Having spent many years in the SEO world, we’ve collected bite-sized SEO tips to boost not only your search engine ranking but also your user engagement and retention.
- Starting a new site
- Search engine behavior
- Bounce rate reduction
- Gaining visitors
Starting a new site
If you’re starting with a new site, then keep these tips in mind!
Site navigation is crucial
Navigation is vital for your website. Depending on your content, create an easy menu on what visitors need the most.
Do not depend on your sitemap too much, if a user can’t find a page, then why should a Search Engine?
Internal links with aptly named titles are therefore considered best practice. Naming a link “read more here” is–for this reason–not advised for links that lead to landing pages.
You should rather use: Read all about “my product name here”. Do not forget to make everything natural to read.
Sitemaps help with new content
Nowadays, sitemaps are a tool for search engines, not for users.
Having a sitemap available will make sure your content is reached out faster to their search index since the search engines know what has changed and when. So, be sure to enable the “last-modified” feature for your sitemap. You should also ping the search engines whenever the sitemap’s updated. Most SEO plugins for WordPress, like The SEO Framework, automatically take care of this for you.
No sitemap? No problem! Search engines will always follow links within your site to find new pages. This default behavior will also continue with a sitemap available; so, they won’t miss any pages, even if your sitemap doesn’t link to them all. Search engines can compare before/after states when crawling pages, you can trust search engines to spot the differences automatically without the help from a sitemap.
Ranking takes time
Is your domain name just registered? Give it some time. It can take anywhere from three to six months before Google gives a better placement on the search results page. Google doesn’t really like new domains: new domains are often of low-quality and spread spam. While waiting for a higher spot, get creative! Get awesome content out there for when your domain does get some authority.
The Bing network (Bing, Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo, etc.) doesn’t look at the domain age, but rather at the domain name. So, it’ll be much easier to rank high early on those search engines.
Search engine behavior
These SEO tips will help you understand search engines better, and how you can influence them.
Canonical URLs lead the way
Canonical URLs are the URLs that lead to exactly where a page is located. It’s essential for search engines to find the right page, so to prevent duplicated content mistakes.
The search engine will always follow the canonical URL, and it will most likely ignore the current page if the canonical URL points to a page other than the current page.
Duplicated content won’t penalize
Duplicated content can cause issues, but your site won’t be penalized for it. Google automatically filters duplicated content and will choose a version of the page that’s most suitable for the search engine user.
With duplicated content, the worst that could happen is that a visitor lands on a less desirable version of your webpage.
When using an SEO plugin for WordPress (like ours), you probably won’t have to worry about this at all, unless you deliberately create copies of your pages.
Meta descriptions can be ignored
Search engines don’t always use the description you’ve provided on their result pages. Sometimes, they take an organic part of your page instead, based on the user’s search query.
They disregard your description when (one or more of) the search keywords don’t match anything in it.
A keyword helper, like the one brought our Focus extension for WordPress, will help you reduce the chance of this happening.
Bounce rate reduction
When a visitor bounces off your website back to the search engine (e.g. via the back button), it means that your content isn’t what they were looking for, and the search engine will take notice. These tips will help you lower the bounce rate.
Speed up the web
Having a faster website will improve your SERP ranking. Because when a visitor can’t reach your website promptly, they’re more likely to bounce back to the search engine.
You can measure the performance of your website via various tools online. Google’s very own PageSpeed Insights, although not perfect, is something we highly recommend.
When they report a load time (“Speed Index”) of under two seconds, you’re doing great! However, when it’s over two seconds, you should reduce the number of styles and scripts you push to the visitor.
For WordPress users: consider using a great free theme from the WordPress.org repository; they’re forced to play by the strict rules. Extravagant “can-do-it-all” themes also do things you don’t want them to do and are often under-optimized, which add significantly to load time and incompatibilities.
Stop the click-bait
You can entice visitors to go to your website by writing about a controversial topic. But, be sure that the title and description match the content you’re providing.
Write an awesome introduction
The introduction should convince your visitors they’ve landed on the right page. To do so, explain what you’re writing about in the first paragraph; this should overlap with your title and meta description.
Use relatable images
Images are a great way to let visitors stick. Not only will they make your site feel vibrant and alive, but they will also familiarize your visitors with the subject.
These tips will help you gain visitors. Hopefully, they’ll stick with you!
Build more quality content
There’s always something to write about; and, if you get more quality content out there, then you’ll have more pages that can rank in search engines.
Engage on trends
If you are writing articles, take a look at the rising trends on Google Trends before it’s all over the internet.
Write about any of the trends once in a while, and when the trend kicks off your website might just be exposed to many people.
Never stop improving
Visitors will only stick when your site is useful to them. So, not only must you get more content out there, but you should also improve how it gets to them.
This includes creating a mailing list, improving the website layout, going social on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and more. Be creative!