Look, SEO is not going anywhere.
It's been around for decades, and it plans to stay so for generations to come. Better you get better at it now or watch your competitions race past you in the coming months and years.
Hello and welcome to this blog on how to squash SEO in 2023.
Whether you're an SEO consultant, website owner, blogger, webmaster, digital marketer, or regular business owner, you'll find here tips and hacks that will benefit your website's search engine rankings. So, I suggest you read until the very end.
Why does SEO still matter in 2023?
Before we go into the business of the day, it’s important to answer this question to quell any doubt anyone may have regarding the importance of SEO in today’s disposition.
According to expert research company Pew Research, “on any given day online, 59% of those using the Internet use search engines.”
Then there’s another stat from the same outlet saying that "98% of all internet users use a conventional search engine at least once a month.”
All these points in one direction: search engines are still a crucial part of our everyday internet experience.
If that is true, then there's no need to argue about whether or not you need to get serious with your website SEO. The search engine is still vital, and SEO is the only way to rise on any search engine platform. 1+1, they say is 2, right?
Ok, good. Now, let’s get back to business.
7 well-thought-out strategies to squash SEO in 2023
- Get ruthless with on-page SEO
On-page SEO is that nobody in the hood likes to play with one child. You read tons of articles online, and you only see it being mentioned sparingly.
Well, I understand why most blogs don’t like talking about it. It’s the complex half of SEO, and maybe sometimes, it gets too complex for people to comprehend.
I've chosen to start with it anyways. I feel it's the most important bit in this race to rank #1 on Google.
So, what exactly is On-page SEO all about?
I love the way Moz defined it. In their words, “On-page SEO refers to the SEO elements you control on the webpage, or the webpage code, itself.”
If we dissect that definition, that would mean optimizing the following factors to get your site on Google’s first pages.
- Headlines and headers
- Image optimization
- Title tags
- Meta description
- Structured data
- How to optimize site Content:
Google identifies good content as one that 'supplies a demand' and one that's 'linkable.'
By supplying a demand, we mean they give priority to those sites whose content provides the best value (the reason why Wikipedia, Wikihow, Forbes, Nerdwallet, etc., rank so well in their categories). By being linkable, we mean they expect other sites to link back to your post. They believe that if your content is unique, good enough, and of great value, others in your industry will link back to it.
The best way to create the kind of content that satisfies Google is to cover a topic in as many details as possible. In other words, break the topic into bits and touch every possible aspect. If possible, touch those aspects your competitors have missed.
Based on experience, you’ll need not less than 1,800 words for your content to satisfy these conditions.
If you can’t create content that long, hire an SEO agency to help you out.
- How to optimize Headlines and headers
Only Use One H1
Optimize your headers for featured snippets
Use keywords in your Header Tags
Use keywords in subheadings. ...
Optimize For Featured Snippets. ...
Use interesting and attention-grabbing language in your header tags.
- How to optimize site images:
Reduce image sizes
Use relevant, descriptive keywords in image file names
Use alt tags
Use relevant, descriptive keywords in the image title
Add image structured data
Only upload unique images
Use images that complement the site content
- How to optimize the meta description
Prioritize using the primary keyword in the meta description
Keep keyword close to the front of the title
Let meta description showcase benefits for readers
Keep it short (50 to 60 characters is enough)
Write unique page titles for each page
If applicable, use your brand name
Told you we were dissecting On-page SEO better than the rest; see that now? Anyways, let's proceed.
- Invest good money in technical SEO
There's another form of SEO called 'technical SEO.' It is an aspect of On-page SEO that's why you don't hear about it separately. But here, we've chosen to discuss it separately.
Because we feel it bears a special mention.
So, technical SEO refers to your efforts to ensure a site is crawlable and indexed by search engines. In short, things you do to make Google notice your website.
What exactly are those? They include:
- Site security: Making sure your site has HTTPS (i.e., that padlock icon beside a site URL in a web browser)
- Mobile optimization: 60% of internet searches are done on mobile gadgets. So, making sure your site is optimized for this exact purpose is important to make Google notice you.
- Kicking out plagiarism with StudyCrumb's Plagiarism Checker (Plagiarized content will make Google notice you, too, albeit for the wrong reasons)
- Improved site speed. The faster a site loads, the more likely it is that Google will notice it.
- UX: User experience is key to higher rankings. The more comfortable a site is for users, the less likely they are to bounce off (low bounce rate). And the lower a site's bounce rate is, the higher its rankings on the SERPs.
- Working links: Error 404, forbidden, page not found, etc. All these are bad for SEO.
- XML sitemap: Making sure your site has an XML sitemap is a big plus, as it ensures Google can find and crawl your site pages.
- Enable AMP: AMP ensures your site loads almost instantly. You can score a great point with Google if your site has this.
- Add structured data markup: This guarantees that Google understands the content on your site.
