Search engine optimization (SEO) is a constantly evolving field. And, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices. As we move into 2023, there are several key areas that businesses should focus on to improve their visibility and search engine rankings.
So, let’s start with Technical SEO.
1. Technical SEO
Technical SEO is the process of optimizing your website’s infrastructure to improve its visibility and ranking in search engines. This includes things like site speed, mobile-friendliness, and the structure of your URLs.
- Site Speed: Site speed is the amount of time it takes for a page to load. Slow-loading pages can lead to higher bounce rates and lower conversions. To improve your site speed, you should optimize images, minify code, and reduce the number of plugins and scripts.
- Mobile-Friendliness: Mobile-friendliness is an important aspect of technical SEO, as more and more people are using mobile devices to access the internet. A mobile-friendly website should be optimized for small screens and touch-based navigation.
- Structure of your URLs: The structure of your URLs can affect how easily search engines can crawl and index your website. URLs should be short, descriptive, and easy to read. Use hyphens to separate words, and avoid using special characters or numbers.
- Sitemap and robots.txt: XML Sitemaps are a way for search engines to understand the structure of your website and find all the pages. robots.txt is a file that tells search engines which pages or sections of your site should not be crawled.
- Secure socket layer (SSL): SSL is a security protocol that encrypts data sent between a website and a user’s browser. Google has started to favor websites that use SSL and has labeled them as “Secure” in the URL bar. This can increase user trust and also a ranking factor.
- AMP: Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open-source project that helps to speed up the loading of web pages on mobile devices. AMP pages are cached by Google, which means they load almost instantly.
- hreflang: hreflang is an HTML attribute that tells search engines which language you are using on a specific page, and helps them to serve the correct version of a page to users in different languages or countries.
- Canonical tags: Canonical tags are used to prevent duplicate content issues. A canonical tag tells search engines which version of a webpage should be considered the original and should be indexed.
By optimizing these technical elements, you can improve the crawlability and indexability of your website and ultimately increase your visibility in search engines.
2. Local SEO
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your online presence to increase visibility for local customers. It’s a vital aspect of SEO for businesses that rely on foot traffic, such as brick-and-mortar stores, restaurants, and service providers. Here are a few ways to improve your local SEO:
- Google My Business: Google My Business is a free listing service provided by Google that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By creating a Google My Business account, you can update your business information, such as your business name, address, phone number, and hours of operation.
- Online directories: Getting listed in online directories such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Yellow Pages can help increase visibility for your business. Make sure that your business information is consistent across all directories.
- Name, address, and phone number (NAP): Including your NAP on your website, as well as on your Google My Business listing and other online directories, can help search engines understand your business’s location and contact information. This information should be consistent across all platforms to avoid confusion.
- Reviews: Positive reviews from customers can greatly improve your visibility on search engines. Encourage customers to leave reviews on platforms such as Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. Respond to both positive and negative reviews and make sure to address any customer concerns.
- Local keywords: Incorporating local keywords into your website and online profiles can help search engines understand the location of your business. For example, including the name of your city or neighbourhood in your website’s content and meta tags can help search engines understand where you are located.
- Local backlinks: Backlinks from local websites and directories can help boost your visibility for local search queries. Reach out to local websites and directories and ask if they would be willing to link to your website.
- Google Maps: Google maps is a powerful tool for local SEO. By claiming your business on Google maps and verifying it, you can help ensure that your business shows up in Google Maps results.
By implementing these local SEO strategies, you can improve your visibility for local search queries and drive more foot traffic to your business.
3. Schema markup
Schema markup, also known as structured data, is a set of tags that you can add to your website’s HTML code to provide additional information about your website’s content to search engines. This information can include things like product information, reviews, and event information.
Here are a few ways to use schema markup to improve your SEO:
- Product information: By adding product schema markup to your website, you can provide search engines with detailed information about your products, such as prices, reviews, and availability. This can help your products show up in rich snippets in search results, which can increase click-through rates and drive more traffic to your website.
- Review schema: Review schema markup can be added to your website to provide information about customer reviews of your products or services. This can help your website show up in rich snippets in search results, which can increase click-through rates and drive more traffic to your website.
- Event schema: Event schema markup can be added to your website to provide information about upcoming events, such as concert dates, conference dates, and ticket prices. This can help your events show up in rich snippets in search results, which can increase visibility and drive more traffic to your website.
- Local Business schema: Local Business schema markup can be added to your website to provide information about your business such as an address, phone number, operating hours, and more. This can help your business to show up in Google Maps and Local Pack, which can increase visibility and drive more traffic to your website.
- Article schema: Article schema markup can be added to your website to provide information about your articles such as the author, publication date, and more. This can help your articles to show up in rich snippets and increase visibility in search results.
- Video schema: Video schema markup can be added to your website to provide information about your videos such as the title, description, and more. This can help your videos to show up in rich snippets and increase visibility in search results.
It’s important to note that schema markup is not a ranking factor, but it can help search engines understand the content of your website better, which in turn can improve your website’s visibility in the search results.
4. Optimize for Google BERT
Google BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) is a natural language processing model that helps Google understand the intent behind a user’s search query. This model uses advanced algorithms to understand the context of words in a sentence, which helps Google better understand the user’s intent. To optimize your website for BERT, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Use natural language: BERT is designed to understand natural language, so it’s important to write your content in a clear and conversational style. Use language that is easy to understand, and avoid using jargon or technical terms that may be confusing to readers.
