The Perfect On-Page SEO Ranking Process in 2021

What’s the key to business success?

A replicable process.

Because, you can simply repeat that process, and hire people to repeat that process, so you can scale ad infinitum.

Well, web pages have their own process too.

And in 2021, here’s how it goes:

1. Title Tag

Here, stay under 60 characters so Google doesn’t cut the end of your title off. Google actually decides how many characters to use based on their pixel width, and not on the number of characters. But if you stay under 60, the overwhelming majority of your title tags will not get cut off.

Your target keyword should go early on in the title tag. And the title tag itself should include a persuasive benefit to get searchers to click.

2. Meta Description

This bears absolutely no direct effect on your page’s ranking. However, a persuasive meta description helps you earn a higher click-through rate, which does affect your ranking.

So, it is a big deal.

Put your primary keyword in your meta description because that will get highlighted in bold when searchers enter it in.

While meta descriptions at one point could be 300 characters, today you should keep them at 160 or less. Google is inconsistent in its application of these, but keeping yours less than 160 characters should make all of it visible with each search.

3. Add Subheads Where You Can

Your subheaders should happen about every 3 paragraphs or so. This keeps the text broken up and easier (and less intimidating) to read.

Every subheader should be inside a tag, and you should sporadically include variations of your primary keyword in your subheader.

Don’t be formulaic and add your keyword in the beginning of each subhead because that looks unnatural to Google (and your readers), which can actually hurt your ranking.

Make it sound natural.

4. Add Images and Videos

For the most part, searchers won’t read big walls of text (unless you’re an amazingly interesting writer).

Images and videos break the text up, making it faster and easier to consume. Google also gives extra ranking juice to pages with diverse media.

5. Link Out and Link In

Google (and your visitors) believe that good web pages link out to credible sources. And both also like pages with links running to them (both from your own site and from other sites).

Don’t worry about ratios.

Just get a couple links going out to other respected and reliable sources where they make sense. And try to win a few inbound links too.

6. Add Schema

This is the most overlooked ranking factor. Technically, schema does not directly increase your ranking (like your meta description).

However, it does help search engines to better understand and index your content, which can help your ranking.

And, just a secret between you and us, most of your competitors don’t use it!

It’s as easy as downloading a WordPress plugin which makes adding schema take just a few minutes.

So yes, in 2021, that’s the formula for a high-ranking web page. Now, all you have to do is apply and watch the traffic (and sales) roll in!

How to Win More Happy-to-Buy Customers via UGC

SEO has more tactics available than you, or anyone else for that matter, have time to implement.

But the more you can add to the mix of things you can do, the stronger your SEO is, and the more traffic and sales you pull in.

Do you know about “UGC?”

It stands for “user-generated content.” It refers to a number of different content types.

Since that content gets generated by users, however, it naturally gets a lot more trust from online searchers (as long as they know the content wasn’t sponsored in some way).

More trust means more clicks. And that leads to more loyal customers.

Here’s some types of UGC and how you can get them:

1. Quick Win: Rich Snippets

You’ve seen these star ratings in search before:

They make your search listing obvious and easy to click on. Yes, in this case this is Amazon.

But you can do this with your own e-commerce site too (and it’s relatively simple to do).

You can increase your click-through rate by 20-30%, which is quite a big deal. The amount your sales increase depend on the quality of the sales page users click through to.

2. Total Reviews on Your Website Increase SEO Too

Rich snippets target to a specific page and increase its ranking, CTR, and sales. However, the total number of reviews you have across all products and services on your website improves your ranking too.

For example, see this chart from Search Engine Journal, which shows the number of additional organic visits created on 30,000 business websites who began to use reviews:

As you can see, it takes a good 9 months to get the full effect. But, every little bit counts.

Why does Google even care about these reviews so much?

They aim to give the market what it wants. Since consumers trust reviews from other consumers, Google gives them a boost in the search rankings.

3. Testimonials

Some businesses use separate testimonial pages for their website. Others embed the testimonials on various pages where their customers are likely to stop and make a decision.

The latter is likely more effective. However, in either case, testimonials often use important keywords that Google indexes regarding your website.

