seo techniques 2018

SEO Techniques for 2018

30-Mar-2018

When it comes to SEO Techniques, you must’ve heard enough about meta titles, descriptions & backlinks from many so-called SEO gurus. The surprising part is many consider meta keyword tags for SEO in 2018 when Google has stopped considering meta keyword tag altogether since 2009.

Recommended Read: Meta tags that Google understands

If you’re looking for some practical SEO strategies that you can implement on your website today, refer to the following SEO techniques to improve your website rankings on Google:

SEO Techniques

1. Website Visitor Engagement is Key to Rankings

“Engagement”, in simple terms, is the ability to keep a visitor actively hooked to your website for longer durations.

Although there are no official statements/documents to support this claim, there are a number of independent research available that found correlation between higher user engagement with higher page rankings & vice versa.  Whether be it “Moz Search Engine Ranking Factors 2015: Expert Survey and Correlation Data” or “1 Million Google Search Results Study by Backlinko”, all studies have found a direct correlation between engagement metrics and search rankings.

correlation between bounce rate & search rankings

You can see that we have put emphasis on the term “actively” in the first sentence. Most marketers & bloggers will tell you that “engagement” is measure of the amount of time spent on a page. However, almost everyone misses a key point “active” when explaining engagement and here’s why:

  • According to Google, time on page is calculated as the difference between the initiation of successive pageviews: pageview 2 – pageview 1.

Suppose a visitor comes up to your newly launched website (assuming it’s multi-page website: not a single page)& after going through required information in that page, choose to move to new tabs for other important tasks. (S)He does so simply because that page didn’t have other relevant pages/links/actions attached to it. Although your website remained open in the tab for longer say 1 hour or 2 hours, Google analytics would report the session time as 00:00:00 as there was no page 2.

  • Moreover, the session would be reported under “Bounce Rate”.

As per Google, there are two methods by which a session ends:

Time-based expiration:

— After 30 minutes of inactivity

— At midnight

Campaign change:

— If a user arrives via one campaign, leaves, and then comes back via a different campaign

In the above scenario, although your webpage remained open for 1 hour or more, it was reported under bounce rate simply because there was 30 minutes or more of inactivity on the page. And although Google has denied bounce rate as a ranking factor in the past, Backlinko’s study suggests that Google might have included bounce rate as a ranking signal since high-quality content keeps users/readers more engaged. Therefore, lower bounce rate is a byproduct of high-quality content, which Google does measure for rankings.

Although more & more new sessions are important for a page to get noticed in search (to keep getting new visitors), it is equally important for a website to develop a strategy to make its visitors actively visit more than a page. And that too in as many sessions as possible.

So how can you improve your website’s active engagement? Here are 5 tactics you can use to give your website a boost in traffic engagement:

A. Use Reader-Friendly Formatting

A well-formatted page instantly improves a page’s readability that, in turn, improves user engagement rate. Following are formatting tips that can help improve your content readability:

Clean Typography: On the web, most users scan for information instead of reading word for word as in books/magazines, jump from one point of interest to the next, hoping to trip over some relevant facts. A study by Norman Nielsen Group states that readers, on average, read between 20%-28% text on a web page.

Therefore, it is quite important that you choose standard sans serif fonts such as Arial, Helvetica, Trebuchet, Lucida Sans, and Verdana with 16 pixels font size that is easily readable on screen.

Short sentences: Longer sentences are hard to follow onscreen; especially on mobile devices.Therefore, use short, small sentences instead of longer sentences.

Short paragraphs: Try to keep your paragraphs short. Use 3-4 sentences at max. for each paragraph with economical use of single liners in between.

Sub-headers: Drop sub-headers in between to give an idea of what your readers are reading. Clear and informative sub-headers help readers guide down a page while keeping them engaged to your content. To be precise, these act as mini-breaks and save your readers from being exhausted from long & tiresome paragraphs.

