Essential Website Optimisation Strategies for 2019
In this day and age, “build it, and they will come” design mentality doesn't cut it.
Websites aren't static entities that attract traffic by some stroke of chance.
Google takes into account over 200 factors to determine your ranking.
You need to make an active effort to cut through the immense noise in search results.
This is done not by gaming, but appeasing the internet powers that be.
The good news is you don't have to sweat every single one of them.
After all, some carry more weight than others. Spreading yourself too thin not the way to go.
Instead, get familiar with the basics of SEO.
Work hand in hand with developers, marketers, and other experts to initiate a game plan. This joint effort is your business lifeline in a digital era.
Here are some tried and tested strategies to rise above your competition.
Prioritise User Experience
When building a site, user experience (UX) should be your guiding light.
It has a profound impact on various metrics, including bounce rates, session length, and conversions.
Thus, UX makes or breaks the success of a website.
A good place to start is research. Learn more about your target audience — its preferences, wants and needs.
Furthermore, make sure to adhere to various best practices.
For example, users must be able to find what they are searching for nice and easy.
This is to say you have to make your site easy to navigate and your content accessible.
While going about these tasks, leverage design elements to capture your brand essence and evoke emotions.
Notice minimalist design is a safe bet here. It removes visual clutter and features a clean layout.
This means it preserves functionality while also offering some visual flair.
Mind the Site Architecture
The second crucial task is to establish a clear hierarchy and structure of your website.
This isn't considered optional anymore, as it benefits both users and search engine crawlers. It's a real win-win.
So, do your best to organise your topics and content.
The process revolves around aligning directory structure and URLs with the page and file structure.
Additionally, you want to deploy your keywords strategically.
This process is called keyword mapping, and it brings form and order to information you feature online.
Notice it also helps to put together a sitemap.
It forces you to observe your website through the content lens.
What is more, you gain a clearer idea of how to funnel visitors and deliver real value to them.
Improve Site/Page Speed
How fast your site loads has a direct impact on ranking and conversions.
We live in times of diminishing attention spans.
It's estimated that a majority of visitors (53%) move on if the page takes more than three seconds to load.
You should try to be under that threshold.
Otherwise, you risk losing traffic to your competition.
Improving your site speed should become a priority if you want your users to stay and convert.
There are many ways to make it happen.
For instance, use free online tools to see how you hold up compared to the industry average.
To step up the game, reduce the number of HTPP requests for different parts of the page.
Compress files to trim their size and group common files together.
Minimise DNS lookup time and improve server response time.
Have as few redirects, heavy pieces of code, and plugins as possible.
Carry Out Mobile Optimisation
Google's open-source initiative Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) represents a seismic shift in the SEO world.
It has ushered in a new era of mobile-first indexing.
All websites in existence have to do mobile optimisation or risk harsh ranking penalties.
Days of having only desktop versions of websites are numbered. Mobile is the new king, and its reign is going to be long.
Hence, as a designer, you have to use mobile-responsive layouts to ensure smooth browsing experience across smaller screens.
More specifically, scale your text, images, videos, and other media. Ensure links are clickable and loading times quick.
Moving on, avoid elements such as oversized pop-ups that occupy too much precious space.
Rework long-form content, which doesn't translate that well into the mobile realm. These steps will enable you to score massive SEO points.
Do Some Tracking for Good Measure
One component that is lacking in many strategies is proper evaluation.
This is a terrible mistake because SEO is all about consistent and data-backed improvement.
Therefore, figure out what key performance indicators you are going to measure.
The volume of organic traffic is certainly one of those metrics you cannot afford to neglect.
Moreover, regardless of your specific choices here, bear in mind some basic rules always apply.
Namely, the data your process should generate actionable and reportable insights.
Secondly, you need to conduct periodic SEO audits to assess your optimisation efforts.
There's no shortage of excellent tools at your disposal, such as this amazing rank tracker.
It's ideal for ongoing monitoring and establishing if you are on the right tracks.
You can also check other free tools to detect various issues and faults. Do your homework!
Get on Top of Technical SEO
While auditing a site, you are bound to encounter the technical side of SEO.
This can be quite an intimidating experience for many designers.
You can reap many benefits from focusing on technicalities a bit more. The checklist is long and requires your undivided attention.
Start by inspecting pages for status code errors or those in robot.txt.
Eliminate duplicate title tags, alt tags, and meta descriptions. Fix broken links— they only impede UX and hurt your ranking.
Don't forget about monitoring the index bloat and the crawl waste.
Understanding how those two factors can influence your rankings and learning how to prevent them from hurting your SEO is crucial.
You can use Google Search Console to mend any site indexing problems.
Lastly, examine your content to identify underperforming posts. Grasp the “why” behind this poor state of affairs.
Maintain all these different cogs, and you will make your site run like a well-oiled machine.
Brace Yourself for Voice Search
Voice search is the future of SEO.
Studies reveal that by 2020, it will power the bulk of all search queries.
The infrastructure is already in place to support this rising trend.
We are talking about virtual assistants like Siri and Cortana. They can recognise natural language and find answers online.
What does this all mean for you?
Well, you might want to prepare for the advent of voice search sooner rather than later.
Most importantly, see to it your content is easy to read and comprehend from a linguistic standpoint.
Try to maintain a conversational tone and design a FAQ section of the website.
Consider longer keywords that fit the way people talk (instead of type).
Maximise your domain authority and trust to attract more visitors.
Rely on Great Content
Quality content remains one of the most powerful SEO tools we have. It's the real meat of your website.
You need to tell compelling stories, move to action, and solve people's problems.
Lay the foundations for this endeavour by assembling a content hub, which serves as a resource centre.
Fill it with an amalgam of informative, entertaining, and useful content.
At the same time, avoid thin and generic pieces. Research what some hot and trending topics are.
Make the most of visual content, which is making waves everywhere we look.
Enriching articles with images and videos bring more clicks and other interactions.
Of course, the trick is to do it without impeding website speed or overwhelming users.
Finally, promote your posts with social media marketing: this should allow you to drive more traffic your way.
Get Smart with Link-building
White-hat link-building is the mainstay of any winsome SEO strategy.
Google uses links as a major ranking factor and has become adept at weeding out spammy links.
This means quality easily trumps sheer quantity.
There are several tactics worth pondering here.
Remember that the previous strategy (content) will also yield links over time.
This is especially true if you add a blog section to your website. Trust us: it's a long-term investment well worth making.
Similarly, you can create resource pages that are a real backlink magnet.
Alternatively, do guest posting to earn links organically, fair and square.
Always stick to trustworthy and reputable websites. Build meaningful, mutually-beneficial relationships with them.
On the other hand, avoid black-hat link-building like plague.
Show patience and look beyond immediate financial avail. Rewards wait further down the road.
The Proposition is Clear: Shape up or Ship Out
Ranking algorithms are becoming increasingly sophisticated and so must your optimisation strategies.
If you really mean business, SEO cannot be a mere afterthought.
Arm yourself with technical knowledge and join forces with developers, marketers, and other professionals.
Together, you can charge to the forefront of SERP.
The only issue is the amount of ground to cover.
You cannot expect shortcuts and easy fixes. You may need to revamp your website and marketing strategies.
To navigate this maze, focus on key workings that make a good website.
Understand how and why users search for information, products, and services.
Add real value to their lives with a steady stream of quality content.
Optimise for mobile devices and upcoming voice search.
Once you sort these basics out, feel free to explore other SEO avenues.
Allocate your resources and attention where they matter the most.
Dominate organic search in 2019 and beyond!