19 SEO Tips Straight From the Mouths of HubSpot's SEO Team

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HubSpot's monthly blog postulation flattened successful 2017, and nan culprit was relying connected our intuition to find our audience's preferences. We pivoted to integrated search, which generated astir of our postulation and propelled america past nan plateau.

best seo tips

In this post, we’ll outline nan integrated strategy that fueled our postulation boost and basal investigation penetration and tips from SEO experts.

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SEO Tips

  1. Spend arsenic overmuch clip connected nan SERPs arsenic you do successful tools.
  2. Master nan SERP overlap test.
  3. Aim for nan featured snippets successful SERPs.
  4. Consider on-page SEO, but not everything you people has to beryllium search-friendly.
  5. Target a assortment of precocious and debased measurement keywords.
  6. Consider pruning contented aft agelong periods of growth.
  7. Consolidate website pages utilizing redirects and canonical tags.
  8. Implement a humanities optimization strategy.
  9. Train your website visitors to hunt for your brand.
  10. Develop page authority.
  11. Leverage nan pillar-cluster model.
  12. Create a link-building strategy.
  13. Don’t alteration URLs.
  14. Compress and optimize your multimedia files.
  15. Add alt matter to each image.
  16. Leverage CTAs arsenic often arsenic possible.
  17. Form bully relationships pinch your developers and designers.
  18. Conduct a method SEO audit.
  19. Check, double-check, and triple-check your data.

Download this checklist and prevention it to your desktop to check-off an SEO extremity each clip you complete it.

downloadable seo checklist

1. Spend arsenic overmuch clip connected nan SERPs arsenic you do successful tools.

Even though an algorithm dictates a hunt engine's results page (SERPs) rankings, nan algorithm rewards web publishers that trade nan champion contented connected nan internet.

Because of this, it’s important to understand hunt intent. To execute this, we analyse a keyword's SERP and find nan problems users are trying to lick erstwhile searching for this query.

Aja Frost, Director of Global Growth astatine HubSpot, says, "Yes, tools connection america a ton of information. But that accusation is often based connected incomplete, out-of-date, aliases biased information sets. I promote SEOs to harvester nan insights they're getting from their devices pinch real-time clues connected nan SERPs. Every clip you determine to target a caller keyword, refresh a portion of content, aliases diagnose a page aliases conception of pages pinch irregular traffic, return a look astatine what's coming up for nan main queries connected Google."

Depending connected your goal, Frost says to salary attraction to:

  • Search features,
  • The type of contented that's ranking (product pages, listicles, tutorials, etc.),
  • The websites that are ranking (databases, businesses, media sites, directories, etc.),
  • How acold down nan page nan first integrated consequence appears,
  • How your page shows up (title, meta description, date, jump links, schema if applicable, etc.).

When you behaviour these kinds of searches, "Don't hide to usage an incognito window, often clear your cache, cookies, and history, and tally your searches connected some a desktop and phone," Frost adds.

2. Master nan SERP overlap test.

While successful SERPs, Frost conducts a SERP overlap test. She says, "I usage this trial each nan clip to find whether to target two-plus queries pinch a azygous portion of content."

Now, you mightiness beryllium wondering, what is nan SERP overlap test?

Frost specifications nan steps below:

  1. Do a speedy hunt successful incognito for Keyword A and a abstracted hunt for Keyword B.
  2. If nan SERPs look reasonably different (i.e., nan top-ranking pages are different, aliases nan first consequence for Keyword A is nan ninth consequence for Keyword B), Google treats those queries arsenic abstracted searches pinch different intent.
  3. However, if nan SERPs person a batch of overlap, you tin dainty them arsenic nan aforesaid query.

3. Aim for nan featured snippets successful SERPs.

Featured snippets are what hunt engines usage to show an reply to a query straight connected nan SERP, truthful a personification doesn't request to sojourn different page to get nan reply to their question. Featured snippets tin be:

  • Paragraph-formatted answers
  • Bulleted aliases numbered lists
  • Tables
  • Videos
  • Interactive accordions
  • Short, rich-answer callouts
  • Interactive devices and calculators

The image beneath is an illustration of a featured snippet for nan query “What is inbound marketing?”

what is inbound trading featured snippet container successful google hunt results

As you tin imagine, featured snippets impact integrated hunt results, which is why it’s besides basal to effort and rank pinch arsenic galore featured snippets arsenic possible.

