Digital marketing

What is SEO? 50 Search Engine Optimization Tips

22 June, 2020

If you’re looking for an accurate, step-by-step, ready-to-use SEO audit checklist, you’ll love this post with its 50 SEO tips.

Let us start by figuring out what actually SEO is.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. So that to better understand the essence and the principles of SEO, it would be appropriate to draw an analogy between search engines and librarians. Just like librarians are always expected to know all the details of each book in a library, search engines must also collect the data of each page of available resources in “a library” and understand clearly how they are interrelated. Within the framework of Search Engine Optimization, such a “library” is the Internet itself. Every search engine uses its own SEO algorithms, due to which it can not only collect but also analyze the content of each page and provide the most appropriate results which would best meet the user demands. Such algorithms are akin to recipes. On-page SEO ensures that all “the ingredients” are included in preparing the content. In fact, Search Engine Optimization is associated with the following “ingredients”: words matter, titles matter, links matter, words in links, and reputation. You’ll learn about these matters in detail, and familiarize yourself with useful SEO tips on their implementation further in this post.

Provided that you’ve created SEO-friendly content, including all the SEO “ingredients”, your web page will be higher ranked by search engines. The higher your website’s position in search results is, the more users will pay attention to it. Thus, your website’s SEO ensures that its content features all the necessary elements which will attract the attention of search engines and thus contribute to its higher ranking.

SEO is a very direct and simple process that will allow you to quickly attract more visitors and traffic to your website.

Regardless of whether you want to work on a startup or have long had your own site, you need to clearly understand the on-page SEO process so that to improve its visibility on the Google search engine.

With this purpose, we have selected 50 most crucial aspects, and provided tips on them, for you which affect the site’s rating and should be taken into account in SEO promotion.

Here is the 50 SEO tips checklist:

  1. The main mirror and a single URL format
  2. Checking the robots.txt and sitemap.xml files
  3. Validation of the HTTP response headers from the server
  4. Checking for a custom 404 error page
  5. Checking for broken links
  6. SEO-friendly URLs usage
  7. Meta Title and Meta Description
  8. Header Tags SEO
  9. Checking for redirects on the site
  10. Checking for your pages’ load performance
  11. Checking your site in Google PageSpeed Insights
  12. Mobile-Friendly testing of the site
  13. Testing a microdata markup
  14. Checking pages for pagination
  15. Extra code on web pages
  16. The website’s duplicate content
  17. A sequence of links to the product page
  18. The purity of semantic markups on the pages
  19. Image SEO testing
  20. Extra outbound links on the site
  21. Closing technical pages from indexing
  22. E-Commerce Analytics and tracking
  23. Setting up The Google Search Console
  24. Enable the caching of your website
  25. Avoid orphan pages
  26. Logical hierarchy and subfolders
  27. Install the SSL certificate
  28. Ensure a clear call to action
  29. Hreflang
  30. Set up Google My business
  31. HTML sitemap
  32. Accelerated Mobile Pages
  33. Breadcrumbs
  34. Test as many platforms and devices as possible
  35. CDN for reducing the page load time
  36. Build high-quality backlinks
  37. Use LSI keywords
  38. Analyze your competitor’s backlinks, ratings, and traffic
  39. Use multimedia
  40. Update and add content regularly
  41. Use tags in your blog posts
  42. SEO for voice search
  43. Usability audit
  44. SEO content
  45. Increase your site session duration
  46. Apply the Plerdy heatmap
  47. Use SEO Alerts
  48. Provide the answers to general questions and include frequently asked questions
  49. Write guest posts
  50. User feedback

1. The main mirror and a single URL format

Thanks to a well-designed URL, people and search engines can immediately understand what the landing page is about. For example, the Plerdy website’s URL given below is a “semantically accurate” URL, meaning it accurately describes the purpose of the page:

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A user-friendly, semantically accurate URL makes it easy to present information about what a landing page is, even if its title is hidden. It also provides visitors with an improved user interface, since after looking at the description and clicking on the link, they immediately know what to do.

Note that Google is increasingly replacing the URL in the search results snippet area with the domain name and breadcrumb trail. This often happens when searching via mobile devices.

The main website mirror (with or without the www prefix) must be defined, as well as a 301 redirect from a non-main site mirror to the main one must be implemented.

Site pages accessible by the URLs, ending with a trailing slash  (site.com/stranica/), or without it (site.com/stranica), will be perceived as duplicates by a PC.

2. Checking the robots.txt and sitemap.xml files

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A simple robots.txt file can greatly affect the way search engines scan your site. It contains instructions for search engines on how to scan the site. This text file is optional, and it’s supported by all major search engines.  However, this protocol is purely advisory. Thus, it can be ignored by robots scanning web pages, if they wish so.

The robots.txt file includes prohibitions and permissions that indicate which sections of the site should and should not be scanned by search engines. Applying user-agent operators, you can grant specific permissions and prohibitions to specific search engines.

In addition, an XML Sitemap ad can also be added to provide an additional signal for search engines of your XML Sitemap files or the Sitemap index file.

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Another function that can be used in the robots.txt file is an XML Sitemap ad. Since web crawlers start scanning the site by checking the robots.txt file, the latter enables you to notify them of your site’s XML files.

If you have no XML Sitemap, don’t worry, since this function is not required, like all robots.txt files. Your file may contain multiple XML Sitemap ads. However, if you have a Sitemap index, you should not specify each separate Sitemap file but rather this particular index. The examples of XML Sitemap ads are provided below.

3. Validation of the HTTP response headers from the server

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A satisfactory URL should always return a 200 status code. A good SEO redirection should always return 301 (beware of 302) redirects.

You can also use this SEO tool to search for broken links (which return a 404 status code).

List of HTTP codes

The most common HTTP status codes and their relation to SEO:

200 — OK

A satisfactory URL should always return 200. This implies that the browser found the URL and the server returned a good page with content.

