Google Analytics: website performance metrics

Google Analytics Made Simple: your website’s health

Part 4. Tracking website performance metrics

This is Part 4 of a series on Google analytics for freelancers and bloggers. Previously, we created customised dashboards  to master the data, looked into traffic metrics with the Traffic Dashboard, and analysed the best performing content with the help of the Content Dashboard.

An important part of your SEO strategy is to know how your website is running. With the Performance Dashboard consisting of 8 widgets, you’ll see:

– How quickly your website loads
– Where your visitors are coming from
– If you should act because something isn’t working as it is meant to

Website Performance Dashboard: Google Analytics
1. AVERAGE PAGE LOAD TIME

Website speed has key importance for user engagement. If your website makes users wait, they will eventually get bored and leave. Page load time is also a factor in Google’s desktop search results rankings.

If you have a high page load time, it’s not always the content to blame. Since the number includes all steps, the time depends from redirects, server-side calls, the user’s location and network connection.

To see the speed of separate pages, go to Behavior > Site Speed > Page Timings. The report details each page along with the total average loading time (in seconds). Copy the URL and add it to the widget if you need a clickable widget title. Get an overview of website speed at Behavior > Site Speed > Overview.

Some other simple site speed tools:

  • WebPageTest: results are collected from real browsers running common operating systems.
  • Pingdom: a simple tool but method of testing is undocumented.
  • GTmetrix: gives actionable insights about the best way to optimize webpage speed.
Website speed overview - Monitoring website performance2. MOBILE PAGE LOAD TIME (SEC)

The last few years have all been about the mobile: after 2014 mobile usage is greater than desktop use. In July 2018, Google adds mobile page load times to the factors for mobile search result rankings.

According to Google, the average time it took in 2017 to fully load the average mobile landing page was 22 seconds. However, research also indicated that 53% of people would leave a mobile page if it took longer than 3 seconds to load.

There are insights available for speeding up your site for mobile devices. These can be found under Behavior > Site Speed > Speed Suggestions. The Hostgator’s blog offers more free Google tools to improve your mobile page load time.

Mobile page load time insights
3. LOAD TIME FOR POPULAR PAGES

Here you can compare the average page load time with the metric for your most popular posts.

If you want to speed up your most viewed pages to enhance their visibility further, consider optimising the images (you can use the image optimisation method offered by HubSpot). You can also hide certain elements on the sidebar that are not so necessary.

The full report available at Behavior > Page Timings shows the load time for popular pages compared to the site’s average.

Popular pages loading time: Google Analytics
4. AVERAGE SERVER RESPONSE TIME

The average amount of time that it takes for the site’s server to respond to what a user is doing such as clicking through pages. A well built web page will still be displayed slow if the server response time is slow. Google recommends to reduce the server response time under 200ms.

To improve server response time look into caching plugins and content delivery networks like Cloudfare. It’s also important to compress your assets using a method such as Gzip or Brotliminify your CSS, JS, and HTML files, and optimise your images.

To add a direct link to the widget’s title, go to Behavior > Site Speed > Overview.

Google recommends to reduce the server response time under 200ms.

5. SERVER RESPONSE TIME BY COUNTRY

Here you can see if certain countries are slower to load your website’s pages. To get the full report, go to Behavior > Site Speed > Page Timings and switch to the Map Overlay tab.

If country-specific performance is important for your strategy, you might consider using a server based in that country (with the help of your hosting provider) or use a content delivery network.

Server response time by country

6. AVERAGE PAGES VIEWED PER VISIT

Defined simply as the total number of pages viewed divided by the total number of visits to the site, Average Pages Viewed per Visit is a key indicator of your content’s attractiveness.

You want people to visit multiple pages on your site (over 3 to 4) because it means that readers come to your blog and want to stick around.

If you think there’s still room for optimisation, ask yourself:
1. Is it possible to update high-bouncing pages with news facts or research?
2. Could the formatting be better?
3. Could any images or videos be added?
4. Do the pages really match the keyword phrase ranking for in Google?
5. Could you improve the title tags and meta descriptions?

Go to Audience > Behaviour > Engagement to see the number of pages viewed by different users. The highest number for me this week is 19.

To make a clickable widget title, navigate to Audience > Overview. You can copy and add the link to the widget in the Performance Dashboard.

