The one main thing I’m always trying to do with my website is improving my SEO score so I get higher rankings in Google. It’s proven, higher rankings means more click through rate, and will generally make you more money if you sell products.
My website is/isn’t very niche, it’s an Automotive based website which has repairs, but I use it more as a professional representation of myself for showcasing my knowledge and skills whilst using some additional money to top up my earnings and some pocket money for projects. I didn’t design this site for money however, I designed it to share knowledge for people wanting to fix their cars. I could never find it when working on mine. The main thing that impresses me however, is that over the years, I have managed to develop this website (a personal non business one), into a popular site which drives traffic towards my keywords in Google and gives me good rankings.
Anyway, onto the show for improving SEO scores for your website, the techniques I’ve learned, I’m researching or tips and discussion why it’s needed. This article will be ongoing, so there will always be something new I’m adding to it or updating it. I’m by no means an expert, so feel free to reply to give me advice and tips on improving scores.
Topics you should consider researching and reviewing if you want to improve your SEO scores in my personal opinion and why
User retention and analysis is key to identifying ways to improve your website. Ever heard of the “funnel”, basically traffic comes through your website and funnels down. If you get 100 users, potentially 1-10 of them *1-10%* of your users can be converted into something (such as a buyer, member, subscriber). So you lose a lot of people you can’t convert. Having a Google Analytics account helps you improve retention because it allows you to optimise your website following analysis
Optimise it for Mobiles. My website gets around 70% mobile traffic now. So I focussed heavily on making it easy to read on a Mobile at the sacrifice of losing my menus. One step at a time. Secondly focus on speed, I absolutely hate a slow loading website, and if your user can’t see the information they want quickly. It’s another drop out, page has to load in 1-2 seconds. That means minimal ads, pop ups, or windows. This is why my website is primarily static HTML with pictures only. It gets the point across, and I’ve created sections which are slower loading (for now) such as my store and my blog for further discussion on detailed topics.
If you plan on having a Multimedia based website, make sure it’s content rich that will drive traffic towards your website. Having a Youtube video embedded into the website really helps with traffic. This also depends on your niche and target category. I’m looking at embedding videos in my articles as it’s driving traffic to me then from Youtube.
Social Media is key in this day and age. It’s all about brand awareness when it comes to improving your SEO score for your website. No point having a brand if there’s no way for people to talk about it. A lot of my website traffic initially came via my Youtube channel. Over the years this has decreased due to competition on Youtube, and because I stopped making videos. I still get traffic from it however. Going off topic here, I used to be an affiliate with Youtube. Which at the time was rare and if you got this membership you were privelged because they didn’t hand them out much. Then about 2 years later, they changed it so that every new member who joined Youtube was instantly an affiliate who could make money on their videos. This is where Youtube died, because everyone started making videos to try and make a quick buck and flooded the market so more people got interest. I’m looking at starting up again, but using my knowledge to improve as Youtube is a key sector. If you want to focus on brand awarness for improving traffic, personally I’d recommend the following (Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Website, Facebook). Make sure you have a couple of those to go through and your bound to get traffic that points to your website. They’re all great for traffic so anything what boosts visibility of your site is good for identifying you on the www. One point to note however, you can quickly get a reputation: Good OR Bad. As quick as you can build one up, it can quickly be destroyed. People will always remember something negative
GOOGLE TAG MANAGER
I personally didn’t even know about this thing, but I’m looking more into it now after finding out what it is. Basically you can create tags, variables and events tracking which likes up with Metrics dashboards (e.g Google Analytics) that allow you to perform detailed analysis on where your traffic comes from, what they’re doing. If you run a commerce based website it’s good because it allows you to optimise it for more money
The days of simply dumping keywords on your website are frowned upon. Those people who say they can get you to #1 in Google, I suggest you check their portfolio as proof. There’s no point in simply spamming keywords in the pages of the website. Google generally tends to look for relevancy too. My website for example has VERY high rankings in Google for certain keywords relating to Volkswagen (example “VW Oil Warning Light“), if you search this in Google, my site will normally be somewhere in the top five. This is why when you look at blog posts on my website, ones like this have 10000+ views, because I’m getting large amounts of traffic from Google. This is why it’s important to get relevant keywords. You could spam my website with VW all over and it wouldn’t generate much results, one specific group of keywords however and my blog article exploded with traffic. I’ll delve into this later, but you can do analysis using Keyword Analysis tools and sites. This helps you identifying your niche to use
I also recommend keeping an eye on your keywords. I have an Excel spreadsheet which contains all my keywords that I’m currently analysing, and additionally the ones I want to “Rank” for. These are keywords with large amounts of search volume, but insane amounts of competition (I won’t cover this part up, as it’s related to the context of my site but one of the most important words I want to rank for is the word “Volkswagen”). I don’t feel I need to explain how much competition I have here or the volume of traffic this search has. When I’m in the spreadsheet, I’m making note of any details I can find, search volume, keyword, ranking plus any additional things. This is why you need Google Analytics, it shows you all the keywords people are finding your website with. You need to optimise these keywords first because they’re the ones you’re getting traffic by.
