Hey guys, welcome to another episode of SEO On-Air. I have an interesting question for you guys today. If we publish a post in 2020 stuffed with tons of keywords in it, do you think it’d rank well on Google? The answer would most probably be “no.”
Google has gone beyond keyword stuffing, and the on-page SEO landscape has completely changed. There are lots of advanced techniques that have come in. To talk more about it, we have Mr. Cody Jensen with us today.
He is the founder and CEO of SearchBloom. It is one of the leading digital marketing agencies in the US. He started his career with Google and work with several digital marketing agencies before. Let’s begin our discussion on the in-vogue SEO tips to rank on Google smartly.
Senthil: Could you share a few tips that would help us in advanced SEO techniques?
Cody: Sure. Fifteen years ago, you could stuff a page with keywords and rank. The Google algorithm has substantially evolved over the past three years. One tip would be to making sure that your website is mobile-friendly. The majority of traffic nowadays happens to come from mobile devices, and by making sure a website is responsive to all kinds of devices, you can create massive opportunities from small and large businesses to get in front of their core audience.
In addition to mobile optimization, you also want your website to be loading quickly. If a user needs to wait for more than 3 seconds for a web page to load, they are going to bounce and find another result page. Therefore, a big part of advanced SEO techniques would be site speed as well.
Senthil: What would be the tip number 2?
Cody: Sure, one thing you can do is to make sure your content is more readable, kind of having a conversation rather than just a bunch of information that’s listed out. Certainly, you want to have that type of content framework. Make sure your content is readable; I recommend using a content rater like Clearscope. It helps you to break down the content into layman’s terms so that people can get it and keep on reading.
That will increase the time they spent on that page, and Google will realize that users are interacting with it is more than other result pages in the SERP, and that’ll give you a bit of a leg up when it comes to your rankings. So again, increase your content readability via a few tools like Clearscope is recommended.
Senthil: Awesome. It’s good that you’ve touched upon the content readability part because you know, you have written a beautiful blog post on our website, which is more like a definite checklist, right?
So guys who are listening to this, if you’re not able to recollect what we are talking about, we’re going to link out to this particular post that Cody has written on our website. It’s a very comprehensive list. You guys have to check that out.
So yeah, we have so far covered the mobile speed, the mobile-friendliness, the site speed, and the content readability stuff. So what is step number three?
Cody: When a small or mid-sized business doesn’t have an in-house marketing team or an SEO team, they first go to their site on WordPress, Squarespace or Wix and publish information. Then they go to learn SEO and realize that they need to add keywords in URL.
When they stuff keywords in URL, it becomes 100 characters long or more. Google wants you to have concise URLs. It doesn’t mean you can’t have long URLs. But the structure should have your target keywords. If you are an e-commerce site, your URL should have keywords in the category level, sub-category level, and product level. So ideally, you are trying to keep your URLs SEO friendly by keeping them concise but also adding the target keywords to them.
Senthil: Awesome. What would be the next one?
Cody: Yeah, and another tip that I would recommend would be your meta titles and meta descriptions. When you write a page in a paper in college or school, you have to give that paper a name, you have to provide that subject matter with a name, and you want to be very descriptive with the title of that as well as the introduction or the description. It’s the same thing with a webpage.
Think of it very much like a coated version of a word document. You have to have your target keywords within the title. Otherwise, you’re never going to really rank for those target keywords because Google sees that meta title as one of the primary ranking factors of that individual page.
So beginning your page with a particular keyword brings you a little bit of click-through rate opportunity as well, and then selling them on why they should click through via your meta-description allows for a chance to increase your CTRs.
Senthil: I think a lot of people overlook title-descriptions because they believe it’s too basic. But actually, they are still powerful, as you mentioned. So what’s next?
Cody: Cody: Well, the next thing would probably be the variations of your title tags and meta descriptions. When I say variations, for example, say I’m an attorney, and I’m licensed to practice law in Utah, which is where SearchBloom is, and let’s say I specifically want to target Salt Lake City here in Utah. I would probably want to put that in my title tag, right?
Then you would put that consultation information in the meta-description to get that click-through rate. The title itself is called a geo modifier. So when you add a geographic location to your meta title tag, that allows you to be hyper-relevant to your core audience.
Senthil: Right. Well, that’s an interesting tip. There are so many different ways that you can modify your title tags. Sure, geographically is one way, but you can also add character symbols to entice click-through rate. Another tip would be publishing long-form content.
So adding modifiers should definitely help. What’s tip number six?
Cody: Now, in order to publish long-form content, you must start with a content wireframe or some sort of content framework where you have your bullet points, your targets, your keyword research, and then you go into describing each of those in depth. You don’t want to use too much technical talk there, but you have to, in some cases. You also want to wrap that with some information that is for the layman as well.
So long-form content is as crucial. Obviously, this would be housed under the blog. It can also be accommodated under your service pages. If you’re a service business like us, our local SEO service page, for example, has over 5,000 words. That’s a long-form piece of content, and it ranks fairly well. We’re on the first page of Google.
Another thing that I would mention is, is incorporating latent semantic indexing. That’s a really tough term for a lot of folks to understand. But just to break it down, it’s more or less very similar keywords to your target keywords. So if local SEO is one of my keywords, I would start using a tool to help me understand what some similar keywords to local SEO are.
I like to use a tool called LSI graph.com. It’s a free tool for everybody, and you can go in and type in your keyword, location, and your language and get all kinds of different keyword variations. Using latent semantic indexing allows you to be more topically relevant. You want to use these latent semantic indexing keywords to describe the topic.
