7 Advanced Ways to Improve Your Site’s SEO

 

Want to succeed at SEO? Good practices start with avoiding bad habits of the past. Eliminate ineffective practices and replace them with strategic, content-focused tactics. Here are seven great ways to do that:

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1. Approach keywords strategically

Without proper keyword research, any SEO campaign is doomed to failure. Keyword research sets the stage and lays the groundwork for an SEO campaign. Take a vague keyword phrase like “dog food.” This might be used by people seeking information on dog food or news about it (such as recalls). But a specific keyword phrase such as “buy raw dog food” is more likely to be selected by someone who’s ready to buy a specific type of canine chow.

Keyword phrases should be as specific to your company as possible and have an easy, conversational sound, not a marketing vibe. Just consider how you search for things online.

Perhaps more important than selecting specific phrasing, however, is not becoming paralyzed or slowed down by the temptation to achieve perfection in keyword optimization for every text-based piece of content you publish.

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2. Strictly adhere to an originality rule.

When it comes to SEO, originality refers to duplicate content or the same text existing at two different URLs — something that you should always avoid. Republishing articles from other sites is not only a potential copyright infringement, but it also creates duplicate content, which can ruin your site’s search rankings. Check to see if your site has duplicate content by using tools like CopyScapeSiteLiner and Screaming Frog.

 

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3. Strategically adjust your site’s navigation and internal links.

The way your site’s navigation is structured plays a major role in how search engines determine the importance of each page. Simply put, the more often a page is linked to within your website, the more PageRank flow it has and the higher it will rank in search engine results pages for relevant queries.

Most webmasters and business owners; however, have no idea how their internal link flow is structured and are often surprised to learn that unimportant pages or ones that never stand a chance rank high in search-engines results (like contact pages) are cannibalizing the majority of their site’s PageRank flow. This offers major opportunities for improvement with relatively minor effort.

To optimize your site’s navigation, internal link structure and PageRank flow, start by auditing these elements using a tool like SiteLiner or Screaming Frog.  Next, use special noindex code in these pages to tell search engines to not index these pages and add nofollow code for all links to them, in order to preserve PageRank flow. This causes an effect similar to shutting off a leaky water valve: It redirects PageRank flow to the pages that truly matter.

Be sure to index all pages that have duplicate content, such as category and tag archives, which are common in the WordPress content-management tool. You can use various WordPress plugins, such as Yoast SEO, to accomplish this easily. Be careful with these steps, though. Improperly using the index and nofollow attributes can severely decrease your site’s rankings if you aren’t careful and strategic. Let an expert do this if you aren’t absolutely certain about what you’re doing.

4. Optimize on-site elements across your site

While title tags are still important for SEO purposes, meta descriptions have lost their influence in the ranking algorithm. Meta descriptions do, however, provide a perfect place to put some marketing talent to use, through the creation compelling copy that attracts clicks from the search results page.

Title tags and meta descriptions should be present on each page of your site and should be relevant and optimized. Too short or too long titles and descriptions can harm SEO efforts, so it’s best to conduct an audit of your site to identify any large-scale issues with these elements. Other on-page elements that factor into the ranking algorithm include H1 tags, content length, internal and external links, ads, bullet points, images, and text formatting.

5. Optimize your site’s load speed

A site’s load speed is a factor in search engine rankings and it also affects the rates of converting visitors to customers. Amazon calculated that a  one-second increase in page-load speed would cost a company $1.6 billion in lost sales per year. Other studies have shown 40 percent of website visitors abandon a site that takes longer than three seconds to load. Still, most business owners or webmasters fail to put enough effort into optimizing their site’s load speed.

Start by checking your site’s load time by using a tool like Pingdom, which will give you a breakdown of each element and how long it took to load. Use the resulting information to optimize images or pieces of code that are causing long load times. Upgrading your web host from a shared server to a dedicated or virtual private network (VPN) setup can significantly reduce load times, too.

6. Don’t buy links. Earn them.

Because the quantity and quality of inbound links have a significant impact on a website’s rankings, the temptation to buy links on other sites is strong. But link buying and selling are against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Additionally, search engines are now very good at detecting suspicious, manipulative or unnatural links. The result? If you buy or sell links, your website’s search engine rankings could fall significantly. Save your money and instead spend it on creating content that will earn or attract inbound links on its own merit.

7. Be natural

If you feel like you have to wedge a keyword into a sentence, you’re approaching SEO with the wrong mindset. Whereas keyword density was a popular concept five years ago, it’s irrelevant now. Instead, focus on creating content that your readers will find valuable.

If a sentence sounds unnatural because you’re trying to optimize it for search engines, change it. Search engines are cracking down harder than ever before on keyword stuffing, so such tactics are likely to cause your rankings to fall and annoy anyone who tries to read your content, killing your credibility.

