“How to improve SEO” is a top-searched query on Google, with a global search volume of 2.8K.

Semrush

Image via Semrush

It won’t be an exaggeration to say that search engine optimization is an obsession with netizens. Everyone from content creators to marketers is looking for clever ways to reach page 1 of the SERPs (search engine results pages). The very fact that you’re reading this blog post is evidence in itself.

And, it won’t be wrong to say that when it comes to search engine optimization, Google is a top priority. After all, it claims nearly 70% of search engine market share. These stats and facts also point in the same direction:

  • Nearly 4.9 billion happen on Google daily.
  • It takes just 9 seconds for 50% of searchers to click on their results.
  • Only .44% of people go to the second page of Google Search results.

Since the competition to rank on Google Search is so stiff, you must do everything within your power to improve your SEO. Not only will that help you beat the competition, but also grow your organic traffic and build your reputation over time.

Sounds good, right?

It is. Thankfully, there are many quick ways to boost SEO and shine in search results. But first, you need to configure your Google Analytics (GA) account correctly.

Why, you ask?

Because it will be the single source of truth when it comes to analyzing your SEO efforts. Though you might be using other analytics tools to uncover SEO-related data, you can’t really do away with Google Search Console tools. Their insights and suggestions are based on Google Search algorithms – the ones responsible for your search engine rankings.

By setting up your GA account correctly, you can avoid indexing errors. Google crawlers will read your pages as you intend them to. Moreover, your analytics reports will capture data pertinent to your SEO teams, helping them get quick wins from their efforts.

So, let’s start with configuring your GA account.

Disclaimer: This content contains some affiliate links for which we will earn a commission (at no additional cost to you). This is to ensure that we can keep creating free content for you.

Configuring Your Google Analytics (GA)

Assuming that you understand how to set up Google Search Console, we will move on to how to configure your GA account such that it supports your SEO efforts.

Step 1: Register Your XML Sitemap

Right at the outset, register your XML sitemap with Google Search Console so that it can be read by crawlers. Here’s what a standard XML sitemap looks like:

Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

If you have a WordPress website, you can use their sitemap plugin to generate an XML sitemap and sync it with your Google Search Console.

Step 2: Check Your Sitemap for Errors

If you want search engines to index your pages correctly, you need to remove these errors from your sitemap:

  • Orphaned URLs (pages that are not internally linked)
  • Canonicalized URLs (pages with duplicate content at different sources)
  • Missing or inaccurate last updated date
  • NoIndex pages (with “no index” meta tag in their HTML)
  • Missing key pages (homepage, Contact Us, About Us, Products/Services, etc.)
  • Broken links (with 404 or 301 errors)

Step 3: Ensure Google is Indexing Your Pages

There’s no use of generating a clean sitemap if it isn’t accessible to crawlers. To make sure search engines are fetching your sitemap, perform these steps.

  1. Log in to your Google Search Console account and select the website you want Google to crawl.
  2. In the “Crawl” menu on the left, click on “Fetch as Google.”
    Fetch as Google
  1. To test your website’s indexing page by page, enter each page’s path in the text box displayed. Then, select “Desktop” or “Mobile” in the drop-down below and click on the adjacent “Fetch” button.
    Fetch button
  2. To submit the above URL for indexing, click on “Request indexing” when the Status is “Complete.”
    Request indexing
    Don’t forget to select the “Crawl this URL and its direct links” option in the “Choose submit method” section below.
    Crawl this URL and its direct links
  1. Last, you need to check if Google is indexing all of your pages. To do this, type “site:” + your domain name in Google Search. Below, you will see the number of pages Google crawlers are indexing.
    Google is indexing
    If this number is less than your actual page volume, it means Google crawlers are unable to find some of your pages. You may have to revisit the meta tags of missing pages.More search results, on the other hand, means you may have a content duplication issue. To identify duplicate content, you can use a tool like Copyscape or Screaming Frog.

With that done, you’ve done your part in ensuring that Google is capturing the right analytics data. Now, you don’t have to worry about skewed reports that don’t reflect SEO issues in real time.

The whole process can be quite exhausting, especially if you have a large organization and have a website that has multiple category pages or an extensive blog. To make the process easier, you can also outsource the work to SEO experts who work specifically for enterprises.

How to Boost Your SEO Results: 5 Killer Tactics

Now, let’s dive deep into the topic at hand – improving your SEO ranking. Here are five steps you can take to optimize your SEO in all areas – on-page, off-page, and technical:

1. Perform an SEO Audit

The first thing you need to do is conduct an SEO audit.

