SEO is the process of improving your website to boost its search engine ranking for specific industry keywords to improve the quality and quantity of organic / unpaid traffic. Of course everyone wants to be on page the first page of Google above any of their competitors. But how do you actually get there? Continue reading to find out!
Even if you are ranked on the first page for one month, it does not mean that you will always be there if your keywords have any amount of competition. Google is constantly refining its algorithm to yield more meaningful search results so SEO needs to maintained constantly.
We were inspired to write this post because our rankings for web design terms have been stellar lately. We have summarized some key SEO tips that have helped us rank on the first page of Google for:
- San Francisco web development
- Web development San Francisco
- Web Design San Francisco
- San Francisco web design
- San Francisco Web Designer
- San Francisco Website Designer
Since all of these keywords are super competitive and ranking on the first page is nothing short of miraculous, this alone should convince you to read more and link to our post.
Create a Video
According to Forrester Research, visitors are 53 times more likely to interact with your website if it has a video. Video makes people linger longer on your webpage to watch it and thus increases the likelihood that they will click on a call-to-action afterwards. This is why Google will favor websites with unique and relevant video over other types of content and media.
Here are some simple ways to optimize your video for SEO to increase your homepage ranking:
- Use YouTube as Vimeo videos do not always load
- Upload a strong thumbnail to increase the clickthrough rate
- Insert a video transcript
- Create an interesting title and description without keyword stuffing
- Insert “?rel=0” to remove other videos at the end
- Ensure that the rest of your homepage is relevant to the video
- Do not embed the video in multiple places
- Ensure that the rest of your site is optimized for SEO with the tips below
RankBrain is a machine-learning algorithm that helps provide more relevant search results by understanding the intent of the query with artificial intelligence. While Google will never reveal how to optimize for RankBrain, fast loading times, and naturally incorporating keywords into useful, engaging content are still great ways to ensure that your website ranks well.
Longer Phrases for Voice Search
Due to the growing popularity of virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant, the majority of households will use voice search technology. Because it is easier to speak longer, more natural-sounding phrases than type them, you may want to consider this when optimizing your website content. Although people may type “San Francisco web design” they may voice search “Best Web Design Agencies in San Francisco.”
By 2025, over three quarters of the world will just use their mobiles to search which is why Google is considering how your website look on mobile rather than your website on laptops with mobile-first indexing. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check your website. If your website is not mobile-friendly, now is the time to redesign it so that it is. Forcing an old website to be mobile-friendly by adjusting it with CSS is just a waste of money as you really need to design your website with mobile in mind from the beginning to ensure the best user experience.
To ensure that Google is properly indexing your entire website, you have to check that you are not disallowing anything in your robots.txt. It is also important to note that Google will not crawl content requiring interactions. If you have infinite scrolling, be sure to support paginated loading.
The EAT Principle
High-quality content is the key to ranking success but what does that mean exactly? The answer is content that fulfills the EAT principle: expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. To write useful content, you need to create buyer personas to determine what kind content your target market values. Second, determine your prospects’ intentions and third use this research to create the content in the preferred format. If you are targeting millennials, try videos.
Always create content with the EAT principle in mind. Link to more reputable sources like education, government or high domain authority websites to support facts and statistics.
The length of your content can be a tricky thing as people’s attention spans while surfing the internet are like seriously short like toddlers. However, Google argues that if your content is interesting and engaging enough, pages with over 2,000 words will get 3-4 times more shares and 3.5 times more backlinks than articles under 1,000 words. To make these longer posts more digestible and scannable, we recommend breaking them up with images, subheadings and bulleted lists.
Google is constantly trying to provide more precise answers by providing answers to queries with direct excerpts from webpages so people do not have to click through to view them. Featured snippets are known as zero-click searches which answer the query without having to click further.
Different types of snippets include text, video, list and table. The good news is that you do not have to have special HTML markup to get a featured snippet as Google decides for you. Being featured in a featured snippet is a tremendous achievement because it means that Google has chosen your content over millions of other webpages which significantly boosts your website’s credibility even though they do not increase direct traffic. The best part is that featured snippets are listed above all PPC ads saving you thousands of dollars if you can write the best answers to what your target market is Googling.
Semantically Related Keywords
Think of semantically related words as synonyms or words that mean similar things. Just like you can call a bicycle, a two-wheeler or a bike, using semantically related terms makes your content sound less redundant and more well-written. Google also looks for related words in your content that should be there if you were talking about a particular topic. For instance, if you were writing about bicycles, you might include words like pedals, gears, chains, etc.. not just thrown in anywhere but organized in a meaningful way.
Local Search Listings
Although the Internet is global, Google has been placing more importance on local businesses because most people are just hunting for a local restaurant or pet groomer. Local listings are another form of zero-click searches because they are listed before anything else. Verify your business on Google My Business to get listed locally.
Leverage Data Science & Analytics
Data science and Google Analytics help you make better web design decisions by:
- Optimizing webpages to meet the needs of your target audience to make the most impact
- Understanding your customers’ motivations and pain points to identify more referral sources
- Verifying loading time, indexing, bounce rate, 404 errors, and redirects
- Analyzing your most popular landing and exit pages
- Identifying sources of unusual traffic
- Identifying potential spam sites which will reduce your EAT credibility.
Wrapping it All Up
Websites that rank for any remotely competitive terms on Google’s first page are at least 2+ years old so there is no shortcut to good SEO. In fact only 5.7% of all newly published pages will get to Google Top 10 in their first year. Contact our San Francisco and San Jose SEO team if you need help driving more relevant, quality traffic to your website with SEO.