In addition to that, testimonials act as highly effective “social proof.” In other words, visitors to your website read them and place a lot of trust in them when deciding to buy.

It’s important to let your customers write their own testimonials (you might provide them with questions to guide their responses) because they’re more likely to use important keywords. Such testimonials also come across as much more credible (as opposed to professionally written ones which customers approve).

There are many more ways user-generated content comes into play with SEO (especially through social media). These are just a few examples.

And they all carry nice SEO ranking power.

5 Characteristics of a Well-Optimized Website

What exactly is it that makes a website attractive to Google?

I mean, besides the obvious one of content. Content’s actually so deep of a subject that you can write endless blogs about it (and several exist).

But what about technical SEO?

What fundamentals does Google want to see?

Well, here they are:

1. Speed

Convenience is the number one thing for practically every business, online and off.

Remember the days of dial-up?

Not fun.

No one’s website loads that slow anymore. But with today’s broadband speeds, users expect a quick load time of just a couple seconds.

And Google wants to see that from your website too.

2. Easily Crawlable

Search engines don’t want to put forth any more effort than they have to either. There are lots of reasons a search engine spider may not be able to crawl your website.

Just a few include broken links, outdated URLs, server errors, slow load speed, and unusual site architecture.

With business, and crawling websites, simple works best. Make every page on your site take just 3 clicks to get to-from your home page.

3. You Don’t Have Many Non-Working Web Pages

The last thing users, or a search engine spider, want to encounter is following a link…only to get a 404 error that says the page can’t be found!

As your website grows, these errors become more prevalent. They’re a natural by-product of growing your website.

So, it’s important that your SEO regularly check for and fix these errors. It’s not hard to do, so your SEO should have no problem making it happen.

4. You Don’t Have Duplicate Content

Duplicate content problems happen by accident. No one copies and pastes an entire page across two different URLs.

This problem most frequently happens with WordPress, which dynamically generates URLs.

Fortunately, there is an easy solution. Plugins can be used to create canonical links, which tell search engine spiders a particular page is the primary page the spider should crawl and index.

5. Your Website is Secure

Your website must have HTTPS, which encrypts data transferred between your web browser and a website.

This means that if users enter login info or a credit card number into your website, that data gets encrypted.

There are many other smaller security measures your website may need to take. And WordPress has dozens of plugins available which make security easy.

Those are the 5 most important fundamentals for technical SEO optimization that Google wants to see from your website.

Does your site implement all 5?

4 SEO Title Tag Writing Mistakes

You know what SEO title tags are. You see dozens of them every day. They’re the big blue titles you see here:

What makes title tags so important?

Out of all of Google’s ranking factors, they carry among the most weight. So the words you have in your title will affect who (and how many) people see your search listing.

There’s no perfect formula to writing SEO titles. And they’re awfully difficult to test because it takes Google some months to fully index them in some cases (you don’t have years to test them after all).

So, what mistakes should you avoid for writing SEO titles that rank? Here’s roughly what you should do (and avoid):

1. Making the Length More than 60 Characters

Sometimes, you’ll hear the true length limit is around 70 characters. This is well-intentioned, but not quite true.

Moz researched exactly how this works. And unfortunately, it’s not crystal clear. Moz found your title can be 600 pixels wide.

But when you type various letters, you’ll notice some are wider than others. So that’s why you’ll hear differing opinions on SEO title lengths.

For the record, Moz found titles 60 characters or less get fully displayed in the search results 90% of the time.

So that’s their recommendation. And it’s a good one to follow.

2. Not Putting Your Brand Name at the Beginning

Branding is hugely important for SEO success, and especially so at the local level. “Branding” in an SEO title simply means having your company name at the beginning of every SEO title.

When consumers repeatedly see your company name, they build a natural affinity to you over time. And they think there must be something good about you because you keep appearing relatively high in the search results.

This earns you more clicks and customers without you having to do any additional work.

3. Accidentally Causing Keyword Cannibalization

This odd-sounding term happens quite a bit when you try too hard to optimize for too many keywords at once.

For example, you have the phrase “Business and Personal Accountant” in your title. Now, on the surface, you may think it works such that you get exposure to ranking for “Business Accountant” and “Personal Accountant.”