But why?

Because an audit will uncover macro and micro issues that are hampering your search ranking, covering everything from content gaps to broken links. By revealing real issues, you remove the guesswork from SEO and get a clear direction for your strategy.

Conducting an SEO audit requires technical knowledge. If you aren’t sure you can take up the challenge, you can also hire specialists to do it for you.

If you’d like to do it on your own, we’ve got you covered. Here are the broad steps to be followed in an SEO audit:

Check that All Your URL Versions Are Browseable

Think about all the ways one could type your URL into a browser.

Attrock’s URL can have many versions like:

All the URL versions point to our site. While only ONE of them is the version we registered, the others are 301 redirects to our site’s canonical version. If that doesn’t happen for you, you may be losing out on a lot of organic traffic.

Want a pro tip?

If you have a choice, opt for SSL certification (HTTPS) for your website. It can give your site a slight rank boost and inspire consumer trust.

Check the HTTPS Status of External and JavaScript Links

Start a site crawl in the background to evaluate the status of your external links and enable JS files.

Why, you ask?

While Google Analytics gives consolidated SEO data, a local site crawl can drill down into granular issues like spammy links and robot traffic. For sites built using React or Angular, this step is non-negotiable since GA doesn’t fetch JS data during site audits.

You can use tools like Ahrefs Site Audit for this purpose. Just enable the below two options under “Crawl Settings” while kicking off a site crawl.

Ahrefs

Image via Ahrefs

Using the tool, you can also confirm the number of internal pages in your website, which helps in cross-referencing search results, as explained in Step 3.

cross-referencing search results

Check Crawl Errors

During a site crawl, you might notice a few crawl errors. For example, the Site Audit tool might show fewer internal pages than shown by Google search results.

If you scroll down, you can see a complete list of crawl errors. This option is available in GA also.

Check Crawl Errors

Once you are aware of crawl errors that are preventing search engines from indexing your site, you can resolve them one by one.

Check Whether or Not You Are Ranking for Your Brand Name

It’s possible that your brand name is too generic, fairly new, or not unique. In all cases, you wouldn’t show up as the first organic search result for your brand name in Google.

For example, if your brand name is a broad term like “beanbag,” it may be claimed by other bigger brands.

So, perform a Google search for your brand name to check this issue.

Check Whether or Not You Are Ranking for Your Brand Name

To claim your brand name, you will have to do link-building activities like:

  • Run a PR campaign to attract links from reputable brands.
  • Build strong, branded links through content marketing. Try to tailor your content according to searcher intent for the term.
  • Getting citations in directories like Yelp.
  • Create a Google My Business listing (it will help you capture local leads too).
  • Build a strong presence on social media platforms.

Over time, you should see a rank improvement for your brand name.

What if you don’t?

It could be an indication of deeper problems like Google penalties. You might have attracted manual or algorithmic penalties from Google unknowingly. We recommend you check “Manual Actions” in Google Search Console to identify this issue.

Google penalties

In that case, either request a review or rectify the problem by implementing Google’s suggestions.

Check On-Page SEO Elements

We recommend that you start this check from the homepage, and gradually move to other high-traffic pages.

To simplify your on-page audit, try to answer these questions:

  • Are the title tags keyword-rich, click-worthy, and between 50-60 characters?
  • Are the meta descriptions font-loaded with target keywords? Are they within 155-160 characters? Do they convey your USP unambiguously?
  • Do the images have alt tags?
  • Do the pages have proper H1, H2, and H3 subheads? Are the H1s unique and descriptive? Does each page have only a single H1? Are you targeting secondary keywords in H2 and H3 subheaders?

One more thing…

While optimizing title tags, don’t forget to check the search volume of your target keywords. Since your aim is to attract organic traffic from search engines, you should target keywords with decent search volume. You can check your search volume and acquisition channel in GA from the main navigation menu.

GA main navigation menu

Doing this extra bit of research will also help you plan your PPC campaigns. High-volume keywords tend to be more competitive and costly for bidders, especially if they have a transactional intent.

You can identify deeper on-page issues in your site crawl report. Try sorting the issues by “Importance.”

Site Crawl Report

It’s advisable to fix Errors first and then move on to Notices and Warnings, in that order.

With that done, you would have sorted the most critical areas of technical and on-page SEO.

