- To smoke your competition this summer, the first step should be to keep up with what they’re doing.
- User experience should also be a top priority; factors like site speed, mobile-friendliness, and even image file size can make or break UX.
- Your content and metadata should also be top-notch in order to keep ahead of the pack.
- Finally, keeping a finger on the pulse of Google’s algorithm updates will be helpful in meeting your search-result goals.
As spring heats up into summer, we’re all looking forward to spending time outdoors with our friends and family – and there’s nothing more ubiquitous to the summer season than cooking outdoors. Grills are sizzling, delectable cuts of meat or plant-based alternatives are getting a nice smoky crisp, and everyone’s eager to get the dishes they brought to the cookout on people’s plates.
And while your customers are relaxing and vacationing (or staycationing), they’ll be turning to search engines for anything from beach read recommendations to information about the upcoming school year to the best barbecue recipes and everything else under the sun.
It’s not just the temperatures outside that are heating up; your competition is, too. That’s why now is the perfect time to fire up the grill — and your SEO best practices while you’re at it. Here are some of our favorite ways to smoke your summer SERP competition.
Monitor the competition
Watching meat as you grill or smoke it will help you keep an eye on its doneness, ensuring you don’t over or undercook it. Just as you’d keep an eye on the food you’re cooking, it’s wise to keep a careful eye trained on your brand’s competition. If you want to smoke the competition, you’ll need to know what they’re up to.
Thankfully, most of what your closest competitors are doing is public; after all, they want search engines to see their efforts just as much as you do. While you won’t be able to snatch their secret recipe from the inside, you might be able to get a taste and figure it out through the context clues provided by competitor analysis.
A competitor analysis will help you see which keywords work for them, which pages rank highly, who they’re linking to, and overall, act as a catalyst for enhancing your SEO strategy.
Beef up your user experience
You wouldn’t want to house guests over the summer only to making them uncomfortable, unsure of where to find things, and in search of the nearest Airbnb to spend the rest of their vacation instead. Naturally, you wouldn’t want your website to feel that way.
User experience is extremely important to search engines – especially the biggest and most crucial of the bunch, Google. In recent algorithm updates, Google has emphasized how much it favors content that is made for people, by people. A website created ‘for people’ should be usable by people also.
Now, that might seem obvious; of course you want people to use your website; that’s the entire point of having one and optimizing it. However, a summer barbecue is best when there’s something for everyone to eat, and when what they’re piling their plates with is worth devouring.
Ways to improve your site’s user experience
Dozens of factors go into overall user experience (UX). However, here are a few basic steps that you should be considering when improving user experience on your brand’s website:
- Optimize page speed: a slow loading page may frustrate a user into hitting the back button. Every second of load time makes a difference in UX.
- Make it accessible: from your layout, to your color scheme, to your headings, alt text, and anchor text, ensuring that each page is usable by everyone regardless of ability or how they’re accessing the site is critical to user experience.
- Keep image file sizes small: don’t bite off more than you can chew with image file sizes. Your ideal page images should be high quality and engaging without pushing dimension limits.
- Mobile-friendliness matters: more and more, people are accessing the internet on their phones and tablets. If your site isn’t mobile-ready, you could lose almost 80% of your organic search.
UX design directly impacts your SEO through user engagement metrics like bounce rates, website performance, and the overall satisfaction of anyone who happens through your site. If yours is more usable than the competition’s, you’ll be sure to manage a leg up.
Metadata is a must
Your meta title and description are what will get people to actually click through to a page when it comes up in a search result – also referred to as click-through rate. A meta title should intrigue the reader and whet their appetite for what lies beyond the link without being too vague or overly verbose.
A good meta description, meanwhile, takes a bit of finessing to get just right. It should give the reader an idea of what the page is for and what they’ll gain from visiting it. Ideally, it will also include a call to action to seal the deal. Length is also important. Too long -or, specifically, containing too many pixels – and you’ll see it cut off in search results.
Take a look at your metadata. Analyzing your titles and descriptions could make your ever-important conversion rates sizzle!
Write amazing content
If you cook up an amazing summer buffet, you’ll be sure to have people flocking in to give it a try. In the fight to smoke your competition, top-notch content is one of the most important have in your summer SEO toolbelt. It’s what will give you an edge over other businesses in your industry.
Here are a few tips on how to write ‘amazing’ content.
It’s time to E-A-T
It goes without saying that you should write what your ideal customers want to read. If you really want to smoke your competition, remember that you are what you eat. Or, more accurately, E-A-T: Expertise, Authority, and Trust. Your content should position your site and brand as an authoritative, trustworthy expert.
Much like a good spice rub, many small components combine to make amazing content. High-quality, ‘perfect’ content, especially content linked to by an outside source, will help you become reputable and quotable, and paint a picture of trust that a search engine will reward.
Create tools people want to use
While you’re creating link-worthy posts, you should also strive to make sharable tools. Checklists, how-tos, quizzes, on-page widgets and tools, or anything else that will bring a reader value are not only link-worthy, but they’re also great for building trust and embedding your brand’s name in the reader’s head. If you want to take this further, you can provide free downloads, printables, or interactive tools.
It doesn’t have to be a complex program that’s baked right into the browser, though. As stated, tutorials and checklists people can reference themselves and share with colleagues are incredibly convenient – and appreciated.
Keep it evergreen
It might be tempting to post the latest summer news and tap into whatever’s making a splash right now. Trends are transient and can date a blog or social media post quickly.
Aim for a balance of posts that will remain pertinent regardless of cultural changes or passing time with hot-button updates in your industry to capture the best of both worlds. Evergreen content should remain valuable to anyone who happens upon it next summer, the summer after, and ten summers from now, so long as it is updated to keep links and information up to date and relevant.
Don’t let algorithm updates put you underwater
Google, the search engine everyone is out to impress, is constantly tweaking and improving its algorithm. Their inner machinations are proprietary, to say the least, and there’s no guaranteeing when or how an algorithm update will cause rankings to sink, tread water, or ride the wave to success.
That’s why we encourage you to watch Google’s algorithm updates. While you won’t be able to know what’s coming before it’s announced with any certainty, you can still prepare yourself and your site for an update when it does happen.
Partner with a digital marketing agency
If you want to turn up the heat on your competition this summer, one of the best things you can do for yourself and your site is to partner with a digital marketing agency. Preparing a summer banquet that a search engine loves can be challenging for one or even two people alone. It takes a team of pros who know precisely how to make excellent content, keep up with Google’s ever-changing ways, master metadata, and achieve UX perfection to really smoke the competition.
At Redefine Marketing Group, digital marketing and organic growth are our specialties. We’ll work alongside your team to help you keep up with the heat of SEO competition, turning high-ranking pages into conversions. Contact us today to learn more about how we can get started this summer and all year long.