Search engine optimization is an ever-changing field. While SEO started out as a marketers game, it has become a developer’s game in 2017. With machine learning and algorithms becoming more complex, SEO is definitely more technical in nature than any of us could've imagined. As a former web developer of many years, I welcome this change to the more technical realm, but the downside is that it excludes others who are not so tech-oriented.
That being said, there are practical things you can do to boost your SEO without becoming a developer:
Deliver a Great User Interface (UI)
For a long time user interfaces have been given a back seat when it comes to SEO. Since Google’s now famous “Mobile-geddon,” UI is happily riding shotgun in any progressive SEO strategy.
Testing your UI is as easy as looking at your mobile site. For example, nobody likes popups that block your site on a mobile device, or any site that is difficult to use. Anything that makes the user experience better helps your Google ranking and boosts your SEO.
“I Feel the Need, the Need for Speed”
Tom Cruise may have had a “need for speed” in 1986’s Top Gun, but your website needs it even more in 2017. Programs such as Google AMP highlight that the quicker a site loads, the better it will be treated search results.
Whether it’s simply making your site run more quickly, or even implementing AMP itself (which can easily be done using a WordPress plugin), there’s no excuse for not pursuing your own need for speed. If you’re no longer using Hubspot or that cool new analytics package, get rid of it. Everything we ask the browser to render leaves users hanging and waiting. The more we ask our users to wait, the less they will.
Understandable and straightforward analytics are key to understanding how your site is performing. Data makes the world go round, so make sure to have analytics on hand to track down site problems, or ways you can be doing things better.
A great way to keep key stakeholders happy is to give them access to the right digestible and easy to use data. There is a marketplace for aesthetically pleasing and highly functional dashboards and other custom reports that are prebuilt and can be easily customizable with a few tweaks.
A good analytics program can be like a dog: a person’s best friend but one that doesn’t need to be taken for walk. The main issue I see organizations deal with is analysis paralysis. We have all this data, but what do we do with it? Pick only three or four key metrics and measure the same ones over time, such as time on site, conversions, or overall organic traffic to the site. If you’re looking to keyword optimize a certain page for a certain thing, then monitor the specific page’s organic traffic over time.
Social Media Tuning
There’s no point in having a website if no one knows where to find it. This is where social media tuning is important. As social platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and others become more vital to people, it is equally important to have a vital social media presence. Keep your social medial fine-tuned to include regular updates and customer engagement so that your customers not only know you exist, but what you are up to and where to find you as well.
Unless you're in the cannabis industry, don’t let the grass grow under your feet. Spread out your social media amongst the platforms, and keep an eye on any new or emerging platform. This way, if, for example, Facebook makes a change that cramps your style, you don’t want to start from scratch with the next platform and lose revenue in the interim. Constant tuning is constant innovation.
Be More Secure
With the current White House recently signing a law allowing ISP’s to collect and sell your browsing data, internet privacy and security should be at the top of your mind more than ever. What has that got to do with SEO? Well the best offense is a good defense.
Google now warns people that sites the they're visiting are not secure. While Google has not come out and promised to punish site’s search results for not being secure, it's conceivable that day may be on the horizon. Google doesn’t want to return results that cannot be trusted, and SSL is the easiest way to build that trust. If you don’t use it already, move to using an SSL certificate now to make sure your site is not sitting in the penalty box.
All of these strategies and much more can be found in my newly released book The SEO Battlefield: Winning Strategies for Search Marketing Programs, available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and OReilly.com.