I have run multiple SEO campaigns over the years and each campaign has been a huge learning curve for our SEO consultants. While approaching each campaign we usually follow a SEO checklist that contains various SEO factors (both on-page and off page) that need to be ticked off as we progress. This checklist is further refined over the course of time based on what we learn. In our opinion, if these factors are concentrated on properly it can reap huge benefits. We have often noticed rankings for client websites go from the bottom of page 1 to the top 3 positions on page 1 by just concentrating on these factors.
So what are these underrated factors factors?
1- Meta Description- The general trend is to use the Meta Description to stuff in keywords. Does that work? Yes, in the short run it will but not in the long run. Why? Because Meta descriptions directly influence the Click Through Rate (CTR) of a website and Google uses CTR as a ranking factor. The more clicks you can achieve the better your rankings will get over time. Therefore it is important that you be creative with your meta descriptions. Some things that you need to keep in mind while crafting your meta descriptions include,
a) Meta Descriptions need to be no longer than 160 characters.
b) They need to stand out from your competitors.
c) Avoid long sentences.
d) Use actionable words.
e) Include information that influences the customers purchase decision.
f) Include Keywords but don’t keep repeating them.
Examples of Good Meta Descriptions-
Example 1- Let’s suppose you run a bed and breakfast in a touristy town called Blue Mountains with lake view and offer your customers a buffet breakfast, free wifi, large en-suite rooms and daily tours to the tourist attractions nearby.
The Meta Description-
Bed and Breakfast in Blue Mountains with Lake Views, Large En-Suite Rooms for 4, Rated 4.5 Stars, Daily Cave Tours. Rooms Starting at $79, Book Now!
Example 2- Let’s suppose you run an ecommerce store selling consumer electronics, cameras specifically. Some of the main points that a customer might be interested in while purchasing electronics online could be warranty, money back policy, price, delivery.
The Meta Description-
Buy Cameras online now from (Store Name) at the lowest prices, Local Warehouse with 3 Day Delivery. 14 Day Money Back Policy (No Questions Asked). 2 Years Manufacturer Warranty.
2- Page Speed- Page speed directly impacts the user experience of a visitor. If a page does not load fast enough, chances are that the user hits the back button and moves on to the next website providing the same product or service. In fact Google has clearly stated that page speed is a ranking factor in their algorithm especially with the rise of mobile search traffic.
What should you do to ensure good page speeds?
a) Invest in a good server- One of the last things you would do is blame the server for slow page load speed but in reality the server plays a major role in the load time of a webpage. Therefore it is important that you do your research before selecting a server provider. The most economical option is a shared hosting environment where you will typically be sharing a spot with other websites on the same server. Essentially this would mean you are sharing the server resources such as CPU, Bandwidth and RAM with all the other websites that sit in this shared environment. While this is economical it comes with its own downsides such as slow processing time therefore slow loading speeds. If you are running a simple informational website with no custom functionality then you can look into a shared hosting environment. The other options available in the marketplace are a virtual private server (VPS) and a dedicated server. A dedicated server is at the other end of the spectrum in terms of pricing and guarantees you the best performance however if you don’t have massive budgets then a VPS can do the trick as well. On a VPS you are allocated a space and resources within a server that is not shared by other websites sitting on that server. This is a cheaper option as compared to a dedicated server and can provide much better performance as compared to a shared hosting environment.
b) Optimise your website- The first step you can take towards optimising your websites load speed is to check where your website stands and what needs to be done in order to improve the load time. Some of the tools you can use to analyse your website are;
These tests look at factors such as server response time, browser caching, Gzip compression, http requests, image size etc.
c) Use a Content Delivery Network- According to GTmetrix, a Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of geographically dispersed servers. Each CDN node caches the content of a website and the nearest node is used to deliver content to a user based on their geographical location. This ensures that the data has to travel the shortest distance therefore reducing latency and providing fast page loading speed.
3- Online Reviews- Online reviews act as a proof of the customer experience with a business and help new customers make purchase decisions. According to Bright Local’s Local Consumer Review Survey, 84% of the people consider online reviews to be as good as personal recommendations and 54% people will visit a website after reading positive reviews.
So how do reviews impact on local SEO?
According to a study done by Moz on local search ranking factors, online reviews are a prominent factor in local search and carry a weightage of 8.4%. This means that online reviews are an absolute must for every business that is trying to get on top of local search results.
What platforms should you use to get reviews from your customers?
- Google My Business
- Bing Places
- Yahoo Local
- Local Directories
How should you get reviews from your customers?
a) Spend some time and create a strategy to get reviews from your customers.
b) Select the most appropriate platforms for your business to get reviews online.
c) Ask your existing customers for reviews.
d) Make it easy for customers to leave a review for your business.
e) Provide an incentive to get a review.
f) Be persistent.
g) Reply to negative reviews.
We are a Sydney based Digital Marketing Agency with a team of expert SEO consultants. 90% of the keywords that we are targeting are on Page 1. Need we say more?