SEO 101: How to increase your ranking

SEO 101: How to increase your ranking

Big Ideas

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January 22 2021
Big Ideas

According to Nick G. from techjury, approximately 5.8 million new blog posts are created every day, that's a lot of content and that doesn't include all the other various forms of content we consume such as videos, social posts, stories, Tik Toks, Tweets... the list goes on. With that kind of daily flood of content, you need strategies in place to increase your SEO rankings so that your prospects can find you. SEO is the art of being found, but before being found, you first you need to know where your clients and prospects are looking. 

Understanding the customer journey

The world of marketing in today’s age consists of customer journeys that are convoluted and messy. There is a combination of both the digital and analog worlds: which, ultimately, allows customers to hop on-and-off the customer journey, whenever and wherever they want. 

 

https://sherpa2017.blob.core.windows.net/images/contenthub-posts/01-2021/customer-journey.png

 

Think of it this way: customers nowadays are like the people of New York commuting on the subway – they can either hop off at Times Square, the MET, Broadway, or go to all three places in one day!

As businesses, we have to be present and showcasing the best version of ourselves at any (and every) given point in the customer journey. Why? Well, because approximately 94% of people use at least one search channel when considering the purchase of a good or service... think about this for a second - when was the last time any of you made a major purchase decision without consulting some form of internet channel?   

 

https://sherpa2017.blob.core.windows.net/images/contenthub-posts/01-2021/94.png

And since the rise of the global COVID-19 Pandemic, there has been: 

  • 700% increase year over year for the term “In-stock”. 
  • 3000% increase year in year search increase for the term "curbside pickup"
  • 600% increase year over year for "Click and collect"

This is some mind-blowing data! To add to that, approximately 82 percent of us turn to our device to help them make a product purchase decision while actually in store... You get the point.   

 

To be found, you must deliver excellent content and relevant information when people end up on your site.

 

Google Reigns Supreme 

“Why is SEO so important anyway?” Well, because of Google. Essentially, Google has the power to make or break your business. How? Through organic ranking. If your business is number one in organic search ranking, lucky you – You have passed the test. You are going to get the lion's share of clicks. If you are in the top three rankings on Google, it estimates that approximately 62% of conversions or clicks go to the top three sites... yep. Over half of all traffic goes to the top three. So, if you are ranked number 10, you are already out of the running - never mind if you are on the second page!  

 

Social Searching 

 It is not just for the sake of Google – social search is also gaining ground relative to Google. Between 2015 and 2018, there has been a 30 percent increase in people using social search to find and learn about products, to help inform their decisions - especially among the younger generations (specifically Millennials and Gen Z). Not only is it imperative to think about how your website works, but now you must also think about your social presence and the content that you are putting out there.  But that is a topic for another day - for now, we will keep our focus on websites.   

 

https://sherpa2017.blob.core.windows.net/images/contenthub-posts/01-2021/Social-Searching.png

7 Tips & tricks to increase your SEO rankings

1. Align Content with Search Intent

Google is getting smarter and wants to provide its users with the best most relevant answers. A ‘Google Moment’ is an intent-rich moment when a person turns to a device to act on a need: to know, to go, to do, or to buy.  Customer Intent can be categorized into the following four groups:   

  • Informational - looking for specific information  
  • Navigational - looking for a specific website or app  
  • Commercial - looking for a specific product but has not made the final decision yet    
  • Transactional - Here, the intent is to buy. The searcher has decided to buy a specific product or tool 

As the solution to their problem/need, it is your job to be there, be found, be useful, and be accountable. Bottom line, you must consider your customers' intent and journey when creating content for your website. 

https://sherpa2017.blob.core.windows.net/images/contenthub-posts/01-2021/googlemoments.png

Source: Google

 

2. Optimize Your Tags – Title Tags and Meta Tags 

Title Tags 
Title tags are the clickable headlines that appear in search results and are integral for SEO purposes. Sir Google states:  
"Titles are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to their query. It's often the primary piece of information used to decide which result to click on, so it's important to use high-quality titles on your web pages." 
When writing your Title tags, it’s important to keep the following things in mind:  

