Top 5 SEO Signals Your Site Needs to Worry About
Online success boils down to your brand’s authority, reach, and visibility across multiple digital touchpoints. With plenty of guides and learning resources floating around the internet, all three sounds simple enough to attain. That is, until you realize that you’re competing with countless other brands for the same audience.
SEO, for example, is a brutally competitive playing field where only the top three brands reap most of the booty. In competitive niches, these are most likely well-established companies with very deep pockets.
Don’t worry; it’s still possible to get your fair share of the search market without a full-service SEO agency that works around the clock. You just need to play smart, be resourceful, and compensate for the lack of budget with intense effort – starting with low-cost, on-page strategies that focus on specific SEO signals:
1. Website Speed
Time and time again, Google has made it clear that user experience is essential if you want high rankings in search engine results. As far as this is concerned, loading speed is a key element that can make or break your success. Statistics show that if your site takes 3 or more seconds to load, up to 40% of your audience will leave – often with a bad impression of your brand forever.
If you use WordPress, one of the easiest ways to speed up your website is to utilize caching. This works by using the user’s browser memory to preload page elements and enable faster retrieval. While it sounds a wee bit too technical, you can quickly implement caching in your site with the help of free-to-use plugins.
Another surefire method is to upgrade to a more capable hosting solution, especially if you start generating a massive stream of traffic. A premium WordPress hosting plan is particularly beneficial due to the better support, security, and plugin compatibility.
If you can’t outperform bigger brands regarding content quantity, you can do so when it comes to content quality. Remember that search users come to your site for useful information – nothing more and nothing less. To keep them coming back for more, you need to consistently provide content that’s useful, informative, relevant, and engaging.
A content research tool like BuzzSumo can go a long way in content planning and development. It can help you identify current topics that users want to read, as well as content trends you can absorb into your strategy.
To ensure your content is rank-worthy, it’s important to avoid the most common mistakes when creating SEO-friendly content. This includes using inaccurate information, grammatical errors, and duplicate content.
Apart from great content, you also need a solid backlink profile to be indexed by search engines. Incidentally, both content and backlinks go hand in hand. While a backlink from an authoritative source can bring a lot of attention to your content, you also need content development to fuel your link-building campaigns. This, in turn, requires an efficient outreach strategy in place to encourage authoritative sites, bloggers, and other influencers to link to your content.
To maximize your success, Brian Dean of Backlinko recommends the Skyscraper technique. In a nutshell, it involves looking for popular content, turning it into something better, and then promoting it to the very sources who linked to the source. You can refer to this post to learn more about how to leverage the Skyscraper technique for link-building.
4. Trust Signals
Trust is a key factor that can affect your content’s shareability in social media and the audience’s overall experience. In turn, it indirectly improves important SEO metrics you should be watching – including but not limited to engagement rate, social media mentions, and traffic.
New websites may find this step extremely challenging, particularly as it can be hard to win the audience’s trust solely through online means. To instill some credibility in your brand, one strategy is to allow positive online reviews to raise the confidence of new visitors. For this, you can leverage review aggregation tools like YotPo or sign up to websites like Yelp.
With a little planning, you can also launch social media events and contests that can yield user-generated content or UGC. Thankfully, social media platforms like Instagram make it easy to launch your hashtag contests, which in turn would make user submissions easier to find and reuse.
5. HTTPS Encryption
The last on-page component of an SEO-friendly site is security, which can be incorporated in a multitude of ways. First and foremost, you need protection measures against malware, brute force attacks, and other online security threats that endanger the stability of your site. Fortunately, content management systems like WordPress have no shortage of security tools that can be easily deployed – some of which are even free to use.
In addition to security plugins, Google also confirms the strong correlation between high-ranking sites and HTTPS encryption. It is an online security protocol that guarantees the privacy of communications between users and a web server. And to utilize this on your site, you’ll need to purchase an SSL certificate from a trusted source like DigiCert and Symantec.
When it comes to SEO, you either go big or go home. This, however, doesn’t mean you should go big as soon as possible. By understanding the SEO signals outlined above, you can focus first on small steps that can help you maximize your long-term SEO efforts.