SEO is not something you add to your website later, but something you work right into the designing process of the website way before you even think about bringing it up.
In your digital landscape, think of your website as the centre of it all. That’s the place where all the resulting effects of your digital effort converge.
One thing people don’t get right is that search engines don’t actually look at your website the same way you do. As far as web crawlers go, your site’s aesthetics, typography, and other trivialities we tend to be so hung up on don’t mean a thing.
Search engines have a special preference for texts in HTML format. Meaning, if you choose to publish your content in a non-text format, including images, java applets, and flash files, there’s a fair chance the text will either be ignored or devalued by Google crawlers.
That’s the case even with the impressive degree of progress made in crawling technology.
That means, as a web owner concerned about your SEO ranking, it’s always wise to ensure that all your content is both published and displayed in HTML text.
It’s to be however noted that there exists a number of formatting methods that can come in handy to those looking to achieve greater visual displays despite limiting their texts to HTML formatting.
Here are a few of them:
Alt-texts for images
Web crawlers don’t index images. But you can circumvent the limitation by assigning an alt text to your image whether it’s in gif, png, or jpg format.
For what’s worth, an alt text is a short text description of what your image is all about, and as long as it’s made in HTML format, search engines will recognise it and index it accordingly.
Search Boxes with Crawlable links
Use navigational elements made with search engine-friendly codes on the search boxes you have on-site. This will make them crawlable to be indexed by the said search engines.
Add texts to Flash and Java Plugins
You can supplement the flash and java plugins you have on board with plain on-page text.
Transcribe Video and Audio Files
If you’re planning on posting text and audio files, take some time to transcribe the content therein in and post it alongside them for search engines to crawl.
Viewing Your Site with The Same Lens as Search Engines
One good thing about being a web owner at this time and age is that you have tools aplenty to help you tackle even the most technical aspects of your blog. You don’t have to rely on your gut or to keep doing things on a humble.
With content indexing, you can double-check the content on your site using different tools to trace down the root of your problem. Examples of tools you can use include SEO-browser.com, the MoZBar, and Google Cache.
All you have to do is run your page in the tools provided to see which elements of your web page are visible to search engines. All elements seen through the tool are indexable, otherwise, you’re better off revising them for search engine friendliness.
Your website architecture is the technical jargon for its organisational structure. It’s the layout idea your designer had in mind while working on your site or theme.
The most common architectural design in web designing is the Pyramid structure.
Top Features of the Pyramid Structure:
- The pyramid structure features the home page at the top. Usually, this is the most important page of your website and it’s the first page people see upon opening your website.
- Coming next in the hierarchy list are your other pages, of which your about us and contact us pages happen to be part. Pages can also be worked with categories, which basically determines where your posts go.
- Third on the hierarchical list is your sub-categories. Sub-categories basically fit into one of the listed categories. They can therefore be assigned to specific pages depending on the categories they happen to fall into.
- By understanding your website hierarchy you’ll have an easier time organising your website by simply prioritising on the most important pages. For the pyramid structure, you get to work more on the visibility of your homepage and calibrate accordingly as you work your way down the hierarchy.
Your Site’s Hierarchy and SEO
To begin with, a well organised site allows for an easier navigation. And since Google has user experience as one of the metrics it uses to determine one’s ranking in the SERPs, then you should clearly get the gist of why this is so important to a web owner concerned about their SEO score.
A bad site structure could also mean a higher bounce rate. Users land on your site but since they cannot navigate through the complexities of your website, they simply backtrack or move on to the next available option.
A good web structure also makes it possible for Google to crawl your content. If search engines can understand the structure, starting from the home page all the way to categories and subcategories, it automatically becomes easier for them to figure out what a particular piece of content or post is all about.
Google bots can tell how pages relate to each other provided the layout is all clear to them.
Your Guide to Building an Intuitive Site Structure
Create a Plan
This is basically about coming with a visual structure of how you intent the site to be.
The plan you come up with can be more complex with an increase in the number of pages.
It’s important that you create the plan with an aim of keeping everything simple and straightforward. Don’t let the hierarchy drop to more than three levels or users be more than three clicks away from any of the pages included.
Define Your Main Categories
Take time to think about the main categories you intend to use. The categories you choose should clearly define what your pages and products are all about. They should also be intuitive to any person coming to your site, intuitively directing them on where to click to find relevant content.
Define Relevant Sub-categories
Your website can do without subcategories, but if it clearly needs one, then there’s a way to go about it when you are going about designing a website.
The best way to come up with a list of subcategories is to think with the mind of a user who just landed on your website and happens to be going around clicking on every single one of the pages and categories you have on-site.
Make the visitor get specific enough as to what they’re looking for under each category. Those should be the categories you end up with by the end of it all.