Warning! In case the page errantly returns 200 (i.e. the page doesn’t actually exist and should return a 404 Not Found error), it should be corrected (check .htaccess and rewriterules). Otherwise, it may hurt your Search Engine Optimization, because Google will not be able to distinguish between good pages and non-existent ones. This can result in duplicate content on your site, leading to penalties.

301 — Moved permanently

To move a page (or an entire site), always use 301 redirects for good SEO. Such redirect tells Google to monitor the new site. It transfers all the backlinks received by the old page to the new page. Redirect your 301 status from .htaccess (using RewriteRule … [R = 301, L]) or from the PHP header (…).

302 — Moved Temporarily

Many redirects are made in this way. These are poorly configured redirects in terms of SEO because the link juice is lost. Use 301 redirects instead so that to preserve the link juice.

404 — Not Found

It is recommended to identify which pages return 404 and fix them (either by creating the missing page or by making a 301 redirect of its URL to an already existing page).

You can validate a server HTTP response here.

4. Checking for a custom 404 error page

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Search engines, such as Google and Bing, move down websites with a lot of 404 errors. After the crawlers have found that many requests are fulfilled with the use of 404 codes, it is assumed that the website is not well supported. Dead links affect a website’s SEO ranking. In fact, Google can decrease its position on SERP or even stop indexing it, providing that there are too many pages with 404 errors. This can cause a significant decrease in website traffic.

A user loses confidence in the site if it is full of broken links, or when the landing page (the page available from search results) is dead. If a website regularly faces this problem, its users are not even sure that the desired content is still available there. Thus, many of them will find time to continue searching.

If there is no page with the requested URL, the server should return a 404 error. Please note that the 404 pages must be properly designed, in compliance with the website’s general style, so that the users, redirected to such page, do not stop working with the web resource.

5. Checking for broken links

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Broken links are annoying and they reflect poorly on your SEO professionalism. Broken links not only keep users from staying on the site and returning to it, but they can also negatively affect the overall ranking in search engines.

Broken links cause such harm:

  • they stop web crawling in their tracks, preventing Google, Yahoo, Bing and other pages from indexing, thus undermining your ranking;
  • they negatively affect the user experience by redirecting users to error pages.

You can check for broken links here.

6. SEO-friendly URLs usage

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SEO-friendly URLs are the web addresses that are easy to read and contain words describing the content of a web page. This type of URL can be “friendly” in two ways:

  • helping users remember the web address;
  • helping describe the page for search engines.

User-friendly URLs

Friendly URLs that are short and easy to remember are considered to be “user-friendly”. These URLs help visitors remember web addresses. This means that they can return to the pages by simply typing the URL in the address bar. For example, a company may use the “www. [Company]. com / support /” URL for its website support section. This is much easier to remember in comparison with a long, twisted URL like “www.[Company].com/section/support/default.aspx?Id=1&lang= en”.

7. Meta Title and Meta Description

A meta title and meta description are what is usually displayed when your page appears in Google or any other search engine. You can update the SEO settings for each page of your project using the page settings

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A meta title is an HTML element that defines the title of a web page. A title tag is displayed on search engine results pages (SERP) as a clickable title for a given result. Title tags are important for usability, SEO, and social sharing. The web page title tag is intended to accurately and briefly describe the page content. As a rule, Google displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag. As our research shows, if your titles are up to 60 characters long, about 90% of them can be expected to display correctly.

A meta description is a meta tag that acts as a summary consisting of 155-160 characters and describing the content of a web page.

Search engines show it in search results. A meta description also includes SEO keywords. Though meta descriptions are no SEO ranking factors like the page titles, they still are part of an effective SEO page, encouraging users to go to the page. This is how you will see them in the page code:

Attention: the meta title and meta description must be unique for each page and contain SEO keywords according to the semantics!

8. Header Tags SEO

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Header tags provide structure and context for the article. Each header should give the reader an idea of the information they can glean from the text of the following paragraph.

It is useful to think about title tags by comparing them with the content for a book which does not contain scientific literature:

  • H1 represents the main topic of the page, just as the title of a book tells the reader what it is about;
  • H2 is similar to the sections of a book, describing the main issues that you will consider in the sections of the article;
  • Headings elements from H3 to H6 serve as additional subheaders in each section, since a section of a book can be divided into several subtopics.

Using this post as an example, H1 is the article title. H2 is the 50 “chapters” related to the main topic of this article.

Checking redirects on the site

Attention:

  • Don’t use multiple H1 tags on a page;
  • It is regarded as a good practice to use multiple H2, H3, and H4 tags on a page;
  • Never overdo it. Don’t add a whole bunch of header tags to a page, thinking that this might improve its rating;
  • Follow the hierarchical structure. If you want to use three H3 tags, don’t forget to include them in the H2 tag first. As I said, it will cause no harm if you completely skip H2 and use all headings 3. However, it’s a good practice to maintain the seniority level of each header tag and include lower-level headings in nested levels.

Attention: all H1-H6 headers must contain keywords according to the semantics! The H1 header must be one and only one on all pages of the site, and consist of only SEO keywords (linking words between the keywords are allowed)!

9. Checking redirects on the site

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A website redirect will take the URL of one website and lead to another. When someone enters or clicks on this original URL, they end up on a new page or website.

1. 301 Redirect

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect. It is powerful since it passes almost all the link juice of an existing domain. It is the most frequently used direct.  This type of redirect occurs at both the browser and the server levels. Over time, search engines will index this redirect.

2. 302 redirect

A 302 redirect is used if you want to temporarily redirect a URL, but you have the intention to go back to the old URL. For instance, you are redesigning your website, and you want the users to switch to a different domain until you finish building the site.

The 302 redirects are not frequently used. If you plan to use a 302 redirect, think carefully. It might be better to use a 301 redirect.

Attention: if there is a large number of pages that link to the old URLs, a redirect is registered from, it’s getting very difficult for the user to “communicate” with the resource, since they have to load extra data, thus increasing the loading latent period.

