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SEO

10 Advanced SEO Tips & Techniques You Need to Know

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The beating heart of search engine optimization hasn’t changed much over the past year: you still need to:

  • Focus on creating valuable content.
  • Build high-quality links.
  • Prioritize semantic search as you do your keyword research.

However, some of the changes – such as the introduction of mobile-first indexing and the way Google now utilises real user data to assess page performance – have made a significant mark, and they’re only going to get greater as time goes on.

If you want to stay on top of Google’s ever-changing algorithm, you’ll need to learn these 10 advanced SEO tactics and techniques.

1. Prioritize Your Mobile Site for Mobile-First Indexing

You’ve probably been following Google’s transition to mobile-first indexing since it began in March.

Hopefully, you’ve also avoided the numerous misunderstandings about what mobile-first indexing entails and how it affects rankings.

To set the record straight once and for all, you don’t need a perfect mobile site to be king of the hill when it comes to mobile-first indexing (or the SERPs).

And just because mobile-first indexing is here doesn’t mean you should forsake SEO for your desktop site.

When it comes to this modification, keep the following in mind:

  • Mobile-first indexing is here. That is, if your site has both a desktop and a mobile version, the mobile version will be indexed and ranked higher than the desktop version. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will in the near future. There is no option to “opt out.”
  • There’s never been a better time to build a responsive site. If you know your audience uses mobile then it’s time to take the leap!
  • Do not use intrusive interstitials. Just don’t. They’re not user-friendly, and even if Google isn’t cracking down hard on them yet, that change may soon come.
  • Create content with mobile in mind (without sacrificing value). That means avoiding any formats that have issues loading on mobile devices and keeping all of the material from your desktop site that helps it rank (shorter mobile sites may look great, but they don’t always rank as well).
  • Create a responsive site. If your site hasn’t migrated yet and you’ve been thinking about going responsive, it’s the best moment to do it.
  • Make good use of “overwhelm-proof” methods. Hamburger and accordion menus won’t hamper indexing and they’ll often improve user experience (especially on mobile devices).

Remember, the less hurdles you can remove from Googlebot’s path to your mobile site, the better.

To be safe, examine your server log files for crawling problems on a frequent basis.

2. Optimize for Speed

Yes, mobile page speed became a ranking consideration for the first time in 2018.

But what impact did this have on the SEO industry?

To find out, my Link Assistant team did an experiment before and after Google’s notorious Page Speed Update to see what factors impact real-world Google ranks.

The studies revealed that, for the time being, page speed has no impact on rankings – but that the optimization level does.

With the new (and improved?) PageSpeed Insights tool, you can analyse both your page speed and your website optimization.

This tool currently assesses webpages based on both:

  • Optimization quality (“lab data” backed by the Lighthouse tool).
  • Loading time of real users (“field data” derived from real user metrics of Chrome users taken from CrUX report data).

I’m sure Google is vigorously testing all the factors, and we will see a lot of changes quite soon.

Keyword Hero is required to unlock (not supplied).

In GA, you can see all of your organic keywords as well as their individual performance data. A free trial is available. You have the option to cancel at any time. Professional assistance is available. Setup time is 4 minutes.

For the time being, ensure that your site is well-optimized:

  • Run regular technical site audits and fix problems.
  • Follow Google’s recommendations for possible optimizations. You can get those right in the PageSpeed Insights tool.

3. Leverage Google’s CrUX report

One of the more significant developments we witnessed in 2018 was the move to CrUX-based Real User Measurements (RUMs) on November 12.

While it isn’t now a big factor in SERPs, I wouldn’t be shocked if Google began to rely more heavily on “field data” rather than “lab data.”

What makes this data difficult for SEO experts is that, if the industry does transition to RUMs, it will be almost hard to discover this data using local tests, making it difficult to optimise for.

The good thing is that the CrUX report is open to the public, so you can go at all of the information you need: device and connection types, page loading times, and so on.

All you need is a Google Cloud Platform project that allows you to view the CrUX public project page.

You may access the raw data gathered by Google for your site and modify your approach depending on it if you have some basic SQL knowledge:

4. Get More SERP Space

With so many changes to Google’s front page over the years, who knows what the future holds for SERP stalwarts like local packs, advertising, knowledge panels, and answer boxes.

We can only rely on the fact that organic search results are continuously changing.

For example, the Hotel Pack has recently undergone significant changes, including a new filtering mechanism and four results rather than three:

So, how can you get traction in this turbulent search environment?

Here’s where you should begin:

Land Featured Snippets

I know highlighted snippets have been there for a long time, but their worth hasn’t lessened.

Featured snippets are still shown above search results (and, sadly, they’re still difficult to obtain and even more difficult to maintain over time).

So, how can you get your sample featured?

  • You create content with ranking keywords around questions (questions you know your audience wants answered).
  • You format your content snippet-wise (in paragraphs, tables, lists, etc.)

It’s also interesting looking into this Stone Temple research, which revealed that depending on the market, different formatting approaches had varied success rates:

While it isn’t a certain way to get to number one, it appears to perform well for a variety of definitions (just watch out for answer boxes on queries that provide actual dictionary definitions).

Use Schema

While schema markup won’t earn you a highlighted snippet, it can get you a SERP feature (or several).

Go to Google and experiment with the searches you want to rank for, aside from the actual schema implementation.

  • Study which SERP types are pulled with these queries.
  • Find out which spaces are occupied with your content and ask yourself whether you’re satisfied with what they feature.
  • Also (and perhaps most importantly), look for the gaps your content can fill in.

5. Think of Videos as the New Content King

Video may have killed the radio star and now it looks like it’s eyeing the written word as its next victim.

That’s a joke — please don’t stop writing content entirely!

However, 2018 is the year that we learned:

  • People watch an average of 1 billion hours of video content on YouTube every single day.
  • YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine.
  • Videos increase dwell time (the average mobile viewing of YouTube videos make up more than 40 minutes)
  • They occupy lots of space in SERPs. Plus, according to the study by STAT, the number of video carousels in Google SERPs has nearly doubled:

And, lest we forget, videos are a phenomenal way to boost engagement.

Here’s the best place to start making and optimizing videos for your audience:

  • Make short brand videos and product demos.
  • Create educational videos on how to use your products or services.
  • Run live broadcasts like webinars or interviews.
  • Add relevant metadata (shorter titles, rich descriptions) and transcripts for videos for Google to fully understand their intent(s).
  • Go for exact keyword matching (this is still a thing on YouTube).
  • Fill in keyword tags, as they are used for recommended videos.
  • Upload videos to different popular platforms: YouTube, Wistia, Facebook, Vimeo, Instagram, etc.
  • Submit a video sitemap to search engines.

Also, remember that the demand for how-to videos on YouTube is growing by 70 percent each year.

Final Thoughts

I’m excited about the next year. I believe that this year will be even greater for video content and micro-influencers, and that social listening will become more essential than ever.

But, whatever the future brings, don’t lose sight of the fundamentals. In your quest of the current SEO craze, don’t forget about tried-and-true SEO tactics.

At the same time, don’t be scared to take a fresh approach to challenges – who knows, maybe you’ll be the one to create SEO trends in 2020!

Need help with getting your business found online? Stridec is a top SEO agency in Singapore that can help you achieve your objectives with a structured and effective SEO programme that will get your more customers and sales. Contact us for a discussion now.