I haven’t added this to my site yet, but have you ever typed a Keyword into Google and it comes up with a website then with a little search box for that website with a breakdown on articles? That’s what site search is, helps keep users on your website from bouncing as it makes them easier to navigate
SITEMAP / NAVIGATION
Pointless having a cool website, if you can’t navigate it, or Google can’t find he website. This is important, because there’s no way to find or reference your website if Google doesn’t know what’s on it. This file is a special file called Sitemap.xml – there’s various ways of making them. I used “Screaming Frog SEO Spider”. Great program, shows you all the broken links before you create the file, and relatively painfree. I’d like the pro version, but I’m cheap and only spend money when needed and work around the rest. So it’s one of those things on the back burner to buy at a later date. Free shout to the makers of this software however, it’s bloody good and I love it. For Blogs, you can use “All in one SEO”, it has a Sitemap creator which does it all for you. Once you gets the sitemap.xml files, you need to submit them to search engines (Bing Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console) so their bots can crawl your website and find the content. The Sitemap.xml file is how they find it, it shows them the links to the files and shows them where to find them. Like a digital directory / phonebook.
This used to be called something else, but I can’t remember it’s name at the moment. Search Console is where Google gives you a breakdown on your site performance, queries, rankings. It integrates well with Google Analytics allowing you to monitor the data better
This is normally accessible via your website host, but also another way of checking where your traffic comes from. It works the same way as Search Console / Analytics, but makes it a bit easier to read on the ey
I haven’t tested this yet, but I suspect https:// based websites get higher scores in Google. A lot of sites tend to focus on selling a product, so I personally can’t see why having a https:// website wouldn’t improve your score because it helps protect the user data
ADVERTISING / ADSENSE / AMAZON / EBAY PARTNER NETWORK (EPN)
OK, this isn’t really something you should do. If your site is popular enough however, it will generate you traffic and sales without adverts. For smaller websites however, it’s a nice little source of income which helps boost your profits. I just wanted to make a post on this with my own opinion. This needs a lot of experimentation. Personally I hate banner ads and think the way forward is text links. Why?
Well firstly, a lot of people now are using pop up blockers. So some ads can be blocked. Secondarily, having banners/visual ads on the website slows down the website because it calls from secondary sites and uses additional resources. Not good if you like speed on your website. Now this in itself is a trade off, because HTML 5 based ads seem to perform better (for me personally). Users tend to like things that grab their attention. Personally I think text links are the way forward, they don’t interfere with the users reading the page and keeps things to a minimum. Plus it allows your articles to flow better. Just some food for thought. It’s why I keep my ads to the bare minimum. I find them as annoying as everyone else. In terms of affiliates, EPN used to be the best for money. They’ve changed things now however so you don’t get as much. I haven’t explored with amazon, although they have (or did not sure) a 30 day cookie period. A lot of users tend to buy at a later date, so this is good for retaining the tracking. for Google Adsense, yeah, it’s OK, I’m starting to earn more money with it. I run alot of experiments as I’m trying to find out what works best with my website. Ideally I’d like to create direct affiliates with my website and cut out the middle man selling, I’d rather have a bigger percentage of the pie directly. This is better because I can promote products I stand by when working with people directly, where as with Affiliates I have to rely on them without actually knowing the product unless I’ve used it personally. This is why I tend to limit the links, I only tend to use affiliate links to product I’v eused myself, or ones I find good rankings for.
Search engines LIKE content. If you have a 5 page Website with information pages, and you have a competitor with 5 pages of information but a Blog. There’s a good chance the Blog will rank higher. This is because there is consistently new material that can be indexed. There’s only so much content that can be added when you have a static Website. The only way I can think of to increase your ranking with a static site is by having good quality backlinks, and lots of them. Static Websites are good however, they’re usually small in size and fast loading. You need to work on every tag and description possible. So if you have photos, make sure they have tags and descriptions with Follow links. The more the indexer can file the better. If you want to have a Blog but can’t think of what content to write, then how about as an idea using one to post latest information to your customers. Site news, or what new projects you’ve worked on. Each time you post a new project, it allows you to get potential traffic for more customers. So the more you post about your Business, the better the chance of it being found. Make sure whenever you post about them too, you add in tags. It makes it easier for your site to be found with search queries in Google
When you start getting into serious SEO Campaigns, on a more professional level. You start looking at more in depth analysis tools. These allow you to dig further into your Campaigns, and investigate where you’re striking gold in terms of SEO, and where your site is a sinking ship. They also allow you to carry out competitor research, and check features like SERP.
Most of the professional sites I’ve listed below. Normally you can get some form of Free Trial with the website and then you have to pay to use their professional features. If you have the budget for an SEO Campaign, it’s heavily recommended to buy a pricing platform
You can sign up with PAID analysis
SERanking is a website that allows you to sign up for a 14-Day Trial giving you access to most of their useful features. After this it becomes paid to use their featured functionality. Their cheapest plan is £23 per month. I enjoyed using their site on the trial features, because the keywords update often, so it shows you the ranking of them in Google. It also shows you ones which are featured snippets. I’ve had a few featured snippets and get really good traffic from them
AHRefs is another website, I’ve used this site, but the budget is well out of my league for a basic SEO Campgain. Their basic package is $99 per month. I would however highly recommend it if you’re planning on doing a campaign. I’ve used their site before and the level of information you get for analysis is unreal.