Bulleted list: Like it or not, bullet points keep people reading your blog posts, pages, articles, and copy like nothing else. A bullet expresses a clear benefit and promise to the reader. That’s right; they’re mini-headlines. Bullets encourage the scanning reader to go back into the real meat of your content or go forward with your call to action.

B. Use Bucket Brigade Technique in Copywriting

Bucket Brigades are an old-school copywriting tactic that was originally designed to keep people reading sales letters.

Although old-school, this technique still works wonders even in the modern-day web. This technique involves breaking an idea into multiple sentences, using a trigger word or phrase and ending the sentence with a colon.

Here are 2 examples of bucket brigade techniques used in copywriting:

bucket brigade style of writing

bucket brigade style of writing

C. Use Relevant & Colorful Images

Images are worth a thousand words. Therefore, including professional, high-quality images is a guaranteed & powerful way to increase visitor engagement. Moreover, images help break a content into a different section that makes reading easier.

D. Incorporate “Inverted Pyramid” Style of Writing

If you have ever been to a school of journalism, chances are you have heard about inverted pyramid style of writing.

inverted pyramid style of writing

Inverted pyramid refers to the story-telling structure or model where the most important, or heaviest information such as who, what, when, where and why is provided at the top of the story. Lesser important section of the story such as supporting details and background information follows then.

In contrast to the academic style of writing, inverted pyramid style offers both introduction & conclusions in first few lines of the story that makes it easier for readers to scan entire story without going to the bottom of a page to know what the page is all about.

E. Plan to Cut Down on Bounce Rate

According to Google:

“A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.

Bounce rate is single-page sessions divided by all sessions, or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server.

If the success of your site depends on users viewing more than one page, then, yes, a high bounce rate is bad. For example, if your home page is the gateway to the rest of your site (e.g., news articles, product pages, your checkout process) and a high percentage of users are viewing only your home page, then you don’t want a high bounce rate.”

So now that you’ve learned that high bounce rate is not something you want for your website, here are few tips that will help you improving your website’s bounce rate:

  • Add links to more pages within your website in your content
  • Go beyond just product pages: include some links such as a product manual, guides on how to use the product to achieve a specific result, what other customers have said about the product, or other similar ideas
  • Add links to content everyone will love to your sidebar
  • Improve quality of your content
  • Use heatmap & scroll map tools such as Crazyegg to understand user experience. Heat maps are colorful representations of where users have clicked on your site, while scrollmaps show you just how far down the page your users scroll before leaving.
  • Do A/B testing experiments with tools such as Optimizely, Google Optimize to understand which content appeals most to your users/readers.

2. Improve Website Loading Speed

Back in 2010, Google announced that it will be using site speed in web search rankings. Again, in January 2018, Google updated that it will be using page speed in mobile search rankings.

Google’s latest research shows that the chance of a bounce increases 32% when the page load time goes from 1s to 3s. 1s to 5s increases the chance to 90% and if your site takes up to 10s to load, the chance of a bounce increases to 123%.

Aa Google’s true business (Google Ads) depends upon search users (hint: more searches lead to more clicks on relevant ads) and their experience, faster loading speed is a sign of a healthy site that pleases Google’s customers and therefore should be rewarded with a higher ranking.

This is quite clear seo techniques that Google wants your website to load faster with product launches such as PageSpeed Insights, AMP Project&Think with Google project in recent past.

Quick tips to improve page loading speed:

  • Optimize Images

In terms of file size, images, generally, are the large most components on any website followed by JavaScript & CSS. By compressing & optimizing large image files, an average page size can be reduced to 30%-40% of its original size.

Earlier, image compression was a cumbersome task. However, with the advent of new tools & techniques, image compression/optimization is a work of breeze now.

Here are various techniques; you can compress your images:

  • Kracken.io: This toll automatically compresses all your images. The free version of the tool allows a file size limit of 1MB. To compress image files beyond 1MB, you need to subscribe to its pro version though.
  • GTmetrix: Run a page speed report in GTmetrix. Under optimize image section, GTmetrix will automatically give you see optimized images link. Open the link in new tab & download optimized/compressed image.
  • PageSpeed Insights: Run a page speed report in Google PageSpeed Insights & Google will let you download compressed image, JS & CSS files at the bottom of the report in a zip file. Download the file & unzip to find optimized images.