Are redirects bad for Search Engine Optimization? In most cases, they aren’t, but it depends. Redirects are not bad for SEO, but only if you have placed them correctly, just as in many other cases. The poor implementation may lead to all sorts of problems, from losing PageRank to losing traffic. Page redirecting is mandatory if you make any changes to your URLs. In its turn, redirecting, especially 302 redirects, can have a negative impact on your SEO. This is due to the fact that it implies temporary redirection from page to page, and the new page may be not indexed by Google crawlers. This means that the work you have done may be ineffective.

Here’s an example of poor implementation of redirects:

The redirecting goes from a page without a slash to a page with a slash​

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10. Checking for your pages’ load performance

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Users expect sites to be fast. Since the world becomes more mobile and consumers expect services to be on-demand and delivered without hindrance. Low site speed can seriously affect SEO.

According to research, about 75% of users reject pages that take longer than 4 seconds to load. However, more than 50% of users expect the loading of a page to take less than 2 seconds. In addition, the site’s page load performance parameters are also taken into account by search engines.

You can check the site load performance by using this free service.

11. Checking your site in Google PageSpeed Insights (PSI)

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PageSpeed Insights (PSI) reports on the page performance on both mobile and desktop devices, and offers recommendations for its improvement.

PSI provides both laboratory and field data about a page. Laboratory data is useful for debugging performance issues as it is collected in a controlled environment. Nevertheless, it can’t capture bottlenecks in the real world. Field data is useful for getting a real user experience, but its set of metrics is more limited. After checking the website, the main problems that need to be fixed will be revealed. Here are the most popular errors:

  • Enabling compression
  • Reducing the size of CSS, JavaScript, and HTML
  • Reducing the number of redirects
  • Removing Render-Blocking JavaScript
  • Enabling browser caching
  • Improving server response time
  • Using a content distribution network
  • Optimizing images

12. Mobile-Friendly testing of the site

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“Starting from April 21, we will expand the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile search in all languages around the world and will have a significant impact on our search results“

If any mobile device usability errors appear on your website, Google will start punishing them with a lower rating in search results starting on April 21. If you don’t undertake steps to make the website responsive for mobile devices before the Google deadline, this can make your website virtually invisible. Thus, you will lose new customers, it will disappoint current customers, and subsequently, lead to a loss of revenue.

You can check the website for responsiveness here.

13. Testing a microdata markup

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The Schema.org microdata markup (often called Schema) is a semantic dictionary of tags (or microdata) that can be added to your HTML with the purpose of improving the way search engines read and present your page in search results.

Schema.org is the product of cooperation between Google, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo! aimed at helping you provide the information which will be understood by their search engines. Adding schema markup to HTML enhances the way the page is displayed in search results by improving the extended snippets displayed under the page title.

Here’s an example of how microdata markup works for a product page:

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You can check the microdata markup using the official Google service https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/u/0/?…

Learn more about schema.org microdata markup on the official website.

14. Checking pages for pagination

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Pagination is a process that divides content into a series of pages. This is a common and widely used technique for websites that implies the usage of page numbering to partition articles or products reorganizing them into a convenient format.

Pagination is most common on the following types of sites:

  • Ecommerce
  • News publishers
  • Forums
  • Blogs

The main problem with pagination in search results consists in the division of the content into multiple pages, rather than being loaded on a single page. This problem used to be fixed with rel = “next” and rel = “prev”. However, Google has recently announced that it no longer uses this link element as an indexing signal. Pagination pages can be correctly designed in 2 ways:

Variant 1

If there is no particular advantage in indexing and searching for this content, the easiest solution is to embed a page-by-page series into the section of each page, excluding the first one. If this is any series of lists, you must include the FOLLOW tag. This will ensure that the page’s permissions end up on individual destination pages throughout the list, even though the list itself is excluded from the Google index.  Including the FOLLOW tag can also help some link authorities, arriving on pages within a paginated series, return to the indexed first page, and the rest of the site.

Variant 2

Google prefers the first variant of handling most pagination problems, that is to create a separate “View all” page apart from the paginated series and include all elements on that page. Once you have created a View-All page, you can place a rel= “canonical” tag in the section of each page of the paginated component, pointing to the View-All page (for example). This will effectively make Google treat each specific page in a paginated series as a View all page segment. Moreover, queries will return the View all page, rather than the page of the corresponding segment in the page chain.

15. Extra code on web pages

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Make JavaScript and CSS external.

The code is the first thing that search engine bots scan. Remove unnecessary lines of code above the main text by outputting JavaScript and CSS codes, which interfere with including keywords.

The output of these files can also speed up page loading, which has an impact on Google’s ranking algorithm.

Let us figure out what an extra code on the site pages is. This can be extensive comments, descriptions of styles in the style tag, as well as of scripts in the script tag, and so on. This disrupts the text-to-code ratio and also limits the ability to cache repeating sections of code. Search engines perceive page content much better if it encompasses mostly meaningful text content.

16. The website’s duplicate content

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Duplicate content is the content appearing in more than one place on the Internet. This “one place” is defined as a location with a unique website address (URL). Therefore, if the same content appears on multiple web addresses, you deal with duplicate content.

Although this is not technically a punishment, duplicate content can still sometimes affect your Search Engine Optimization and rankings. When there are multiple parts of what Google calls “appreciably similar” content in more than one place on the Internet, search engines may find it difficult to decide which version is compliant with a given search query.

If websites contain duplicate content, their owners may lose ratings and traffic. These losses are often associated with two main problems:

  1. To ensure a better search experience, search engines rarely show multiple versions of the same content. Thus, they are forced to choose which version is most likely to be the best result. This loosens the visibility of each of the duplicates.
  2. Reference equality can be further weakened since other sites also have to choose between the duplicates. Instead of all incoming links pointing to a single piece of content, they link to multiple fragments, distributing the ratio of links among duplicates. This can affect the visibility of a piece of content when searching, due to the fact that incoming links are a ranking factor,

An example of duplicate content on a site:

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Fixing problems with duplicate content comes down to the same central idea, that is specifying which of the duplicates is “correct”.