Number of pages veiwed per visit

7. AVERAGE TIME ON SITE

Average session duration (time spent on your website) is a simple number fundamental for content sites like blogs. More time means better connection with the content.

Watch for dramatic changes in the average time the visitors are spending on your website as they indicate a significant change in your audience. Remember, though, that the results can be misleading because the visitor could have left the browser window open and was not actually viewing your page.

Additionally, it is an average of metrics which are themselves averages of other metrics which are themselves averages, and so on. To get a better insight, consider the average session duration for each individual traffic source (Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels).

The direct link for a clickable title is the same as for the previous widget: Audience > Overview.

Average time on website: average session duration in Google Analytics

8. VISITS BY DAY SINCE LAST VISIT

Do your visitors only come once and never return? Or do some visit your website three times a week or even more?

The widget shows the number of days between the latest visit and the visit before that. 0 days since last visit means that the user have been to your website once.

The full report available at Audience > Behavior > Frequency and Recency shows both days since last session and the count of sessions with pageviews to understand how loyal your visitors are.

To make better use of the Recency report, click Add Segment and choose Returning visitors.

Days since Last Visit - New and Returning Users

Next month comes the forth dashboard, the Social Dashboard. And after that we’ll see what metrics should be monitored weekly, monthly, and yearly.

How to Localise Keywords: tips and tricks for effective keyword localisation

How to Localise Keywords: 3 Basic Steps

Tips for effective keyword localisation

To localise keywords effectively, follow three basic stages: translation, adaptation, supplementing and testing. If you have a list of well-performing keywords, you need to complete four main tasks to make your list work in other languages:

  1. Translate keywords correctly.
  2. Localise keywords: adapt them to a new region (taking language, cultural and other differences into account)
  3. Search and add new keywords relevant to the local market like trends, events, etc.
  4. Test the new keywords in search engines and add them to the localised texts.

In its online training on digital marketing, Google underlines that you need a proper translation—and localisation—to overcome language barriers and communicate your ideas and offers. To make local feel like ‘you speak their language’, Google strongly advises in favour of using professional services.

Automated translation is rarely 100% fluent and accurate. Free tool might be tempting but Google penalises websites which use Google Translate for their multilingual pages. The reason is simple: they are considered to be low quality content not meeting user needs.

Google’s recommendations can be fully applied to localise keywords. As the cornerstone for both organic traffic and paid online advertising, keywords have two main functions:

  • to ensure correct content indexing by search engines;
  • to encourage user actions with search results.

The closer is a keyword variation to a user’s search query, the higher are the chances that the search engine sees the content as relevant and puts in the first page of search results. Obviously, this means a user is more likely to click your link.

It’s impossible to achieve highly relevant search results if keywords are simply translated. Yes, they will still be relevant and meaningful for a user reading the content. But search engines have different criteria for relevancy.

1. Correct translation

Context is translators’ favourite word. And context is even more important for localising keywords as you should specify the exact word meaning.

How would you translate ‘slicer’, ‘imaging’ or ‘support’? And if I told you these were 3D related terms? When translating keywords, it is vital to explain what they mean in a given context, give links to the pages with the keywords or at least explain what the pages are about.

The translator should understand the tasks that have been set when creating a keyword list. In this case, they might be able to add other variants based on typical local search queries.

2. Keyword adaptation

Ideally, localised keywords should match actual search terms and queries. Depending on a country, region or target audience, these search queries can differ significantly from terms which have been translated directly.

After adaptation, you may get two synonyms in the target language instead of one source word or a long-tail keyword (phrase) if it correlates to terms online users enter when searching.

Next, the list of translated keywords is analysed for search engine relevance. Search term frequency and related variants are the main things to pay attention to. Based on analysis results, you then correct and amend the list.

Tools for keyword analysis:

Google Keyword Planner is the easiest option (requires a Google AdWords account).

Yandex’s Keyword Statistics and Serpstat are Russian online services targeted at the Russian-speaking segment of the web.

3. Testing and diagnostics

The first round of keyword testing takes place during the adaptation. For each keyword, all the above-mentioned tools offer an approximate number of search queries. Please note that does not mean you should neglect testing the final keywords variants in main search systems. This covers keywords both for content creation and social media posting.

