the 300+ seo tips & tricks (2021 EDITION)
We bring you 300+ SEO tips & tricks from various online sources and SEO experts in the industry who understand the search engine ecosystems.
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[UPDATED 10-FEB 2021]
The words or phrases you used as internal links are crucially significant. Link to internal site pages with the words you want to rank for as it is more valuable than the page’s content itself.
The Meta description does not improve how well your page ranks in Google directly. However, it can influence the number of people drawn to click on your result, thus increase traffic to your website.
Use search operators to obtain more information about your website. E.g. search: site:yourdomain.com and Google will tell you the # of pages it has indexed for your domain. They will make a rough list according to the order of importance. Through this, you can see which page Google prefers on your site.
NEVER use the Remove URLs tool found in GSC on your old website if you want to move your full or partial website. Your website will not move faster. It only has an impact on what’s noticeable in Search, and it could hurt your site in the short-term.
If your SEO strategy is producing two blog posts of 500 words every week, I guarantee you are wasting your money and resources.
No one can tell you the specific keyword a searcher has searched for on Google and landed on your website from organic search, regardless of what some tools are claiming to be able to do.
Tools like “Majestic’s Clique Hunter” can help you find easy link possibilities. Name a few of your competitor website and you will receive a list of the links that your competitors have and you don’t. It can help in closing the gap on the areas where your competitors are talked about, and you’re not.
If the URLs of your web page work both without and with a trailing slash (/), Google search engines will likely assume that you have two identical copies of your website online. Choose if you want to have it or not and then set up 301 redirects permanently. Without the 301 redirect, it will result in having ‘two’ pages competing with each other in the search ranking.
Are you curious on where you rank? Even if you do it incognito mode, you will not see a fair ranking representation. You get average rankings through GSC, but only be for the words they choose. You can use SEMRush as it’s affordable, and it can give you a lot of keyword ranking info for your website, specific words you want to trace, and your competition.
The chrome plugin “Ayima Redirect Path” lets you live view what redirects (such as (JS/301/302 etc.) are occurring.
Chrome plugin “Keywords Everywhere” is a free extension to acquire search value, search volumes and suggestions covered with each search you perform. Keep it on all the time and you will be able to build a good ‘feel’ on how other users search and for search competitiveness.
Remember, page speed results will vary every time you run it. It depends on many various factors. If you plan to use the page speed tools, run various tests on many pages, and gather a few averages.
PDF documents can be indexed by Google just fine and render them as HTML. It means that the PDF document links count as normal web links – plus, PDFs are easy to share as well.
Google has always denied and that there is no good proof or whatsoever that the posts on social media platforms like Facebook and their associated engagements like “likes” or “share” have a direct impact on your rankings. If someone keep insisting on this, you could be dealing with a non-savvy SEO agency.
First words in your website are extremely important. If you want to place the brand name in the page title, it should come after then page description.
Posting longer content does not guarantee a better ranking. Some studies show this, but when you check the source data, it’s just that content is way better (plus, there is a higher chance that more effort has invested in longer content). The Internet is not short of content quantity – it’s short of content quality. Therefore, quality surpass quantity.
Content doesn’t just involve text. As the saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words. Likewise, for video. Google learn the type of content that best fits the queries, and you can gather clues as to the kind of content you can make by looking at the current ranking. Example, search “How to cook rice” and you’ll see all videos are ranking at the top.
MYTH: Writing new content equates to “fresh” content. It does not universally apply. Some searches need freshness, while others don’t. Do not add or write new content for the sake of being fresh.
Even if your website is not collecting information or e-commerce, all of your websites must be https and not http. Why? Because it is best to protect all users’ privacy, and Google sees it as a positive ranking signal.
Google ignores Meta keyword tags and has been doing it for years. Therefore, do not waste your time and energy listing down keywords in your CMS.
Free extension like “User-agent Switcher” can help you identify yourself as a Googlebot to the sites that you visit. It is interesting to know that some websites gives you a different experience, especially when they see you as Google. It can also help uncover the reasons if you ever get warning message like “This site may be hacked.”
Are your competitors copying your website content? You can file a DMCA warning directly to Google. It can help remove content from the search results of your competitor. Click here to do so: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/dmca-notice?pli=1
Older domain is definitely better. Because the longer a domain is live and getting links for, the better it is since boosting up a reputation has an impact on how well the pages on it can rank.
An?agency can say that website is slow, when in fact, it isn’t. Test the site speed (and others) using various online audit tools like GTmetrix, pingdom, LightHouse
If you have paginated (page 1, 2, etc.) content, you can use the special “Prev” and “Next” markup to aid search engines to get a better understanding of what is happening. Find out more over here: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2011/09/pagination-with-relnext-and-relprev.html
You can use “Visual Ping” service to monitor any website changes. This is good if you want to have the latest updates from Google Webmaster Guidelines page. You will receive an email when Google update the page.