Whenever the content on a site can be found at multiple URLs, it should be canonized for search engines. Let us look at three main ways to do this: with the help of a 301 redirect to the correct URL, the rel = canonical attribute, or the parameter processing tool in the Google search console.

17. A sequence of links to the product page

It is important to set a correct first link anchor to the page in the code since it is the one that search engines give priority to along with other similar links.

For example:

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Here are two identical links to the product page. Google will scan only the first one, and ignore the second one. It often happens that the first link has no correct anchor, which is bad for search engines. You need to set one link for the entire block.

18. The purity of semantic markups on the pages

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Semantic kernel of a website is the content it represents. No matter how beautiful the design is, it is the content that will really win over visitors. The best presentation of content is possible only in semantic web design, implying that search engines and people have the same ability to distinguish the meaning of your content.

In order to keep the SEO page semantics clean, you should not overload the page text by repeating the words on the “Add to Cart”, “Add to Wish List”, “Add to Compare” buttons, etc.

If there are words that do not match the page semantics, it is advisable to close them using ajax.

You can check the purity of semantic markups with the SEO-alerts service, which will show the exact number of accent words in percentage correlation to the entire text. A very convenient service, due to the status icon always indicating the exact location of an error. This service is also useful because it separates mobile indexing from the PC one and indicates which version of the site requires editing.

19. Image SEO testing

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Image SEO is an important part of creating a successful e-Commerce website, from attracting customers to viewing Google images and reducing the site load time.

Image SEO implies a maximum reduction of the image file size causing no damage to its quality so that the page load time remains low. This also refers to the prestige of Search Engine Optimization. In other words, you get the images of your product and decorative images for ranking in Google and other image search engines.

Alt attributes are a textual alternative to images when the browser cannot display them correctly. They are also used for web accessibility. Even when the image is displayed, you will see the alt attribute text when you hover a cursor over it (depending on your browser settings).

The alt attribute also adds value to SEO on the site. Adding appropriate alt attributes that include relevant keywords to images on your website can help boost your search engine rankings. In fact, using alt attributes is probably the best way to display your e-Commerce products in Google image search and online.

The number one priority when it comes to image optimization is to fill in every alt attribute for each product image on the site.

Look at some simple rules for alt attributes:

  • describe your images in simple language, as you did for image file names;
  • if you sell products with the model or serial numbers, use them in the alt attributes;
  • don’t fill in the alt attributes with full keywords (for example, alt = “Ford Mustang Muscle Car buy now cheap best price on-sale”).
  • don’t use alt attributes for decorative images. Search engines can punish you for over-optimization. Finally, check performance from time to time.

Review the source of your web pages and make sure that the alt attributes are filled in correctly. You will be surprised at what is missing when you move at the speed of entrepreneurship.

20. Extra outbound links on the site

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Webmasters are getting suggested by Google to use the rel = nofollow tag in all hyperlinks created by users in blogs, comments, and other similar areas. This is applicable to prevent spammers from getting unnecessary credits on different sites by posting URLs pointing to their own sites. Google’s algorithm gives weight (for ranking) to site backlinks, that is why spammers try to publish the URLs of their sites in different places on the Internet, especially in comments or on sites where user-generated content may be displayed. Google suggests that all scripts allowing such backlinks add the rel = nofollow tag to the hyperlink tag. Thus, Google’s SEO algorithm will discount the credit that spam sites receive by publishing such links.

Linking to the third-party resources on the site, especially from an online store, unless it is justified is not recommended (links to your own groups in social networks, your landing pages on other domains, etc.). This can negatively affect the search engines’ credibility to the resource, and lead to the loss of potential customers leaving the site.

21. Closing technical pages from indexing

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Some pages on your site serve a specific purpose, but it relates to neither ranking in search engines nor getting traffic to your site. These pages must be there as glue for other pages, or simply because the rules require them to be available on the site.

Apart from using commands in a robots.txt file, it is a good practice to indicate that technical pages (admin panel, shopping cart pages, checkout, etc.) are not to be indexed by search robots. You can do this by adding the appropriate meta tags to the page. One more SEO tip is to additionally mark links to these pages as rel = “nofollow” so that search robots do not try to follow them and index the content these links lead to.

Here are the tips on what pages should be closed from indexing:

  • shopping cart and checkout pages
  • search pages
  • wishlist and product comparison pages
  • authorization and registration pages
  • user account pages
  • author archive blog pages

You can close the page from indexing by entering the following code in the site’s head.

22. E-Commerce Analytics and tracking

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If you run/manage an online store/app, you can’t just depend on the analytical reports provided by the shopping cart.

Having set up no e-Commerce tracking in Google Analytics means that the e-Commerce store owners don’t take their online business seriously. I believe everyone has heard the “e-Commerce tracking” word combination but not everyone knows exactly what it is and how it is profitable for a business. In short, it is the feature, provided by Google Analytics, that allows administrators to track transactions in an online store. Due to this feature, you can set the right SEO strategy to increase ROI. It generates tracking information, such as where the buyer orders the product, how much time buyers spend on purchases, and so on.

Why e-Commerce tracking should be included in Google Analytics for your online store

As mentioned above, it allows you to track online transactions, but what data? These are all the reasons why an e-Commerce store should have e-Commerce tracking installed:

  • Total online store revenue
  • Revenue for each product
  • Number of products sold
  • Total transaction
  • Total number of products sold over a specific date range
  • No unique purchase
  • Timeframe for revenue generation
  • Transaction time

Based on these types of data, you can easily find out which product is selling well and which is not. Thanks to this tracking, we get valuable information about the e-Commerce store with just one click and use it for marketing purposes to get the maximum return on investment (ROI) with less effort. Having accurate information about the store revenue generation, we can justify it and bring it in line with expectations. For example, if you don’t get good results from certain products, you can set discounts and offers for them to get high profitability.