You don’t have to spend money on an SEO expert to dramatically improve your search visibility. Simple steps can achieve major SEO boosts. In the end, SEO is all about improving the usability and user experience of your website. Any change that makes your visitors happier is likely to make search engines happier. So SEO is really about making people happy and that should make us all happy.

If you have a web site, blog or online store, SEO can help your business grow and meet the business objectives. Search engine optimization is essential to your business.

 

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3 Website A/B Testing Tools

A/B testing is becoming more and more common as teams realize how important it is for a website’s success.

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Web is a huge, competitive marketplace with very few (if any) untapped markets, meaning that being successful by offering something unique is rare. Much more common is that you’re competing for the business of your customers with several other websites, so attempting to convert every visitor into a customer or upselling/cross-selling your services better could make all the difference to your bottom line.

Due to this, the market for A/B testing tools and CRO (conversion rate optimization) tools is growing exponentially. But choosing one can be quite a time-consuming challenge, so in this article, I’ll compare the best A/B testing tools to help you decide which is most suitable for you or your team.

A/B testing is about experimenting with visual and content changes to see which results in more conversions.A/B testing often follows usability testing as a means of testing a solution to a flaw in the user experience identified using metrics like bounce rate in an analytics tool like Google Analytics, and thanks to the depth and quality of A/B testing tools available now, A/B testing is accessible to designers as well as marketers and developers.

 

1. Optimizely

Optimizely is one of the leading — if not the leading — A/B testing and CRO tools on the market today. It offers analytics tools to suit users of all levels and a multitude of A/B testing tools. (You could think of it as the Google Analytics of A/B testing, with a much simpler user interface.)

Consider this scenario: You have an eCommerce store built with Magento. You’re aware that in certain cases it may benefit stores to add a one-step checkout solution instead of the standard multi-page checkout, but you’re not sure if your store fits that use case. You need to test both options and compare the results with/without the one-step checkout experience. You know that running two versions of the checkout simultaneously requires changes to the code, which is a complex matter.

With Optimizely, you can send a certain amount of your users to a totally separate checkout experience to collect conversion data. If the experiment yields negative results, you delete the experiment and the original checkout web page still exists and works fine. No harm was done.

With their Web Experimentation tool, which offers an easy-to-use visual editor to create A/B tests without requiring a developer (optional), the ability to target specific user types and segments, and create experiments on any device, Optimizely has all your bases covered.

Although you can run A/B tests without a developer, your variations can be more targeted (for example, your variations can go beyond color, layout and content changes) if you have the skills and/or resources to develop custom experiments with code. By integrating your A/B tests into your code, you can serve different logic and test major changes before pushing them live.

Also, if your product extends beyond the web, Optimizely works with iOS, tvOS and Android apps. Optimizely’s Full Stack integrations make it possible to integrate A/B tests into virtually any codebase, including Python, Java, Ruby, Node, PHP, C#, Swift, and Android.

2. Google Optimize

Google Optimize is a free, easy-to-use tool that integrates directly with your Google Analytics Events and Goals to make A/B testing quick and easy! It’s ideal for traditional A/B testing, focusing on comparing different CTA (call to action) elements, colors, and content.

Developers aren’t required for implementing Google Optimize since it’s as simple as adding a line of JavaScript to your website and then customizing your layout with the visual editor. With this, you can change the content, layout, colors, classes, and HTML of any element within your page.

It’s not as sophisticated as Optimizely, since it doesn’t allow you to create custom experiments with code/developers, but it’s free. It’s great for those starting out with A/B testing. For each Google Optimize experiment, you’ll need to specify which Google Analytics Goals or Events will be the baseline for your A/B tests. For example, if you were A/B testing a product page, you could use an “Add To Basket” event that you’ve defined in Google Analytics to evaluate which of your variations converts the best. The Google Analytics report then gives you a clear indication of which variation converts best. It’s ideal for those on a low budget!

Just don’t get carried away, as Google famously once did, by testing 40 different shades of blue to see which converted best!

3. Unbounce

Unbounce focuses on landing pages and convertible tools. Convertible tools use triggers, scenario-based overlays and sticky bars to A/B test offers and messages to learn when, where and why your visitors convert. An example? If a user tries to leave your site, they’re shown a discount code in a modal or a sticky header, and a test will determine which is more effective.

Landing pages can be an amazing way to validate your ideas, build excitement around a new product, and/or re-engage dormant customers. The problem with them is that they can result in false positives. If you get very few conversions you may feel like your idea is invalidated or demand for the new product doesn’t exist, when in reality users were just unimpressed and/or unconvinced by the landing. Unbounce helps you to determine what your landing is missing.

While you can choose from over 100 responsive templates designed for many markets, goals, and scenarios, and then customize it with your own content using their drag and drop UI, you can also integrate Unbounce with your own design, making a terrific solution for designers and marketers who need to collaborate. Unbounce also works with Zapier and Mailchimp, so data can be transferred across the other apps and tools that marketers use.

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Author: Jamie Murphy
Source: sitepoint.com

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