Don’t use Disavow Tool under GSC as more harm might probably happen than good. The tool is for disavowing links if you get a manual penalty or if you’re aware that paid or blackhat links occurred, and you wish to remove them proactively. In most cases, about 99% that those ‘spammy’ links should be left if Google think that they are spammy, they will ignore it. So focus on building positive things instead.
Adding pages to robots.txt doesn’t prevent them from getting indexed. You should use the noindex tag if you want a page stopped from getting indexed. If you need more details about noindex, click here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/93710?hl=en
You can outrank the others for seasonal terms like “best cny hamper deal 2021” by keeping it on the same URL each year (eg. /best-cny-hamper-deal), and just change the year in the content. However if you wish to retain the old content, move the whole page to a new URL (eg. /best-cny-hamper-deal-2021).
Any unique URL counts as another page to a search engine. For example: If both the non-www and www versions can be accessed, Google sees these as separate pages. Now in some cases where the content is alike and available through various URLs, use 301 redirects to avoid duplicate content.
Google claim to treat sub-folders and subdomains the same when it comes to search ranking. However, some SEO experts have examples whereby subfolders have out-performed subdomain when it comes to ranking. So, before you create a sub-domain for your website, ask yourself do you really need one and the benefits of having one?
Go back to the basics. Create a free Google Search Console (GSC) account if you don’t have one yet. It can give you much diagnostic information from Google on your website, notify you of problems, hacks, penalties, and show your average website rankings, including keywords that your website is ranking for.
Do not do your redirects at “database level” – like in your CMS backend. If you will do the redirects “higher up,” your website is going to be faster, like the one in the htaccess file. If your website performs faster, it will be beneficial for the users, and it will rank better at the same time.
Use the canonical tag if you want to test various webpage designs on live URLs in order to avoid confusing search engines having duplicate content while having the website live.
Generally, the use of a VPN is a good idea. It is helpful for SEO. VPN allows you to change the countries and see the different search results looks like.
COMMON MISTAKE: Using robots.txt to block the entry to the theme files/CSS of your website. Google should have access to these so that they can understand the content better, and they can render your website accurately.
Google “mobile-first” index means that they are looking at your website like they are using a smartphone. It means that if your website has a “mobile version” with lesser content compared to the desktop version, it is unlikely to be discovered by Google.
Generally, interstitials and pop-ups annoy users. Since Jan 2017, Google specifically said that sites with obscure content are likely not rank as well.
For all of your webpages, add a self-referential canonical tag. Doing so will make it clear to Google which version to give credits to if someone intend scrape your content and repost it on elsewhere.
Heard about the rumors going around that 50% of the searches by 2020 will be through voice search? Do not believe it.
If you want to get a good ranking on Google, you must have other websites to link to your webpages. If you think of SEO as a one-off optimization, you are likely not to succeed in ranking your website. SEO is more than just technical optimization. Technical optimization only gives you a base to build on, and nota total solution.
Don’t think too much about linking to other sites that are useful and relevant to the users. It is absolutely fine because that is how the web works!
You can estimate how much your organic traffic worth by knowing how much it will cost you to buy that search traffic via paid search. The CPC or cost-per-click of the specific keyword is set according to demand.
It can be a useful to examine your raw server log files. You can know how Googlebot interacts with your website and see if it’s stuck or has an error response.
Do not just look at the details on algorithm updates. The algorithm updates mainly represent the overcoming of technical challenges which at the end of the day, it’s still heading towards the same end goal.
What is cannibalization? It is when you have many URLs (more than one) that are targeting the same key phrase or intent. It causes technically optimized websites that have adequate content to have poor ranking. It is one of its core problems.
If you want to discontinue a popular product or model from your e-commerce website, do not delete the page. You can update it by explaining that you are removing the product and then link it to the related or nearest alternative products. Why? Because it is more convenient for the user, and it will prevent organic traffic loss at the same time.
A canonical tag is not an instruction. Make sure to avoid using it on webpages that are not related because Google will simply ignore it.
When you are migrating your site, also migrate the URLs that is not within your site’s internet link structure too. This is usually overlooked, and can result in a decrease in ranking after migration.
Use an img tag within the HTML if you want your images to be indexed.
Want to have a better probability that your videos will appear in the search results? Create video sitemaps as it gives more details to search engines about the videos that are hosted on your webpages, help them in the ranking.
Register a Google My Business (GMB) account for free. It will help you begin ranking in the local map pack.
“Google Trends” is beneficial for you to observe the weekly, monthly and yearly searches trends. Know whether is a particular trend going up or down? How greatly do they differ?
