200 SEO Tips For Top 3 Google Rankings

The following SEO tips cover every important element of your websites SEO that needs to be optimized if you are going to achieve top 3 rankings for your site:

  1. Know your final goals. What do you want your website to do for you?
  2. Do you need an SEO company? Not necessarily, if you follow the following list of requirements, you can seo your site yourself. The most difficult aspect is finding high quality link opportunities & building those backlinks.
  3. Keyword analysis will identify the keywords that will convert for you once you rank for them. There is no point targeting keywords that are either too competitive or that have no traffic. Some people are looking for information (for free) and some people are looking to spend money.
  4. Longtail search terms are a great source of quality traffic as well as often being cheaper, faster and easier to rank for.
  5. Analyse top ranking competitors. The top ranking sites for the keywords you want to rank for have done their SEO better than anyone else. Analyse, and implement their SEO profile for your site.
  6. Website Analysis is critical before you do anything else. You need a snap shot of your websites health, so you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses & what to focus your efforts on.
  7. All websites are different. Just because one website looks quite similar in size, structure, backlink profile etc. it can perform very differently because there are so many factors involved in rankings.

Don’t Neglect Any SEO Elements

  1. Aggregation of Marginal Gains. Successful online performance relies on the combined weight of 100’s of SEO factors, both on page and off page which all work together, for or against your rankings.
  2. Don’t expect instant SEO results. While on page changes mostly affect rankings quite quickly, building trust & authority requires off page backlink building.
  3. Newly created backlinks take at least 90 days before Google start to count them, & your trust & authority only rise after that point.
  4. New websites take longer to rank well. Older, established sites with online history tend to rank faster and easier.
  5. Keyword rich TLD (Top Level Domain) URL’s can be dangerous for new websites. Google likes Brand building, so www.yourcompanyname.co.uk is often easier to rank rather than www.myproductname.co.uk. While older sites can ‘get away’ with using an old keyword rich domain that have history, new sites, launched since 2012 have had a much bigger problem with using a URL that includes keywords rather than their company name.
  6. https ssl certificate domains are considered more trusted by Google & as such often rank higher.
  7. Keep page URL’s as short and succinct as possible. Long URLs don’t rank as well, FACT.
  8. Your website is a work in progress. Websites need regular maintenance, new content, social activity etc. Your site will never be finished, it will just be either current and well managed or old and neglected. Which would you rank higher if you were a search engine?
  9. Page file size. The small your file sizes, the faster your site will load. Minimise html as much as possible, compress images and reduce server requests needed to load your pages. Under 100kb per page is a good target to aim for.
  10. Think “High Quality“. Whatever you do to your website from this moment forward, make sure it is of the highest quality, albeit backlink building, content writing, blogging etc

SEO Website Set Up

  1. Get the basics right first: Set up Google WMT’s, Google Analytics, check page load speed, duplicate content, mobile compatability & bounce rate…. each of these has the power to get you dropped from Google SERP’s.
  2. Google web master tools (WMTs) will highlight any SEO issues as they arise including 404’s, crawl issues, structured data, rich cards, schema data etc.
  3. State your preferred URL version. http://www.mysite.co.uk or http://mysite.co.uk in Google WMTs
  4. Specify Target Country in Google WMTs.
  5. Add sitemap in Google WMTs using .xml format
  6. Redirect 404 errors using 301 permantent redirects.
  7. Add Schema markup in Google WMTs
  8. Use structured data.
  9. Include rich cards for highlighting event data which will rank better in Google
  10. Fix HTML errors. Coding errors will harm your sites performance, fix them now (WMT’s will show you errors) or Google will use them as a low quality metric against you.
  11. Google Analytics will give you all the traffic data you need to optimize your site properly. Once you can see where your traffic comes from & what pages they visit, stay to read and their route from page to page you can make improvements to convert more visitors into customers.

Page Load Speed

  1. Page load speed is critical to your future success. Slow sites rank lower and very slow sites don’t rank at all! Use Google page speed tool to test your site and make the suggested changes to achieve a score of at least 75/100 on mobile and PC’s.
  2. GZIP Compression
  3. Image Compression
  4. Reduce server response time
  5. Leverage browser caching
  6. Eliminate render-blocking Javascript & CSS in above-the-fold content
  7. Minify HTML
  8. Javascript Minification
  9. Minify CSS
  10. Prioritise visible content
  11. Avoid landing page redirects
  12. Asynchronous and deferred JavaScript. Basically moving all JS to the footer of your page so it loads last rather than first, but allows your page to render without any delays.
  13. Duplicate Content will kill your rankings. Use www.copyscape.com to test each page of content and rewrite all content that is duplicated elsewhere online.
  14. Multiple websites. Similar websites covering similar topics, chasing the same search traffic etc are dangerous and will harm both of your sites traffic & rankings. Unless the two sites look totally unrelated to each other, including business details, hosting server, registrant details, social media activity, etc. Google will easily associate the two and penalise both in SERP’s.
  15. Don’t use ‘Frames‘.
  16. Avoid using ‘Flash‘ files.
  17. Include a robots.txt file to instruct search bots which pages to include and exclude from their indexes.
  18. Specify your site language using lang=”en-GB” html tag
  19. Use a Favicon.