  • Include your title keywords 
  • Matches search intent 
  • Avoid creating duplicate title tags 
  • Avoid keyword stuffing
  • Be descriptive, but concise  

 

Meta Descriptions  
A meta description is a short summary of a page displayed just below the title tag. Though they don’t directly impact search rankings, it’s important  

  • Write unique descriptions for each page
  • Use action-oriented words 
  • Include your target keywords
  • Match with your customers search intent
  • Provide a brief, yet accurate summary

 

3. Optimize your Page Speed

Arguably one of the most important elements of your website is your page speed, I.e. how fast your website loads. Why?  People are impatient. Slow load times = a lot of agitated users = higher drop off rate = dropped rankings.  
Here are some other things you can do to help increase your page speed: 

  • Enable browser caching 
  • Delete unnecessary plugins 
  • Reduce server response time
  • Reduce the number of redirects
  • Minify CSS and JavaScript files

If you’re curious about your site speed, there are numerous free tools available to use. Here are a few fan favourites: 

 

 4. Optimize Your Images.

 Pictures play a key role in adding to your customer’s online experience... until they don’t. To ensure an optimum online experience, images need to load fast, be readable to Google, and be used in the correct context. The larger your file is, the slower it loads. Here are some ways you can fix that: 

  • Use the best file format - JPG, PNG, WebP, etc.  
  • Compress your Images to the appropriate resolution 
  • Utilize free tools such as: Tiny PNG, ImageOptim, or ShortPixel 
  • Provide Alternative Text 
  • This helps Google better understand and “read” your images, therefore improving your accessibility and readability.  
  • Google has some best practices that you should go over in your spare time 

https://sherpa2017.blob.core.windows.net/images/contenthub-posts/01-2021/jpg-vs-png.png

Source: Digital Inspiration 

 

5. Utilize Internal Links 

Internal links help to structure your website so that Google can understand it better. They form a structural hierarchy that allows Google to interpret the content of your page, therefore improving your organic ranking. Best practice for SEO purposes would be to add internal links to the webpages that aren’t performing well directly onto your top-performing pages. 

 

 

6. Improve the Online Experience 

Google sees all... no, seriously. They do. They watch how customers interact and behave on your site to understand patterns, motives, etc. But don't worry, this is a good thing. Google wants to understand their consumers so that they can help serve them with the most relevant content. As previously explained, page speed is an important factor; but here are a few other factors to consider: 

  • Subheadings: Using subheadings properly (H1, H2, H3) helps Google interpret your content better and improves accessibility and readability for users. 
  • Aesthetics: Obviously you want to make sure your content is visually appealing. Studies have shown that incorporating visuals help people understand your content better. (A picture really is worth a thousand words!) Be sure to use images, videos, and screenshots that help illustrate your topics. 
  • Popups: Avoid the use of intrusive popups. Not only do they negatively impact your SEO, they also annoy your visitors. So be sure to use them sparingly. 
  • White space: Let your content breathe! Not only is white space fundamental to great design, it also helps to increase reader’s comprehension. So consider white space as a must for legibility and aesthetics.  

 

7. Long Form Content Creation  

Here’s the simple truth: long-form content ranks better. In fact, according to SEMrush’s recent study, long-form content (anything with 3000+ words) ranks 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks than average article lengths. Yes, they take more time and resources to create, but the stats don’t lie - the payout makes it all worth while. Try to come up with 1-2 long-form articles that are helpful and relevant to your target audience.  

 https://sherpa2017.blob.core.windows.net/images/contenthub-posts/01-2021/semrush-study-2020.jpg

Source: SEMrush

 
OVERVIEW – SEO Best Practices 

 

7 tips and tricks to increase your SEO Ranking 

 

Bearing all this in mind, it’s important to remember: you ultimately want to make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Knowing what kind of content your customers and prospects are looking for will help you develop your content strategy. If you're not sure what they're looking, a great place to start is to pinpoint your niche or ideal client, from there you'll have a better idea what content to create.

 

To find out how we can help you get your message to the right target at the right time, drop a note or call us anytime at 1-888-447-7727. Thanks for reading!

 
Resources 
SEMRush 
MEDIUM
Google Search Console

 

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