3 Areas to Improve SEO Past the Basics
So you nailed your SEO basics. Now what? What's left to do now that people will see your site when they Google something relevant? Well, there is still a lot that can be done, and that should be done. Now, you can focus on refining your content and making sure that whoever sees you on Google clicks on it and stays on your site.
With that, there are two approaches that you can take: focusing on your top-performing pages and elevating your less popular pages. While they are distinct and require different methods, it will soon become clear how both parts of your site will get better in tandem if you use some of these small tips.
Optimize your bread-and-butter pages and content
It should be every website goal to have a well-curated site, from top to bottom. The truth is, however, that no matter how much attention you give to each individual page and post, some pieces of content will perform better than others and attract more visitors and awareness, leading to clicks and ultimately ending up on your key pages.
Frequently, when it comes to SEO, a search engine results page (SERP) will provide a link toward one of these more popular pages, rather than a homepage. This is why it's crucial to double-down on your website's strengths and make sure your top-ranked pages are as polished as possible. You can easily find your top-performing pages using your analytics tool of choice (e.g., Hubspot, Google). Once you've found them, here are some tips to optimize page content and clickthrough rate (CTR):
- Figure out the organic keywords present in your relevant pages. Organic keywords are keywords that naturally bring a visitor to your page. An easy way to find these is by using analytics tools such as Google Analytics or Hubspot's Traffic Analytics Tool. You want these keywords to be the foundation on which you select the titles for your pages.
- Use power words in your title. Power words are specific words that play on emotions, and they make your titles pack more of a punch. Combined with keywords, power words make people want to click on your link when it pops up in a search engine. Be sure not to overdo it, though. Too many power words can overcrowd your title and make it messy.
- Construct a short title. Google begins to truncate your title after about 60 characters, so you want to keep things short to avoid people seeing only half of your title. You can do this by using syntax tools like parentheses, dashes, and brackets, that separate information in a very character-efficient way.
Combining these steps will definitely increase your CTR on your most important pages, and it's as simple as making sure things are correctly titled.
Keep an eye on your technical side too
One of the most significant pain points when it comes to gaining and retaining traffic to your page is how quickly it loads. Load time is, in many ways, the final barrier between a user and your content. You're already able to be found through keyword searches on Google. The link that appears in the SERP is concise and compelling, and the user has already clicked on it. All that's left is for the content to appear before their eyes. It is extremely easy to lose a visitor you've attracted through all your hard work on SEO and CTR polishing only because the page they saw on Google took too long to load. This is why you want your most popular pages to load as fast as possible. Here are a few easy ways to optimize your load times:
- Keep rich content to a minimum. Rich content is elements such as images or videos on your page. These need to load individually and can significantly increase your load time, especially if your page is too crowded with them. A less cluttered page is also generally more pleasant for users to navigate. If you find specific images you can't do without, you can reduce their size to reduce the time it takes for them to load. This can be done manually or through a variety of plugins that automatically do this for you, depending on the platform you are using. Hubspot, for example, resizes images automatically.
- Make use of browser caching. Browser caching reduces the number of requests sent to your servers, which makes loading much faster. Like image resizing, browser caching can also be enabled with the use of plugins. If you are using WordPress, W3 Total Cache does this for you.
- Make sure there are no broken parts eating up resources. This is especially relevant to broken links on your page or broken lines of code. Their presence slows down the loading process on a minor level, but if left unchecked, they can start to add up and will have a noticeable impact on loading times. It might be too much work to do this for your whole site, but it is essential to keep your most important pages running like a well-oiled machine.
Work on your secondary pages and content
While you want to make sure that your top pages are the most refined within your site, it's crucial not to lose track of the rest of your content; you wouldn't want your website to turn into a one-page-pony. Ensuring that you are working on your pages that are declining in performance or lagging behind is paramount to building an overall robust site. Just like your top pages, you can easily discover your lower-ranked pages using basic analytics tools. Here are a few ways you can go about improving these pages:
- Rework the page. Once you publish content onto your site, that doesn't mean you are done working on it. If you think the content is excellent, but it is performing poorly, consider rewriting and/or reformatting it. The success of the content on your site is both dependent on the quality of the material and how it's presented.
- Update or refresh the page. Ahrefs regularly rewrites and updates their content and have been seeing good results from doing so. If a page is declining in performance, it could mean that it requires some updating. Maybe the resources used in it are too old and need to be changed. Perhaps the style is outdated compared to your more recent pages. Whatever the problem is, the fix is usually small and manageable. You don't have to rewrite everything, especially since these pages have performed well in the past. Sometimes all it takes is simple updates to bring a page back into the spotlight.
- Make sure it isn't a linking issue. Sometimes a declining performance can be caused by a link getting broken somewhere along the way. If this isn't accounted for, then that page's traffic will suffer. Most platforms, such as Hubspot, will offer easy ways to find out whether there are any broken links on your site. Once you find them, there are a few things you can do to fix the issue:
- Restore or recreate the page so that the link is no longer broken.
- Redirect the broken link to a new, working page.
- Redirect the broken link to another page that is relevant to the content that existed previously on that linked page.
- Use of internal links. Internal links are links on your pages that go to other pages on your site. You can use them on your better-performing pages to boost the worse-performing pages. This is especially effective when the internally linked pages share the same topic. Internal links are also a way to avoid making each individual page on your site optimized from an SEO/CRT angle. You're using the excellent work you've done on the better-performing pages to level-up the others. Using internal links is an opportunistic approach to your content. It makes your site come together as a coherent whole, rather than an amalgamation of individual pieces of content. To do this, you need to:
- Find your best-performing pages.
- Find your worst performing pages.
- Figure out which pages share relevant keywords and topics, since they are ripe for internal linking.
- Set up seamless internal links. It is crucial that internal links seem like an organic part of the primary page. You wouldn't want the presence of an internal link to negatively affect the quality of your top-ranked page, which should remain your priority at all times.
It's important to remember that SEO consists of small increments over a long period. Getting noticed on Google is the first step - and a big one - but there are many more steps that follow successful SEO tactics. The tips in this article focused on ways to bring your site together up as a whole so that your efforts for good SEO don't go to waste, once you hit the first page on Google. Polish, refresh, and maintain, and you will allow the quality content you are posting to truly shine.
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