Use the SEMrush Keyword Difficulty tool to check competition for the most important keywords. The index (from 1% to 100%) shows you how difficult it is to outperform your competitors for the planned keywords and keyphrases. A low-frequency long tail keyword has more chances of getting to the first search page when it matches the search term.

In search engines, the quality rating for each keyword depends not only on competitors. The relevance and quality of a corresponding landing page is another component. That means localised keywords should be highly relevant to the content of the landing page.

Anywhere else to use keywords?

Meta descriptions

The text summarising a page’s content in search results. Web surfers are more likely to click an offered link if they notice the keywords from their search queries (or closely related terms).

Note: Recently, Google announced that their search engine now supports meta descriptions up to 320 symbols long. Still, many prefer the good old fashioned 160-symbol metas, just to be on the safe side.

Headings

The first thing you notice when you examine search results is a page title or a heading. If a heading matches a keyword or a keyphrase, the search engine sees the content as relevant and shows it higher in search results. If a heading fails to describe the content accurately, the search engine gives fewer points to the page.

Note: A good heading is accurate, engaging and a bit provoking. It communicates the idea behind the target page in a clear and concise way.

URL address

Sometimes, page URLs are localised, too. For Russian language, it means transliteration. If you add a long-tail keyword to your URL, be careful not to make it too long (3 to 5 words max).

Note: According to Google, keywords in URLs do not have a strong impact on your SEO.

Alt tags

Search systems cannot ‘see’ images. Instead, they look for image descriptions in <alt> tags. During localisation, it is better to translate image descriptions and add keywords to them as it makes the page content more relevant to search terms containing matching and related keywords.

Note: An average image description should be not less than 3 to 4 words (250 symbols or more), with only one of them being the keyword.

“If you’re growing into an area that primarily speaks another language you’ll need to translate your site. And it’s probably best to have it done by a native speaker – rather than an automated translation service.

But simply translating content might not be enough. Words and phrases that work in an Italian market may not resonate with a French audience. Localisation is the process that makes locals feel like you “speak their language”.

It seems like a fair bit to think about…but there are many companies and freelancers out there who specialise in exactly this type of work.”

Google Digital Garage

More questions on keyword localisation? Feel free to send them to info @ just-translate.it.com

analyzing traffic for bloggers

Google Analytics made simple: Know your visitors

Part 2. Analyzing traffic for bloggers with the Traffic Dashboard

Now that we have our Google Analytics dashboards ready, we’ll go into specific areas of Google Analytics for a more refined approach.

This is the post on traffic analytics for bloggers. Next comes the Content Dashboard.

Traffic metrics are the best stats for analyzing how your website and blog are growing. See which channels are working and what needs revision. Evaluate all you marketing channels driving traffic to your website. Ideally, your aim is to come up with new concepts for attracting more targeted visitors.

Check the incoming traffic to know:

– How visitors are finding your website
– What your most popular pages and posts are
– Who your referrals are

Our Traffic Dashboard has 8 widgets. We’ll have a look at every widget, slightly improve it and see how to analyze the metrics.

My customised dashboard for traffic

1. How did people find you?

The widget shows us the main sources of our traffic. Here, search engines are likely to be on top positions. Pay attention to the percent of new sessions: which channels are brining you new visitors and which are for user retention?

The term ‘direct’ refers to the visits in which users took the following actions:

  • Typed the domain name directing into the URL bar
  • Clicked on a bookmark
  • Clicked on a link in an email that isn’t tagged using tracking parameters
  • Clicked on a link in a mobile messaging app

In our default All Traffic report, we see only sources but not the pages they are referring to. Let’s fix that by adding one more dimension.

Go to the Source tab. Click Secondary dimension. Type in Landing Page. Now you see your traffic sources AND the landing pages which attracted visitors. (You can delete your secondary dimension anytime if you do not need it any longer.)

We can add a direct link to the detailed report making the widget’s headline clickable. Go Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium. Copy the address in the URL field. Open the Widget Settings window and paste in link in Link to report or URL field. Now we have a clickable widget name in case we need to drill down our data.

2. Visitors by Channel

The chart shows the main channels bringing us traffic. What is the difference between the source and the channel?

