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If ever there was a time to improve your online presence ➪ to improve your rankings ➪ to improve your traffic ➪ to improve your overall business prospects, it would be now. 2020 has been a strange year to be sure, but along with everything else it’s thrown at us? The surefire knowledge that online is where it’s at. (If you weren’t already convinced of that, of course. You know who you are. All 10 of you.) So how, exactly, do you improve all that? By upping your SEO game. Really upping your SEO game. And the way to do that? Take a deep breath, tell yourself you can do it, and embrace a handful of advanced SEO techniques and tips that can take your website, and business, from ‘doing okay’ to ‘firing on all cylinders’ in 2020.
What is Advanced SEO?
Of course, it’s easier to embrace something when you know what it is. So let’s start by answering the question: what is advanced SEO?
Advanced SEO simply refers to those SEO techniques that require some degree of advanced or expert SEO knowledge. Quite often, these techniques fall on the side of technical SEO fixes and concepts that you can implement on your site, which deliver on the ever-changing, ever-trickier quirks and demands of Google’s ranking algorithms.
Don’t be put off by the words ‘expert’ and ‘technical’ though. It’s not rocket science (close, but not quite!), and with a little bit of help and hard work, advanced SEO can make all the difference to your rankings. Starting with the top 5 advanced SEO techniques we’ve outlined below, which can take your website from rankings meh to magic in 2020.
5 Advanced SEO Techniques and Tips for 2020
1. Hatch a Scheme: Add Schema Markup
It’s no secret that content – quality content – continues to grow in importance as a ranking factor in SEO. In fact, it may very well be the number one ranking factor at this point. That said, it isn’t as easy as ‘write good content and they will come’. It doesn’t matter how good or relevant your content is, if you don’t make it easy for search engines and robot minds to understand and index (and yes, Google is still a robot, no matter how humanized it’s become over the years), that content may as well not exist. Which is where schema markup and structured data come in, playing a crucial role in helping your website (or particular web page) transmit the information it contains to crawlers and search engines quickly and more systematically.
What it is: Schema markup is –
- microdata that you include in the HTML code of your website,
- to help search engine bots read and understand your website,
- in order to return richer, more informative results for searchers.
- By including schema markup coding you are able to create enhanced descriptions that appear in search results; for example, things like –
- Did you knows
- A ‘how-to’ step-by-step series
- Schema markup and structured data therefore serves up valuable data to Google (and other search engines) that it can use, share, or highlight in search results.
- Ultimately, this offers users additional information about your page,
- motivating users to click on your page, and
- encouraging Google to rank you higher as a worthy page packed with useful stuff.
Adding schema markup to relevant pages sounds like a no-brainer right? Question is: how exactly do you hatch such a scheme(a)? Let google do the heavy lifting! As hard as Google makes our lives with regards to SEO, it also makes it so much easier.
Once you’ve selected the pages on your site which will benefit from schema markup (see list above of examples), head over to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. This free tool makes it easy to markup existing pages on your site. Follow their step by step process:
- Select the type of data or page
- Add your URL
- Click “Start Tagging”
- Highlight and tag text or images
- Select “Create HTML” when finished
- Once you’ve created your HTML, you will now need to add that code to the <head> section of your page. (Top tip #2: ask your website developer to help you at this stage.) And voilà! How’s that for a beautifully hatched scheme(a)!
2. Put Your Foot on the Gas: Improve Page Speed
Slowly but surely is not a thing on the Internet. The tortoise does not win the race. Your site, and every page that site, needs to load fast. Faster than you can say “one mississippi bounce”.
Why? Well, for one thing people – ourselves (and yourself) included – are impatient jerks. We don’t like waiting for anything. In fact, numerous studies now point to the fact that consumers expect a website or web page to load in 0.000007 seconds. Okay, we exaggerate but not by much. Just take a gander at these Kissmetrics site speed stats: 47% of consumers expect a webpage to load in 2 seconds or less; 40% of people will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load; and a 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. For another, bad-cop Google (and other search engine) bots only have certain amounts of time budgeted to crawl each site – and they’ll punish you for slow page speeds with poor rankings. True story.
What it is: Page Speed, also known as page load time, is…
- a measurement of the time it takes from first click to full display of the content
- on any specific page on your website;
- not to be confused with ‘site speed’, which measures
- the page speed of a sample of pages on your website.
Once again, you can turn to good-cop Google – Google’s free PageSpeed Insights Tool can help “Make your web pages fast on all devices” and it’s really fairly simple to do. Type in your URL; Google will analyze it for you and give you recommendations on what needs fixing where; you listen to them and get the culprits fixed.