The UX engagement metrics are not used directly by Google as part of their algorithm (such as dwell time, CTR, etc.) They have mentioned this for years consistently, and such theories are referred to as “made up crap” according to Gary Illyes from Google. It may also go the same for direct “social engagement metrics”.
In Google Analytics, look at the last 12 months to see if you have content pages that have no traffic. It could be the best time to consider redoing, removing, or consolidating those pages.
Make use of schema; this is crucial.
It is against the guidelines of Google under the ‘link schemes’ if you send someone a free product review and then acquire a link. There is a penalty for doing so.
Domain age play a part in ranking. It is almost impossible to rank a brand-new site for any competitive word.
If you are using a Screaming Frog tool and experiencing 403 errors while trying to crawl your website, it may be due to Web Application Firewalls or other similar services, like Cloudflare, which will by default will block the crawlers.
Preferably, you only want to have one h1 on a webpage, which should be descriptive of the page content. Preferably, your h1 and page title should be somehow similar.
If you attempt to stop the content from being indexed, it must not be in robots.txt because the crawler won’t reach the page to discover your noindex tag.
If you want the website content to rank well for months/years, design your website to link it in your site hierarchy from ‘high up’. Generally, it is unwise to post evergreen content in a sequential blog. It will disappear deeper into your website. If you always create relevant and evergreen content, it must continuously be prominent.
Don’t waste your time on particular ‘keyword density’ because it is not a thing. Text analysis goes far beyond it, as well as tf-idf, it means you are not writing for your humans but robots, and you are missing a point here. The algorithm is always working to define what’s most helpful for humans.
The factors that affect the ranking in local map pack is different from the ‘normal’ Google search ranking.
Stuck with creating quality content ideas? Use a broad subject and put it on AnswerThePublic to know the types of questions people are searching for in Google.
The Pagespeed Insights tool of Google will provide you a “Field data” if you have sufficient traffic to your website. Here’s the Pagepeed Insights tool of Google: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
1 out of 5 searches that occur in Google are unique and have never occurred before. The large majority of searches are words that have lesser than 10 searches each month. If you are simply choosing the key phrases according to the volume from the “keyword research,” you are missing a lot of traffic share, plus you are making things hard for yourself since many others are also doing the same thing.
The key phrases on Google My Business reviews can help your company to rank well for those words.
It is always helpful to do sub-folders than separate TLDs or sub-domains if you serve many countries on a single website. This means: yourdomain.com/sg/, yourdomain.com/my/ is always better to use thansg.yourdomain.com and my.yourdomain.com.
Use Google Alerts for basic brand monitoring, free. It is a chance for you to do ‘link reclamation’ -wherein there are sites that mention your website or brand and are not providing you that link. Start a pleasant conversation, give them more details, value, insight, and then have that request in for you to acquire the link.
The tool Screaming Frog has a free but limited version that can help you crawl your webpages quickly to uncover issues like duplicate page titles and 404s.
Make use of YouTube as part of your SEO plan. SEO is not only about Google search.
Google previously had a bug, and it has de-indexed millions of web pages at random – at times, even home pages of big companies. But the said bug has been fixed. You don’t need to panic if it has affected your websites because these URLs must automatically resolve. Speed up re-indexing if you are in a rush. You can submit the de-indexed URL through your Google Search Console account.
Google Trends can trend YouTube searches but has been commonly-overlooked.
SEO GOLDEN RULE: There is definitely no ‘SEO CHANGE’ you must do on your website which can cause poor user experience. No, period.
If you want to see a quick view of your site’s content structure and discover its problems, create a visual crawl map. You can use a tool called Sitebulb. It has a trial version that you can check out.
Google operator (site:) can help you discover major indexing issues. For example, you have a 5,000-page website but only 20 of them are indexed. However, it will not provide an accurate count of the number of pages included in the index.
If you are performing site migration, try to change as little things as possible. For example, if you can move from HTTP to HTTPS, then do that first. It will be easier to diagnose and troubleshoot any issues.
To avoid a typical error in targeting multiple languages/countries, use the ‘x-default hreflang’ found on the region/language selector page.
Bounce rate is not one of the ranking factors. In some cases, a high bounce rate can also be beneficial for your website. It needs to be taken in context with the searcher intent.
Before JS renders, your webpage’s cache is based on the First Meaningful Paint. It means that pages that have loading elements/screens that last for too long may be caching, and Googlebot will not understand what is on your web page.
You don’t need to worry about TF-IDS if you focus on thinking about your audience, their intent, and having an idea on the subject when writing your content.
There are 2 types of competitors: “Business Competitors” – who you are already aware of, and “Search Competitors” – those that rank on top of your website for keywords or terms you want. These are the one you will be competing in SEO.