- Focus on user intent: When creating content, think about the intent behind the user’s search query. What information are they looking for? How can you provide that information in the most useful and clear way?
- Use long-tail keywords: BERT can understand the context of long-tail keywords, so it’s important to use them in your content. Long-tail keywords are more specific phrases that are more likely to reflect the user’s intent.
- Use headings and subheadings: Using headings and subheadings can help structure your content and make it easier for Google BERT to understand the main topics and subtopics of your page.
- Use related keywords: BERT also takes into account related keywords and phrases, so use them in your content. This can help provide more context to the user’s search query and can also help you rank for related keywords.
- Write detailed and accurate information: BERT is designed to understand the context of a user’s search query, so it’s important to provide detailed and accurate information in your content. This will help Google understand the intent of the user’s search and will increase the chances of your website appearing in the search results.
- Optimize for featured snippets: Featured snippets are the answer boxes that appear at the top of the search results page. Optimize your content for featured snippets by providing detailed and accurate answers to common questions in your industry.
By following these guidelines, you can make sure that your website is optimized for BERT and can improve your visibility in the search results.
5. User experience
(UX) is the overall experience that a user has when interacting with your website. It encompasses all aspects of the interaction, including the visual design, ease of navigation, and functionality of the website. The better the user experience, the more likely users are to stay on your website, engage with your content, and ultimately convert into customers. Here are a few ways to improve your website’s UX for SEO:
- Page load speed: Page load speed is the amount of time it takes for a page to load. Slow-loading pages can lead to higher bounce rates and lower conversions. To improve your page load speed, you should optimize images, minify code, and reduce the number of plugins and scripts.
- Mobile-Friendliness: Mobile-friendliness is an important aspect of UX, as more and more people are using mobile devices to access the internet. A mobile-friendly website should be optimized for small screens and touch-based navigation.
- Navigation: Navigation is the way that users move around your website. It should be easy to understand, intuitive, and consistent across all pages. A clear and well-organized navigation structure can help users find the information they are looking for and increase the chances of them staying on your website.
- Visual design: Visual design is the way that your website looks. It should be pleasing to the eye, easy to read, and consistent across all pages. A visually appealing design can help to keep users engaged and on your website longer.
- Content: Content is the information that is presented on your website. It should be well-written, informative, and easy to understand. A well-written content can help to keep users engaged and on your website longer.
- Interactive elements: Interactive elements such as forms, buttons, and videos can help to keep users engaged and on your website longer.
- Search functionality: A search functionality allows users to quickly and easily find the information they are looking for on your website.
- Error handling: Error handling refers to how your website handles errors, such as 404 pages. A well-designed 404 page can help to keep users on your website and guide them to the information they are looking for.
By improving your website’s UX, you can increase the amount of time that users spend on your website, and decrease the bounce rate. This, in turn, can help to improve your search engine rankings and drive more traffic to your website.
6. Schema markup
Quality Backlinks, also known as inbound links or incoming links, are links from other websites that point to your website. They are considered to be a crucial factor in SEO because they signal to search engines that other websites consider your content to be valuable and relevant. Here are a few ways to acquire high-quality and reputable backlinks:
- Create high-quality content: The best way to acquire backlinks is to create high-quality and informative content that other websites want to link to. This includes things like blog posts, infographics, and videos that provide valuable information to your target audience.
- Reach out to influencers and bloggers in your industry: Influencers and bloggers in your industry can be a great source of backlinks. Reach out to them and ask if they would be willing to link to your website in their content.
- Guest posts on relevant websites: Guest posting on relevant websites can be a great way to acquire backlinks. Look for websites in your industry that accept guest posts and reach out to them with a proposal.
- Add your website to online directories: Adding your website to online directories such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Yellow Pages can help increase visibility for your business and also provide backlinks.
- Participate in online communities: Participating in online communities such as forums, social media groups, and Q&A sites can help to establish you as an expert in your industry and provide opportunities to acquire backlinks.
- Broken link building: Broken link building is the process of finding broken links on other websites and suggesting your website as an alternative.
It’s important to note that not all backlinks are created equal. Search engines place a higher value on backlinks from high-quality and reputable websites that are related to your industry. Backlinks from low-quality or spammy websites can actually harm your search engine rankings. So, it’s important to make sure that you are only acquiring backlinks from high-quality and reputable websites.
Featured snippets: Featured snippets are the answer boxes that appear at the top of the search results page. These snippets are taken from the top-ranking website, and they can drive a significant amount of traffic. To optimize your website for featured snippets, make sure that your content is well-researched and provides detailed, accurate answers to common questions in your industry.
Voice search optimization: Voice search is becoming increasingly popular, and it’s important to optimize your website for this type of search. This means including long-tail keywords and natural language phrases in your content, as well as ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly and loads quickly.
In conclusion, SEO in 2023 is all about providing a great user experience, being mobile-friendly, and creating high-quality, informative, and user-friendly content. By focusing on these areas, you can improve your visibility, and search engine rankings, and ultimately, drive more traffic and revenue to your website.
Contact us for a free SEO audit for your website!