Five SEO Solutions
Don’t Be Grim – Solve The Problem
Google and the other major search engines want to provide the best user (searcher) experience they can achieve. They depend on us (website owners) to create a valuable and excellent user experience. If we don’t the search engines respond by presenting our site lower down in the search results. This may be grim but you can solve the problem. Don’t let your website be escorted to the website graveyard by the Grim SEO Reaper.
Here’s what you can do.
First, decide what do your visitors want?
People want information that helps them. They want information that helps solve a problem or helps them come to a conclusion. People want to gain insights quickly and easily. You are the same. Think like your visitor and make everything valuable and easy for them.
People also like to be entertained. Educate and entertain simultaneously and you will really have something people want and enjoy. They may even like it so much that they will share it with others!
Next, how do they want it?
You have some choices when creating content. Text is always fine but do you display paragraph after paragraph of text with no white space or no image or graphic to break it up? Do you display a paragraph of text when a bullet list may be better?
How about a video to liven things up?
Would you want to read for 15 minutes to get what you need or watch a 1 minute video?
You want to select a content format that helps to make your content interesting and exciting. Also, consider how delightful content helps to gain in-coming links. The major search engines love to see in-coming links as they know that your content is so valuable that others link to it.
Then, what do people dislike?
Here are some items that I think people dislike.
- Unattractive page layouts
- Dated formats and design
- Uninteresting content
- Low levels of content variety
- If people are using a mobile device then they dislike a site that is not mobile friendly
Finally, how do they show that they dislike it?
If the major search engines see that people leave your site quickly and return to search again then they know that your site is not worth presenting and guess what – the search engines don’t present it.
You can anticipate being penalized by users in the form of a high bounce rate (visitors leaving quickly) for the following issues:
- Weak content
- Unfriendly and dated website design
- Uninteresting and boring content
- Too many ads (that people don’t want)
- If they are using a mobile device on a site that is not mobile friendly
If your bounce rate is high then this could lead to a lower position in search as well.
If you are not achieving the search position that you need maybe one of these items is the problem.
Here are some common issues along with ideas for solutions.
1. Your Website Isn’t Optimized for Keyword Search
You want your content to be optimized for specific keywords. That does not mean maximized. You want the ideal keywords and a number of keyword categories. You do not want the biggest collection of keywords. You do not want to stuff your website with keywords. If you do then Google will penalize your website or blog. However, if you leave them out you are neglecting one of the simplest ways to increase organic traffic.
One way you can end up with a lower search position is if your headers and other key text are part of graphics. A graphic cannot not be analyzed by the search engines as well as text. If your keywords are not embedded in a graphics then it’s a copywriting issue. If your keyword phrases are not being incorporated into your site then it is a clear sign that you need a new copywriter. Keyword optimization by your copywriter should come as standard.
In order of importance, your target keywords should appear in:
- Page title
- H1 and H2 header tags
- Meta description
A word to the wise: Today, Google doesn’t care that much about keywords. Rather, it cares about meaning.
Let examine a case for B&B located in Woodstock, Vermont. It doesn’t matter that you used the phrase ‘Woodstock Area B&B’ exactly several times throughout your website. Write for “meaning”. You could use the phrases ‘B&B in Woodstock’, ‘Charming Woodstock Inn’, ‘A Fine Place to stay in Woodstock’, ‘Lodging in Woodstock’ on different pages, and Google will (theoretically) put you in the perfect keyword category for your business.
Google now focuses on the ‘meaning’ and it is crawling for meaning (semantic search). Once you establish a position for the higher search volume keyword phrases then start working on the long tail keywords.
Use your most important keywords in the title and meta description. Consider using your most important keywords or something similar in the H1 and/or H2 tags. Use synonyms in the body content.
2. You’re Repelling Spiders
If you leave Google to its own devices, it might not crawl you for weeks. If Google is not coming often you can bet on sliding down the slippery slope of search position. Moreover, your newly optimized site isn’t moving up because Google hasn’t noticed it yet. This is a problem!
