UX Ranking Factors
Think UX is essential at the moment? Just wait until the Google page experience update rolls out in May 2021. UX is critical for efficient SEO. It doesn’t matter how great your content is or how good your backlinks are. If your website’s user experience is poor, users will leave your website and seek better Google search results.
Amongst the most critical user experience metrics that we abide by are the following:
Website Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Average Pages Per Session
Website Bounce Rate
Average Time on Page
Returning vs. New Visitors
Google regularly crawls and reviews your site for new content to ensure its users’ outstanding experience. Websites that produce valuable content and deliver a positive onsite user experience are shown to rank higher in the search engine results pages.
When we begin working with a new client, we conduct a comprehensive SEO review that incorporates key UX metrics. From there, we can review where the site can improve UX metrics for a more positive onsite experience and better rankings.
Technical SEO Matters for SEO
As the leading SEO Agency, Southampton has to offer, we provide a dedicated technical SEO expert for all of our SEO Campaigns. That means that the technical SEO expert that works on your site spends 100% of their time investigating Technical SEO best practices. Rather than have a non-technical SEO Consultant looking at your websites technical elements, we believe that a dedicated technical SEO specialist should perform this job.
Here are some of the important technical SEO elements that our technical consultant will review when we begin working with a new website or client:
1. Robots.txt file
2. Website Sitemap
3. Mobile Usability
4. Website Speed
5. Website Metadata
6. Internal link structure
7. Broken external links
8. Site structure/architecture
9. Canonical links and structure
10. Website HTTPS status
The above list simplifies to process. The fact is, there are hundreds of technical SEO elements that can impact your Google search rankings. Technical SEO is a continuous process designed to unearth any technical limitations that may affect your website from doing well in Google search results. Technical SEO isn’t a ‘once-off’ activity. It requires constant analysis, optimisation, and improvements to ensure your website follows the latest search engine protocols. We are the SEO Company Southampton companies trust for technical assistance and improved technical SEO protocols.
Internal Linking Structure
Internal links are an overlooked element of an effective search engine optimisation campaign. Lots of digital marketing professionals talk about the effectiveness of backlinks (which they should). Still, few truly appreciate the strength and weight of internal links for improving rankings and website search visibility in Google.
Internal links refer to links that go from one webpage to another webpage within a single website. Internal links are often used for navigational purposes in the header and footer menus of a website. However, internal links can also be used in text to improve onsite experience and increase a number of key UX elements.
Internal linking provides three critical benefits for a website:
1. Website IA (Information architecture)
2. Onsite Navigation
3. Website Indexation
As of 2021, internal linking is one of the most neglected components in an effective SEO strategy. At Safari Digital SEO Southampton, we believe in the power of internal linking and use it in each successful SEO campaign that we undertake.
On-page content is essential for your SEO success in 2021 and beyond. Well researched, targeted content is the basis of each successful SEO project that we complete in Southampton. It is not sufficient to simply place content on the page, and hope for the best. Content must be well written, researched, and displayed so that users can seamlessly navigate and understand.
As of 2021, the average page one Google result is 1,890 words in length. So then, should you be putting out loads of content and writing as often as you can? No! The content you write must be thoughtful and in-line with what users are searching for. We always lament you are better off creating and publishing one excellent piece of content than 1,000 average ones.
Ranking well on Google means delivering an on-page user experience that keeps them coming back to Google. Remember, Google is a business just like you. Last year, Google made more than 90% of its total company income from selling digital advertisements. The function of the Google search results pages is to sell advertising and make Google money. However, the part that retains users is the search feature.
At Safari Digital Southampton, we do the work that other SEO agencies in Southampton will not, to ensure that on-page content is in-line with what users are looking for in Southampton. We ensure that your content demonstrates Expert, Authoritative, and Trustworthy (Google EAT) and surpasses the user expectations.
Keyword planning is the most critical element in every SEO campaign. It is not enough to publish content and create new webpages and hope for the best in Google results. Placing the right words in the right spot on the page guarantees that Google knows each web page’s contents and purpose. We spend hours ensuring that keyword planning and execution is in-line with how users search for your Goods or Services online.
At Safari SEO Southampton, we make the most of industry-leading keyword research tools like SEO Moz and SEMrush to ensure we are making informed decisions for your website. Some of the most important metrics that we look at when conducting keyword research include:
• Keyword intent
• Keyword competition
• Search volume
• Keyword Value
Using this data, we can plan out short, mid, and long term keyword goals for your SEO project. The keywords that we choose to target for your SEO campaign are contingent on your market and your unique requirements. In the first fortnight of your SEO campaign, we’ll identify target keywords and ensure that they line up with your goals. The aim is to put your website on page one of Google for valuable, relevant keywords that drive leads, sales, and inquiries that will help you grow.
URL Structure & Permalinks
Website URL structure is an overlooked element in SEO planning. Website users and search engines look to your URL structure to follow the hierarchy of content and pages. A pyramid fashion URL structure is a highly effective way to transfer link juice between the most important pages on your website.
