We have been researching and learning all about what a new year will bring to the world of SEO. It is ever evolving and you can never learn too much - we are excited to see where a New Year takes us!
"Not only has our already-growing reliance on search engines accelerated during COVID-19, but our already-advancing search platforms are also now skyrocketing ahead. This makes search engine optimization an even more mission-critical pursuit for businesses down the line."
Read the full article Why SEO Is More Important Than Ever—Yes, Even During COVID-19 to learn more about how COVID-19 has and is continuing to impact businesses and SEO.
Website Health Check
Now is a great time to do a regular health check on your website. The start of a new year is a good time to look back on the past and get ready for the future. Much like getting an annual checkup from your doctor, the new year is a great time to run a comprehensive battery of SEO reports and scans to make sure your site is going into 2021 with a clean bill of health.
Below is a list of the SEO scans and reports we recommend running on your site:
Google Search Console: Coverage Report
This report shows if Googlebot is running into problems while crawling your site. By catching any 404’s or server errors, we can redirect Google to live pages instead, improving its crawling and indexing of your site. Google has a crawl budget that limits how often it will visit a site and how many pages it will crawl, so it’s important to only give it pages with clean bills of health.
Google Search Console: Core Web Vitals Report
In 2020, Google announced it would be paying more attention to what it calls Core Web Vitals and added a new report to Search Console. These metrics include webpage load times, file sizes, and how quickly a user can interact. This report will increase in importance for search ranking factors throughout 2021 so it is important to keep an eye on it.
Google Search Console: Mobile Usability Report
Mobile search is the future, and Google continues to place more and more importance on mobile usability. This report shows where your site’s mobile performance can be improved. User Experience on Mobile is more important than ever and is one of the most important factors to focus on when cleaning up your site.
Google Search Console: Security Scan
This scan identifies possible security flaws or corrupted code in your site. Sometimes third-party apps or embedded HTML codes can raise red flags, so it’s worth double checking.
Google Search Console: Manual Actions Check
Sometimes Google’s human reviewers will manually flag a page and delist it. This check ensures you’re not suffering from any manually applied penalties.
Ubersuggest: SEO Analyzer
Ubersuggest is a suite of third-party SEO tools that were created by Neil Patel, a leading expert in SEO. The Ubersuggest SEO Analyzer catches potential issues with a sites optimization and suggests how to fix them.
Head on over to Ubersuggest and enter your domain into the search bar.
After a few short seconds, you'll receive graphs showing the traffic and keyword overview for your site as well as your top pages and a full list of your keywords ranking with the option to download a .csv file. Having this list can be a great resource for keyword development; this is also a great tool to use to look into what your competitors are ranking for and where you can compete!
Ubersuggest can be a great tool to get a deep look at how your site is doing and where you can make improvements so spend some time clicking around the tool to see what value it can bring to you!
Website Basics You Should Update Regularly
In order to improve your click through rate and gain more accurate/better search engine rankings, we recommend going 'back to the basics' and giving your site a true review. Google updates their algorithm often to ensure that users are getting the best content possible, and your competitors are likely making changes to their sites in an effort to outrank you. This means it's essential to regularly update your SEO strategy. Step 1 - Meta Description Update.
Firstly, what is a meta description tag? The meta description is an HTML attribute that provides a brief summary of a web page. Search engines such as Google often display the meta description in search results where they can highly influence user click-through rates. In short, this is your ‘elevator pitch’ to your potential visitors. A page's meta description should intelligently utilize the keywords that page is targeting, but also create a compelling description that a searcher will want to click. It should be directly relevant to the page it describes, and unique from the descriptions for other pages. Plus, when a user searches for a specific phrase, each word in that phrase appears in bold on the results page - so if you incorporate those words into your meta descriptions, your page will stand out. After your meta titles (this is what generally displays as your blue, underlined link in search results and these are worth checking on, too, while you are updating your descriptions), meta descriptions have the next strongest impact on a page's CTR (click-through-rate) on Google; the better your CTR, the more positive impact on a page's ability to rank.
In order to check and update meta descriptions:
Click on the left menu in your Editor, select a page, click the three ... dots to the right and select SEO (Google). The 'What's this page about? 'Add a description' box is your meta description.
Step 2 - Alt tag Checkup & Update.
Google has gotten quite good at determining the value and relevance of content for its users. When you use an optimized alt attribute with a target keyword, it gives your page a boost because the alt text is a helpful relevance signal for search engines. These alt tags are attached to the images on your site, which is why it is great to have at least one image per page. In order to check and update alt tags: - For images that are not in a gallery, you can find the alt tag by clicking the image Settings Cog - the 'What's in the image' box is your alt tag. - For images in a gallery, click on the gallery then Manage Media. The 'Description' section is your alt tag. Step 3 - Additional Internal Linking.
Before your content can rank, it needs links. Google finds your posts and pages best when they’re linked to from somewhere on the web. Internal links also connect your content and give Google an idea of the structure of your website. They can establish a hierarchy on your site, allowing you to give the most important pages and posts more link value than other, less valuable, pages. So using the right internal linking strategy can boost your SEO! It’s crucial for your site’s SEO to evaluate and improve internal linking strategy on a regular basis. By adding the right internal links you make sure Google understands: - The relevance of pages - The relationship between pages - The value of pages
In order to add internal linking:
Read through your text and anything that is a keyword that could be a relevant link to another page on your site is where you can add an internal link. Highlight that keyword (can be several words) and click the link icon in the text editor popup box and select the page to link to.
Moving Forward in 2021
If you complete all of these actions your site should have a clean bill of health and even a little boost moving forward. This type of website review should be done at the very least yearly, but quarterly would be even better.
The Most Important Search Engine Performance Factors to Keep in Mind in 2021:
User Experience - The user experience of your site is important - that is what keeps your visitors engaged and scrolling. If your visitors do not like your site or if they are not able to find what they are looking for quickly and easily, they will most likely hit the 'back' button and leave, which is what increases your bounce rate. The higher the bounce rate your site has, the harder it will be for your site to rank well in the search engine.
Core Web Vitals - This refers to a few factors:
1.) Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) - the speed at which your site initially presents itself to your visitors. The goal is 2.5 seconds or less; the longer the load speed, the less likely your visitors are to stick around.
2.) First Input Delay (FID) - the time it takes your visitors to interact with your page which includes opening a menu, entering their email, clicking a link.
3.) Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) - this refers to the site shifting as different elements load and can be extremely frustrating to a user if not done properly. If your site has CLS, it could lead to your user having trouble reading your site or clicking a button or link as your elements jump around on the page due to loading elements.
Mobile Usability - Ensure your text is easy to read (we recommend 15px+), links and buttons are easy to find/see and click on with your finger, there is adequate spacing between sections on the site to make it flow nice and easy, calls to action are attractive and obvious, etc.
Cheers to a great 2021 ahead! What are you looking forward to most this year?