To do so, create posts that reply circumstantial questions users have. The contented wrong your featured snippet must beryllium semantically applicable to nan keyword a personification searches for. This intends that you can’t reply nan mobility of “What is inbound marketing?” pinch unrelated contented arsenic nan algorithm knows capable to observe relationships betwixt nan keywords and descriptions you give.

Additionally, your blog station should beryllium organized and formatted successful a measurement that lets Google cognize you've answered a question. For instance, this could mean utilizing circumstantial coding, truthful your featured snippet stands retired connected nan page.

According to Karla Cook, Content Marketing Director astatine HubSpot, "Targeting featured snippets pinch consistently formatted sections has removed immoderate (but decidedly not all) of nan guesswork erstwhile it comes to ranking for featured snippets."

Matthew Howells-Barby, Vice President of Growth astatine Kraken, has stressed that cleanable and accordant codification is simply a important facet successful winning snippets.

4. Consider on-page SEO, but not everything you people has to beryllium search-friendly.

On-page SEO is nan process of optimizing a page connected your tract pinch beforehand and back-end components that thief you rank higher successful hunt engines. These components include:

  • High-quality page content
  • Page titles
  • Headers
  • Meta descriptions
  • Image alt-text
  • Structured markup
  • Page URLs
  • Internal linking
  • Site speed

For this example, let's attraction connected nan copy-oriented elements for illustration high-quality content, page titles, headers, meta descriptions, and image alt-text.

You should prioritize creating optimized page transcript to amended your SERP rankings. What you constitute should see your target keyword, beryllium contextually applicable to your target keyword, and reply questions your users whitethorn have. Ultimately, nan extremity is to bespeak to hunt engines that you've answered questions a personification mightiness person astir a query.

However, Victor Pan, Principal Marketing Manager of Marketplace Growth astatine HubSpot, says that not everything you people has to beryllium search-friendly.

"This could beryllium advertisement landing pages, thank-you pages, soul income enablement pages, and login pages. Prioritize optimizing for hunt erstwhile nan opportunity is greater than nan clip invested, and time off nan remainder connected nan backmost burner. Tackle nan backmost burner erstwhile you're capable to build a process to trim nan magnitude of clip needed to optimize," he adds.

5. Target a assortment of precocious and low-volume keywords.

48% of SEOs responding to our caller Web Traffic & Analytics study say they target highly competitory keywords, while different 47% opportunity they target keywords pinch mean title levels.

With an integrated hunt strategy, it's important to target keywords that span an full buyer's journey, including a assortment of precocious and low-volume keywords.

Braden Becker, SEO Lead astatine Faire, says, "Broad, early-interest keywords thin to beryllium higher successful volume, while later-interest aliases moreover purchase-ready keywords thin to beryllium little successful measurement because nan assemblage is much specific. Therefore, you shouldn't beryllium acrophobic to target low-volume keywords if they person a higher likelihood of turning postulation into leads aliases customers."

According to Frost, it's important to get creative pinch nan high-volume keywords you’re targeting. The HubSpot SEO squad conducts in-depth keyword research, first looking for hunt measurement (some arsenic precocious arsenic 120,000+, others arsenic debased arsenic 50).

HubSpot’s SEO Marketing Software includes a contented strategy instrumentality that helps you observe topics that matter to you and your audience. You’ll study keywords’ MSV, relevance, competition, and popularity, helping you place a scope of precocious and low-volume keywords to target.

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Get started pinch HubSpot's SEO Marketing Software

6. Consider pruning contented aft agelong periods of growth.

Pruning your content is nan process of reducing nan number of indexed pages by deleting old, low-quality contented that doesn't adhd worth to your site.

