With 2021 in the books and 2022 upon us, now is a great time to reflect on your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts — what has worked well and what can be improved. With our list of eight foundational tips, you can make sure you have a strong SEO base on which to build a great new year.
1. Stick to a Content Creation Plan
Develop a content strategy to maintain and improve your existing web content as well as create new, high-value content this year. Great content not only draws more visitors to your site via organic search, but also provides more value to every visitor on your site.
Your plan could be as simple as starting a blog, creating buyers’ guides, or lengthening existing content on product and service pages to provide more value. Whatever you choose, make sure you have the time to commit to doing it regularly.
2. Make Your Own Link Opportunities
This year, make the most of each link opportunity with a best practices-oriented link acquisition process. Link authority comes from acquiring high-quality, topically relevant links, and it is one of the hardest elements to increase in SEO. It’s also the most important SEO ranking element after having strong content.
Start with companies you do business with — suppliers and partners — and think of ways to approach them for a link to your site. Don’t forget local business directories and your local chamber of commerce. If a link opportunity lands in your lap, be sure to provide the exact URL you want them to link to and request specific anchor text. For more link acquisition ideas, read our post, “5 Steps To Building Quality Links For SEO.”
3. Ask for Reviews
This year, start a process to ask customers to write reviews for your business or provide testimonials for your website. Google uses ratings and reviews data in its local search algorithms as part of the ranking criteria. In addition, feedback from previous buyers is an important trust signal that has become an integral part of the decision-making process for many consumers online.
Asking a customer for an honest review or testimonial can be as simple as speaking with them or sending an email. Depending on the size of your business, you may want to set up a default email that gets sent to every purchasing customer to make sure they’re satisfied, tell them how you’ll fix it if they’re not, and ask for a Google review. Make sure to make it as easy as possible by providing a link.
4. Frequent Google Search Console
If you aren’t tracking your website’s health on Google Search Console (CSG), you should be. GSC is the way Google communicates with webmasters worldwide, providing alerts and data that you can’t get anywhere else.
Check GSC monthly at the very least for website health issues, penalties, and other crawl issues. Pay special attention to the Performance, Coverage, Page Experience, and Security and Manual Actions sections, because these will alert you to any issues that Google has in crawling and indexing your site.
5. Track Your Goals
Set measurable goals and track your progress. Optimization is all about basing your future actions on the performance of your past actions. If you don’t know what your goals are or don’t track them, your optimization is based on nothing more than what you feel like doing. That’s not a great way to improve performance.
Measuring success is as simple as setting realistic goals and setting up methods and metrics to monitor them. Most sites use sessions as their key performance indicator, and commerce sites add transactions and revenue. Just make sure you’re not basing your optimization efforts solely on rankings.
6. Make the Most of Your Traffic
You work hard to get traffic to your site — make sure you can convert it once it gets there. What good is SEO if when they get to your website they bounce away or fail to convert on your goals? Clear conversion points and concise messaging will increase the overall success of your SEO campaign.
7. Stalk Your Competition
Understanding your competition is critical to outranking them in organic search. Knowing whether they have superior content, stronger conversion elements, higher-quality links, or a faster loading site will help you understand what you need to do to strengthen your own site to beat theirs.
Just remember: Your SEO competitors are the ones who rank where you want to be ranking in organic search, not necessarily the ones you consider to be your overall business competitors.
8. Focus on UX
Manage your user experience alongside your SEO program — the two are inextricably intertwined. Google increasingly takes mobile page experience into account when it determines rankings, giving a boost to those pages that have a positive experience.
Make sure that each of your page templates passes the mobile-friendly test, which measures the size and proximity of the tap targets on your pages, the page width, the annoyingness of interstitials, and other common mobile snafus. Then head to the Google Search Console to examine your performance in the Page Experience and Core Web Vitals reports for mobile. Resolving any issues in those areas will benefit your user experience as well as your SEO performance.
Whether it’s tracking the progress toward your SEO goals, optimizing your content or user experience, or any of the other tips above, make a resolution this year to improve the foundation of your SEO program. All the fancy SEO strategies and trendy tactics are likely to fail if you don’t have a solid foundation on which to build. Put these eight tips into practice and watch your SEO grow in 2022.