Therefore, you get more search traffic, and more business and personal accounting clients, right?

Not quite.

In reality, you’ve actually split your ranking power between the two. That means that they appear much farther down the search listings than if each had its own page.

In this case, you might put “Business Accountant” on your home page if that’s the type of client you want most.

And then you might create a separate “Personal Accountant” page to target that phrase so you have the highest ranking power for both.

4. Using Abbreviations

Yes, search algorithms are awfully stinkin’ smart. Google’s algorithm is AI.

But, it still makes mistakes when trying to understand meaning. It’s not perfect. And the same goes for your users too. They may not understand what an abbreviation means.

Remember this: clarity always trumps creativity in SEO titles.

So, those are four mistakes to avoid. And if you avoid them and do the right thing instead, you give yourself the most ranking power.

And that means the greatest opportunity for more clicks and customers!

 

The Most Important Search Ranking Factor in 2019

So…what is it?

Is it keyword density?

How about the number of blog posts you have?

The number of words in your post?

What about choosing lower-competition keywords you know you can rank for?

Could it be your bounce rate?

Maybe it’s how fast your website loads.

…Or is it the number of social media followers and the number of comments they make?

Well, truthfully, each of these makes up a slice of the pie that determines how your website ranks.

But, when it comes down to the bottom line, the number and quality of links still have the most weight when determining how your website ranks.

Backlinko, one of the leading SEO blogs, says,”It’s no secret that link building is the most important skill in SEO.”

(By the way, that’s also a link to an awesome link-building guide!)

And if you’ve followed our blog for any amount of time, you’ve heard the same for years.

This will remain true for some time.

Why Are Links Still So Important in 2019?

First, you have to understand the whole idea behind Google. They want to serve the market with the most useful search results for every keyword search in existence.

Then, they serve users relevant ads based on their searches. 84% of Alphabet’s (Google’s parent company) total revenue comes from advertising, reports the Washington Post.

YouTube operates around break-even. Alphabet also has special projects involving smart cars.

But without advertising, Google is nowhere near a $848 billion company.

So, the rules of how their business operates dictates that they must serve the market with the search results it wants.

Fail to do so, and they watch their revenue, and entire company, go by the wayside.

How Does Google Consistently Serve the Most Relevant Search Results?

Google currently owns 92.51% of the entire search market share across the globe. Bing comes in at 2.45%. Yahoo has a paltry 1.83%.

Google owns the most sophisticated search algorithm in the world. And they’ve tweaked it with dozens of updates over the years designed to eliminate human manipulation and get truly the most useful search results searchers actually want at the top of Google’s rankings.

And they continue to do this better than any other search company because the market uses Google far more than any other search engine.

What Role Do Links Play?

Each link counts as a “vote.” Except, each vote doesn’t carry the same weight. A link from the New York Times carries hundreds or thousands of times more power than a link from your best friend’s website.

That’s because the New York Times has a massively built-up reputation with Google already. It’s loaded with popular content people read. And it has millions or billions of links already pointing to its site.

So if the New York Times links to you, you must have done something that’s quite a big deal.

Hence, Google rewards that link much more than many other links you might get.

And to earn that link, you must have some kind of amazing content. Plus, you more than likely have to know someone at the New York Times, or be an incredibly skilled marketer.

That’s what the web is. It’s an interrelated place with billions of websites, each with their own distinct reputation.

And the best way to determine that reputation is by seeing what other websites think of yours by looking at links (votes), or lack thereof, to your website.

So, that’s why, ultimately, links and content will continue to be the strongest ranking factor for your website.

Time and money are never wasted when invested in content and linking.

 

How to Get Google to Index All Your Web Pages

That Google can be a picky son-of-a-gun. Mysteriously, sometimes you can find that not all your pages get indexed.

That means 0 visits to those web pages. And it also means a dent in your traffic and sales. Possibly a large dent.

First, you’ll want to know if Google’s indexed all your pages or not.

And you can easily check that thanks to a newer feature Google added in Google Search Console.

Simply go to your “Index Coverage Status Report,” and look for a large number of pages with “Errors” or “Excluded.”

It really is that easy to check!

