site.
A backlink is simply when a webpage links to any other page on the net. Backlinking is an incredibly common SEO practice with online businesses, especially since having more backlinks will effectively boost your rankings.
The problematic aspect of backlinking is determining what opportunities you may be missing. For one, it’s not typically possible to tell why a particular webpage is linking to another site or competitor. Is it merely a citation for an article? Do the website owners know each other? Or, do they just prefer your competitor’s site over yours? It’s impossible to tell for the most part, but despite the purpose, mutual backlinking helps both sites climb the search rankings.
Tracking down backlinks is nearly a full-time job by itself, so we recommend using Ahrefs, Link Intersect tool. It’s a fast and thorough backlinking tool that’s excellent at identifying what sites are linking to your competitors and finding potential backlink opportunities.
4. Google My Business
A GMB is an excellent way to highlight the strengths and best features of your business to potential customers, from your hours of operation and address to service or product prices and reviews. Google launched GMBs to allow business owners the opportunity to influence what information pops up when someone searches for their business. The best GMBs offer a compact summation of everything a customer could possibly need to know about your business and what it has to offer. If you have a website for your business and don’t already have one, you should set up a Google My Business (GMB)—it’s free to use and increases your online visibility.
5. Improve user experience (UX)
Websites have come quite a long way since the early days of HTML (the early 2000s) when a mostly lawless internet landscape birthed a mountain of poorly optimized website designs. Having a polished, flexible, and easy to navigate website in 2020 is essential.
Smartphone searches make up a considerable percentage of internet searches these days, hovering around 88%. Smartphones follow a different set of rules for a website’s layout, accounting for the extreme difference in size compared to a regular computer monitor. Everyone should have a mobile-friendly design for their website alongside their standard site. Remember to account for as many different resolutions and phone types as possible without breaking your site.
We mentioned loading speed earlier, but we’re going to repeat it simply because it’s so important: a fast loading website is your top priority for SEO. Though it’s less common, a poorly optimized or outdated website can undoubtedly slow the loading speed to a crawl. Loading speeds affect everything about your site, from CTR to overall rankings.
To conclude, make sure your website loads quickly and is easy to navigate with a flexible mobile design.
6. Optimize “near me” searches
A “near me” search is how Google finds businesses near your immediate location. For instance, if you’re looking for Milwaukee SEO in your city (and allow Google to know your location), if you search “best Milwaukee SEO agency near me,” Google will serve up a handy list of businesses matching that description within a reasonable distance from your location. The search will return reviews, directory listings (such as Yelp), a GMB if the company has one, and other general information. These searches are gaining in popularity, so it’s essential to make sure your business appears if someone uses a “near me” search for something you offer.
But how do you optimize your site for a “near me” search? It’s not like you can slap a “near me” behind every service you offer, it would look pretty odd. The good thing is that Google automatically translates those searches if you specify what cities you offer your goods or services. So, if you’re running a small business in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, adding a few keywords about what locations you serve in a service page is enough for Google to return your business in a “near me” search.
7. Improve dwell time
Dwell time is precisely what it sounds like—the time someone is willing to spend on your website, particularly your homepage. A high bounce rate, or visitors who don’t dwell on your page, has a negative impact on your rankings. Many consumers now prefer to view content through brief videos of gifs, so Google will rank a site that has a full breadth of content over one that doesn’t. Expanding your site to include both articles and videos is a great way to improve dwell time.
What’s the best way to get started on videos for your site? A significant first step is to take some of your old content and turn it into videos. This is easier said than done, however, as making videos is not easy. You also need to make sure the videos have high-quality content (don’t let them play automatically either). Once you start spicing up your content, Google will eventually favor your site over similar sites that only offer one form of content.
8. Expand your content & improve SERP rankings with YouTube videos
This SEO tip is similar to our last entry on dwell time, only with YouTube videos. If you’re already ranking well with a few specific keywords, it may be time to start creating YouTube videos with your regular content! Google treats embedded videos and YouTube videos a bit differently, so having a YouTube channel can improve your site rankings in a slightly different way.
With specific searches, Google will provide YouTube videos at the top or somewhere in the mix. This is because, as mentioned previously, Google favors websites that offer a combination of different content formats, including embedded videos, gifs, and YouTube videos.
YouTube videos have their own requirements when it comes to SEO, so make sure your YouTube video is optimized as well!
SEO Tips From Concepts by Design
These tips are barely scratching the surface of what you can do with SEO. Google and other search engines use complicated algorithms than study search patterns, demographics, and more to determine what to display. This information is mostly available online, but it’s scattered across the vast expanse of the web. Concepts by Design is here to help centralize all the relevant SEO and marketing information for your business you could possibly need. We’re a Wisconsin based blog that specializes in everything related to SEO tips, website design and maintenance, AI, lead generation, tech, and marketing. Check back often for all the latest and greatest information on SEO!