Page Content Structure

  1. Structure page content to sell for you. Identify the issue / problem. Empathise with people with the problem. Present your solution. Present people who are happy with your solution. Provide a call to action for what they need to do to get your solution.
  2. Identify the problem. People search for solutions to problems that they have, whether its a service or a product. First paragraph should explain the problem.
  3. Empathise with problem. Why are you the experts to resolve this problem? Qualifications, credentials, experience, etc
  4. Present your solution. Here is how we will fix your problem & why it will work for them.
  5. Solution testimonials. Show other people that are happy with your solution. We are herd animals and logically, often decide that if other people have had a good experience then we will too.
  6. How to buy your solution. Include a call to action of how to order & pay for yourproduct or service as quickly and simply as possible.
  7. Call To Action. Every page should have a “What do you want me to do next button” at the end of the content.

Mobile Friendly

  1. Mobile Responsiveness is another essential. Your website needs to adapt for smaller, touch screen devices. Google use their mobile algorithm as their main ranking algorithm for all devices, so if you are not mobile friendly, ALL your rankings will be affected.
  2. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) render stripped out content for very fast loading content pages.
  3. Include ‘Click To Call’ phone number/call us links with conversion tracking code. Don’t use your phone number as the link text as that allows people to call you without clicking on anything! I know, this may sound counterintuitive, but Google make the rules and we need your site to tick all Google requirements so get a second click to reveal your phone number. If a mobile user clicks on a ‘call to click’ link then that already counts as a positive action so is OK.
  4. Check Browser Compatability. Different browsers often render pages slightly differently. Check your page renders in all popular browsers, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari as well as mobile versions too.
  5. Up time. Your server needs to be reliable as well as fast. If your site is frequently off line, don’t expect to rank well becasue Googlebot will encounter fatal error messages when spidering your site. Use https://uptimerobot.com to monitor your server up time free.
  6. Avoid excessive affiliate advertisements above the fold. Sites that look to be created just for affiliate sales are rarely ranked very well unless they offer a lot of quality content. Even then, limit adverts above the fold or face a penalty.

Bounce Rate & User Engagement

  1. Bounce rate is important. You need your bounce rate (how many people leave your site straight away) to be lower than your competitors. Aim for less than 55% on all pages (except for your contact page which should be the page where the majority of visitors leave).
  2. Remove contact details from all but your ‘contact page’ so users have to ‘click through’ to get in touch. Having contact details on every page of your website will increase your bounce rate massively.
  3. Use ‘read more’ links to direct users to a page of detailed content.
  4. Add contextual links within your most popular pages to get users onto a second page.
  5. Use less than 100 links on each content page. Googlebot will only follow the first 100 links on a page to other pages, Additional links will not be followed and are therefore unnecessary for SEO purposes.
  6. Add testimonials into your content to serve as ‘convincers’ for users to use your call to action.
  7. Use Google friendly SEO strategies. Google are quick to penalise sites that violate their best practice.
  8. Prioritise each page of your content for specific search terms. Multiple pages about the same topic weaken the power your pages have. Make each page focused on a different topic.
  9. Time on page is important, so the longer your visitors stick around before leaving, the better your site is considered to be.
  10. Page views is another user engagement metric that can make or break your website in search. The more pages people click on the better.
  11. Use linkbait to tease visitors into finding out more & clicking through to the next page.

Content Copywriting

  1. Rewrite weak or thin content. Each page should have 300-500 words minimum, and more if required to cover the topic comprehensively.
  2. Write for people to engage with, not for Google rankings.
  3. Beware the impact of adding new content onto existing pages. You can accidentally affect the rankings of a page by changing the keyword density of the page content.
  4. Focus on ‘reading age‘. Even though Google dropped reading age as a search filter option in 2015 they assess quality of content and badly written content is removed from their listings.
  5. Validate your CSS using https://validator.w3.org/ as doing so will remove any obstructions slowing down page load.
  6. Use similies & latent semantic phrases rather than repeating the same keyword repeatedly.
  7. Page keyword density should be around 2% for your main term. You are much more likely to be penalised for overusing a keyword than benefit from increasing its frequency. Remember, Less is More.
  8. LSI (latent semantic index) terms should run at around 0.2% – 0.5% maximum page text density.