2. Conduct a Content Audit

Even if all your on-page elements are optimized, you can’t shine on the SERPs unless your content is top notch. After all, great content is the key to keeping people on page and returning back to your site again and again. As your dwell time and repeat conversions increase, your authority with search engines improves naturally.

Not only that, Google’s Search Quality Senior Strategist, Ammon Johns, has confirmed that content quality is a key Google ranking factor.

Keeping that in view, conducting a content audit is non-negotiable for anybody who wants to improve their SEO results. Among other things, an audit can help identify and fix issues such as:

Duplicate and Thin Content

Duplicate content violates Google’s Panda update and can lead to a rank drop. You can use plagiarism detectors like Copyscape to scour the web and your own website for duplicate content.

Sometimes, multiple pages on your own website have the same content (disclaimers, footers, etc.). Search engines don’t frown on that, but if they find entire posts duplicated on other websites (as with syndicated content), they get confused as to who is the original author.

In that case, use the “rel=canonical” tag in your syndicated content’s HTML schema. You can also request third-party publishers to include a “NoIndex” tag in their content.

Thin content is another red flag for search engines. Anything less than 200 words is considered “thin” by Google’s standards. Such pages should either be discarded or beefed up with high-quality content.

While there’s been a lot of speculation and studies about “ideal content length” from an SEO perspective, we are of the opinion that your content should be long enough to do justice to the topic it’s covering. Even Backlinko came to the same conclusion when they analyzed 11.8 million webpages. Going by that, it’s obvious that in-depth, long-form blog posts will outperform sparse posts when they are competing for the same keywords.

Outdated Content

For search engines, content freshness is of utmost importance.

The reason?

More often than not, searchers look for fresh information on the web. And since all search engines including Google focus on searcher intent, it’s natural they would rank fresh content higher.

There are many ways by which Google evaluates content freshness, which include:

  • Inception date (the date when Google crawlers first index a page or discover a link pointing to it)
  • Volume of content changed. Minor content changes are largely ignored by Google.
  • Page elements updated. Changes made to navigation, ads, boilerplates, JavaScript, date/time tags, or comments are not counted as “real updates” by search engines.
  • Frequency of updates. Regular updates (real ones) find favor with Google.
  • Link growth. Adding new external or internal links can also be counted as content updates.
  • Freshness of external links. Sites that update their content regularly pass their SEO benefit to sites they link to.

That said, for some keywords (say, Magna Carta), Google prefers legacy content. But if you operate in fast-moving domains, you will need to update your content on a regular basis.

Reader-Phobic Content

Search engines consider dwell time as a key ranking factor. For that reason, you need to create content that is readable and accessible to diverse audiences.

We recommend that you leverage visual content like infographics and videos to engage your visitors. Such easy-to-digest formats allow you to deliver a lot of information without causing user fatigue.

Furthermore, they are avidly shared on social media, which can earn you brownie points from search engines.

What’s more?

This SEO technique is incredibly easy to pull off. You can easily repurpose your best-performing blog posts into a handy infographic or YouTube video. Add a few frills and you’re ready to climb search engine rankings.

Even if you’re creating a text-only post, use white space amply. Bullets, typography, paragraph breaks, and other formatting can enhance your content’s readability in a big way.

3. Nail Your Link Game

A strong link profile can augment your SEO efforts. To enrich your link profile, you need to remove spammy backlinks and attract backlinks from authoritative websites. The Backlinko study cited earlier shows that high-ranked pages have more backlinks than lower-ranked ones.

Nail Your Link Game

Image via Backlinko

To attract quality backlinks, you can:

  • Guest post on relevant websites
  • Create expert round-ups
  • Participate in link exchange programs
  • Syndicate your content
  • Engage in community groups
  • Give interviews to reputable websites and publications
  • Get citations in local directories

Apart from that, you also need to interlink your pages and boost your lower-ranked pages.

4. Mobile-Optimize Your Site

Mobile devices accounted for 54.8% of website traffic globally in Q1 of 2021, according to Statista. You just can’t afford to turn off this mammoth audience group if you want to improve your SEO results.

So, how do you get started with mobile optimization of your website?

  • Opt for a responsive, thumb-friendly website design.
  • Improve your site speed by image compression and browser caching.
  • Avoid using Flash.
  • Space out your menus and links.
  • Remove pop-ups and text-blocking ads.
  • A/B test your site design.

Make page speed a priority since mobile users have low patience thresholds. Use Google’s  PageSpeed Insights to measure and optimize your site speed.