- Register your site with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
We titled this subheading 'invest good money…' because technical SEO elements are not things you can DIY. You need a professional SEO company to help you out. Or can you DIY your site’s mobile responsiveness? Errmmmm… Didn’t think so.
- E-A-T like your life depends on it
No pun intended. Once you’ve gotten your On-page SEO efforts right, the next line of action (in no specific order) to consider is the concept of E-A-T.
In the SEO community, E-A-T means Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.
These are the three factors Google considers to determine a site's ranking on the SERPs. Essentially, they're trying to tell you that to rank high on the SERPs, you need to showcase your expertise, prove that you're an authority in your niche, and then affirm you can be trusted.
So, how do you do that? It’s quite simple if you ask me.
- You can showcase expertise by including your bio on your site or at the end of a blog post. Normally, your bio would showcase your status, network, awards, achievements, and everything else that makes you a credible voice to speak on the subject.
You can showcase expertise by creating a high-quality article. The higher the quality of an article, the easier it is to convince someone (and ultimately search engines) that you know what you’re talking about.
You can showcase authority by getting quality backlinks. That is, getting popular, relevant blogs and websites to link back to your site. The greater the domain authority (DA) of a site linking to your content, the more authoritative you look in the eyes of search engines.
You can showcase trust by checking the first two boxes discussed. If you can successfully demonstrate your expertise and prove your authoritativeness, it won't be hard for people to trust you. Just look at Neil Patel and Brian Dean in the digital marketing industry.
- Embrace the idea of internal links
Yes, it’s beautiful to have people linking back to your site content. Nothing beats that. However, sometimes, you just gotta link back to yourself.
This act, which is called internal linking, ensures that Google finds your web pages. To put it simply, internal linking is good for Google indexing.
But that’s not all.
This special SEO effort makes it easy to match your anchor text with the target content. If you’ve ever tried to link content to a third-party site, you’ll understand how impossible it can be (sometimes) to get the right anchor text that matches the content exactly.
With internal linking, however, it’s easier to ensure this. You simply pick matching content from one of your web pages and link to it.
- Find out about search intent and get serious about it
Do you know what search intent is? It's the intention of someone performing a Google search. Different people have different search intents.
And as such, Google prioritizes results that match specific intents. For example, there’s a difference between the search intent ‘How much does the best waterproof pants cost?’ and ‘what are the best waterproof pants.’
Yes, both topics target the same keyword, "best waterproof pants," but the intents are clearly different. If you just go ahead to write about this keyword because Google Keyword Planner told you it's a rich keyword without considering search intent, you may struggle to rank for it.
In the first case scenario, Google will show searchers articles that focus on pricing information. Why? Because clearly, those searchers want to know about the prices of waterproof pants. For the second group of searchers, expect to find articles about waterproof brand names and types.
In short, a big part of any SEO endeavor is to understand search intent. Once you do, it becomes easy to create the best content to rank for.
- Use LSI keywords extensively
Once upon a time, the way to squash SEO is to stuff your web pages with relating keywords. Nowadays, if you try that, not only will your page not rank high on the SERPs, but you’ll also be penalized.
Back then, those who practiced the act argued that keyword stuffing helps search engines better understand what their content is about.
Google and others no longer need loads of keywords to understand what a site is about. They need LSI keywords instead. What are those, you wonder?
LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords refer to phrases that relate to the main keyword(s) or talking point of web content. With LSI, search engines can get a good idea of what any web page is about.
For example, if you want to create a blog article on the topic, “How to win at sports betting,” your LSI keywords will be words like wagers, sports, gambling, stake, odds, bookies, bookmakers, name of sport (e.g., football, tennis, horse racing, etc.), bankroll, rollover, spread bets, moneylines, etc.
When you use LSI richly in your texts, it will be almost impossible for Google to miss the context you’re trying to target. Very impossible.
But then again, SEO isn't for everyone. You should look to hire an SEO company that can help you craft content using the right LSI keywords.
- Get a better bounce rate
Wikipedia defines bounce rate as the percentage of visitors who enter the site and then leave ("bounce") rather than continuing to view other pages within the same site.
Clearly, a high bounce rate shows that visitors aren’t satisfied with a site, while a low bounce rate indicates the opposite.
Expectedly, Google places so much emphasis on this metric, giving preference to sites with low bounce rates on its SERPs. You, too, can get on its good side by observing the following bounce rate culture.
- Improve user experience, navigation especially.
- Enable site responsiveness, mobile especially
- Prioritize site speed above all else. Slow loading pages will turn people away.
- Fewer words, more visuals. Human beings are visual creatures. Therefore, visuals tend to capture their attention quicker. Embrace images, videos, memes, and infographics.
- Ensure the most important info appears closer to the top of your pages
- Integrate a clickable table of contents on your web pages, especially blog content.
- Do some A/B testing
No one article can cover every tip you need to squash SEO. You’ll need a book for that. However, we hope this will help you launch your SEO journey in 2023.