On Page SEO Elements

  1. URL of each page. Include primary search term or phrase in your page URL.
  2. Page Title. Include variation of your main keyword in your page title.
  3. Each page should have a unique page title.
  4. Meta Description. Write a compelling teaser of up to 165 characters because your meta description tag is used in your pages Google SERPs listing and is your opportunity to encourage searchers to click through.
  5. Each page requires a unique meta description tag.
  6. Keywords Meta Tag. Do not use the keyword tag, leave it blank if you have one. This tag will only work against you, highlighting the keywords you want to rank for, so don’t add any!
  7. H1 Heading Tag. Use one H1 tag per page only, which should include a variation of your main keyword, but different to your page title.
  8. H2 tag. Use one or more H2 tags as sub headings within your page content. Use variations of terms related to core topic.
  9. H3 tag. Use one or more H3 headings for less important, but topic related sub headings.
  10. H4 tag. Currently have no SEO impact so not required for SEO purposes.
  11. H5 tag. Currently have no SEO impact so not required for SEO purposes.
  12. H6 tag. Currently have no SEO impact so not required for SEO purposes.
  13. Readability metrics. The readability of your content is important for your user engagement. WordPress sites can check using Yoast SEO plugin which has a Flesch readability tool included.
  14. Bold text in your content is valuable for your visitors, but has very little impact on SEO these days.
  15. Italics can make content stand out, but also has little effect on your rankings.
  16. Underlined content has no impact on rankings and can actually irritate users who expect underlined content to be a clickable link.

Images

  1. Include images within your content. Pictures & graphics help to get your message across and break up blocks of text on your page.
  2. Don’t steal images. The implications are costly. Either use pictures you have taken yourself or buy licenced images from https://www.shutterstock.com/
  3. Name images logically. Before uploading an images, name it descriptively & upload that version. “red-bucket-and-spade-set.jpeg” is preferable to “image3394jf-43b.jpeg”.
  4. Use image alt text. Use congruent alt text to explain what the image is about.
  5. Content size. There is a ratio (ideally 50%) between the volume of html used to render your page and the volume of text content on each page. Use SEO Quake Firefox plugin to check your pages html/content ratio.
  6. Amalgamate pages of thin content. If you have several pages with little content on them, combine them to make one page of quality content and redirect old pages to the new one.
  7. Minimise redirects from dead to new pages, especially if you change your URL’s more than once over time.
  8. Include Video. Videos can be a useful tool to increase time on site as well as aiding conversions by explaining your offering quickly & succinctly.
  9. Internal Linking Structure. Each page of your site passes authority from page to page. Structure your navigation so all your pages are 3 clicks or less from your home page. Your home page is the most powerful page of your site, so it needs to link directly to your most important pages of content.
  10. External Links. Where necessary, link to authority resources. Doing this makes you look unselfish & like an active part of the online community. Don’t be tempted to reproduce content that already exists on an authority website, link to it instead.

Off Page Backlink Building

  1. Backlinks are the single biggest influencer of Google Rankings. Each backlink pointing at a page of your site is a “vote” or “recommendation” from a Google trusted resource for your site. The more, high quality backlinks you have, the higher you rank.
  2. How you build and structure your links will help or hinder your rankings.
  3. Negative SEO exists. Backlinks from sites that Google doesn’t trust or deems to be in “bad neighbourhoods” can destroy your rankings.
  4. Avoid Link Farms & Networks. Google hates link networks that manipulate their results, banning them when they find them as well as all the websites that they identify as using them.
  5. Backlinks need to possess these attributes; be on relevant pages, that are indexed by Google, that pass relevant link category, use contextual links from within content, on unique IP’s, not on ‘orphan’ pages, pass dofollow attribute, deep link to different pages of your site, use image & various link text types to look natural.

