For many people SEO is a set of hidden tricks, performed only from some “SEO gurus” who know the secrets of Google. A few years ago, SEO was easier, as it was enough to create a landing page, add some keywords and build links, in order to achieve high rankings. Search metric is an important factor that counts in the ranking of websites.
Nowadays, SEO became more complex and difficult, as it is required to optimize several different aspects of the website. Here are seven SEO practices with which you can improve your search metric to rank higher:
Also Read: AdWords Ad Extensions For Conversion Rate Optimization
According to the MozCast Feature Graph, 6% of Google search results contain In-depth articles. While this doesn’t seem like a huge number, the articles that qualify can see an increase in traffic. Traffic may increase up to 10% after inclusion.
By adding a few signals to your HTML, your high quality content could qualify to appear. The markup suggested by Google includes:
1. Schema.org Article markup
2. Google+ Authorship
3. Pagination and canonicalization best practices
4. Logo markup
5. First click free – for paywall content
Improving user satisfaction
The experience of several SEOs hints that the effect of improving user satisfaction may be larger than we realize.We know that Google’s Panda algorithm punishes “low-quality” websites. We also know that Google likely measures satisfaction as users click on search results which in turn improve your search metric.
“… Google could see how satisfied users were. … The best sign of their happiness was the “long click” – this occurred when someone went to a search result, ideally the top one, and did not return.” – Stephen Levy in his book In the Plex.
The idea is called pogosticking, or return-to-SERP, and if you can reduce it by keeping satisfied visitors on your site, many SEOs believe Google will reward you with higher positions in search results thereby improving your search metric.
Pixel for pixel, video snippets capture more search real estate than any other type of rich snippet, even more than authorship photos. Studies show our eyes go straight to them.
Unlike author photos, video snippets are often easier to display and don’t require connecting a Google+ account. Video snippets generally require creating a video XML sitemap and adding schema.org video markup.
To simplify things, many third party services will take care of the technical details for you. One of them is Wistia, which creates a sitemap and adds schema.org markup automatically.
Scoring the coveted author photo in Google search results doesn’t guarantee more clicks, but getting the right photo can help your click-through rate in many results.What makes a good author photo? While there are no rules, certain factors help:
Use a real face, not a company logo, cartoon or icon
High contrast colors: Because the photo is small. You want it to stand out with good separation between the background and foreground.
Audience targeted: For example, young Disney fans are probably less likely to click on an old guy in a suit who looks like a financial adviser.
Google recently got more selective about the author photos it chooses to show, but if you implement authorship correctly you may find yourself in the 20% (according to MozCast) of all search results that include author photos.
Social annotations with Google+
When you share content on Facebook and Twitter, your network basically sees it only when they are looking at Facebook and Twitter. On the other hand, when you share content on Google+, your network can see it every time they search Google.
Google’s own research shows that users fixate on social annotations, even when presented with videos and other types of rich snippets.
The easiest way to take advantage of this to improve your search metric is to expand your Google+ network and share good content regularly and often. Rand Fishkin elegantly explains how to make proper use of this in his work.
Aside from speed, if your website isn’t configured properly for smartphones, it probably results in lower Google search results for mobile queries. Obviously affects your search metric! Google confirms that smartphone errors may result in lower mobile rankings.
A smartphone error affecting your search metric could include:
1. Redirecting visitors to the wrong mobile URL
2. Embedding a video that doesn’t play on a particular phone (Flash video on an iPhone, for example)
3. Pop-ups that aren’t easily closed on mobile
4. Buttons or fonts that are too small on a mobile device
Google recommends making your site responsive, but many of the top brands in the world, including Apple.com, don’t have responsive sites.
This goes back to basic meta tag and title tag optimization. But it’s a good practice to keep in mind as far as your search metric is considered.
In the past two years, Google changed the maximum length of title tags so that it’s no longer dependent on the number of characters, but on the number of pixels used, generally around 500 pixels in length. Because 500 pixels is difficult to determine when writing most titles, best advice is still to keep your titles between 60-80 characters.
Google also updated its advice on meta descriptions, further clarifying that duplicate meta descriptions are not a good idea for search metric. Matt Cutts tells us that if you can’t make your descriptions unique for each page, it’s better to have none at all.
“You can either have a unique meta tag description, or you can choose to have no meta tag description.” Google’s Matt Cutts.