One of the biggest challenges in SEO is measuring impact — we know what matters (or doesn’t matter) until the rules of the game have changed. And when they do, we’re all scrambling to find a baseline again. One of the most important elements of SEO is it helps you rank better on search engines.
Here are the five SEO recommendations that we’ve consistently seen make a positive impact in SEO’s ever-changing world.
1. Structured data matters
A short explanation of why structured data is helpful is that it tells crawlers (search engine bots) what there is within your page. If you are not familiar with this, you can follow this helpful Structured Data guide to get you quickly up and running.
Structured data makes it faster and easier for crawlers from Google and other search engines to understand the information within each website page, making it a powerful (but often misused) tool. If applied correctly, it will make quite a positive impact on your pages.
2. Page freshness
Your page’s freshness is determined by multiple factors, but something as simple as having a date on a page is one of the easiest ways to indicate to Google how fresh your page is. This applies to blogs and news, but it’s also relevant for product pages related to dates, such as event sites.
If you think about page freshness from a user perspective, it’s easier to understand why it matters so much. When you obtain search results that have an old date, such as articles, depending on the subject, you might consider them less relevant than if they had a recent date. Search engines know this too and have the ability to differentiate between fresh and old content whether it has a date or not.
Another relatively easy task is to go through web pages and blog posts and make sure there are not OLD date references. Having done this for several clients, we found after the update, we observed improved ranking on SERP (search engine results) results, which doubled impressions and CTR.
Page freshness matters for any industry, and while dates are helpful, your content freshness should always reflect and target what users are searching. Here are a few other things to consider if you think you may need to refresh your pages:
- How often have you conducted keyword research in the last 18 months and updated your page’s content based on keyword results?
- Are you featured on SERP results with dates, and if so, how old are these dates?
- Luce Media’s Google Certified team can do this for you.
3. Internal linking (still matters)
The right balance of internal linking is never a straightforward answer. However, not having too many links on one page can make a positive impact.
For example, linking to all categories from your homepage could be the best user experience or the fastest way for crawlers to discover your pages, but it will also impact the amount of equity the page is sending to all the pages it links to.
Balancing internal linking is definitely an important ranking factor because it will dictate how users and search engines discover your pages.
4. Title tags
Changing your title tags and finding out if they made a positive impact can be quite difficult to prove. We’ve tested this many times for clients in different industries, and changing a title has always changed (positively or negatively) the amount of sessions pages were getting.
How you change your title will depend on your page type, so there is no absolute rule on what to change a title to. Here are some ideas:
Include the year in the title, which also signals freshness.
Here is an example I made up:
Original title: “Book a Trip to Hawaii Now | [brand name]”
Changed title: “Hawaii Trips 2019/2010 | Book Now | [brand name]”
Include the lowest product price of the page, for example:
Original title: “Cheap Flights to Hawaii – [brand name]”
Changed title: “Cheap Flight to Hawaii from $400 – [brand name]”
We also tested the following changes, which had a negative result in terms of the number of sessions:
- Adding the number of products for sale on the page to the title tag
- Adding emojis to the title tag
What you change your title to will depend on many factors, so a year or price might not help in your case. However, if some of your category pages have seasonal products or your industry competes heavily on prices, adding the year — or date, if applicable — or a price in the title could be quite beneficial.
5. Obtain backlinks
One thing that consistently helped our clients to obtain external links is creative pages — not shocking. These are usually interesting articles or campaigns related to the business, not commercial pages (pages that are just trying to sell something), and they end up obtaining quite a lot of coverage from different sources and, subsequently, external links.
Building successful creative pages are not easy and won’t guarantee that an increase in any specific amount of backlinks, but it’s one of the safest ways to obtain organic backlinks. The process can also be quite expensive for big pieces, but we’ve also experienced a positive impact with more lightweight pieces on a smaller budget.
If your budget is on the modest side, you can still create a great piece. Here are a few tips to achieve that:
- Think about the data you have collected and what insights it might have for users who do not have access to it: can you spot trends and patterns that could be interesting for a wider audience?
- Surveys: you can certainly reach an audience to ask questions on a topic you want to create a piece of content for. If you can’t reach an audience for free, you can do this cheaply through paid surveys and collect your data this way.
- Hire freelancers: there is a lot of great talent you can scout on sites like Upwork to help you create a visually enticing piece
- Know your primary campaign goal
- Do not expect short term — focus on the long term strategy
- Measure results with multiple tools
Wrapping it up
If you’ve been able to measure an impactful SEO change that consistently helped your clients, please share your experience in a comment below.
This was posted originally at: https://moz.com/blog/5-seo-recommendations