What if you have some pages outside of Google’s index? Here’s what to do if that applies to you:

1. Construct Quality Web Pages Worthy of Indexing

Creating web pages Google wants to index isn’t hard. Just follow the guidelines they’ve promoted for years.

Creating a web page that gets indexed and ranked ahead of your competitor’s page – that’s hard.

Basically, you need content that’s useful to your audience. You should have only one H1 headline.

Maybe a couple images or videos to clarify major sales points. And a few hundred intelligently written words.

It’s not a hard formula to master to become index-worthy. But it is a hard formula to master to maximize sales and rank.

2. Speed Up Indexing with “Fetch as Google”

Once you have a strong foundation with a well-constructed web page, you can directly submit your URL for indexation using “Fetch as Google’ in the Google Search Console.

Simply input the URL into the tool, and you’ll be indexed within a few hours.

3. Use Internal Links

Internal linking can be an artform that pushes you over the top from an obscure website to a well-known one.

For now, you don’t need to get that far into depth with internal linking.

Simply understand that each link from your own website to another page on your website passes link authority.

The more authority passed to one page, the more likely it is to get indexed and the higher it ranks.

However, don’t get manipulative with this and slam a link to one page from every other page on your website.

Google can catch that and lower your ranking.

So, simply insert links where they’re most helpful for your readers. There’s no specific formula. Just that general principle to follow.

And that’ll make it easier for Google to crawl your website and index your pages.

Finally, just remember the main point: make a page worthy of indexing, recognizing it’s easy to get indexed, and difficult to drive your rank up.

How Content Actually Drives Sales for SMBs in 2019

“Wow! That’s the most amazing blog post I’ve ever read on ankle and foot care!”

…No one’s actually ever said or done that.

Why?

Not because of the quality of the content. Or the topic.

But because that’s not how content marketing works in consumer’s minds.

Blog posts don’t drive fast sales.

If Blog Posts Don’t Sell Fast, Why Create Them?

Truthfully, blog posts do win you more sales. It’s just that it takes 6-18 months for them to do their work.

Why?

Because content marketing actually works like this:

First, someone reads your spectacularly useful post on foot and ankle care. They may, or may not, have a problem serious enough warranting treatment.

Some of your readers will opt to just take care of the problem themselves. There’s absolutely nothing you can do to sell that type of person.

They just want to handle the problem on their own. It’s who they are.

However, many people who read your post understand the value of an expert. They’d rather not handle it themselves.

And here’s the key point to understand: while they may not have a serious foot or ankle problem right now, they may have one down the road. And by writing useful content that wins their attention, more useful than any other blog out there on the same topic, you cause many people to remember you.

They follow you on social media. They bookmark your website. They email your link to themselves. They join your email list. Or they share your content with a friend.

And then, over time, as you continue to feed them useful and interesting content, you become more of a priority to listen to. Consumers don’t go searching for your competitors because they love what you have to say so much.

Finally, when they have a problem you can solve, they schedule an appointment.

That’s how content marketing works. And when you attract an audience, you have a massive unstoppable ball of momentum which sells with ease over and over again.

Can You Use Content To Speed the Sales Process Up?

Yes. Blogs sell slow. They give useful advice on various topics, which helps. And their consistency keeps you visible in search engines. They’re absolutely necessary to your marketing success.

You know what converts more of your blog readers into paying customers?

Real-life success stories!

Also called “case studies,” these stories detail the problems your customer came to you with, reasons why they choose you and not your competitor, and the results you generated.

Then, you add a few quotes from your customer throughout the story to add credibility.

And finally, this makes you an easy choice for other potential customers who have the exact same problem.

You can keep your customer’s personal info anonymous. However, if you can get their permission to use their entire name, or even their first name and last initial, that lends more credibility to your story and makes it sell faster.

Small businesses lack this. They want to use facts. However, the old marketing saying goes,”Facts tell. Stories sell.”

Find some stories. You certainly have some. And then promote them to your social media profiles, on the front page of your website, and to your email list.

Finally, watch the business roll in!

Are You Optimized for Voice Search?

Voice search sure is awesome, isn’t it?

Rather than slowly typing in a search and making mistakes, you use your voice, and most of the time Google and Siri get it right the first time!

