The Perfect On-Page SEO Ranking Process in 2019

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 2019, 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 2019, 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!

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.

 

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?

2 Risks to Take and Avoid in 2019’s SEO Environment

 

As a business owner, you’re used to taking risks. You wouldn’t have gotten to where you are without doing things that make you uncomfortable.

Of course, you don’t take foolish risks. You learn as much about the possible paths ahead, and then take as much risk out of the options available so you maximize your chances of success.

Well, it’s no different with SEO.

Take a second to learn smart SEO risks to take and silly ones to avoid in 2019 and beyond:

  1. Take: Giving High-Quality Backlinks

If your website has hundreds of links pointing to you, but just a handful going back out, Google rewards you less than if you had a balance.

Why?

Google thinks reputable websites happily link out to other websites with equally strong (or stronger) reputations.

No optimal ratio exists.

Just make sure that you add links to quality websites in your niche which also help your visitors in some way.

  1. Avoid: Using Your Keywords in Your Links’ Anchor Text

It used to be that putting your keywords in the blue anchor text of your link would drive up your search rankings quite nicely.

And it also fits logic. You want your website to rank for certain search terms. So, you highlight those terms so Google knows what you want to rank for.

Alas, some no-good SEOs found methods to spam thousands of links with their exact anchor text across the web. They artificially drove their website to the top of the search results, which Google (and searchers) didn’t want.

So now Google penalizes this practice.

No one knows a precise ratio for this practice. But, general consensus holds you shouldn’t exceed 1-3% of the links pointing to your site having your exact keywords in their text.

  1. Take: Redesigning Your Website

Yes. This one carries significant risk if you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s why it’s important to go with a designer who’s done this many times before and can prove they protected client search rankings.

With the right firm, you’re possibly in for a nice rankings boost.

Users expect a modern design on your website. They want an easy-to-use website. And there’s plenty of small SEO ins-and-outs that can be done in your design which affect your rankings.

With the right partner, this can be a big win for your SEO.

  1. Avoid: Using “Doorway Pages”

“Doorway pages” may target multiple cities or locations, but then link back to one specific page. They can result in multiple similar pages in the search results, which Google and web searchers don’t like.

You can create pages on your site which create relevancy for various cities and suburbs. After all, it’s important for searchers to know you offer your service in their location.

You’re okay as long as you don’t link and drive searchers back to a single final destination on your site.

“Doorway pages,” as they get used, actually offer little utility and typically spam keywords to get search visibility.Discussing the benefits of your product and service and highlighting why you’re different and better than the competition does provide value and won’t irk Google (or searchers).

So there you have it. Smart SEO risks to take. And foolish ones to avoid.

Which will you choose in 2019?

How to Quickly Analyze Your Competition in SEO

The nice thing about the internet is that you can easily gather heaps of data on your competition.

Compare this to analyzing your competitors back in the days of the Yellow Pages.

A good competitor actually states their competitive advantages on their own website to attract more customers. So, researching your competition is far easier and faster than ever before. Here’s how to do it in 2019:

  1. Keyword Research

SEMrush actually lets you check these for free. You might be able to eyeball your competitor’s keywords at the small and local business level without it.

However, if there’s any complexity to figuring out those keywords, SEMrush clears it up – for free.

  1. On-Site Optimization

How well your competitor has optimized their website for their target keywords is a major ranking factor.

Their primary keywords must appear in the their page’s title (the big blue one you see when you do a Google search), in their meta description, and on the page itself about 2-3 times or so.

Watch for “unnatural” use of keywords.

This means keywords that sound “awkward” or “forced” when read out loud. Google does not like that kind of optimization. It still pulls ranking ability. But, not as much as keywords which sound “natural” (those which you barely notice when you read the sentence out loud).

Either overdoing it or underdoing it represents an opportunity for you to gain an advantage.

  1. Internal Linking

Links in your competitor’s site which link to other pages on their site are called “internal links.”

And this is another strong ranking factor Google analyzes.

There’s dozens of articles (and hot debate) about the best internal linking practices. But, generally, internal links should make it easy for users to navigate your site, link to more useful information, and point most frequently to the most important pages on your site.

Neil Patel has a great in-depth blog post on internal linking.

  1. Content Analysis

The uniqueness of content outshines all other aspects of creating content that gets noticed by Google.

Long is good. But if it’s already been said 10,000 times elsewhere, it’s not as good as something new. Check your competition for frequency, rank, and freshness.

  1. Design

Your website doesn’t need to be beautiful, or even eye-popping (although both are good).

But it does need to look modern so it looks like you’re still in business (not all SMBs understand that).

It also needs to be easy-to-use, fast, and make sense to visitors. And this might be the point you find you need a professional opinion.

If your competition has an older-looking design, this can indicate an opportunity for you to trump them in search.

So yes, analyzing competition at the local level, where websites are smaller, isn’t an overwhelming task.

And frequently, you’ll find easy opportunities for nice gains in your search rankings.