Becker says, "Consider 'pruning' contented aft agelong periods of growth. As websites turn and scale, you'll find immoderate contented fails to execute arsenic expected. As that heap gets bigger, it tin person adverse effects connected nan remainder of your site's velocity and performance. Audit your tract for pages that aren't driving a definite level of traffic, backlinks, aliases conversions, and unpublish them."

You tin study much astir nan contented pruning process here.

7. Consolidate website pages utilizing redirects and canonical tags.

When you behaviour a tract audit, you whitethorn find aggregate pages containing akin content. If that happens, you should see consolidating website pages utilizing redirects aliases canonical tags.

Becker says, "Nobody wants aggregate pieces of website contented serving nan aforesaid intent because it tin origin you to cannibalize your postulation successful SERPs." To hole this, you tin redirect low-performing pages to a page connected your tract containing related information.

Becker adds, "Besides redirecting, if you person nonstop duplicates, you whitethorn moreover adhd a canonical tag from nan copy to nan halfway page, which keeps nan copy visible but tells Google to prioritize nan halfway page erstwhile ranking your website. Be observant erstwhile deciding to canonicalize aliases redirect — these are delicate decisions and should only beryllium made erstwhile it makes cleanable consciousness to."

Google explains much astir this process here.

8. Implement a humanities optimization strategy.

In 2015, Pam Vaughn, Marketing Fellow astatine HubSpot, web strategy expert, and erstwhile editor of our Marketing Blog,made a revolutionary find astir HubSpot's integrated blog postulation — nan overwhelming mostly of it came from posts published earlier that month. In fact, 76% of our monthly blog views came from these aged posts.

Today, Vaughn's groundbreaking revelation rings louder than ever — 89% of our monthly blog views travel from posts published astatine slightest six months prior, and we've developed an full strategy dedicated to refreshing and republishing these humanities pieces of content. We telephone these types of blog posts updates, and they comprise 35-40% of our editorial calendar.

By refreshing them pinch caller information, SEO tactics, and efficaciously republishing them arsenic caller blog posts, we tin build upon their existing integrated worth and personification engagement and double aliases moreover triple their traffic. This process besides helps america optimize our blog for efficiency, decreasing nan magnitude of caller contented we person to create while simultaneously expanding our integrated postulation and conversions.

Historical optimization isn't for everyone, though. It's a strategy catered for a blog that:

  • Generates a important magnitude of integrated traffic,
  • Has a sizeable magnitude of blog subscribers,
  • Has societal media followers that tin proviso a surge of traffic, shares, and backlinks to your updates,
  • Owns a important repository of aged posts that are worthy refreshing and republishing.

If you person each 4 of these things, we urge implementing a humanities optimization strategy. To study astir circumstantial types of humanities contented you should update and nan nonstop process of updating them, cheque retired this blog post written by Pam Vaughn herself.

9. Train your website visitors to hunt for your brand.

SEO is utilized to summation nan number of unbranded searches for your business.

Pan says, "The logic was that these were imaginable customers that would not person different converted. This logic is bully for a young business, but for mature businesses that person a bully narration pinch their customers, branded postulation is conscionable arsenic important."

For example, platforms for illustration Amazon person trained their customers searching connected Google to append "amazon" to their searches for site-specific results.

Pan says you tin promote and animate users to do this by becoming nan go-to master connected topics related to your brand. Since Amazon is 1 of nan starring shopping sites, customers mention to nan level for their shopping needs. To go an expert, you person to create page authority.

10. Develop page authority.

Page authority is one of nan factors hunt engines usage to find rankings. For example, if you’re a seasoned blog pinch a estimation arsenic a go-to manufacture expert, your tract will apt rank higher than pages connected a much caller site.

Given this, it’s important to build your marque and authority wrong your niche. Google’s E-E-A-T model is simply a awesome measurement to build this type of authority. E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, and here’s a breakdown of its parts:

  • Experience relates to having real-world and individual acquisition pinch a taxable aliases nan contented you constitute astir aliases see connected your site.
  • Expertise intends that you person training, real-world experience, aliases moreover verifiable credentials related to nan taxable aliases contented you constitute astir aliases see connected your site.
  • Authoritativeness is your expertise to beryllium seen arsenic an authority connected nan taxable aliases contented you constitute astir aliases see connected your site.
  • Trustworthiness intends your website's contented is credible, factual, and true.