Work On minimising links between Pages
With a site hierarchy, you can always create a menu to minimise on the number of clicks one has to make to access the key parts of your website.
Find a way to make the menu show up on every page and post, and people will have no trouble navigating to any section of your website they see fit.
Top Content Marketing Strategies to Boost Site SEO
The above strategies will promote your site SEO, but you need to focus more on content marketing to get even better results. Apart from the recent Core Web Vitals algorithm update, the other algorithm updates concentrated more on content.
Here are top content marketing strategies to tremendously boost your site SEO without breaking the bank.
Understand Your Audience Needs
One of the common mistakes websites make is creating great content that does not resonate with the audience’s needs. Like digital marketing campaigns, you need to understand your audience to know which topics to write.
Today, content marketing demands that you know more than just your targeted website traffic demographic. The graphics, articles, and blog posts you publish should engage with the audience. Take time to learn what the customers want, their interests, and expectations when they land on your website.
All this information will enable you to create content that provides real solutions to the audience instead of just ranking highly in SERPs. Note that the high ranking may soon be overturned if Google bots realise that most people who land on your website soon leave before reading the content. A high bounce rate is a sign of poor user experience.
Create Content for YOUR Audience
This tip is closely related to the first one but slightly different. When creating content, you should refrain from writing content for search engines. Yes, your goal is to rank highly, but what’s the point of spending thousands of dollars in copy and getting no conversions.
Do extensive research to know topics that potential clients would be willing to read. Know what the audience prefers is by checking the topics covered in the top SERP results. Buzzsumo can also give you a hint of the ideal topics to cover in your articles and blog posts.
Competitor Content Analysis
First, 77% and 48% of B2C and B2B marketers use content marketing to generate sales. You are not the only business in your industry that uses content to popularise your brand and what it offers to the target customers.
As a result, competition is one of the stumbling blocks you have to deal with in your quest to make your website SEO friendly. That said, it’s OK to check out which kind of content the competitors are putting out there to devise intelligent ways of getting ahead of them.
Check out the hacks and design of their content strategies and develop better ones to net some of their traffic. For instance, check the article format, topics discussed, and the response from their readers. The blog comment sections are always packed with ideas on new topics, market insights, and what should be included in the content.
Have a Unique Angle
The internet is already filled with millions of blog posts. Readers are spoilt of choice on which article to read. Being different will set you apart from the rest and help your brand grow despite the cut-throat competition for a top spot in search engine results pages.
Sure, you may discuss a topic that your competitor recently wrote about, but your writing style and tone will make all the difference. Desist from replicating existing posts and making minor adjustments thinking that the readers won’t know the spun content.
Avoid being part of the echo chamber by ensuring that your content is interesting. One hack that works like a charm is optimising content for voice search. A majority of the readers use their smartphones to search for information on Google. Therefore, be different by including short-term keywords in your content and long-tail keywords that are question-based.
Google will notice the increased traffic to the post and high engagement levels and reward you with a better ranking. Using a conversational tone instead of an encyclopaedic writing style will make your content more relatable, and the audience will likely share it on social media platforms.
Set Realistic & Measurable Goals
Not to sound like a broken record, but some content marketers don’t have a set of goals that they want to achieve from a campaign. You should have a concise list of goals that you want to achieve within a given timeframe.
For example, if you recently started posting blogs, you should set a goal to increase traffic to high-value pages such as the homepage and service pages.
The goal can also be to build an emailing list or increase the number of keywords the site ranks for by optimising every blog with multiple keywords. Be wary of keyword cannibalisation, though, especially if you have thousands of blog posts with too similar keywords.
Here are five tips on how to solve keyword cannibalisation.
- Consider merging similar content
- Delete the affected blog posts
- Change internal linking
- Remove some of the keywords from the articles
- Change inbound link requests
Here are examples of content marketing goals for inspiration to create your list.
- Increase organic site traffic
- Attract more first-time web visitors
- Attract qualified leads
- Increase sign-up to your email list
- Get more shares on Facebook and Twitter
- Increase site conversion rate
As you progress, carry out split tests to know which content resonates best with the audience. If infographics result in the highest engagement, focus on creating more quality infographics on relevant topics. Include keywords in the infographic title and metadata to boost its visibility in SERPs.
Every Copy Should Have a Purpose
Most of the content you create will be either entertaining or valuable/informative. Quick reminder, one of the goals of creating content is to help the reader solve a problem using your product or service.
Therefore, it’s imperative to ensure that every content you create has a purpose. When evaluating plausible blog post topics, ask yourself if a topic will help the reader resolve an issue they are currently facing. If not, is the idea interesting or funny?
If your answer to both questions is NO, you are better off not spending time writing about the topic. If the answer is YES, go ahead and research to find interesting and accurate facts about the topic. Create a compelling title to draw the target reader’s attention.
