We are about to say goodbye to this forgetful year. 2020 would probably be one of the very few years in my life that I would remember all my life, obviously for an odd reason. The 2020 pandemic caused by the Corona virus spoiled almost the entire year and filled my life with fear, insecurity and mental agony. 2020 has been a torturous year for the humankind, so Iâ€™m eagerly waiting to say goodbye to this undesired year and welcome to 2021 and hoping to see some new excitement, hopes and happiness.
What about you?
I believe itâ€™s the same with you also. Ever since I graduated in 2010 I have been living my life with websites, internet, Google (and other search engines of course), digital marketing etc., and I am still learning new things every single day. All these 10 years, Iâ€™ve gained lots of experiences while studying a lot of things, and one important thing Iâ€™ve learned is that I have to keep learningâ€¦
Because of the fact that search engines are evolving every week and there is a certain amount of uncertainty associated with how they work. I focus a lot on studying them closely, and get a good amount of knowledge on how to do things right, but that knowledge is far from being able to decipher the complex and robust ranking algorithm of the search engines, primarily Google. What I usually do is that I try to make a strong foundation, do the basics right and then go on to try a few more stuff along the way to get quicker results. Yes, this wonderful industry allows me to do experiments, but I never cross my limits. I try to implement things in the Google-approved way, and I get the rewards. So, as long as my purpose is met, Iâ€™m good.
Since the new year is coming up, we should all be spending our times planning for the year in advance. If you are a fellow digital marketer or a webmaster I have 5 tips for you to help strengthen your SEO strategies. These 5 tips are based on my personal experience, so maybe you know some or all of the tips already, but Iâ€™d still like you to read down through them and apply them to your practice.
Tip #1: Fine-tune SEO keyword research
Keyword research is the foundational step of any search engine optimization campaign. Without a thorough keyword research and proper keyword planning you cannot even think of starting your SEO process. Your keyword research gives you the idea of which web pages you would target to optimize for search engine results, how you should do the onsite SEO and how you would create your content.
All SEO people know this, but there are some out there that donâ€™t implement this. That is ridiculous. If you are a search engine expert, make sure you donâ€™t skip the keyword research step either for a new website or for a client that has already done some SEO before. And if you are someone who always does a good keyword research and keyword planning before starting the SEO process, a big shout-out to you. But make sure you donâ€™t follow the same old-school way of performing keyword research.
Let me help you understand the right way of performing SEO keyword research in 2021.
Donâ€™t just look at the words in the keyword phrases, but also the search intent or the actual context of the terms the searcher would be interested to discover.
Search engines have evolved over the years, and they can now recognize the search intent based on the search terms typed in. Google is also able to decipher hidden words now thanks to its effort on adding Artificial Intelligence to its algorithm.
You, as an SEO, need to know this and change your old way of doing the keyword research.
Look at the different spots on the search results page to find out derivative terms that are close to the root keywords.
Add new terms to one root keyword to form many long-tail versions.
See the Google questions and answers section.
Keep an eye on the search suggestions for new ideas.
Aim for a combination of 80% evergreen keywords and 20% trending keywords.
Tip #2: Optimize Meta data
Meta data consists of meta title and meta description. Meta title allows the search engines to know what the web page is about. The meta title or title tag has to be SEO-friendly meaning it must contain the respective pageâ€™s target keywords. It should satisfy humans as well.
Write the meta title or the title tag within 50-60 characters or even less than that. Google truncates everything beyond 60 characters. 40-50 characters should also work.
Use numbers and brackets or parentheses to increase the click-through rate.
Do a word-swapping in the title tag once in a while as ranking changes with that.
Writing Optimized meta description is also very important. The text coming under a siteâ€™s URL on the search results page is the meta description text written for that page.
Write search engine-friendly meta descriptions that are also pleasing for the searchers to read and connect. Include your target keywords in the meta description text.
The recommended size of a meta description is 150-160 characters, but I keep it shorter than that to suit mobile devices more, and it works.
Remember to add a call to action towards the end of the meta description. Include appealing words in the call to action.
Tip #3: Optimize Header tags
Readers actually scan through the entire content and in most cases look at the headings only. These headings are nothing but the header tags that are highly important for search engine ranking. If your page has an entire article that has bullet lists, then in order to optimize that page content and rank it on search results the header tags play a vital role. Articles with bullet lists have a very good chance of getting ranked as featured snippets.
So, here is how you would optimize header tags.
Keep your header tags short and simple. Somewhere between 5 and 8 words should be good.
Include target keywords. Your main keyword should be in one header tag, preferably, the first one at the top of the page. The related keywords should be in other header tags on the page. Donâ€™t stuff the header tags with only keywords. Itâ€™s also important for the header tags to have a natural meaning.
Tip #4: Optimize Anchor text and Alt text
Anchor text is the text used in links that will take the readers to other pages upon clicking. Use target keywords in the anchor text. The target keywords should be of the page that is linked to, not the one that links. The links should be placed at appropriate places where the search engine and the readers would naturally feel that the page linked to or the additional content is useful.
Alt text or â€˜Alternative textâ€™ is the text used for images. Search engines canâ€™t read images, so the concept of Alt text was born. According to Google, over a billion images are searched daily. But since Google or any other search engine canâ€™t read images, you must help them understand what the image is about by including appropriate target keywords in the Alt text.
Tip #5: Produce magical content
Content creates magic! Itâ€™s so true.
SEO is like a creeper plant that needs a host plant for support and growth, and the role of the host plant is played by content. Every SEO guy knows that SEO wonâ€™t exist without content.
Before you even start SEO for a website, you need to have an effective content strategy in place. The content strategy will involve 50% of your effort in content creation and the rest 50% in content marketing.
Do not write long sentences or big paragraphs. But try to write longer content because longer content has always a chance of getting ranked naturally.
Well, thatâ€™s it from me for 2021. Try to implement some or all of these techniques in your SEO campaign in the upcoming year. If you have any questions, please drop a comment below.