Senthil: Times have really changed, probably ten years back, you’d be focusing on a keyword, write a few hundred words about it, and get away with such thin content. But these days, Google is really smart. It can quickly figure out if a piece of content has been made just for the sake of ranking on Google. So I think this actually triggers one more thing, Cody, the EAT guidelines, am I right?
Cody: Absolutely. Google BERT’s instructions around EAT are very critical to ranking a piece of content or a webpage or a domain. So in order to do that, you want to be authoritative and comprehensive with your content. Back in the day, as you mentioned, we could publish a couple of hundred words with optimized title tag and meta-description, and you know, you’re targeting one keyword.
Well, nowadays, because we’re so vast and comprehensive with our content, we have ranked pages for not just a thousand keywords, but tons of thousands of keywords, and they rank very, very well. But that again takes an experienced SEO to go in and make sure that your title tag is optimized, not just for one type of keyword, but also many others as well. The way that you do that is by incorporating your LSI keywords within the body of the content within your H1 tags or your heading tags, and so on.
Senthil: So is there anything left to share in the tank?
Cody: Oh yeah, we’ve got lots in the tank. This is just the beginning. We’re scratching the surface right now. The next tip would be links. Internal links are links that are coming from one of your pages to another one of your pages on your website.
You want to have internal links from your long-form blog posts that are getting quite a bit of traffic. You want to use what we call the middleman method to get your users to go to this long piece of content and route them to you.
Senthil: So, now that we have this long-form content and interlinking done, what more do we have?
Cody: Well, a lot of people don’t know we call users nowadays as skimmers. Frankly, because users will come to a webpage, even if it’s long-form and they’re going to skim your content, if you have a webpage that’s 5,000 words, 10,000 words, you know, they’re not going to read that entire thing in one sitting. They might bookmark it and come back later and try to use that information to the best of their abilities and continue to consume it.
However, in order to really get people’s attention and guide them through the content, you want to use images and media, as they will help users see what you’re trying to describe in words.
If you’re adding a ton of screenshots or media or images to your long-form piece of content or blog post, those images can be huge. So what you want to do is optimize your images. We love to use a tool called tiny PNG. If you’re on WordPress, they have an API, it’s really great, and it can automatically update your images and optimize them. That allows your page to load faster.
We don’t consume content in 4k right now, and you don’t need to have that high-quality image to convey what you’re trying to convey. If you’re on WordPress, plugins like WP Rocket enables lazy loading images, so it doesn’t load the image until the user gets to it.
Senthil: Great. So that should be a great starting point for people. So we have covered a bit about optimizing the images and a couple of more points as well. So, now what more could you recommend?
Cody: Again, we could go on and on, but I want to be as concise as possible so that it’s digested appropriately by the audience. So, tip number nine would be to do an internal link audit using a tool called Screaming Frog. If your website isn’t larger than 500 URLs, it’s absolutely free.
If you have a bigger website, it’s still not very expensive. screamingfrog.co.uk is an amazing crawler. It’s a bit more advanced than some others. It does have a bit of a learning curve, but basically, you plug in your domain, and you can see any of your internal links within your website and all the rest URLs.
It will also tell you which URLs are broken. A broken URL provides a bad user experience because if someone clicks on it, they go to a 404 page. The tool will help you fix that issue. It’ll also allow you to provide a proper link and pass authority from that particular page to a page that you want to pass it to. That’s going to be a big help when it comes to the UX and overall authority of your website.
I would also throw in that you want to make sure you’re linking out to very trusted sources, and citing them. You don’t necessarily have to make these links do-follow, but in a lot of cases, you certainly can. This allows you to be more authoritative. I would make sure these links open in a new tab so that your page still remains open so that they can quickly go back to it.
Senthil: Oh, my God. It’s like a lot of things out there. What is that final tip that’s out of your box?
Cody: My final tip is don’t overthink too much. If you have quality content, quality title tag, and description, you’re going at the end. If you spend a lot of time and energy on building a comprehensive piece of content on your website, and you have your title tag optimized, you have your heading tags optimized, you’ve leveraged LSI, and you’ve added well-researched keywords to your page, the next step here is to share it on your social media channels.
In fact, in a lot of cases, you can boost that post on Facebook and Instagram to get a bit more shares, a bit more likes, a bit more signals coming from the social platforms. One thing that’s totally underutilized nowadays is Pinterest. Now, it doesn’t work for every business, but it can work for a lot of them.
When you’re sharing posts on your Facebook page, you’re actually boosting that post to your core audience. You’re going to get shares, likes, and these individual shares will actually help boost your audience and get you more readers. The more people that you capture, the more opportunity you have to get more inbound links to that piece of content.
It’s not the number one important thing to do, but I would say it’s a cherry on top for you to be able to leverage your network, social profiles, and social audiences to get more engagement on these pages. Again, Google really likes social engagement.
Senthil: Perfect. So, that sums up pretty much it. Thank you so much, Cody. It’s been, it’s been a pleasure to have you in our show. A lot of interesting insights, a lot of key takeaways for people to note down. Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
Cody: You know what, based on the information that we’ve shared today, these are on one level, SEO practices. There is so much more to search engine optimization, but if you carry out these tips and tricks in your SEO strategy, whether you’re doing it as a business owner or whether you’re doing it as a brand manager or marketing manager, these things will have a positive impact on your SEO success and organic ranking results.
As you, uh, go through the checklist on the Stan ventures blog, I recommend going through it in its entirety because there’s a lot more of these advanced techniques that you can apply to your own SEO campaigns.
Senthil: Absolutely. We’ll be linking out to that blog post that Cody is referring to so that you guys can check that out. Cody, once again, thank you so much. Have a great day. Bye