We’ve also got all the information you can ever need on improving your site and page speed – read:
Top 7 Ways to Improve your Website Speed
Page Speed: Everything You Need to Check if Your Website Can Keep Up
3. Get a Move On: Optimize for Mobile
When was the last time you bothered to open up your computer to search for something on the Internet? Why would you, when you can just whip your phone out your pocket?
Mobile search isn’t only important for when you’re on the go either; according to one report, nearly three quarters of the world (72.6%) will use just their smartphones to access the internet by 2025.
Add in the fact of Google’s Mobile-first indexing, whereby Google has officially stated that it predominantly uses the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking, optimizing your site for mobile first is absolutely crucial for online survival. (You can learn more about Mobile First here.)
What it is: Mobile SEO is –
- Everything you do in the backend to ensure that your website is mobile friendly, with regards to
- Content size – text should be easy to read with the naked eye, images shouldn’t be tiny
- Navigation – easy to navigate, with menus easily accessible (not hiding off screen), buttons and links large enough for fat fingers, no zooming in or out required;
- Visual – the site should look good no matter the size of the screen.
- To optimize for mobile, your advanced SEO strategy should include:
- Load time
- Site speed, design and structure
- Responsiveness to different screen sizes
- Image compression
- Removal of pop-ups or interstitials, etc.
Start by checking if your site is mobile-friendly by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Then read this: How to Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
4. Find Your Voice: Make Voice Search a Priority
By the end of 2020, 50% of all searches across the internet will be voice-based. (Quoracreative) Voice search is no longer the future. It’s right here, right now. Is your site capitalizing on it?
With an ever-increasing focus placed on user experience, Google et al., are giving voice search – which significantly improves user experience by making search as easy as, well, speaking – ever-increasing importance as a ranking factor.
What it is: Voice Search is –
- a function on a device – mobile phone, tablet, computer, or ‘virtual assistant’ that allows the user to use a voice command to search the Internet, a website, or an app. In other words, you can speak your online search rather than type it in.
- Examples of current voice-based virtual assistants and technology include Alexa by Amazon, Google Assistant by Google, Siri by Apple, Cortana by Microsoft etc.
- Remember that voice search brings a very human element to search – it’s your users asking, in their actual voices, your site to answer their questions, human being to human being. Make sure your answers, your content, is written in a way that people actually speak.
- The majority of voice searches still tend to be queries looking for looking location-based content, places and answers. Focus more on local search.
- Read How and Why to Optimize for Voice Search
5. Find the Missing Link: Develop a Linking Strategy
Remember how we said search engines have robot minds? And how robot minds need things to make systematic sense – all the poetry in the world means nothing to search engines in the face of messy navigation?
A smart internal linking process helps make sense of your site by creating a crawlable link structure, providing easy-to-follow pathways for search spiders to find and index all pages and content on a website.
What it is: Internal Linking is –
- a strategy whereby you have internal hyperlinks within your website that point from one page on your site to a different page on your site.
- In other words, internal links connect pages on the same website – your website – in order to
- improve navigation and make your site easier to crawl and more attractive to serve up to users,
- increase visitors’ time and page views on your website,
- decrease bounce rate;
- create a network of related pages where all the content is somehow linked and makes sense, creating an overall better user experience.
Developing a solid internal linking process can help SEO in a number of ways. Linking can:
- Show users – and search engines – the relation between pages, creating a richer content experience;
- Pass “link juice” from high-authority pages, like your homepage, to lower authority pages;
- Reestablish the relevance or value of older or newer pages and their content.
- All of which ultimately works to improve ranking of pages on your site.
Link deep, and link natural.
Instead of linking to obvious, easily-found pages already front and centre in your site’s main navigation, look for linking opportunities buried deeper within your site structure. For example, link to relevant blogs, service pages or useful FAQs, rather than your home or contact page. You want your links to go to information that immediately answers questions, no digging deep required on your user’s part. You’ve got to do the digging for them.
But do make sure you link to relevant pages… those links should be natural and make sense, particularly in relation to the content on the page they’re currently visiting. There’s no point nudging them to a different page if it’s not going to offer any value or be a natural extension of the topic they’re already reading about.
Take Your SEO from Average to Advanced
SEO… three little letters that can make all the difference when done right. No pressure. 1st on the List can help you take your SEO efforts from average to advanced, from meh to magic: call 1-888-262-6687 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.