Tip #1: Prioritize user experience.
SEO is associated with keywords, and in the days of algorithm yore, they did carry a lot of power — but they’re not the be-all of your website’s worth in a search engine’s eyes.
In fact, they fall pretty low on the ranking totem pole by themselves — see our next tip — and factors that relate back to your user experience (UX) and traffic matter the most today.
Ranking signals like direct website visits, the time users spend hanging out on the page they land on, and the number of pages they visit during their session all vastly outweigh keyword density.
What do all of these factors have in common?
They each communicate to Google about the engagement level of the user they send to you. If your metrics show a positive engagement with multiple page visits and a lot of dwell time, Google assumes that it’s done its job and delivered what the user was looking for.
If, however, the user doesn’t linger on your website and heads back to the SERP within a few seconds, you’re likely to have other issues that do impact engagement.
In that case, the search engine will most likely* interpret that they aren’t providing the best experience with your ranking and potentially demote you.
(*Google’s algorithms are proprietary, so any statements made as definitives in this article or any article on SEO are made with the caveat that these are guesses. Data-backed guesses based on rigorous experimentation from other marketers, but guesses nonetheless.)
And make no mistake, when it comes to search engines, they value protecting their customer before delivering yours.
Incidentally, those same engagement-damaging issues bode poorly for your business on a revenue level, as well.
40% of customers will head straight to your competition’s doorstep if you provide a poor experience for them on your website, while 15.8% are more loyal if the experience is solid.
So your first and most important step to stronger SEO is one that benefits both Google and your business: making the customer’s experience as stellar as possible when they arrive at your site.
Removing unnecessary clutter, offering clear paths of navigation, and providing useful — not filler — content are just a few of the steps you can take towards improving customer experience on your website.
(Those are all great steps for improving customer retention and successfully monetizing your audience, too.)
But if you’re looking for an example, I can’t think of any website that does this better than Help Scout.
Check out how their navigation is set up: you can find what you want when you want it. Need help with their product? There’s an entire navigation link for you that provides an avenue of contact, classes, and help documentation\
Tip #2: Target user intent with content.
On the point of keywords, they aren’t the plug-and-play traffic attractors they used to be.
In modern times, they’re matched to user intent, and if you think a search engine can’t determine intent as well as a human, you’d be wrong.
Or you might be part of Google’s engineers that were outshined by their own creation, Rankbrain, the self-correcting AI-powered algorithm that sorts Google’s indexed pages
If you’re getting flashbacks to certain movies with actors named Arnold in them, you’re not alone. But far from the apocalyptic future, Rankbrain is actually a great thing for users and businesses alike.
Thanks to Rankbrain, searchers are able to find more than just content related to their query, they’re able to find the content that satisfies their query, whether it’s informational, transactional, or navigational.
The search results are more relevant, and thus the leads that arrive through them are more qualified because they’re likely actively looking for the type of product or content you
So if content is king, context is emperor for digital product creators and marketers.
Which is probably why 57% of them say that content creation — versus only 49% for keyword research — is the most effective SEO tactic in their arsenal.
Now, how can you use this to your advantage?
While you’re putting together your keyword research (check out our previous article on blogging and SEO for a walkthrough and tools you can use), think about more than how to work those terms into your blog — think about the person behind them.
Are they ready for a sales pitch when they’re looking for terms like “what a marketing consultant does?”
Probably not. If you build your content around that search term without taking context into account, users are likely to skim through it, see they can’t find what they’re looking for, and leave.
And as you’ll recall, that isn’t going to help your website’s SEO — or more importantly — your prospective customer.
Tip #3: Optimize for mobile users.
While you’re targeting user intent, take into account that a lot of the people who find your content aren’t going to be reading it on a desktop.
Mobile traffic now constitutes a majority of the web with 52.2% of pages being served up on handheld devices
A great mobile experience isn’t a supplement to your website anymore — it’s a necessity, both from a business perspective and SEO point of view.
On the business side, 74% of people are more likely to come back if your design is well-tooled for mobile phones.And on the SEO side of things, Google officially began indexing pages based on their mobile versions early last year, which means if your pages aren’t optimized for mobile, they could be giving the competition an edge and suffering lower ranks than they should be.
Put simply, the mobile version of your website is now considered the primary version of your website for search engines, while the desktop-side design is the auxiliary version.
This is something that 80% of the top-performing websites in the world have taken note of, as well. In fact, of the top ten websites in the world, 90% have responsive designs to fit different-sized devices such as desktops, smartphones, and tablets.
Wondering if your website is optimized for mobile?
If it’s a Podia Storefront, it’s seamlessly mobile and we’re constantly making improvements to enhance the experience of smartphone users.
If you’re worried about your main domain or separate website, however, you can check your mobile-friendliness with the SEO source themselves and run your URL through Google’s testing tool.