Ok. So they’re not perfect.

But they’re awfully good. And just a search or two yields what you want from your voice search.

Here’s the thing:

96% of businesses fail to list their business data accurately in Google, Yelp, and Bing (which account for 90% of local business searches).

So even when customers search for your business, they’re still going to have a harder time finding you than they need to…and they may not even find you at all.

Or, you can look at this another way: by making a few simple changes, you can scoop up many customers that your competitors would otherwise get.

The Simple-to-Fix Mistakes Most Businesses Make

The data earlier, and this data, comes from an Uberall research report. While most local businesses don’t list their company data correctly, the problems are rather simple to fix:

● 50% of all businesses don’t list their opening hours correctly
● 30% of businesses don’t list their website address
● 25% don’t give their location a name
● 20% of all businesses don’t list their street address

How Much These Mistakes Cost You

Data from Statista shows Americans spend 373 minutes (6.21 hours) per day on their smartphones. And that trend has increased every year since 2012:

And remember, 5G wireless technology, which enables faster and larger data transfer than ever before, is still in adoption across the nation.

As bandwidth and ease increase, so will use of mobile technology.

What’s the real cost? Hard to say. But it’s significant given the size and strength of the market trend.

You Just Can’t Ignore this Quick Win

In business, you’re always looking at the size of the investment versus the reward.

In this case, you don’t have to invest practically any resources. Updating your business location information across leading business search sources is not an overly arduous or costly task.

But it can reap nice rewards.

Small investment. Much bigger reward.

That sounds like a no-brainer for most businesses.

Does your business have accurate local location information?

Why (And How) To Create a Memorable “About Us” Page


Did you know your about page is the third most-wanted section on your website by your visitors?

Research appearing in KoMarketing’s B2B Web Usability Report found it falls right behind “Products and Services” and “Contact Information” in importance:

As you’ll note, it even appears well ahead of “Testimonials” and your blog!

Crazy, right? I mean, who really considers an about page that important when designing or redesigning their website?

But clearly, users want to see one. So that means it better be interesting.

And here’s how you make a winning about page that converts more users into lifelong visitors and loyal customers:

1. Answer “What’s in It For Me?”

Ahh, WIIFM, the age-old question to always answer in your marketing. Ultimately, your users visit your website because they believe you may have a product or service that fulfills their needs.

So, you want to give them the most compelling answer to this question so they don’t run to your competitors for a solution.

Now, you do absolutely include information about your company, history, and values.

But if you stop there, you put your visitors to sleep (which is what your competitor’s “About Us” page more than likely does).

As you tell your company’s story and history, you have to clearly show your visitors exactly how you solve their problem in a way your competitors cannot.

You don’t have to be a master of words like Shakespeare. Just clear. And you have to show impeccable value.

2. Make Your Values Clear

Your customers expect you to have certain values similar to their own. So if you know your audience adores sustainable business practices, and compensating your employees at rates near the top of the market, literally spell those values out for them word-for-word.

Remember, visitors are in a hurry, practically looking for a reason to close their web browser, do another search, and go to another site that more closely aligns with their values.

Don’t make them work.

Simplicity and clarity always work the best online.

3. End with a Call-to-Action

Imagine yourself reading a company’s About Page and being super highly interested, practically ready to buy right now.

But then it suddenly ends.

…And you’re not sure where to go next. So you wander around the site’s navigation, trying to figure out.

Now you might end up buying anyway because you really like that company.

However, it’s easy to imagine others getting lost, deciding they’ll buy later, and then not actually doing so.

If someone makes it to the bottom of your About Page, they really like you. They find you quite fascinating.

So, now’s your opportunity to tell them what to do next so you deepen that relationship and their loyalty.

For a service business, you might direct users to learn more about your services. You could also ask them to subscribe to your email list (because your list members are always your best customers).

For a product-based business, you might send users again to your email list, or present them with a short list of your best-selling products they might like.

You can do a lot of different things, and it’s really all about your goals for your soon-to-be customers.

So yeah, the oft-forgotten about page can really be quite a nice business weapon.

And you might even call it a “secret weapon” because your competitors more than likely have no clue about the value it offers their business.