Source is the URL where your traffic originated: a search engine like Google or a domain (example.com). Medium is the format: organic search (organic), cost-per-click paid search (cpc), web referral (referral) or none (direct traffic has a medium of ‘none’). Channel in Google Analytics is a group of traffic sources with the same medium. Organic Search is a channel consisting of Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Aol traffic sources with the same medium called ‘organic’.

Be aware that not all social traffic goes into the Social category. Sometimes you’ll see it in your Referral section.

To add a link to the main report, go Acquisition > All Traffic > Channel. Copy and paste the link. From the same Channel overview page, you can click on the channel of your choice (e.g. Organic Search) and set your Primary Dimension to Landing Page.

3. How many readers are reading my posts?

Obviously, our aim is to get the figure up every month or so. Note that for each set of metrics you should consider both short-term and long-term values.

Try at least 30 days to study your most recent publications. To analyze larger trends, extend the graph for 3–6 months.

Beginning from 2016, the default time range for Google Analytics switched to seven days. But the system allows you to set the default date range to the last 7, 14, 28, or 30 days. You can access this setting from the User Settings in the Overflow Menu (three vertical dots).

Go to Audience > Overview and copy the link in the URL field. Now open your widget for editing and add the link.

Try choosing various time periods to look at how much traffic you’re getting. Do you receive more traffic on a particular day of the week? Does it come in the afternoon or in the evening?

4. What posts are the most popular?

Any old post appearing here is your potential gold mine as it is already ranking high in organic search. If you see that the traffic brought by these pages is important for you, create more content like this.

Spend some time looking for old posts which get pageviews all the time or at the same time each year. Such posts are called evergreens.

Revisit your evergreen posts regularly to make sure links work, the images aren’t broken, and the info is still accurate. You can even refresh an evergreen post by re-sharing it.

To learn more about user behavior, let’s add and use the report link: Behavior > Site Content > Content Drilldown. Pay attention to the percent of exits. If it is close to 100%, chances are high that the post header and the description are not relevant to the content or do not match user expectations.

5. Referral Websites

Top ten websites bringing us traffic (excluding major search systems and social networks as we have the Social Dashboard for analyzing them).

To see the full list, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals (and add the link to the dashboard if you wish).

To find out how your links got onto other websites, add one more dimension: click Secondary dimension and type in Landing Page. Check the engagement of this traffic to see how long visitors are staying at the website and how many pages they see.

If you are happy with the results, consider ways to further build traffic from these domains. Let people know you appreciated the reference. You will be far more likely to generate more referrals from the same people in the future.

6. Where do your readers live?

Visitors are accessing your website from various countries across the globe. The darker shades represent more traffic and more visitors from specific location.

To add a link to the report: Audience > Geo > Location. Pay attention to dimensions: you can switch to cities, continents and sub continents.

If you publish translated content on your site, you can study geo trends to see how many visitors are using translated pages compared to the originals.

8. Keywords

Most of your visitors are likely to come from search engines. Here you’ll find the (known) keywords that brought them to your website. And what can you do about them?

You can take the keywords you are happy with and provide more niche content targeting at long-tail keywords (phrases consisting of three or more words). Long-tail keywords return fewer results but bring you more targeted traffic. And it is much easier to rank high with them!

To add a link to the report: Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. Then switch to Primary Dimension > Other > Type and select Keyword.

 

 

SEO for freelancers

Searched and found online: 5 tips for your online image

Part 4. Make your personality count

This is the forth post on online marketing strategies for SMBs. The first part covers tools for improving your search ranking. Then come your content strategy and content promotion using social media.

And what about personal branding? For me, the concept is too artificial. Too vague. Too misleadingly promising.

Branding was created to add human characteristics to products and companies to make them more appealing to humans. By offering functional and emotional benefits associated with a brand, you are creating a relationship with your audience.

But people are building their professional reputation and not a brand. You already have your functional and emotional benefits (or personal branding is useless for you anyway). It’s high time to make your benefits visible.

You all know that stuff: Create your personal brand. Become a conference speaker. Get the media attention. Write an e-book. Position yourself as an expert in your field and build your tribe. But how could possibly every professional be a well-known expert or every company be innovative?