Any e-Commerce business needs users to come back and buy new products in their store. E-Commerce tracking helps with remarketing strategies for target audiences and increasing conversions since this feature provides data about repeat customers and their transactions.

23. Setting up The Google Search Console

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The Google search console is a VERY powerful free SEO tool.

This tool is designed to track the website performance in Google search.

This is why the Google Search Console contains useful features such as:

  • viewing keywords that generate the most traffic
  • sending a sitemap
  • correcting of the site’s errors
  • getting a message from the Google search team and more

In short: if you are serious about SEO, setting up the Google search console is a key step.

24. Enable the caching of your website

top-50-seo-tips-28Google Cache is usually referred to as copies of the web pages cached by Google. Google scans the Internet and takes a snapshot of each page as a backup in case the current page is unavailable. These pages then become part of the Google cache. These cached Google pages can be extremely useful. If the website is temporarily unavailable, you can always access these pages by visiting the cached version of Google.

25. Avoid orphan pages

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An orphan page is a URL that cannot be accessed by links on your site. Note that it differs from a 404 page, which simply does not exist but may have links pointing to it. Except for the pages which receive no link juice from the website, orphan pages are unlikely to be ranked. They can also be considered as “doorway pages” and interpreted as spam. If you have no access to the database information, bound the scan data with Google Analytics.

Use high-quality internal linking on all pages of the website to avoid SEO problems with orphan pages.

26. Logical hierarchy and subfolders

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SEO URLs must follow a logical hierarchy corresponding to the site’s navigation hierarchy. Each page ought to have only one URL, implying that it should never belong to more than one conflicting category or subcategory. If this is not possible for whatever reason, make sure that canonization is used to indicate which version should be indexed.

Although pages should be accessible from the home page within a small number of clicks, this does not mean that the website should have a completely flat structure. Considering a website that is not very small, you won’t want to access every page directly from the main page. Instead, the main categories should be accessible from the main page. Each subsequent page should be accessible from these category pages, followed by subcategories, and so on.

27. Install the SSL certificate

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SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, a global standard security technology ensuring encrypted communication between a web browser and a web server. Millions of Internet businesses and individuals use it in order to reduce the risk of losing sensitive information (such as credit card numbers, user names, passwords, email messages, etc.) and protect it from theft or forgery by hackers. In fact, SSL allows a private “conversation” between only two intended parties.

To create such a secure connection, an SSL certificate (also called a “digital certificate”) is installed on the Web server. The certificate performs two functions:

  • it verifies the identity of the website (ensuring visitors that they are not on a bogus website)
  • it encrypts the data being transmitted.

28. Ensure a clear call to action (CTA)

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Google is sometimes believed to attach great importance to completing goals. “Reaching a goal” is the action that must be performed by a user on your page. This will largely depend on the purpose of the target SEO keyphrase.

Each website page must contain a call to action (CTA).

As already noted, a CTA will depend on the purpose of the target keyword. In case this is a product page, a CTA will be focused on sales. Provided that it’s the top tier of the menu, the informative content, a CTA can be as simple as asking a user to share a page or leave a comment on a blog.

Social media share buttons should be visible in the informative content because it is more widespread.

Moreover, a CTA can be significantly enhanced by its smart forms. Pop-ups are a great SEO tool to attract readers’ attention and direct it to specific areas or content of your website. They can persuade a customer to purchase a product, pay for a service, subscribe to a newsletter, renew a subscription, and much more. The SumoMe study revealed that pop-ups generally have a conversion rate of 3.09%. The coefficient value can reach 9.28 when the most popular pop-ups are taken into consideration.

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Make it easier for the user to share your content.

29. Hreflang

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Hreflang tags are a technical solution for the websites obtaining similar content in multiple languages. Owners of multilingual sites find it important for the users to be directed to the content in their native language by search engines. Suppose the user is a Pole, and the page is in English. Nevertheless, there is also a Polish version. It is important for the owner that Google shows the Polish page in the search results for this user from Poland. Such SEO issues should be solved by hreflang.

Why are hreflang tags necessary?

Hreflang tags are a method for marking up pages, similar in meaning but intended for different languages and/or regions. There are three popular ways of hreflang implementation:

  1. content with regional variations such as en-us and en-gb;
  2. content in different languages, such as en, de, and fr;
  3. a combination of different languages and regional variations.

Hreflang tags are also often used to target different markets using the same language, for example, to differentiate between the US and the UK or between Germany and Austria.

What is the SEO benefit of hreflang?

But how come we are considering hreflang now? What’s its benefit for SEO? With regard to Search Engine Optimization, hreflang tags are worth implementing for two main reasons.

Firstly, if you have a page version optimized for the language and location of users, then you should endeavor to ensure that they end up on the necessary page. Having the right information, which depends on the language and location, improves the user experience, and increases conversion. Your SEO rating is increasing along with your profit.

Secondly, hreflang prevents the duplicate content problem. If you have the same content in English at different URLs targeted at the UK, the USA, and Australia, the difference of these pages may be as small as the changes in price and currency. Without hreflang, Google can misunderstand what you are trying to do and treat it as a duplicate content. With the help of hreflang, you make it very clear to the search engine that it’s (almost) the same content, just optimized for different people.

30. Set up Google My business

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Google My Business (GMB) is a free and simplified SEO toolbar that helps business owners manage and update lists of companies in the Google ecosystem. This program had been developed by Google for more than a decade before it was launched in 2014.

With a few updates and tweaks, Google created this CRM feature in order to help companies create an online presence which contributes to receiving not only basic NAP information (name, address, phone number), but also other types of data by searching users. For instance, working hours and specifications regarding the availability of facilities such as parks and so on. This is not only Google’s attempt to improve the user interface, but also to help business owners reach their target audience through an online search.