Trust & Authority

  1. Trust & Authority. The main purpose of a backlink pointing to your site is to pass relevant trust and authority to your site, which will in turn increas the trust and authority score of your site.
  2. Link Page Relevance. Build links from relevant, related content so you have congruence from the link page content to your page content.
  3. Google Indexed Link Pages. If your link isn’t on a page that is in Google’s index then it won’t do you much good. In fact it can harm your site. If the page is in Google’s index, you can be confident it is reputable (for the time being).
  4. Linked Content Relevance. Don’t link from unrelated content to your site.
  5. Relevant Link Category. You need relevant link category links from the categories that your top ranking competitors have. If you are in Building/construction niche, you need high quality, contextual links from sites that pass juice from ‘business/building & construction’ link category. Check any page link category and trust/authority score using majestic.com
  6. Contextual Linking. Links from within a paragraph is a contextual link (think wikipedia link strategy). A contextual link directs users to read more about a particular topic, phrase or subject matter.
  7. Unique Class C IP addresses. Google only count one link from each class C IP address, so sitewide links don’t help you. Class C IP’s are used to identify link farms which are often hosted on the same server.
  8. Orphan link pages. An orphan link page has no backlinks linking to it. You need your backlink pages to have backlinks themselves, otherwise they have no authority to pass to you & act like a deadend.
  9. Deep Linking.

Types of Backlinks

  1. Link Types. Different link types are important to create a totally natural organic link profile.
  2. Dofollow Backlinks. There is no such attribute as a ‘dofollow’ attribute, but if a link doesn’t have ‘nofollow’ it is dofollow by default. Dofollow links pass trust and authority to your site.
  3. Nofollow Backlinks. No-follow backlinks are a natural part of your backlink profile, but should be less than 50% of your total links. Links with the nofollow attribute don’t pass authority to your site.
  4. URL Anchor Text. Should be the bulk of your anchor text, along with Brand links.
  5. Company / Brand Anchor Text. Together with variations of your URL should be more than 65% of your total backlinks.
  6. Brand + Keyword Anchor text. Can be used more frequently than EMT’s
  7. Exact match anchor text.(EMT’s) Should be less than 1% of your total link total.
  8. Empty anchor text. Links that use images with empty alt text attributes are marked as ’empty’ and should be included as a part of your backlink profile.
  9. Junk links. “Click here’, ‘Read more’, etc. should be part of your link profile.
  10. Home page / deeplinking backlink ratio. 85% of all your website links should point to your home page.
  11. Avoid low quality directory links.
  12. Don’t buy paid backlinks. Google hate paid links that manipulate SERP’s. Paid links should be nofollow attributed to keep your site safe. If you can identify a paid link then so can Google and you will be penalised.
  13. Use a variety of link types to maintain a ‘natural’ link profile.
  14. Seek quality links from sites that already link to your top ranking competitors.
  15. Use top industry directories for targeted links (only if they are Google indexed)

Link Building

  1. One contextual link from a high authority niche category, google indexed site is worth far more than lots of low quality, blog comments, forum posts, social bookmarks etc.
  2. Focus on high trust score link sites only
  3. Your site will receive 60% of the category score from the linking page. If the link page has a score of 50/100 you will gain a link with a score of 30/100
  4. Nofollow links look natural, but have little SEO benefit in most instances
  5. Avoid paid links from pages that have words on them such as “Advertise here”, “buy a link here” etc.
  6. Use email to contact the sites that link to your high ranked competitors. They may be happy to link to you too.
  7. Write and offer high quality articles to sites you want a link from. Many sites struggle to create content and fresh content that’s well written will help them to keep their site current in exchange for linking to the author.
  8. Write great page content on your site that covers a specific topic in great detail. Then contact industry leaders recommending your content to them.
  9. If you submit new content & it’s published on a new page, it will be an orphan page with little value until you create a link pointing to it…… that multiplies the work you need to do.
  10. Footer links are far less valuable to you than contextual content links.
  11. Sitewide sidebar links are often associated with blog comments and hence are not highly valued.
  12. Reciprocal links have very little authoritybecause they are seen as a backscratching arrangement between friends.

Link Building Opportunities

  1. Publish press releases for industry & company news. PR sites such as PRNewsWire.com are a good starting point.
  2. Web 2.0 article submissions. Great content, supported by a link (you’ll have to create) into the new article can build a powerful link on sites such as hubpages.com
  3. Link pages. Many authority websites have link and resources pages that pass great trust and authority scores for your niche category.
  4. RSS Feed. If you don’t publish an RSS feed you are missing an opportunity to earn some related links from niche websites.
  5. Niche directories. Identify specific directories for your industry, local area or niche and submit your site.
  6. Logo Directories. If you want a link in the “Arts / Graphic Design” category with an authority score of 19, submit your logo to The Log Mix
  7. Infographics. Design useful infographics and submit them to these sites here
  8. Blog Directories. Such as AllTop.com which passes authority score 34/100 “Business / Small Business” category links to your site.
  9. Article Directories. Try Ezinearticles.com for an “Business / Publishing & Printing” authority score 53 backlink.
  10. Include testimonials on your site for services that you’ve used. Some of those sites will reference your testimonial by linking to it…. simples!
  11. Offer images & graphics for your niche on your site. Optimize them and when people publish them on their sites, request a backlink in exchange for using the image or graphic.
  12. Create a “List”. People love lists and like to link to them….. write a good one and share socially.
  13. Video Infographics. Think infographic in slide format, presented as a video clip.
  14. Write Tutorials & How To’s. Commonly shared / linked to content.
  15. Give away industry secrets / correct untruths. Write a post proving why a commonly held belief is unfounded.
  16. Identify a broken link on a site you want a link from. Then suggest they replace it with a link to you instead.
  17. Highlight spelling and grammatical errors to webmasters.

