Okay, we’re a couple of months away from 2023 now. Are you planning any New Year’s resolutions?
At LSEO, a lot of us swear we are going to start eating better, but it’s a little hard to do that when Pizza Fridays are considered are a foundational part of company policy.
As bad as we might be at this whole “healthy living” thing, though, we’re just as good at SEO. If your New Year’s resolutions for 2023 included improving your businesses’ digital SEO strategy, then you’re in luck.
Below, I’m going to spill the beans on five of the most important aspects of SEO that every company should be paying attention to in the coming year.
Even better, because I like you (yes, you specifically), I’m also going to provide a few helpful insider tips to make your business bigger, better, and more profitable than ever!
The 5 Best Ways to Improve SEO
Core Web Vitals
What They Are: Core Web Vitals are a set of three metrics, each one measuring an important aspect of a page’s user experience.
LCP, or Largest Contentful Paint, measures how long it takes for a page’s content to load. FID, or First Input Delay, measures how long it takes for a page to become fully interactive, i.e. how long it takes to respond to a user’s inputs. Finally, CLS, or Cumulative Layout Shift, measures the visual stability of a page and how the layout is affected by user interactions.
Why They Matter: Having good Core Web Vitals is indeed vital. Why? Well, for one thing, they ensure a fast, response, and smooth user experience. Research (and common sense) shows that a good user experience keeps visitors on your website longer, which ultimately translates to more conversions. Pages with poor Core Web Vitals tend to frustrate users, causing them to leave your site and take their business elsewhere.
Beyond that, the most powerful and popular search engine in the world, Google, has explicitly stated that it uses Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor for web pages, which means that the better your Core Web Vital performance is, the higher your page will show up in search results.
What It Is: An empty web page is a blank slate. The content is you put on it is the real meat and bones. Everything that appears on a page is content: text, pictures, videos, links, etc. This content is what Google and other search engines “read” in order to determine what a page is about.
Optimizing content, then, simply refers to crafting your page content in a way that makes it as clear as possible what the page’s purpose is, what kind of information it contains, and what kind of users Google should show it to. Optimized content also helps drive conversion by demonstrating value to users and prompting them to make a purchase.
Why It Matters: Content is king, as we’ve all heard a hundred times by now. And it’s true! Good, informative, and optimized content is still the number one element in attracting consistent web traffic and turning visitors into customers. Detailed, natural, and well-written website content not only helps users find your brand, but also tells search engines why your page should be considered an authority on a given subject.
Optimizing content by including specific keywords helps a page appear in SERPs when users enter certain queries. Inserting internal links to other pages on your site reduces bounce rates while boosting the rankings of the rest of your pages. Accompanying your text with illustrative images and videos makes your content easier for users to scan and understand, increasing the likelihood of them sharing it with others, and it makes a page more attractive and engaging to search crawlers. These are countless ways of optimizing content for SEO; these are just a few.
What It Is: If you’ve ever Googled a competitor’s business (admit, we’ve all done it), you may have gotten a search result that does more than simply link to the company’s home page, but also includes pertinent information such as their hours of operation, customer review scores, their contact information, and more. Why doesn’t Google do that for your business?
The answer is “structured data.” To put some very technical ideas into decidedly non-technical language, the basic gist is this: structured data uses schema markup to help search engines index pages more precisely, and to display the content of those pages in search results as rich snippets. In other words, it is code that you put on your website that tells Google to include certain key pieces of data when you come up in user searches.
Why It Matters: Although structured data isn’t overtly a Google ranking factor, it still plays a large role in increasing a page’s SEO just by virtue of how efficient, convenient, and attention-grabbing it is, both for users and for web crawlers.
Utilizing schema markup to generate rich snippets for a page increases clicks by drawing user eyes to your link, rather than those of your competitors. By providing valuable information upfront, it legitimizes your businesses in the perception of potential customers while also catering to their specific needs. This, in turn, creates more traffic to your site. An improved click-through rate tells Google to rank your page even higher, which creates more customers, ergo more revenues. And so on, and so on.
What They Are: In contrast to internal links, which are links to one of your pages from another page also on your site, backlinks are links to one of your pages from someone else’s site.
Oftentimes, backlinks are “natural links,” meaning that they are created by a blogger or webmaster completely independent, without any prompting from you. You don’t have to depend solely on the proverbial kindness of strangers, though. You can also earn “manual links” through a variety of SEO strategies, including resource link building, broken link building, link gap analysis, guest blogging, HARO participation, and more.
Why They Matter: Backlinks are one of the most important elements of effective SEO for a number of reasons. First and most obviously, backlinks direct users to your website, which not only increases the possibility of conversion, but also helps build brand awareness and enhance your reputation as an authority on whatever subject the link relates to.
Second, backlinks are one of the key ranking factors that search engines use when evaluating pages. Every backlink your page gets from a high-quality, non-spammy resource is considered a vote of confidence. Backlinks tell search engines that other trustworthy websites look to your page for answers, which communicates to crawlers that you offer meaningful value to potential searchers.
Design & Structure
What It Is: There’s an old saying that goes “cleanliness is next to godliness.” If nothing else, that’s certainly true when it comes to website design, where simplicity, speed, and easy navigation are paramount concerns.
Both the visual and structural design of a website affect how a visitor interacts with it, and it also communicates your brand identity. What are the most important products or services you offer? What kind of information are your customers looking for on your site? Once you know the answers to these questions, you should build your site in a way that puts these things front and center.
Why It Matters: While web design and development might seem superficial in comparison to some of the other items we’ve discussed thus far, nothing could be farther from the truth. In reality, good site structure and design is a critical, bedrock-level puzzle piece for ensuring that your web pages are fully optimized for both users and search engines.
Search engine crawlers are programmed, in part, to “read” pages in a way that emulates actual human beings. Cluttered and confusing site design annoys users, and if they can’t find the information they’re looking for, they’ll just look somewhere. Likewise, a convoluted and elliptical site structure is more difficult to crawl, diminishing a search engine’s ability to understand your page. If a crawler doesn’t understand your page, then that page will struggle to rank for relevant searches.
Do You Need Help with Your SEO Optimization Plan?
Each new year brings with it a fresh crop of challenges and opportunities. In business, this typically translates to a need to attract more customers and increase revenues. And when it comes to the digital marketplace, that means making sure your company’s website is where users end up whenever they perform a search for the kinds of products and services you sell.
How many factors affect a page’s SEO rankings? Let me answer your question with another question: how many stars are there in the sky? Today, I told you about five of the biggest factors that impact SEO, but they’re not the only ones. Search engines like Google and Bing are constantly refining the way their web crawlers read, rate, and index websites.
That’s why, here at LSEO, we make it a top priority to stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in SEO and other forms of digital marketing. We’re always working to improve ourselves so we can help you improve your business.
Get in touch when you need us!