5. Optimize Your Site for Voice Search

While on the subject of mobile optimization, we can’t ignore voice search. They go hand in hand since mobile users use voice search most avidly. It’s quick, conversational, and tailor made for users on the move.

It follows that you need to fine tune your SEO strategy to optimize for voice search queries.

But how?

Include long-tail keywords in your content. While a typical searcher may type “best burgers in Manhattan, ” voice searchers are more likely to use longer queries like “where can I find the best burgers in Manhattan?” So, try to include wh-words like what, why, and where in your titles, subheaders, and body text naturally.

FAQs can play a key role in voice search optimization. Try to include a FAQ section in your blog posts, like we’ve done for this one.

FAQ

Q1. How can I improve my SEO?

A. To improve your SEO results, follow these steps:

  • Perform an SEO audit.
  • Audit your content.
  • Improve your link profile.
  • Make your website mobile friendly.
  • optimize your website for voice search.

Q2. Can I do SEO myself?

A. SEO can be a fairly technical process. Technical SEO in particular is tricky for newbies who aren’t well versed in keyword research and schema metadata. That said, you can do SEO yourself if you have the right tools to help you with:

  • SEO audit (Google Analytics or tools like Site Audit)
  • Keyword research (Moz’s Keyword Explorer)
  • Backlink analysis (Semrush’s Backlink Checker)
  • Site speed analysis (Google PageSpeed Insights)

Q3. How can I improve my SEO in 2021?

A. There are five proven ways to improve your SEO performance in 2021:

  • Perform an SEO audit
  • Audit your content for SEO, freshness, and quality
  • Build your link profile
  • Mobile-optimize your website
  • Focus on voice search SEO

Q4. What are the SEO improvement techniques?

A. Although there are many SEO improvement techniques, these five deliver proven results:

  • Perform an SEO audit
  • Audit your content for SEO, freshness, and quality
  • Build your link profile
  • Mobile-optimize your website
  • Focus on voice search SEO
  • How do you develop a SEO strategy?

Q5. What are the top three SEO techniques?

A. Since Google counts content, links, and UX as top ranking factors, the best SEO techniques are also anchored around them.

Content audit helps reveal duplicate, thin, outdated, and reader-phobic content. Backlink analysis and internal linking helps improve your authority with search engines. Optimization for mobile and voice search helps enhance the UX of your site.

Q6. What are the latest SEO techniques?

A. SEO techniques are impacted by Google algorithms and search trends. In keeping with that, optimization for voice search and mobile should be a priority for site owners. Since mobile browsing and voice queries are becoming increasingly popular, optimizing your website for these channels can help you climb the rankings efficiently.

Q7. How effective is SEO?

A. SEO is an evergreen technique to improve your visibility, organic traffic, and authority. Despite the growing popularity of other marketing tools like PPC and social media, SEO remains the single most effective and affordable method to attract traffic from search engines.

In addition, a quick loading site with clean interface and quality content is always a treat for visitors. By delivering all of that, SEO helps enhance the user experience, which adds to revenue in some form or another.

Q8. What are off-page SEO techniques?

A. Some of the most effective off-page SEO activities are:

  • Guest posting
  • Brand mentions
  • Broken link building
  • Commenting on forums
  • Social bookmarking

Q9. How can I develop an SEO strategy?

A. Here are the steps to be followed for formulating an SEO strategy:

  • Measure your current performance SEO-wise
  • Set your SEO goals and KPIs
  • Analyze your competitors’ strategies
  • Identify primary keywords
  • Find medium and long-tail keywords
  • Conduct an audit of your existing content
  • Create topic clusters
  • Optimize your on-page SEO
  • Rectify issues with technical SEO
  • Work on your off-page SEO
  • Analyze your strategy and redefine it if needed

Q10. How can I get SEO results quickly?

A. To get some quick wins from SEO, implement these tactics:

  • Optimize your meta tags
  • Republish your best content
  • Mobile-optimize your website
  • Push for “almost ranking” keywords
  • Consolidate your root domains

Conclusion

To be featured in search result’s  “snack pack” is a dream for all digital natives. But to land there, you need the most effective and in-trend SEO techniques. Hopefully, the five tactics explained in this blog post will help you improve your SEO results and attain your dream.

What SEO activities do you do to improve your search rankings? Share the knowledge in the comments and help give back to the community.

Disclaimer: This content contains some affiliate links for which we will earn a commission (at no additional cost to you). This is to ensure that we can keep creating free content for you.