21 SEO Tips From The Experts
There’s no denying that the world of search engine optimisation is ever-changing. Gone are the days of simply stuffing your content with keywords, SEO is a process that needs continuous care and attention.
With the constant worry about Google’s algorithms and a plethora of tools to your disposal, it’s easy to become lost and confused in this saturated industry. That’s why everyone loves tips – handy snippets of knowledge designed to help people of all abilities in their efforts to implement more effective SEO techniques.
So rather than sitting and tearing your hair out, take 10 minutes of your time to look through these 21 top actionable SEO tips from the experts themselves, taken from a brilliant event at BrightonSEO. Let’s get started.
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#1: Create data from data
A great way of creating share-worthy content is to compile data from many sources into one brand new source. Say you want to write an article on the best films of 2015. You could make a start by finding 10 sources that have films and film reviews. You can use the ratings from different sites to create a new data set, then turn these new findings into a slideshow or infographic – something attractive that you can share. Make sure to reference your original sources – this is a great way to bring home some top links. And there you have it, a fantastic piece of original content using unique data. Genius.
#2: Combine two old ideas to make a new one
When thinking up fresh content, it’s often a great plan to revisit old ideas to create a new one. After all, these ideas were a success – so rehash and merge them with other great ideas to find a different perspective on the matter and curate something special. One brilliant, hands-on way to do this is to use an ideas wall. Take your reference material, print it out and lay it out on a big wall in your workspace. Colour up all of the different groups and make use of pins and string to link different pieces of research together, helping you to create new, unique ideas. This is a great method when it comes to content generation.
#3: Learn to optimise for more than just your own site
Don’t have tunnel vision. Study your consumer purchase models and learn to optimise for more than your own domain. It’s easy to look at our own SEO efforts from a closed-in perspective, but to perform effectively we must think much bigger than that. Learning to optimise for other websites will help you refine your skills and make your workings much more effective going forward. Also, if you get the opportunity to partner with a site that ranks around you, or even above you, grab onto it for some unique off-page SEO openings.
Matt Roberts, LinkDex
#4: Open up your XML sitemaps in Excel
Instead of trying to handle a large, convoluted sitemap, open up your XML sitemaps using Excel. All you need to do is paste in the URL and then you can sort and group the map, creating a pivot table and doing all your manipulations. You can also colour-code your sitemaps this way, helping to really visualise them and get to grips with the data. This is great if you’re someone who works better with all the information laid out in front of you.
#5: Don’t create content just for the sake of it
These days, everyone seems to be trying to create content just for the sake of it, in a vain attempt to boost their SEO efforts. This isn’t the way to go. Your content should be fresh, interesting and worthy of your target audience. Think about it – who do you want to visit your page? Create something that they would enjoy. You want people to spend time on your site, so don’t just churn out words for words’ sake. Add context to your content, and don’t be afraid to commentate on your sector or industry. Carry on in this way and people may start looking to you as a key voice in your industry, which can only be a good thing.
#6: Optimise URLs with high traffic keywords for a quick boost
Here’s a tip that might help you land a quick rankings boost, and it’s a great trick if you have a new client you want to prove yourself to. Export recent stats to see where your website is ranking. Combine these links into one file and then do a deduplication of URLs and you will end up with a list of keywords, with every keyword pointing to a unique URL. Take a look through the list and optimise any pages with high-traffic keywords. This should give the chosen pages a visible surge in rankings. Simple, eh?
#7: Be creative with your follow ups
So you’ve sent out some great content, and now you need to chase it up. Follow ups are a great way to see really strong results – sometimes even better than from the first round of outreach. However, it’s easy to get it wrong. Don’t just send across a forwarded message that reads “Did you get the chance to see my email?” These type of follow ups are all too common in many inboxes, and are simply tired and unoriginal. Furthermore, don’t send more than one follow up email – no one wants to be hassled. Forward your original email but play with the title, perhaps take a different angle on your original attempt. Your follow up email is a great chance to engage, so don’t blow it.
#8: Use Facebook Custom Audiences to create a remarketing channel
This is a great way for companies to create a targeted remarketing channel for sales, allowing them to pinpoint a specific audience to market to. Firstly, take all the emails of people who have ever bought from you that haven’t bought from you in the past year. Upload this data into Facebook as a customer audience, and Facebook will look for people who have signed up to Facebook with the same email. The resulting market offers you a very warm customer audience. The second thing you can do is then create a look-alike audience of this first market. Facebook will look at the people you upload and then extrapolate that, growing your audience for you.
#9: Step into someone else’s shoes
This one’s more about team-building. Try to step away from your own role for a moment and try doing the jobs of people you work closely with. Stepping into their positions will help you understand the frustrations they go through and help you see how they work, so that you can work more closely together. This also works if you’re an agency; trying your hand at your client’s job will help you understand the hang-ups they have with agencies, helping you work alongside them better.
#10: Use analytics to understand intentions
When using analytics, it’s not all about measuring success. It’s vital that you use analytics understand the intentions of your site’s visitors. Use analytic tools to match up intentions via keywords to what people have interacted with on your site. Perhaps they’ve used a particular keyword to find your site, viewed a product, maybe even added it to their basket but then in the end abandoned it. Measuring these interactions is just as important as tracking successful ones. Find out what keyword they used to find your site and figure out if there’s a negative pattern.