I don’t say it’s the wrong path. Follow it if you feel inclined. You’ll find tons of ‘expert advice’ on the topic. But I speak of making your offer visible out there.

In the era of online communications and search engines, your personality matters. For a small online business without brick-and-mortar or an office open to the public, the name becomes your store window and your legacy.

References are bread and butter for freelancers. But chances are high that a potential customer will google your name if they are interested in a service partner. Solid reputation attracts better clients for freelancers. Defining your personal and business benefits also facilitates SEO.

To take your reputation and career from obscurity to visibility, you need a carefully planned strategy with a strong focus on content marketing, a fuel for your online presence.

Freelancers online image

1. Shaping your story

Brands can teach us invaluable marketing lessons. For instance, you need to be clear and direct when you present what you do. What are you great at doing anyway?

Think of what is important to you, what you do and do not stand for. Imagine an internal compass that determines your choices and actions. Make it three sentences or even less. Or use phrases, words or bullet points if that suits you.

Craft a narrative if you feel comfortable with it. How did you get started? Why do you specialise in certain areas? Why does your business exist? Who have you worked with and what did you do for them? What have you learnt along the way?

Whenever there is a chance for deeper engagement, be ready to present your skill-set and knowledge that set you apart in a sea of your competitors. Keep in mind your listeners and readers have a short attention span. That’s why a story crafted thoughtfully and structured carefully is a must. Fill out your profiles on the About Me area of your website, blog and/or social media.

While your profile will vary for different media, generally you’ll have:

• Your name (as people would search for it).
• Social accounts associated with you.
• Your profile picture (preferably the same for every account).
• Relevant keywords describing what you do.
• A tone that reflects your personality.
• A strategic link or call to action.

crafting your online story

2. Crafting your style and tone

This step isn’t absolutely required, but it can help you stand out.

If you feel you are reasonably confident about your design skills, there are many free online resources and tools can help you—from articles on branding to colour palette generators and design tools like Canva.

But style is not all about fonts and colours. What’s your tone of voice when communicating with your audience? For your image to be authentic, it should be consistent with your values and personality.

Below you will find ideas from brand creators (The source.)

Describe your online personality

Try to make a list of keywords thinking about how you plan to be perceived by your target audience and how you want to make them feel. Be yourself or create a persona if that seems more suitable for you. The picture below shows the process of linking keywords to archetypes when defining a personality for a brand but you can use it, too.

Defining Brand Personality

Having an angle will give a unique perspective that will mark each piece of content you develop as yours. Why write a cover letter when you can send a video version?

3. Choosing your channels

Next, it’s time to add your online persona to your professional assets.

Online channels are very diverse and may include a website, blog, online portfolio, social media profiles, directories and third-party sites. All of them need to be consistent with your message and style.

Don’t forget that SEO is one of the key tools connecting you to the people who are potentially interested in your knowledge and services. If you want Google to index your information in a really good way, you need a uniform and consistent vanity URL for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Not sure if a preferred URL is available? Check your name at www.namechk.com.

Start writing about what you know and share your personal point of view. Don’t worry about gaining thousands of follows and views. The point is to offer the right people access to your insights and get a glimpse of your professional value when they need it.

Your online persona is not a costume or a disguise. It means your real reputation and the authentic you with the unique talents you possess. Whatever channels you choose, stay true to the real you and maintain consistency.

(That does not mean publicly sharing the after-party photos and discussing your personal relationships or lack thereof. Your digital shadow is much longer than you possibly presume.)

Social media digital shadow

4. Planning the content

Keeping your online presence consistent and updating your spaces with quality content on a regular basis will help you gain exposure.

Every expert should be blogging, they say. Yes, a blog can be your essential tool for SEO but not everyone is ready for regular blogging. Let’s consider other options. What else can you create?

Visual content for social media: images with captions, quotes, headlines. These are readily shared, easy to make and you are free to experiment.

Videos published on YouTube, Vimeo are becoming the dominant force in content marketing. They drive high engagement but can be demanding to create. Don’t forget transcripts (at least partial) for SEO.

Case studies: stories of your clients’ successes. These are a great boost for your credibility. You do not need a website or a blog to use them. Why not share a case study on your LinkedIn profile? Include specific information and conduct interviews to get quotes.