 

  • Minify JS & CSS Files

One of the biggest blunders often developers do during coding is: use unnecessary space that adds a byte each to total file size. Suppose if you use space 1000 times, 1000Bytes or 1MB is added to total file size. And if have 50 such files, you have already added 50MB to file size that could have been avoided.

There a number of ways, JS & CSS files can be minified:

  • Online tools such as Minifier.org or YUI compressor
  • GTmetrix: The easiest way to compress JS & CSS files is to run a page speed report on GTmetrix. Under Minify JS & Minify CSS sections, click & download optimized JS & CSS files respectively.

 

  • Leverage Browser Caching

Browser caching is the mechanism of storing web files such as HTML, JS, CSS files and images locally in the user’s browser. This reduces website loading time considerably when that user revisits your website, refreshes the page, or even moves to a different page of your site. They already have some of the files they need locally.

Follow the instructions here to learn how to leverage browser caching.

 

  • Use CDN to Reduce Server Roundabout Request Time

A content delivery network (CDN) is a geographically distributed group of servers which work together to provide fast delivery of Internet content. A CDN being close to users’ location allows for the quick transfer of assets needed for loading internet content including HTML pages, javascript files, stylesheets, images, and videos.

3. Acquire Backlinks from Relevant Websites

Even in 2018, SEO experts do not deny the value of quality backlinks. Contrary to popular belief, backlinks from relevant & niche websites/blogs are still crucial for good search rankings.

According to Google, following are examples of link schemes which can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results:

  • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links, or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link
  • Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking
  • Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links
  • Using automated programs or services to create links to your site

Additionally, creating links that weren’t editorially placed or vouched for by the site’s owner on a page, otherwise known as unnatural links, can be considered a violation of our guidelines. Here are a few common examples of unnatural links that may violate our guidelines:

  • Text advertisements that pass PageRank
  • Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles that include links that pass PageRank
  • Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites. For example:
    There are many wedding rings on the market. If you want to have a wedding, you will have to pick the best ring. You will also need to buy flowers and a wedding dress.
  • Low-quality directory or bookmark site links
  • Keyword-rich, hidden or low-quality links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites, for example:
    Visitors to this page: 1,472
    car insurance
  • Widely distributed links in the footers or templates of various sites
  • Forum comments with optimized links in the post or signature, for example:
    Thanks, that’s great info!
    – Paul
    paul’s pizza san diego pizza best pizza san diego

Apart from such links, backlinks that are earned through high-quality content, outreach, and influencer marketing are seo techniques and extremely effective for rankings.

4. Get Your Code Optimized & Error free

Apart from backlink & content best practices, it is absolutely essential to have an HTML error free & optimized website.

According to Moz, an ideal web page should do all of the following:

  • Be hyper-relevant to a specific topic (usually a product or single object)
    • Include subject in the title tag
    • Include subject in URL
    • Include subject in image alt text
    • Specify subject several times throughout text content
  • Provide unique content about a given subject
  • Link back to its category page
  • Link back to its subcategory page (If applicable)
  • Link back to its homepage (normally accomplished with an image link showing the website logo on the top left of a page)

Above mentioned SEO Techniques, here are few tips that will help you in search rankings in 2018:

  • Use HTTPS instead of HTTP

HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP that uses 2048 bit data encryption when users submit confidential data, including personal information, passwords, or credit card details online.

In the year 2014, Google announced that it is going to use HTTPS as ranking signal. However, strong effects of SSL on rankings were clearly seen across the web in 2017.

Not only from the rankings perspective, but HTTPS also helps your website stay secure and make it harder for malicious programs and bots to steal your user personal & financial data. Therefore, it boosts your user confidence in your website which in turn help with your search rankings.

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