Changes to Google’s search engine algorithm have occurred at a breakneck pace since Verti Group International a.k.a SEO Seattle® (VGI-SEO) first opened its doors back in 2008. What worked perfectly in 2008 will likely fail you today. With hundreds of ranking signals recognized, you will need to keep your ear to the ground and know what works and what doesn’t in today’s SEO. We are Seattle SEO experts, and we continue to keep our clients consistently maintaining their most crucial of top search rankings and overall online visibility of their published content, throughout shifts in the Google search algorithm.
Before you use any SEO strategy, it’s crucial that you understand how Google’s algorithm works. If you’ve used a Seattle SEO agency in the past and had subpar results, it’s likely the agency lacked the expertise needed to succeed. Because of our experience as small business marketing Seattle professionals, we know what factors and signals Google values most.
“My most valued of all SEO tools is the official Google Guidelines”.
How can VGI-SEO help you take your small business marketing in Seattle to the next level? In today’s post, our Seattle SEO experts offer some tips from things we’ve learned during the past ten years at the top of Google’s respective search results.
Publish Quality Content
Back in the day, you could rank a webpage with what can easily be defined today as “garbage”, filler content as long as you stuffed it with your keyword of choice. This was back when the algorithm lacked the nuance to detect valuable content that readers want to see. These days if you want the same result, you need to take the time to craft high-quality content that is relevant to your search term and to your readers.
For your content to rank, it must…
- Be optimized for your search term. Rather than “stuffing” the content with keywords until it’s barely readable, strategically place the keyword in spots where it fits.
- Be valuable to the reader. Your content simply must contain information the reader wants, or needs, (and wants) to know. Bonus points if the piece of content is entertaining.
- Increase dwelling time (time spent on page) and lower the bounce rate.
Here’s what many SEOs (incorrectly) assume: High-quality content = Long form content. This is only partly true.
Here’s the truth: High-quality content = content that fulfills the search intent of the user. When users type a search term into Google, the intent is to find information relevant to their search.
So, when crafting content, follow these tips:
- Conduct thorough keyword research. Yes, contrary to what some SEO experts are saying, you still need to do thorough keyword research for your content to rank. Look at competitors and see what terms they’re ranking for. Find keywords that have a decent search volume and a high clickthrough rate.
- Leverage rich snippets. Rich snippets give searchers a preview of your content before they click on your URL. The snippet could show photos, your ratings, or the most important points from your content piece. Rich snippets will help you rank because they provide value for the reader, increase your clickthrough rate and lower your bounce rate.
- Create content people want to read. How well do you know your target market? What problems are keeping them awake at night? What information can attract them to your site? Answer these questions and you’ll have content your target audience will want to read.
Improve User Experience
Are visitors frustrated when they enter your site? Does the site take forever to load? Can people find the pages they need? If the answer to these questions is “no” your rankings are likely suffering. Google cares about how the reader interacts with your site. A poor user experience (UX), and you’re almost guaranteeing a high bounce rate and low dwell time. As a small business marketing Seattle company, we’ve helped numerous websites improve their UX to elevate their rankings. When users type a search term into Google, the intent is to find information relevant to their search. As a small business marketing Seattle company, we’ve found that fine-tuning the UX can really improve your rankings.
Properly Structure the Site Architecture
Take out the content, images, fonts, colors and what you’re left with is the site’s structure. It is one of the most important factors that influence your site’s ranking, but it is often overlooked by webmasters. Strategically designed site architecture can do the following:
Give your site links a boost. Sitelinks is a listing format within the SERPS that show your main page as well as other internal pages below the main page. Sitelinks are powerful because they quickly point users to the important pages on your site, they improve clickthrough rates, and improve how users navigate through your site. All of this will help you rank better in Google.
Your site will get crawled better. The job of the Googlebot is to crawl your site to find pages on your site and index them so they show up in search results. When your site is properly structured, you make the Googlebot’s job much easier. When your site is not optimized properly, there is a possibility that the bot won’t find all your pages.
Help users navigate better. By creating a stronger site architecture, users can better navigate and interact with your website. As a Seattle SEO agency, we’ve helped numerous clients upgrade their site architecture from poor to great.
Optimize Page Speed
Is page speed a major ranking factor in 2019? Yes and no. If your page doesn’t load, users will get frustrated and bounce off the site. With that said, having the fastest load speed won’t necessarily mean you’ll get the best ranking. Recently, one of Verti Group International’s SEOs conducted some research regarding page speed. He found that page speed is NOT a direct ranking factor. Rather, it is an indirect ranking factor. One consideration leading us to this conclusion, was the search results when searching Google for highly competitive terms similar to “Seattle Property Management”.
Consider the following URLS and their speed scores from the SERP in order of appearance:
https://www.seattlespropertymanagement.com/ = 54
https://www.rentseattle.com/ = 56
https://www.northpacificpropertymanagement.com/ = 67
https://www.davispropertymanagement.com/ = 85
http://applepropertymanagement.com/ = 92
The URLs with the highest speed scores were found on the bottom of the page, while the results with the lower speed scores were near the top. This doesn’t mean that slower speeds perform better, nor does it mean that you shouldn’t care about the page speed. This simply means that page speed in the opinion of VGI, is seen to be more of a USER factor—not a direct ranking factor. On the other hand, AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is seen by VGI-SEO to be a direct ranking factor. Again, our findings are supported by our own in-house research and some respected third-party research.
We recommend that you keep your pages as fast as possible, while also looking at other factors that influence the user experience.
As one of Seattle’s most respected SEO experts, we continue with our 10-year tradition for having our pulse on the industry by staying up to date with both minor and major changes in Google’s algorithm. While the average Seattle SEO expert is focused on tactics and tools, we’ve learned that as long as you provide value and exceptional user experience, you’ll likely rank for your intended search terms.
Are you in need of a true Seattle SEO expert? VGI-SEO can elevate your websites spot in the SERPS, and it’s overall online visibility? Verti Group International is a small local business marketing and superior Seattle SEO company that can help you reach your goals. Contact us today to learn more about our A+ rated SEO services.
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