Insights covering professional activity: updates on your professional development and certificates, book and tool reviews, pictures of your projects and processes, etc.

Look for more content strategy tips and ideas in Part 2 of this series.

Shaping your content

5. Providing social proof

When prospective customers encounter your brand, they want to be sure you are trustworthy. Moreover, people want to know what is behind your products and services in a way that shows them that you care and that you are dedicated to solving their problems.

If you have great recommendations on LinkedIn, consider sharing a hyperlinked excerpt that will direct the reader to your LinkedIn page. You can use them in a similar way in a cover letter or on your personal site. When making decisions people rely heavily on the opinions of others.

Other things you can use to convince people that you really know your stuff include:

  • Academic degrees
  • Certifications
  • Awards
  • Publications
  • Presentations
  • Important projects
  • Associations
  • Affiliations
  • Speaking videos

Let your reputation, however you choose to present it, speak for itself. Don’t sell people what you do—share the results to become recognizable. Your achievements are much more tangible than a list of your skills.

Craft your story and convey it to the marketplace in a strategic, consistent manner. Without it, many people will miss your products and services. Add a personal touch to everything you do because people buy from people they know and like.

Your online image

Make your business found online

Searched and found online: 4 crucial SEO steps

Part 1. Google rankings for SMB: tools and checklists

My last year’s CPD included quite a few of courses and certifications in online and content marketing.

To make better use of how-tos learned, I decided to proceed with a series of online marketing and promotion guides. Are you seeking ideas to optimise your website and content for discovery and conversion? Follow the blog for actionable tips! To ensure they work, I will use them while updating and optimising my own sites. (Keen to see the results!) More links may be added later if I discover more useful tools.

The planned topics:
Content-related best practices
Social media tips and tricks
– Branding strategies
– Latest marketing trends to know about
– And this one, SEO as the core element to make your business readily found online

Websites and online content should help us get customers. But first, potential customers must become aware that we exist.

By SEO we mean all the methods you can use for better visibility of websites and content on search engine results pages.

The following steps will help you to position your website and/or brand better in organic (non-paid) results, draw in new clients, and get a chance to increase conversions.

step 1. KEEP UP WITH THE LATEST SEO TRENDS

For several years, Google has been focusing on understanding ‘natural’ queries brought by the increase of mobile and voice searches. The search engine has now improved significantly in conversational language processing.

The traditional view of ‘keywords’ has changed as the search became semantic. It now works with non-specific natural search terms in use and attempts to find the core concept they belong to.

That enables Google to understand the intent behind queries and provide more relevant search results to the user. To become a part of relevant search results, your website and SEO should fulfil the following basic tasks:

  1. Explain to Google and searchers what your company does
  2. Offer easy navigation to help visitors find what they need
  3. Answer visitors’ questions through rich content and social proof

At present, more than 200 Google factors influence your search positions. But the three top ranking factors are links, content & RankBrain, the algorithm for indexing online content.

The methods to achieve higher rankings include on-page optimisation (working with your content); off-page approaches (link-building, social media marketing), and—as usual—analytics and feedback.

Successful SEO practices are always tied to business goals and client-oriented. You need to analyse what your message is and whom it’s for. Get to know your potential customers, their needs and pressing issues. In that case even a lower traffic volume will be invaluable, especially for niche and technical products and services.

step 2. MAKE USE OF WEBSITE OPTIMISATION CHECKLIST

Always start with inner optimisation to create a solid foundation for future activities. Pay special attention to the following points:

1. Loading speed

The load speed of your webpage is increasingly becoming a differentiator for search engines.

Start with free Google Page Speed Checker. Your aim is a green check mark.

For better results,  implement the recommendations offered by the service. A spoiler: you may well need a programmer to get a flawless version but some tips are easy and actionable. My results after some light optimisation are quite good. (92 for mobile and 96 for desktop instead of 33 and 38.)

  • Always optimise your images. Use services like compressor.io or Photoshop > Save for Web
  • Get rid of plugins for WordPress if they are not a must. The less, the better
  • W3 Total Cache plugin is highly recommended (Not sure of settings? Try this resource or google another one)

My Site Optimised

 

More free speed test tools are available online.

2. 404 errors and identical content

For link checking, try free Xenu’s Link Sleuth or use Google Search Console.