#11: Enlist a usability service
In a world where content is becoming more and more important, it’s vital to ensure that you’re producing interesting, readable pieces. If you’re unsure, enlist the help of a cheap usability service. We recommend a tool called Feedback Army. This is a tool traditionally made for designers, but it can be used to quickly test concepts for your ideas. For a small fee you can submit your ideas and the people at Feedback Army will tell you if they’re good or not. Alternatively search for “usability testing” in Google to find a service to suit your needs and budget.
#12: Crawl URLs before optimising them
Completing effective on-page optimisation isn’t a two-minute process, so you don’t want to be wasting precious time. There’s no point meticulously optimizing a page when search engines have no idea that page exists – so make sure you crawl all pages before you optimise them. In this game, it’s all about making things simple for yourself. Furthermore, if a page hasn’t been crawled recently it won’t rank well, so you’re doing yourself a massive favour all round.
#13: Understand that links don’t come for free
A lot of people will talk about how you can gain ‘free’ links through PR, content creation or infographics. However, when you add up the time spent on all these activities you realise that these links are not coming for free at all. You might not be paying a monetary fee for these links but you are putting time and effort into developing and designing these pieces of content, so there’s still a transaction taking place. Add in outreach to this process and you have a long and lengthy process behind each and every link you chase. It’s important to understand the cost of this process versus the benefit you’re gaining.
#14: Take a search engine’s view of your categories
The next piece of advice is to take a search engine’s view of your categories by using Google Webmaster Tools. Submitting the categories of your site as sites in Webmaster Tools will give you a really, really narrow view of how Google is actually looking at one section in isolation. You can see the queries for that category, all the associated keywords in content keywords and start to really work at that sort of granular level. This is particularly useful for use on larger websites.
#15: Feature in the right local directories
You’ve probably heard about the rise of Google Pigeon – a localisation algorithm that brings up very different search results depending where you have searched from. Google Pigeon is starting to play more and more of a part in the UK, and you’ll soon realise that you need a very small number of links or citations to rank really highly in localised organic results. In some cases you don’t need to build links, you simply need to be listed in the right local directories to get into localised organic results. This is a huge opportunity for local SEO.
#16: Get your details right
Whilst on the subject of local SEO, here’s a tip that might sound very simple but many people slip up on. If you find that you’re getting a duplicate listing in Google, chances are that you have conflicting personal information on different listing sites. To rectify this, ensure that your business name, address and phone number are correct and consistent across all your sites and any directories you may feature in. Don’t add new listings to listing sites until you fix any existing ones. This is especially crucial if you’ve recently moved address or rebranded, as there is likely to be a lot of outdated listings that need fixing.
David Whatley, MiShop.Local
#17: Know what the search engines are planning
When it comes to online marketing, one worry that hangs over us all is the fact that Google could drop an algorithm update at any time. You can try and give yourself a head start in regards to this by keeping up to date with what the search engines are building and researching. You can do this by monitoring any patents and papers to keep one eye on anything that’s in development. It’s likely that news will surface about something to be included in Google’s next algorithms before they go live, so being well read really can give you an advantage.
#18: Make use of tools such as Versionista or WebChange
A great way to keep updated with any changes to Google is to use a tool such as Versionista or WebChange, allowing you to track not only any content changes on a page, but also changes to that page’s code. Set the tool up to track a Google recommendation page and you’ll be alerted when anything is updated. These tools are also useful to monitor your competitors, which can be useful if they were to make a markup – you can see when they make this change and the effect it has on their rankings, then act accordingly with your own site.
#19: Use original data
When creating data-driven content such as infographics, you can add further value to your creation by using original data rather than data that already exists. You can create your own data set by hiring a survey company that can get you over 2,000 respondents, giving you unique information. What’s more, if your survey gets over 2,000 respondents your infographic in turn becomes newspaper worthy. So in addition to getting that content out on social networks, you may be able to get it into newspapers and other news channels, helping widen your reach.
#20: Fix URL parameters for more accurate reporting
This tip is applicable to everyone in the industry. Go into Google Analytics, have a look at the content URLs that appear in the Behavior area and fix them. Do this by going into settings and getting rid of any parameters that aren’t necessary, looking at filters to try and group content together. You can then go one step further and look at your content grouping. Take areas of the site, particularly areas that you’ve optimized and segment those out as particular content groups. Then, when it comes to showing whether you’ve done a good job or not it becomes a lot easier. You can just take a content group with all the URLs and see immediately your impact.
#21: Think beyond the top 10
Sure, when it comes to SEO there’s no denying that all of us are hunting for those positions on page one. However, it’s important not to become too narrow-minded. We still need to think beyond the top 10, as studies show that people still scroll below the fold and onto pages two and three. Think about performing on-page optimisation for pages ranked outside the top 10, making sure to fine-tune your page titles and meta-descriptions, helping to elevate traffic and user-experience for these pages. SEO is more than just chasing positions.
If you’re serious about SEO, it won’t hurt to take some time to work through this fantastic list. These tips are tried and tested, so give them a shot and see the results for yourselves. Don’t be shy, share your findings in the comments below.
The original video source behind this article was created by Silicone Beach Training. You can watch the video below.