Google My Business comes with a review feature allowing your customers to leave reviews and therefore increasing your chances to establish a closer relationship with customers.

A centralized toolbar is a simple and convenient SEO tool that allows you to manage business information across multiple Google platforms.

What business information can you add?

  • Company name, address and phone number
  • Web site
  • Working hours
  • Business category
  • Availability

31. HTML sitemap

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Your website ought to contain an HTML sitemap (see Information about the Google Maps). Each page should link to this sitemap, probably in the footer.

An HTML sitemap enables lost users of large online stores to find the page they are looking for on the website. Keep in mind that search engines encourage easy-to-use websites. In many cases, you can boost your site’s SEO ranking by improving the user experience. You may happen to ensure a better user experience by providing an HTML sitemap.

On top of that, a well-designed HTML sitemap should be bound to every web page on the site. This guarantees that your entire website will be well scanned by the search engine. Besides, it will also contribute to avoiding orphan pages on the site.

32. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

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Accelerated Mobile Pages are an open-source coding standard for publishers. Since desktop resources are heavy and plentiful, mobile adaptation can appear to be a clumsy and slow process. Therefore, AMP aims at enabling publishers to quickly load their sites to mobile devices. To be honest, most elements of a desktop website are not necessary for a mobile one.

One of the most significant differences is that AMP pages have not so much material for more complex user interaction. Everything is cut.

  • AMP forces you to use a simplified version of CSS.
  • Javascript is not even allowed. Truly speaking, I’m still trying to figure out how to make share buttons appear on my AMP pages.
  • You have to use the ready-made Javascript library provided to you by AMP. This makes your images load slowly. That’s it.

In fact, when you integrate AMP to standardize your mobile responsive pages, you put speed and readability as a top priority over everything else, even over compatibility.

Sample pages: an adaptive website layout is on the left, the AMP version is on the right

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33. Breadcrumbs

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The breadcrumbs used by Hansel and Gretel to return home are created by websites for the same purpose, that is to guide the user through the website. They help visitors understand where they are on the website and provide guidance for easier access.

Breadcrumbs can improve the user experience and help search engines clearly understand the site structure. Performing the second navigation function on the website, breadcrumbs should not replace the main navigation.

Another pro is that they reduce the number of actions and clicks the user performs on the page. Instead of going back and forth, they can easily use the link level/category to go wherever they want. The technique can be applied to large websites or e-Commerce sites.

34. Test as many platforms and devices as possible

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People use different devices. If you want to ensure good user experience, you need to test the website on multiple devices. On as many as you can!

You can start with Chrome by right-clicking and selecting Inspect. Then you can switch the device toolbar and select the type of device you want to view your site on.

You can also use third-party tools such as ScreenFly.

However, keep in mind that these SEO tools take into account only the screen width. For instance, if you have no iOS device, you will never know that WebM videos don’t play in Safari.

35. CDN for reducing the page load time

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The content delivery network (CDN) not only increases the page speed of your site but also helps to improve user experience by reducing the response time, thereby increasing the site’s rating. We recommend Max CDN or CloudFare. If you apply the Total Cache plugin for WordPress, you can configure your CDN with its help.

The benefits of using a CDN vary depending on the size and needs of the web resource. However, the main benefits for most users can be divided into 4 different components:

  • Improving website load time. By distributing your content closer to the site users with the help of a nearby CDN server (among other optimizations), the users get faster page loading time. Since users are more likely to click on links from a slow-loading site, a CDN can reduce the bounce rate and prolong the time people spend on the site. In other words, the faster the website is, the more users will stay and continue working on it.
  • Reducing the bandwidth costs. The bandwidth costs for hosting websites are their main costs. Thanks to caching and other methods of Search Engine Optimization, a CDN can reduce the amount of data, the source server must provide, thus reducing hosting costs for the websites’ owners.
  • Increasing content availability and redundancy. High traffic volume or hardware failures can disrupt the normal operation of the website. Due to its distributed nature, a CDN can handle more traffic and withstand hardware failures better than many source servers.
  • Improving the website security. A CDN can enhance security by providing DDoS protection, security certificate improvements, and other SEO methods.

36. Build high-quality backlinks

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Backlinks are hyperlinks from one web page to another. Backlinks perform two main functions — they increase traffic and ensure credibility.

Firstly, if a website has backlinks on multiple sites, it will definitely see referral traffic. This helps to increase brand awareness and attract new customers.

Secondly, backlinks contribute to increasing SEO for the domain. Your business gains credibility in the eyes of the search engine when its crawlers encounter backlinks. The more backlinks a website has, the more likely it is to be found in search results.

Since backlinks have a direct impact on your business’s online presence, you should consider creating only quality ones. Although the volume of backlinks affects local Search Engine Optimization, focusing on their quality rather than quantity is advisable.

SEO tips for creating high-quality backlinks for your business

  1. Create your business accounts on social platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and Tumblr. The social platforms you choose will depend on the type of target audience.
  2. Look for online directories, specific to your niche. Apparently, your customers may visit these sites to search for companies like yours. Most of them let you build a backlink to your site for free.
  3. Local newspapers, forums, and communities help you to spread the information about your business. You can reach a vast audience in your neighborhood and get a backlink at the same time.
  4. You can also view the posting of your articles or materials on the sites allowing this. Some of these directories include Slideshare, LinkedIn Pulse, Growth Hackers, Self Growth, etc.
  5. Guest blogging is an option that local companies should definitely pay attention to. You can contact local bloggers to post an article from your business on their domain. Thus, you can capitalize on their existing fan base.
  6. Establish partnerships with local figures of authority to review or characterize your business on their page. The idea is to increase brand awareness by appealing to their followers. They can become potential customers for your business and thus bring more profit.

37. Use LSI keywords

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LSI keywords (hidden semantic indexing) are conceptually related SEO terms used by search engines to have a deep understanding of the website content.

LSI keywords are NOT synonyms. These are the terms, closely related to your target SEO keyword.