The console is a part of Google Toolkit for Webmasters and a must have for everyone interested in search rankings.

business found online_google console_en

If Google finds two identical pieces of content, whether on your own site or on another you’re do not even know of, it indexes only one of the pages. Be aware of sites stealing and republishing your content.

Copycats can outrank you even with the stolen content. If you have identified an offending website, take the appropriate action. Contact the website owner or use Google’s content removal form.

3. Responsive design

The share of mobile traffic continues to increase (see below). Moreover, Google has stated that responsive design is its preferred method of mobile optimisation. Non-responsive websites won’t rank high.

You can check adaptability using Google mobile friendly service or pull up your website on a smartphone. Are the fonts adapted? Does the content fit the screen? Is there space enough between text, graphics, and links?

If you plan to enjoy tonnes of mobile traffic, consider investigating Google AMP project. Early adopters report a serious increase in returning mobile search users.

Mobile-share-of-online-time-percent-2017

4. Website structure

For providing the best possible user experience, you need an easily navigable, searchable site with relevant internal linking and related content.

SEO experts agree that to get the most traffic you should have dedicated pages for every service you offer, industries and sectors you work with, portfolio and/or blog. Other pages are business-dependent. For example, translators/interpreters could add a page for each of their working languages.

Internal linking helps Google crawl and index your site, provides your audience with further reading options and adds to online business visibility for specific keywords.

SEO optimised website structure

5. Content

No more on-purpose mistakes, strange phrases for strict matching or atrocious keyword stuffing. Luckily for us, Google search algorithms became more mature in recent years.

You’ll find signals for content quality in the Google Search Quality Ratings Guidelines. They pay special attention to the level of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. A satisfying amount of high-quality main content matters, too.

Stylistically correct and aimed at user needs

Search engines try to provide the most appropriate results to queries, so they look for relevancy.

Google’s Webmaster Academy course tells you how to “create valuable content.” Avoid broken links, wrong information, grammar or spelling mistakes, excessive ads.

Your SEO friends:
– Subheadings
– Bulleted lists
– Shorter sentences (14–16 words max)
– Shorter paragraphs to grasp the idea
– Structured content
– Thematic completeness
– Relevant keywords/phrases co-occurrence
– Graphics with keywords in ALT tags.

Leveraging ‘psychology tricks’

Optimise content titles for more clicks AND better search rating. Note: Your content should still be relevant to the headline or you risk a high bounce rate.

The biggest winners are striking headlines which include numbers and superlative words like “amazing” or “inspiring.”

Your SEO friends:
– Optimized headlines (emotions + promise + keyword)
– Calls for action where possible and/or necessary.

Adapted and unique

When localising content, look for cultural and/or social differences. Get rid of the content irrelevant to the local audience. Pay attention to local Latent Semantic Index (LSI) keywords instead: phrases similar to your main keywords. Google loves them. (See below.)

Your SEO friends:
– Natural word order
– Locally relevant content
– Content checking services
(Glvrd.ru for Russian texts; Hemingway editor for English content).

step 3. GET FAMILIAR WITH KEYWORDS

Accurate and relevant keywords within headlines and anchor text along with proper tagging are still among SEO best practices. 93% of online experiences begin with a search, and a search begins with words.

Research target keywords

Create a short list of keywords relevant to your area of expertise and use them often across your site and social media profiles.

In case you localise your website or social media content, consider researching keywords in your target languages as keyword translation does not suit your needs.

Google’s Keyword Planner is the easiest way to search for keywords. Tip: to access it you need an account in Google AdWords. (If that’s not an option you will find some other tools below.)

If you need to localise your keywords for the Russian-speaking audience, you may also try Yandex’s Keyword Statistics or Serpstat to find targeted keywords.

Expand to long-tail keywords and natural language

These are your cornerstones to fit the requirement of current search algorithms and user behaviour. Latest Google searching algorithms use latent semantic indexing (long tail keywords) to understand user search habits and give best content for their search queries.

Long tail keywords are keywords that contain 3 or more words. Why do we need them?