URL structure is not the sort of thing you want to be regularly changing. When it comes to URL structure, we want to do it once and do it properly. In most cases, it is a matter of tweaking your existing system. However, in some cases, we will need to overhaul your website URL structure to ensure your website’s scalability.
Some of the important elements that we consider when planning your URL structure include:
1. Website hierarchy
2. Scalability and future growth
In general, the larger the website, the more complicated planning URLs and permalink structure becomes.
Information Architecture or IA
Information Architecture (IA) is the art of planning and organising content that ensures search engine bots can seamlessly crawl your website, and users navigate the site. Information architecture plays a critical role in how Google bots crawl your website, significantly impacting indexing, crawling, and general search engine visibility.
Some of the essential IA elements to consider for maximum SEO visibility include:
• Improved website crawl ability
• Link equity distribution
• Improved UX metrics
• Enhanced onsite navigation
• Increased time on site
• More pages visited per session
• Faster indexation rate
Information architecture is not a separate project to be undertaken by a web development company. The best SEO company in Southampton will help you plan and implement the most effective IA for SEO your SEO requirements.
Brand Mentions for SEO
In 2018, Google’s John Mueller stated that brand mentions work as a positive signal for Google rankings. Despite saying that brand mentions do not pass page rank, they play an essential role in building brand credibility and visibility through SEO. Brand mentions play an essential role in establishing credibility and confidence with users online. The Google Panda Patent relates to the idea of ‘implied links’ as signifying a ranking factor in the coming years.
At Safari SEO Southampton, we actively monitor and measure brand mentions through search engines. We push to get brand mentions, just like the way we get backlinks for clients. While brand mentions do not currently hold the same ranking weight as backlinks, we firmly believe that brand mentions will impact how websites rank in the future.
Website Meta Data
Metadata provides information about the contents of the webpage in the HTML of the document. While the information is not visible on the page itself, crawl bots and search engines use metadata to rank and crawl web page content.
Search engines use your website metadata to establish the relevancy of content. At Safari Southampton, we focus on several key metadata elements, including:
• Meta Title
• Meta Description
• Language Tags
• Geo Tags
• Social Tags
… Just to name a few!
The fourth pillar of SEO, content marketing involves researching, writing, and publishing content relevant to your target audience. At Safari SEO Southampton, we put content marketing on a pedal stool. We have seen (time and time again) how content marketing can transform the visibility and brand presence of a website.
Publishing and sharing well-researched content is a highly-effective way to establish your business as an industry leader – not another follower. Content marketing also provides businesses with the opportunity to capture top of the funnel users in a way that is not possible through transactional style pages.
Research proves that users are more likely to spend their hard-earned money with businesses that they can trust. Creating, sharing, and publishing content builds trust with your target audience. Furthermore, it also puts you in the good books with Google and ensures regular crawling, ranking and re-ranking in the search engine results.
In 2021, backlinks or external links account for roughly 50% of how a website will appear in the search engine results pages. Links to your site (backlinks) are the most important off-site ranking factor in SEO. Building trustworthy backlinks to your website is vital to an effective off-site search strategy.
For Google (and other search engines), external links act as a trust signal or an endorsement between two websites. The quantity of relevant, authoritative backlinks pointing to your website will impact where your website appears in the search engine results pages.
Not all backlinks hold the same weight. For example, backlinks from social media sites or social media platforms do not count in the same way that website links do. Link building is not a matter of ticking a box.
Low quality, spammy links-building (known as black hat SEO link building) can have a detrimental impact on how your website appears in the search engine results pages. Some of the key metrics that we look at when building backlinks include:
• The authoritativeness of the referring site
• The traffic numbers of the referring site
• The link text (anchor text) used for the links
• The number of backlinks pointing to your site
• Age of the referring link
• Content of the link within the article
It is important to remember that not all backlinks are going to provide value. Low quality, spammy, or black hat links can have a detrimental impact on your SEO efforts.
Local Citations (NAP Links)
Local Citations or Name and Phone Number links (NAP Links) are a highly effective way to establish credibility and reinforce your local search engine appearance. Search engines like Google and Bing reference NAP links to verify the legitimacy of your business.
Not all business directories provide value. We use a trusted network of NAP directory sites to create local business citations for our clients. While it is fair to say that the impact of local citations has diminished over the years, they still play an influential role in local SEO.
Google My Business (GMB) Profile
Google My Business (GMB) is the largest crowdsourced business directory on the internet – bar none. Google My Business picks up from where sites directory sites like the white pages and TripAdvisor left off. As of 2021, GMB is the most extensively used program for reviews and business information. Google My Business provides a valuable resource for updating business hours, news, and customer reviews.
Some of the benefits Google My Business include:
• Enhanced local visibility (Local SEO)
• Improved communication with customers
• Post updates to critical business information
• Answer customer FAQs
• Instant updates and audience reach
The events of 2020 highlighted the value of GMB. At a time when business hours changed and business activity was variable, GMB presented a platform for businesses to provide timely business updates to customers.