For example, let us take a word like “jogging”. The word  “running” is just a synonym of “jogging”. There is nothing wrong with using this synonym in your article (in fact, it can contribute assistance with SEO on the page).

But this is not the LSI keyword.

LSI keywords for “jogging” are the words like “shoes”, “cardio”, etc.

38. Analyze your competitor’s backlinks, ratings, and traffic

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This is the easiest way to get started with links. We can offer you some more tips, related to the issue. Look at each of the 10 search results for your target keyword, view each page’s link using the MOZ SEO toolbar. Focus on their “inbound links” from “only external” sources to see who contacted them. Besides, in order to reveal your competitors’ marketing strategies which could be replicated, you can apply Ahrefs, Majestic SEO & SimilarWeb, Semrush.

39. Use multimedia

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Another SEO ranking factor is the number of users interacting with your content. This is why using multimedia in your messages is a good idea. We’ve provided some tips on how to use it.

For example, you can create an interactive quiz and insert it into your blog to encourage interaction.

Audio, video and social media widgets can be named among other ways of embedding multimedia.

Here are some easy-to-create media types which can be used in your messages and get links:

  • Memes (use a meme generator)
  • Excel charts
  • Citing Images (use Canva)
  • PowerPoint presentations (use Slideshare to place them)
  • Screenshots

The data reveals that pages with multiple content types, such as text, images, videos, and so on, get more shared resources and backlinks than purely text pages.

40. Update and add content regularly

top-50-seo-tips-46 You can add a blog to any site. Blogs often help your site to be seen active by search engines. Even if you are a businessman and not a blogger, adding a blog page and updating it on a regular basis with relevant content can potentially benefit your SEO promotion while your brand is being created. Some useful SEO tips, related to the matter, are given in the following paragraphs.

When adding blog posts, use tags and categories. Structurize your posts by formatting the H1 and H2 headers.

When you write blog posts, think about your target audience and what they might be looking for to find a website like yours. Add content which they’ll like and optimize your posts by SEO keywords, especially in titles.

41. Use tags in your blog posts

top-50-seo-tips-47 Just like categories, tags should make it easier for users to find what they are searching for. They are expected to be short (from one to three words), unique, and require no explanation.

There is no magic number of tags that should be hidden, but the fewer tags you can keep, the better. Thus, ensuring that you are creating no redundant or overlapping tags which might confuse or slow down your readers is getting more simplified.

42. SEO for voice search

top-50-seo-tips-48 Mobile searches are a great part of our digital life.

According to Google, 41% of adults in the USA use voice search daily.

You need to optimize your website for voice search if you want such traffic.

Here are some very powerful SEO tips to optimize your content for voice search:

  • Write short and accurate answers to conversational questions
  • Ensure Search Engine Optimization for featured snippets
  • Improve your website load performance
  • Provide comprehensive and long content in the format of questions and answers.

43. Usability audit

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This section reveals the tips on conducting a usability audit. Usability testing is a method of evaluating the user’s experience when interacting with a product or a website. By testing the usability of their product or website with a representative group of their users or customers, UX researchers can determine whether their actual users can easily and intuitively use their product or website.

Usability testing has five main advantages over other SEO methods of studying the product’s user experience. These are the following:

  • Usability testing provides an unbiased, accurate, and direct analysis of your product’s or website’s user experience. Usability testing is carried out on the basis of real users’ performance, who are detached from the emotional investment your team has put into creating and developing a product or website. Their feedback can resolve most of your team’s internal disputes concerning SEO.
  • Usability testing is convenient. So that to conduct your studies, all you need to do is find a quiet room and take your portable recording equipment with you. If you have no such equipment, your teammate can just take notes.
  • Usability testing can inform you of what actions users take on your website or product and for what reason.
  • Usability testing enables you to solve the problems of your product or website before spending a good deal of money on the creation of something that will end up featuring a bad design.
  • For your business, intuitive design increases the number of customers and their results, stimulating demand for your product.

Usability audit can be conducted using the Plerdy service

44. SEO Content

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Include the SEO keyword in the URL

Make sure that your URL contains the keyword you want to target.

Include the keyword at least once in the H1 tag

If your blog title includes the keyword, then this part has probably already been taken care of, because the title is usually enclosed in H1 tags.

Include the keyword in the first paragraph

Google checks how early your keyword appears in the message, so make sure you have included it at least once in the first paragraph.

Include the keyword at least once in the subheadings

The H2 and H3 tags are subheadings. Include the keyword at least once in one of these subheadings.

Include the keyword several times in the main text

Without “pasting” your keyword, include it several times in the text of your message. This should happen naturally, as part of the article flow.

Include internal links at the beginning of your message

Your bounce rate (the percentage of users leaving your website after viewing only one page) is an important SEO ranking factor that Google takes into account to determine the ranking in search results. To minimize the bounce rate, include internal links in your post.

Include at least 3-4 internal links

Another reason why you should include internal links in your article is that linking posts will help search engines scan and understand your content. Make sure you include at least 3-4 links to previously published blog posts each time you post a new one.

Link to relevant websites of the authorities

You should also include outbound links in your post when quoting your sources. This contributes to increasing credibility towards the content.

Just make sure that your outbound links go to the relevant sites with high authority. For example, if your post is dedicated to animals, you can specify a link to a site dedicated to animals with high authority, such as Animal Planet.

Use correct spelling and grammar

Correct spelling and grammar are important not only for the readability of your post but also for search engines (you will be fined for spelling errors). You can use a WordPress plugin like TinyMCE Spellcheck to add a Spell Check button to the editor. Thereby, you’ll be able to check the spelling right on the WordPress edit screen. Or you can use such browser extension as After the Deadline.

Use a long-form content

As a rule, the longer your content is, the higher its rating in search results. This is probably because Google considers long-form content to be more valuable. In addition, long-form, SEO-friendly content can increase the time a user stays on your page before clicking the back button (delay period). The latent period is another rating factor used by search engines.