– Specific queries are easier to rank
– Long-tail keywords bring relevant visitors to the website
– They mean lower competition
– LSI offers low cost-per-click and increased conversion

Google’s Keyword Planner is pretty much useless for key phrase research be it blogging, SEO or content marketing. Free but powerful tools can offer synonyms which are searched more frequently or search prompts for phrases useful for you, or show keywords working for your competitors.

Ubersuggest. It adds every letter in the alphabet after the keyword to generated hundreds of long tail keyword suggestions.
AnswerThePublic. A one pager that can be used to understand what truly matters to your clients (remember to pick up a country).
Keywordtool.io. 750+ keyword suggestions for free. Considered one of best tool for long tail keywords.
LSI Graph. LSI keyword generator.

Feel free to use Google tools extensively. Use the search bar to type in a keyword and see what Google Auto Suggest gives you. Use Google Trends to search for popular phrases and figure out which variation of a keyword is best. Google Correlate shows search patterns which correspond with real-world trends.

Understand the user intent behind target keywords

Natural language is taking over search queries. Where users would once type words they are now asking questions. Those questions essentially become long-tail keywords for your SEO strategy.

Plug your core keywords into Google and study the results for user intent. Use them strategically as you plan and craft content. Match your website and your content to the kinds of information that users need. If a brand wants to rank well for the term (aka keyword), they need to provide high-quality content defining the term and explaining their industry.

Aim for topical completeness as too generic texts have a much higher bounce rate with a negative effect on search engine positions. Longer (more than 1000 words) ‘how to’ guides, case studies, niche insights, expert comments, life hacks both attract and add value in the sales funnel. Having a FAQ page with all user intent questions could be a good thought.

The SEMrush Keyword Difficulty tool assesses which keywords are worth targeting or are too difficult to rank for. The tool provides a keyword difficulty index from 1-100 percent to show you how difficult it’ll be to beat your competitors with the specified search terms and phrases.

Optimise your content with keywords

Basic keyword optimisation principles:

– A keyword in the Title tag
– A keyword or a synonym in H1 tag
– H2 subheadings should be present
– Several long-tail keywords with synonyms
– Graphics is a must (photo, infographic)
– Internal links to similar content (with keywords) to improve user experience
– External links to authoritative high ranking sites

Searchers get results not only based on the exact word they typed but by what the search engine deems to be meaningfully related. Now a smaller site gains benefits that can make a huge difference to your SEO. Target keywords that the competitors are unwilling or unable to compete on.

step 4. MOVE TO OFF-SITE OPTIMISATION CHECKLIST

Authority has always been a component of Google’s search. To determine if your answer is any better Google looks at the number, and quality, of other websites that have placed links to your site – especially in the same industry or niche.

A free extension for Chrome web browser, the Moz Bar gives instant insights on different kinds of links and helps determine if a link is beneficial for your website or not. Track your backlinks and disallow the unwanted links to protect your site from Google Penalty.

Apparently, link building is the key to your off-site optimisation. Good content brings you natural backlinks adding to your search engine page position. Another obvious way to raise your site’s visibility through off-site SEO is social media marketing (SMM).

Be present on all relevant social channels (follow the white rabbit target audience). Note that faceless broadcasting does not add to your SEO. Make SMM a customer service channel and interact with people to generate interest and attract visitors to your website.

Relying on finding and verifying local data, Google My Business is a great tool for local SEO. A keyword in your business name means that you will rank higher.

Various tools are out there to find non-linked mentions of your brand. Analyse them and turn the most relevant mentions into backlinks.

Your SEO friends:

– Catalogues
– Local resources
– Online media
– Info partners
– Commenting
– Online social profiles.

CORNERSTONES TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS FOUND ONLINE

Keyword optimised headings, helpful navigation, and value-added content appeal both to search engines and human visitors. Show how your service solves user’s problems and be clear with the next action to take.

  1. Write down your expertise and target customers
  2. Make sure there are no technical issues left (items 1-3 of website checklist)
  3. Create an optimised website structure based on keywords
  4. Develop your content policy (style, headlines, adaptation where needed)
  5. Create relevant and useful content
  6. Popularise your content and build links for authoritativeness and trustworthiness (off-page optimisation)
  7. Analyse KPIs (visitors, number of leads/conversions/closed sales, goals achievement, competitors, etc.)
  8. Do not stop: correct, improve, and fine-tune

Good luck! Next come content-related best practices.