The main title, SEO title, and meta description should have the target keyword to increase the post’s discoverability and visibility in SERPs.
Leverage the PBC Formula
The introduction is one of the essential parts of blog posts. It draws the reader’s attention and helps them decide whether the post is valuable and worthwhile to the reader. Make sure every post has a compelling intro with statistics and uses the right writing style.
The PBC formula has in the past worked magic for websites struggling to engage with the target audience. Below is a snippet on how to apply the PBC formula in blog posts.
The first section is the Preview, and its role is to tell the reader what the article is about.
The second section is Benefits, and it informs the reader how they will benefit from the article.
The third section is the Call-to-Action and is meant to direct the reader the take the desired action.
One of the main reasons this strategy is so effective in generating engagement is that it grasps the reader’s attention from the start then walks them through the topic before introducing the CTA.
Create and Publish Power Posts
Power posts cover topics or industry trends that are relatable to millions of readers. Research shows that 50% of social media post shares are of 1.3% of articles published online. The 1.3% comprises power posts or high-performing articles packed with valuable information.
The high relevance of the posts to the readers prompts them to share them on Facebook and other social media platforms. Unfortunately, there is no formula for creating power posts, but mastering writing them will increase your brand visibility and awareness online.
An example of a power post is an article published by Backlinko on “How to Write a Blog Post: The Definite Guide” According to the website, it took them 20 hours to write the content, 15 hours creating visuals, 10 hours preparing screenshots, and 5 hours coding and publishing the content on the page.
The lesson here is that you have to invest time and resources to create power posts. Every element added to the article must resonate with the primary topic to effectively deliver the message and lure readers into sharing it.
Cover Trending Topics
Content marketing is not for the faint-hearted. There is a lot of competition for viewership on a majority of the topics. Niche-specific keywords such as “SEO site checkup” only record 90 searches per month.
Surprisingly, its difficulty level, according to Ahrefs, is 86!
This means that it’s challenging to rank a blog post for that keyword due to the huge competition for it online.
That’s the same case for most niche keywords that millions of websites target. Realising after publishing that there are thousands of other articles optimised with the same keyword is annoying and demoralising, to say the least.
The ideal solution to this problem is by discussing trending topics that are not super competitive but relevant to your niche. Note that other content marketers may soon get wind of the topic and start writing about it, so you need to act fast.
How to find trending topics? In the past, you would have to search for the trends manually. Today, tools such as ExplodingTopics.com help people get the same information fast. It’s user-friendly, and its recommendations are accurate 90% of the time.
The topics are grouped into 29 different categories.
Check the search volume to determine whether a trend is new and pounce on the opportunity before others to give your site a higher cutting edge.
Create Native Content for Social Shares
A few years ago, “Share your content on social media platforms” used to be the common advice marketers give clients. Today, that strategy is null and void with social media algorithms such as Facebook down-ranking posts that direct users to their websites or third-party platforms.
One sure way of circumventing this hurdle is by posting native content with your link.
Instead of this,
Write compelling native content to enhance the post. The algorithms yearn for original content that engages readers- that’s precisely what native content does.
The success of the post above was because it didn’t just have a link to the website but a little additional content that is valuable to the audience.
Try to replicate the same for your website and monitor the results. Make sure that the content is original and based on the results of research on what the readers want. If the topic is irrelevant to the audience, you will not get the expected results.
Create Longer Headlines
Today, longer headlines get more social shares than posts with short/brief headlines.
Photo Credit: Backlinko.com
The number of characters also impacts not only length but also shares. Headlines with more than 80 characters receive more social shares than those with fewer characters.
Photo Credit: Backlinko.com
On average, longer headers get 76% more shares than short headlines.
Optimise Content Using Untapped Keywords
Untapped keywords are phrases that most content marketers are afraid of using or just ignorant of their ability to supercharge their posts to the first page of Google.
Keyword research tools are great, but unfortunately, they generate and show the same reports to all users. Head over to Google Keyword Planner, click on the “Start with a Website” tab.
Enter the competitor’s homepage URL or the blog post you want to outrank.
Doing so will prompt the tool to generate a report of keywords that the competitor failed to factor in when creating the content.
Use the report to generate better optimised content, but be mindful about keyword stuffing. Write naturally and conversationally to spark the interest of the readers. Respond to comments and queries sent via email by the readers promptly to spur engagement.
It’s a Wrap
How to make a website SEO-friendly enough for Google.com.sg? A site hierarchy generally works to ensure you have a well-laid out plan of how you intend your site to both look and function. It also leaves room for scaling up and adding more features without cutting into it your site’s usability and on-site SEO. Stuck on how to come up with a solid site hierarchy for a project you have in mind? Well, reach out to MediaOne for SEO consultation and all the help you need.