Use a high-quality content

This is very likely the most important tip: make sure that your content is of high quality. The more quality and useful content for real people is, the easier it will be to evaluate it.

Keep in mind that Google’s goal is to bring back the best search results. Make sure your post is better than all the other posts on this topic.

45. Increase your site session duration

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One of the most important quality signals for search engines is the amount of time people spend on your site. For example, if after going to your page a site user immediately clicks the “Back” button, it most likely means that the page is of poor quality. You can increase the latent period by writing a long, interesting, and relevant content for your visitors. Thereby, they will be able to read and spend more time on the site, which brings us to the previous point, which is quality content.

46. Apply the Plerdy heatmap

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Heatmaps are a set of tools for experienced marketers, usability specialists, and SEO experts with the help of which user behavior on their own website pages is analyzed.

It consists of several independent SEO tools, each of which solves separate tasks, comprising:

  • conversion enhancement;
  • analysis of user behavior on web pages.

Heatmaps are an indispensable tool for usability experts, analysts, UX designers, and SEO specialists. A comprehensive usability audit of a site can’t be conducted without taking into account real statistics of clicks, mouse hovers over its elements, as well as the page scroll indicators. The heatmap tools description and SEO tips on their implementation are given below.

  • A clickmap not only demonstrates how visitors interacted with the elements of each web page, but also segments where these users came from (traffic sources).
  • Hot segments show the most clickable parts of each page.
  • A scroll map reveals the “depth” of each page scrolling on any device: computer, smartphone, or tablet. This SEO tool is of significance for Search Engine Optimization when analyzing the texts of blogs and landing pages.
  • A mouse hover map points to the website elements which were hovered over. Whereas you need to analyze the dynamics of user behavior, a mouse hover map will come in handy much better than a video recording. Due to the conciseness of this map, you can save time that was previously spent on viewing videos from the users’ screens
  • Click sequences reveal the order in which each selected item was clicked. Thereby, you can track the sequence of user transitions between web pages. When combined with a hover map, you can analyze user behavior on a website more efficiently than when viewing video recordings.
  • Events enable you to track clicks or mouse hovers only on the selected website object. If by default a clickmap shows summary data on typical site elements, events demonstrate how many times a particular object was clicked or hovered over.

47.Use SEO Alerts

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SEO alerts are a tool allowing SEO professionals to always stay up to date with changes occurring on their website or online store. Thereby, you can track and respond quickly to any changes in internal website Search Engine Optimization that occurred within 24 hours (the data of the current and previous days are compared).

Data for SEO analysis:

  • Title, Description, H1;
  • the number of H tags;
  • the number of style attributes in body and tags;
  • the number of javascript files;
  • the number of tags with comments on the page;
  • the number of “a” and ” # ” tags in href;
  • the noindex, nofollow and canonical meta tags availability
  • data from the web page’s semantic kernel.

All the information is recorded separately on smartphones, and separately on PCs. Since Google scans sites on a mobile-first basis, segmenting data for separate use in analysis is possible.

48. Provide the answers to general questions and include frequently asked questions

You may have heard of something called position 0.

These results, which are also called featured snippets, are displayed at the very top of the SERP and are extracted from the websites giving a very specific response to a user’s search query.

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Therefore, it makes sense to compete for the desired position. Your page should contain clear answers to the questions that your audience is most likely to have.

They are often taken from frequently asked questions sections, so it’s a good idea to include one in each relevant post. Just keep in mind that facts and statistics change over time, so check them often to make sure that all the data is up-to-date.

To get an idea of which questions and answers to include, turn to Google. Enter the target keyword and scroll down to the “similar queries” section. This is a great place to start with and great topics to discuss in frequently asked questions.

Remember that your featured snippets are usually taken from the websites which are already at the top 5 positions in search results. However, providing clear answers to general questions of your audience should always be part of your SEO content strategy

49. User feedback

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This chapter contains useful tips since everybody wants reviews and comments.

They tell companies that they are providing quality, relevant products or services, and let potential customers know that they are dealing with a reliable source.

In addition, they also help your SEO.

Firstly, including a review snippet comprising stars on the website can lead to increased credibility and CTR.

Secondly, if you generate fresh reviews on your website, it’s ranking will be improved. If you create fresh reviews on another site, this one will still have a higher rating.

But despite the obvious advantages, looking for a way to get these enthusiastic reviews has long been an obstacle for business.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be so. Currently, there are many platforms for creating reviews, designed to make it easier to connect your customers and get their feedback.

They usually work like this: you send your contact list, and the platform automates the process via email or SMS requests and collecting feedback.

It’s great if you get positive ones. It means you are moving in the right direction. If any negative reviews appear, usually, you will be able to control the damage with a dissatisfied customer a little bit (and possibly flip this review in the process).

For almost any business, SEO brings more benefits than it justifies the costs. The platforms which could be tried are BirdEye, Grade.Us, and many others.

50. Write guest posts

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In Search Engine Optimization, guest posting is a method by which you write articles for websites and get a link to your website/blog in return. You can link to your social media profiles as well.

This is a win-win situation for both sides. You receive a link from the website, and its owner gets content for their site.

Nevertheless, it is not limited to just creating links. Guest posting has many more advantages.

If your post is good enough, it will make you popular within the audience of this blog. On top of that, you will also get a chance to interact with them via blog comments. Furthermore, guest posting links serve as a source of referral traffic.

If everything is done correctly, the traffic and authority of your web resource will be increased.

Summary

On-page SEO is one of the most important components of any marketing strategy, but it hardly attracts the attention it deserves. The way you format your content, optimize metadata, or use images directly affects your rating and user experience.

Surely, this checklist of SEO tips may seem rather long, but you will realize that many of these items need to be taken care of only once. Once you have a properly organized workflow, the others will take only a few minutes. In any case, if you are already spending hours creating stellar content, it makes sense to spend a few extra minutes to get the most out of your work.