Google uses the data that spiders report to rank pages in search. Not being crawled means your search rank doesn’t get updated. Additionally, being crawled infrequently is a symptom of poor search rank because this means that Google has noticed that you don’t update your site very often and concludes your site is not fresh. One way to move back up in position is to start publishing more frequently. Fresh content is valued by the search engine spiders.
You want to entice the spider bots to crawl your site as often as possible. Before you take any action determine how often they already do visit under Crawl Stats in your Google Search Console. Make a note of this so you can determine how much impact your actions will have.
Here’s how to attract spiders to your site:
- Check server function. Slow load times and unreliable servers incur SEO penalties and discourage frequent crawling. Make sure you are hosting your site or blog in a top-performing hosting environment.
- Update your site frequently. This is an important function of your blog. Google applies the SEO benefits of your blog to your entire site. Create SEO value by attracting the search engines to your blog content.
- Get more inbound links. Human follow these links and spiders do too!
- Ask Google to crawl your site. Use Fetch as Google in your Search Console’s Crawl menu. Put the URL to any of your pages in the box and Google will crawl it.
- Keep your search engine sitemap updated and error-free.
3. Your Content is Weak
If your content is poorly written, too short, uninformative, or duplicated, Panda will chew you up. Remember that Panda is the Google algorithm that seeks out weak content in order to banish it from the search results. This affects not just your low-quality pages, but your entire site.
You won’t be notified about algorithmic penalties. Panda does not communicate in this way. However, know for sure that weak content does not rank high in Google. Therefore, your first insight that something may be wrong will be your low search position or your low the time-on-site metric and/or a high bounce rate for your content.
Ask yourself this question: Is your content the best result that a searcher could find? If you don’t believe in your own content then why should Google?
Critically review your content. Use Google Analytics to see which pages are not appreciated by your visitors. Consider content experiments for entry pages that have high bounce rates. Look for ways to increase time-on-site.
- Rewrite and enhance your content
- Add graphics or message enhancing images
- Consider a video or ways to increase the variety of content
Aim to have all your content as good as the top-ranking pages for your target searches. That’s the floor, not the ceiling.
4. Too Many Ads
Google does not like sites which offer the user a barrage of ads. Websites that keep their content under a huge array of banners, ads, and other non-user-oriented material do not fare well. Google may bury them!
If users to have to scroll past ads or if you have more ad content then actual content Google will conclude that your site is not designed for users but rather advertisers.
This problem is easy to detect. There’s no mystery. If you have a site or many pages with multiple ads at the top then don’t expect to rank high.
Design an excellent user experience. Cut out some of the ads or restructure them to be lower on the page or on the side.
5. You’re Immobile
Google gets half of its traffic, as well as half the views on YouTube, from mobile devices. Google, therefore, wants to please its mobile based searchers and so should you.
If your site isn’t good with mobile, it’s not good with Google. People want mobile sites and it’s in any site’s best interest to be mobile-friendly. Just like other algorithm penalties, this isn’t about pushing things in a certain direction; it is about a focus on the user experience in search results.
You know if your site is mobile-friendly or not. Mobile-friendly also means fast load times. When your site loads slowly for people on a mobile device it is not a good experience. Why should Google display your site above others that are more mobile friendly? Also, if people have to scroll right and left rather than just up and down then you have not created a proper user experience for a person on a mobile device.
Consider a responsive website design. A responsive design will look great on a desktop and on a phone. Most modern website design is responsive. Stay up on the technology for the sake of your visitors and to maintain or improve search position.
If you’re not ranking for the searches you’re targeting, maybe you need an SEO overhaul. Perhaps the problem is your design or your link profile, or you might need to look at copy and content.
Whichever approach is needed – and it may be more than one – the best way to get good results is to build with a user-first focused approach with an emphasis on quality content and quality links. Make the user experience a priority. If you approach your SEO with the user in mind then Google won’t penalize your website or blog and you’ll reap the benefits of higher organic search rank and a lower bounce rate. Your visitors, Google and you will be much happier!