According to professionals, trustworthiness and expertise are nan astir important E-E-A-T factors for showing up successful SERPs.

Some awesome ways to build your estimation and authority are blogging regularly, guest posting connected different sites, and simply being progressive successful your manufacture are valuable ways to build your reputation.

You tin besides constitute astir tangential topics your customers mightiness beryllium willing successful truthful you ever supply them pinch nan astir applicable accusation while signaling to hunt engines that you constitute astir your manufacture in-depth.

All of these strategies will springiness your website authority and bespeak to hunt engines that they request to salary attraction to your domain.

11. Leverage nan pillar-cluster model.

People trust connected Google to supply meticulous and applicable answers to their questions, truthful hunt engines request to understand each search’s intent and context.

To do this, Google has evolved to admit topical connections crossed personification queries, show akin queries users person made successful nan past, and aboveground contented that they deem nan astir charismatic connected nan topic. To thief Google admit our blog contented arsenic a trusted authority, we decided to implement nan pillar-cluster model (further explained successful nan video below).

By creating a azygous pillar page that provides a high-level overview of a taxable and hyperlinks to cluster pages, we efficaciously signaled to Google that our pillar page is simply a root of authority connected nan subject.


Image Source

Another use of nan pillar-cluster exemplary is that it provides tract visitors pinch a amended user experience. Not only is it easier for Google to crawl our blog and place semantic relationships betwixt posts, but it's besides easier for our assemblage to find nan contented they’re looking for.

12. Create a link-building strategy.

Earning high-quality inbound links from websites and pages pinch high-authority is important for boosting your domain authority. Unfortunately, arsenic bully arsenic it would be, "If you constitute it, they will nexus to it” is not a viable SEO tactic.

The superior method we usage to gain high-quality links is networking pinch different sites pinch a higher domain aliases page authority and requesting links to our content. We besides make judge our contented is applicable to nan referring website's content.

13. Don’t alteration URLs.

The inventor of nan internet, Tim Berners-Lee, erstwhile said, "Cool URIs don't change."

In fact, it's a popular saying — "What makes a cool URI? A cool URI is 1 which does not change. What sorts of URI change? URIs don't change: group alteration them."

As a refresher, URI stands for Uniform Resource Identifier and it is meant to place a resource, whereas a URL gives accusation astir really to find a resource. For example, a URI would beryllium your name, and a URL would beryllium your location address. Your sanction simply identifies you, and a reside shares wherever to find you.

Pan says, "URLs, a subset of URI's, should alteration arsenic small arsenic possible. The history of ‘why a URL changes' is filled pinch bully intentions that often get mislaid pinch time, truthful beryllium judge to adhd a statement nan aforesaid measurement you should erstwhile you announcement postulation anomalies."

Note: You tin do this wrong HubSpot's perpetually evolving URL Mapping tool.

14. Compress and optimize your multimedia files.

Compressing multimedia files whitethorn not look for illustration a precocious privilege for your SEO strategy, but it should be. According to Becker, your video, image, and gif record size straight impact your site’s page load speed, which is 1 of nan ten astir important ranking factors.

“The bigger an image's record size, nan longer it takes your web browser to load that image, which increases your website's loading clip arsenic a whole. And nan longer your website's loading time, nan much apt it is that Google will penalize you,” he says.

The enactment of compression blends likewise colored pixels into azygous pixels to trim nan image’s solution and, successful turn, record size. These changes are undetectable to nan quality eye, arsenic it is much delicate to specifications betwixt ray and acheronian than colors.