Social Media Accounts

  1. Social media accounts can drive traffic to your website
  2. Create a Google+ Business page
  3. Add Google Maps listing
  4. Create A Facebook Business Page
  5. Collect Google+ reviews
  6. Facebook reviews
  7. Add social sharing buttons to your website
  8. SEO & Social media activity are different & best used together, rather than one or the other.
  9. Social media is a growing SEO metric. Page shares, likes and follows all contribute to your Brand authority.
  10. Link your social media accounts with your website. Add links to your social media pages on your website and add your website URL in all your social media accounts.
  11. Add sharing buttons on your website pages. No one will share your pages with their contacts across their social media if you make it difficult to do so. WordPress have a plugin called ‘Add To Any’ which integrates nicely and is customizable.
  12. Share your pages and posts on your social media accounts, then, when your contacts share your social post, they are sharing your website page.
  13. Request a Google+ or Facebook review from every client you invoice. The more positive reviews you receive ocross social media the better & Google show both Google+ and Facebook reviews within their Business page listings that appear on the right hand side when you search for your company brand name.
  14. If customers don’t have an social media accounts, ask for a written testimonial you can add into your website content.
  15. Don’t attempt to fake social media activity such as likes, shares and follows. It is very easy to establish if your activity is from ‘real’ accounts or fake account used just to try to manipulate Google etc.
  16. You can outrank large companies. While it may often look like large multinationals are given priority in Google, any website, (properly optimized) can outrank them given enough time, effort and knowhow.

Traffic Conversion

  1. Conversion is as important as rankings if not more so. There is no purpose to ranking first if no one buys using that keyword, so make commercial decisions for your target search terms that will convert for you.
  2. Google Page Rank (PR) no longer exists. Google use Trust & Authority instead. Forget about PR.
  3. Backup regularly. WordPress users can automatically backup there site files and database using the Updraft plugin. Updraft will download a complete copy of your site on a regular daily, weekly or monthly schedule, backing everything up to dropbox or a variety of other cloud storage servers.
  4. Identify website problems in real time. For WordPress users, the Wordfence plugin will monitor your site, identifying attacks, hacks, viruses, etc and isolate them easily and quickly as well as notifying the administrator of issues.

Event Tracking

  1. Track, test and measure everything. Google Analytics (GA) will give you most of the information you need to make informed decisions.
  2. Who clicks on what and why? Event Tracking codes in GA let you track which links are clicked on on each page of your site, including “click to call’ links used on mobile devices.
  3. Which content generates enquiries? With tracking codes on every link on each page you will be able to see what real people click on and from there you can identify which pages convert, which don’t and how you can increase profitability by changing your content.
  4. Track exit links with event tracking codes. You need to know where your traffic wants to go to, so arm yourself with event tracking data for every external link on your site. You will probably be surprised how they behave differently to your expectations.
  5. Monthly conversion tracking review. Once a month analyse your tracking data and make amendments, record your changes and review again the following month.
  6. A/B Split testing is a valuable way of comparing two different versions of content. Test conversion rate by showing every other visitor a different version of your content & identify the winner.
  7. Decide what call to action you want? Is it an online sale, a phone call, an email enquiry, an information download, a social media page like, video view, newsletter sign up, etc.
  8. Page Quality Beats Website Quality. Whether a page ranks or not depends on page quality, not website quality.

Stay at The Top of Google

  1. Set up SEO News notifications. Stay abreast of changes in Google ranking algorithms. Google make many changes every year. If you don’t pay attention you will be left behind.
  2. Re-analyse your on page & off page SEO every 6 months, review and adapt to progress.
  3. Publish new content on a regular basis, daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
  4. Update existing content to keep it up to date and relevant to changes in your industry.
  5. Add new backlinks regularly & consistently rather than building links in sporadic bursts of activity.
  6. Track your rankings using www.seomonitor.com or a similar tool so you can identify changes, ranking issues or problems with your website in real time.
  7. Keep on keeping on. Regular SEO activity is important to maintain your websites online health.