From its inception, SEO has been about optimizing content to maximize the amount of quality traffic to websites. And while content and how we deliver it has evolved over the years, several things remain constant about SEO, including creating high-value content for targeted audiences, using keyword research to maximize effectiveness, and building high-quality links.
But some things have changed. Now, Google uses real user metrics to measure page speed, social media has exploded, and traffic from mobile sites is more important than ever. So, how do you grow your business within a shifting SEO landscape? Here are 5 advanced SEO techniques that will help you.
1. Make Mobile-First Indexing a Priority
Half of web traffic worldwide comes via mobile accounts. In the last quarter of 2019, mobile devices accounted for over 50% of global website traffic. Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page’s content when evaluating page relevance, but beginning in July 2019, Google began using mobile-first indexing by default for all new websites. And, they monitor and evaluate pages on older sites based on best practices.
Why is this important? Since the majority of users now access Google Search via a mobile device, Googlebot now primarily crawls and indexes pages with the smartphone agent. To ensure your site’s visitor experience is optimized adhere to best practices like the following.
- Make sure that content is the same on desktop and mobile. If your mobile site has less content than your desktop site, consider updating your mobile site to be equivalent to your desktop site.
- Make sure the Googlebot can access and render your mobile page content and resources.
- Check the placement of your ads and make sure you’re following the Better Ads Standard when displaying ads on mobile devices.
- Provide high-quality images that are correctly sized and have the proper resolution on your mobile site.
- Make sure your mobile site has the same alt text for images as the desktop site, and use descriptive alt text for images on your mobile site as you do on your desktop site.
- Make sure that the mobile page content quality is as good as the desktop page.
- Use the same meta robots tags on the mobile and desktop site. If you use a different meta robots tag on the mobile site, Google may fail to crawl and index your page when your site is enabled for mobile-first indexing.
- If you have structured data on your site, make sure that it’s present on both the mobile and desktop versions of your site.
- Use correct URLs in structured data. Make sure that URLs in the structured data on the mobile versions are updated to the mobile URLs.
The fewer obstacles for the Googlebot on your mobile site, the greater the chances of your site being indexed and ranked. And, one thing to keep in mind, even though mobile indexing is prioritized, it’s still important that your desktop site remains optimized.
2. Optimize for Speed
Page Speed is the amount of time that it takes for a web page to load. A page’s loading speed is determined by several factors, including a site’s server, page file size, and image compression. A slow-loading website can hurt your Google rankings, so regularly checking both your page speed and site optimization can help you identify and address issues that may be harming your site.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights (PSI) reports on the performance of a page on both mobile and desktop devices and provides suggestions on how that page may be improved. PSI provides lab data, which is helpful for debugging performance issues, and field data, which is useful for capturing real-world user experiences.
And because page speed is a direct ranking factor, it’s important to regularly monitor and run site audits to identify and address problems PageSpeed Insights discover. You can access PageSpeed Insights by visiting https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/.
3. Generate custom site performance reports with the CrUX Dashboard
The Chrome User Experience (CrUX) Report is anonymised domain-by-domain site speed data that has been recorded about real-life Google Chrome users. It provides continuous performance monitoring that helps identify trends before they negatively affect site engagement. In essence, the report offers real-world data on how quickly stages of your site is load, including:
- First Input Delay—the length of time between a user clicking or tapping a button and the site registering the click
- First Paint—the first time something is loaded on the page
- First Contentful Paint—the first time any user-visible content is loaded onto the screen
- DOM Content Loaded—when all the html has been loaded.
To access the CrUX Dashboard, you’ll need to create a project in the Google Cloud Platform and basic knowledge of SQL. You can learn more about the CrUX Dashboard here.
4. Get More SERP Space
A SERP feature is any inorganic result on a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Common SERP features are:
- Rich Snippets which add a visual component to an existing search result (e.g., review stars for product ratings)
- Paid Results via things like AdWords or Google Shopping
- Universal Results that appear in addition to organic results. These include things like image results and featured snippets
- Knowledge Graph data which appears as panels or boxes.
So how do you improve your SERP?
- Get more quality backlinks-Since backlinks are a key part of how Google determines content value. One of the best ways to increase backlinks to your site is by creating high-value content that people will find and link to.
- Have a robust keyword strategy, which is key to ranking well in Google SERP.
- Optimize your site by cleaning up its backend. Optimizing will result in improving speed, which also improves your odds of ranking well on the Google SERP.
5. Create more video content
Video content is here to stay, and if you have any doubts, take a look at these figures:
- The total number of monthly active users on YouTube is 2 billion.
- At least 90 percent of U.S. internet users aged 18 to 44 years accessed Youtube
- Each day, people watch one billion hours of videos on YouTube and generate billions of views (YouTube, 2019)
- 90 percent of people say they discover new brands or products on YouTube (Thinkwithgoogle, 2019)
Besides being a great way to boost engagement, videos increase dwell time and occupy prime real estate in SERPs. Here are a few strategies for optimizing videos for your target audience.
- Create how-to and features and benefits videos for your products and services.
- Host live interviews, broadcasts, and podcasts.
- Record product demos and customer testimonials.
- Use keyword tags and hashtags when uploading videos.
- Upload videos to several platforms including, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.
From the most basic SEO to the more advanced techniques explained here, SEO remains a key factor in helping businesses to grow. Digging deeper into the advanced techniques explained here will not only help you grow your business but will help keep you one step ahead of your competitors.