URLs are case sensitive. Search engines will consider yourwebite.com/PageOne and yourwebsite.com/pageone as separate pages. For your main, indexable, and navigable URLs, stick to lowercase as much as possible to make ranking and sharing easier.
Penalty and algorithm update are not the same. If you lose a huge amount of traffic as well as rankings due to an algorithm update, this is not a penalty, and you may not be able to “fix” it.
SEO considerations should start the moment you are building a new website. What schema will you utilize? How can you manage the migration? Do you know which content is chronological and which ones are evergreen? Do you know how to avoid cannibalization? Don’t be too confident in thinking that you can simply implement SEO once your website is built.
“Duplicate content penalty” does not exist. Not unless your website is absolute spam, there is no harm if somebody will copy your page or you have a few copied content. The content may be filtered out of the search results, but it will not get your website penalized.
If you need someone to write content for you, do not hire generalist copywriters. Google and users are looking for natural experts and insight and not a reworked piece from reading other articles that already exist because competition in the internet world is fierce.
You can get penalized if you add keywords in the name of your Google My Business.
If you are getting “not part of property” errors or notice like data is missing when in your Google Search Console report, be aware as Google sees www, non-www, http and https of your website as separate properties. You should add all of them in your Search Console and redirect to the one that you prefer.
It is crucial to correctly categorize your business or brand in Google My Business to appear for searches that are generic map-based.
Do not use fragmented snippets if you are using schema. You can bind them together with @id. For example, this blog belongs to this Website, written by Author from this Organization, which owns the Website!
Excellent advice from an SEO and content marketing specialist, Stacey MacNaught: Contents comes first before format. You do not need an infographic and a video. Think of a content idea, then choose how you frame it.
It is not possible to optimize for Rankbrain. Rankbrain is the name of one component of Google search that deals particularly with queries that Google has not seen before through AI to examine and interpret the intent.
It is worth spending time to look at the previous 12 months of analytics data and discover those web pages that does not get any traffic. It is good to know the weak spots of your content, what needs improvement or revising, or at times just removing it.
Keyword cannibalization means that you have more than one webpage ranking for the same keywords and how it can have a radical effect on the ranking of your website. Here’s a free tool that you can use to check your site for cannibalization.
You can obtain historical URLs of a website by substituting ‘example.sg’ in this URL with your domain (https://web.archive.org/cdx/search/cdx?url=example.sg&matchType=domain&fl=original&collapse=urlkey&limit=500000)
If you want to calculate organic traffic after you have completed site migration, keep in mind to only calculate the unbranded traffic. It is highly improbable for you to lose branded traffic after migration.
The Google ‘diversity’ update limits the number of organic results that a website can have, normally to 2, does not constitute ‘special’ results like Google news, rich snippets, etc. It means you should consider other angles that you can utilize to dominate the SERP real estate.
It is a great idea to have an all-secure website (HTTPS) through SSL/TLS as it is one of the ranking factors. Secure websites actually rank better.
To dominate Google, get your website content published in multiple places and not just in your own websites.
Perform broken link reclamation by checking the server logs or using tools, like Majestic, to know the websites that link to malformed URLs. To reclaim the links and gain additional traffic, you should set up 301 redirects.
The ‘build your own site’ platforms like Wix and SquareSpace are not optimal or ideal for Search Engine Optimization. Even Shopify and other bigger platforms do not let you edit the robots.txt file. However, they can be great for starters.
Just choose between non-www or www, and setup 301 redirect on to the other URL. Google counts URLS with and without www as duplicate pages.
It is almost impossible to get rank your website in the competitive sector if you do not have a strategy to get people to link to your website.
Google has announced both Search and Assistant support for FAQ as well as the How-to structured data.
It is easy to noindex pages in robots.txt by utilizing Noindex: /page-dont-want-indexed/. Google does not officially support using this, but currently it works.
It is inexpensive to have a 360 photo taken just for your Google My Business. It can help in attracting more visits to your physical store.
If you have a ‘voucher code’ box and you set it as the final step of your checkout, it can harm your conversion rate as you will send people off on a wild chase to get one.
SEO rarely has ‘quick wins,’ but if you focus on your content that rank in positions 3 to 10, it will provide you the fastest way to gain traffic onto your website.
At times, instinctively following the advice of Google is not in your best interest, at least in the short term.
Name, Address, Phone (NAP) citations are crucial for your local SEO and ranking in the Google map-pack.
Paying for Google Ads (or pay-per-clicks) will not boost your organic ranking on Google.
If you audit a website using the Lighthouse Chrome extension, do it on incognito tab as other extensions can affect the results.
Links to your website from your posts on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn do not directly help with boosting your ranking in Google.
Do not underestimate Google Images ranking. Make sure that your image assets are well-optimized and marked up.
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