Compression does not diminish nan effect your images will person connected your audience, and your pages will load faster. Here’s a guide to resizing and compressing your images without compromising connected value and impact. Some high-quality devices for multimedia record compression are:

  • Squoosh
  • TinyPNG (supports batch compression)
  • You Compress
  • Clipchamp

15. Use image alt text.

Search motor crawlers that scan your tract can’t understand your images unless they see alt text descriptions. Because of this, adding these descriptions to your pictures is simply a privilege for SEO, arsenic bots will onslaught against you if they can’t understand what’s connected your tract pages. Image alt matter is besides adjuvant for ranking your tract pages successful image-based SERPs.

Also, alt matter is simply a champion believe for creating an accessible website. Screen readers tin prime up connected alt matter erstwhile converting surface elements, ensuring that each of your tract visitors person a accordant browsing experience.

All alt-text should beryllium descriptive, contextually applicable to nan page content, and short. Consider nan pursuing illustration from Becker:

David Ortiz of nan Boston Red Sox batting from location sheet astatine Fenway Park

Image Source

Low-quality alt matter would publication “Baseball subordinate hitting a shot astatine a shot field,” while descriptive and contextual alt matter would publication "David Ortiz of nan Boston Red Sox batting from location sheet astatine Fenway Park."

16. Leverage CTAs arsenic often arsenic possible.

Optimizing your page to rank successful hunt engines doesn’t do you immoderate bully if your pages aren’t optimized to person visitors. Aim to maximize conversion opportunities by utilizing calls-to-action pinch contented offers applicable to page contented and nan different stages of nan buyer's journey.

The image beneath is an illustration of a CTA connected our SEO Writing: 12 Tips connected Writing Blog Posts That Rank connected Google blog post.

example of seo starter battalion cta successful a hubspot blog post

Image Source

Every page connected your tract is an opportunity for conversion, truthful each page connected your tract should see a CTA that aligns pinch visitant hunt intent. Since you tin presume that page visitors are location to study something, CTAs are breathtaking arsenic they connection much penetration and acquisition information.

17. Form bully relationships pinch your developers and designers.

Hitting your SEO goals isn’t a marketing-specific effort — you’ll besides request to collaborate pinch our developers and designers. Because of this, Frost suggests forming bully relationships pinch these teams.

She says, "Get to cognize these people, study their language, fig retired what motivates them (usually it's cool projects), and, astir importantly, thatch them important SEO concepts. This could entice them to travel to you earlier deleting an older page that has 500 backlinks."

18. Conduct a method SEO audit.

When a hunt motor bot crawls your tract for indexing, it needs to understand what your tract is. That refers to contented but besides really your tract is group up. Unorganized websites are difficult to scale because contextual relationships are difficult to discern, and, arsenic a result, these pages won’t rank successful SERPs.

Because of this, your site’s technical set-up is simply a captious constituent of SEO. These method aspects tin include, but are not constricted to:

  • Page speed
  • XML tract map
  • URL structure
  • Site architecture
  • Pagination

To debar strikes from bots, we urge conducting a method audit of your web pages.

19. Check, double-check, and triple-check your data.

To genuinely win successful your SEO strategy, you request to measure your success by checking modular information metrics for illustration integrated postulation growth, conversion rate, bounce rate, and keyword rankings.

Becker says, "Growing integrated postulation takes time, but it besides takes a village. When performing keyword research, postulation analysis, aliases immoderate performance-related audit, ever person much than 1 root of information to guideline you.”

If you spot postulation driblet successful your content guidance system, cheque Google Search Console to spot which pages that driblet has affected. If nan diminution is concentrated to conscionable a fewer pages aliases articles, usage a rankings tracker. The smarter your diagnostics are, nan amended your decisions are successful response.

SEO Is An Ever-Evolving Landscape

This station uncovered strategies that helped america devise an SEO strategy that allowed america to shatter a year-long postulation plateau and break monthly postulation records. However, arsenic SEO is continuously changing, it’s wholly imaginable that these practices could go obsolete 1 day.

The civilized of our blog's communicative isn't to glom onto these SEO strategies for nan remainder of your contented trading career; it's to support adapting, nary matter really good you're performing.

Editor's note: This station was primitively published successful March 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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