What comes to your mind when someone mentioned ‘SEO techniques’?
Optimize content for keyword..
Yes, those are some of the SEO tactics that are commonly known, nothing new, nothing special.
So, in this article, we are not going to discuss something that you already know and heard probably hundreds of times.
Instead, I’m going to share with you 9 uncommon SEO practices that are important for your website.
1. Canonical Link
We all knew that Google doesn’t like duplicate contents.
Sometimes duplicate contents are unavoidable due to website categories and tags.
You may have the exact same content on multiple URLs like:
And if you happen to syndicate your contents to other platforms, there will be more duplicated contents.
So what you should do..?
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To avoid the duplicate issue, just use the canonical link attribute (rel=”canonical”) to inform Google the original (or preferred) URL.
For instance, if your preferred URL is: http://yourdomain.com/seo/learn-seo, just follow the steps below to set the canonical link.
Step 1: Go to your non-preferred URL (eg: http://yourdomain.com/marketing/learn-seo) and edit the source code.
Step 2: Paste the below code right after the <head> section.
<link rel="canonical" href="http://yourdomain.com/seo/learn-seo" />
This indicates to Google that http://yourdomain.com/seo/learn-seo is the original (or preferred) URL.
Alternatively, you may also use SEO plugins like Yoast to set the canonical attribute in the post editor.
2. Use robots.txt
The Robots Exclusion Protocol (Robots.txt) is used to work with search engines by giving instructions to web spiders in crawling your site.
The web address for robots file is usually: ‘http://yourdomain.com/robots.txt’
The web robots will check for the robots file first before they crawl your website.
For example, if you want to block web robots from visiting and crawling a webpage (eg: http://yourdomain.com/sample), you may write the blocking instruction in the robots.txt file (as below):
User-agent: * Disallow: /sample
This is practically more important for large websites with thousands of pages or those will auto-generate new pages.
As a webmaster, you can make use of robots.txt to instruct web robots to crawl your website more efficiently by saving the time on crawling low-value and unimportant pages.
Showing just 20 high-quality pages to Google is better than displaying other 80 low-value pages.
Don’t have the robots.txt file? Simple, just create one using notepad and upload to your root server.
By the way, the robots.txt file is not used to hide any sensitive information as it is a publicly accessible file (take note).
3. Website Appearance
A lot of marketers just focus on common SEO tactics (like keyword research and link building) and forgot about what Google really care about..
..which is the user experience.
So, to rank better on Google, you need to provide an excellent user experience for your site visitors to have great site metrics (eg: bounce rate, time on site, and etc.)
Great site metrics will send a good signal to Google that users are comfortable with your site and enjoy your site content.
To provide great user experience to visitors, use light and simple theme design for your site (no complicated stuff all around).
Here’re more tips for you:
- Use fonts that are easier to read on screen (eg: Open Sans, Helvetica Neue, Lato, and Georgia)
- Use light-color background
- Use only 1 to 2 different font types for your site with a minimum font size of 14px (too small is hard to see)
For website content:
- Use subheadings and short paragraphs with line spacing
- Use bullet or numbered list for points.
Also, try to avoid these:
- Flashy banners all around your site
- Too colorful (more than 4 different color combination)
- Full-width content with a small margin on left and right (it’s hard to read!)
4. Content Readability
Do you know what factors will push your audience away from your site?
It’s complex words and grammar mistakes.
Complex words will make your readers hard to read and digest your content. Same for too many grammar mistakes.
If your readers come to your site and left in a short period of time, that’s not a good signal for Google.
To avoid that, use simple and common words in your contents. It won’t make you look ‘professional’ by using a lot of complex words in your article.
For grammar mistakes, you can either brush up your grammar or use a grammar tool like Grammarly. After you finished your content, paste into Grammarly and check one by one (It’s a tool, so the accuracy is not 100%, make sure you check manually for the suggested corrections as well).
For readability, there’s a free tool called Hemingway App which checks the readability score for you.
5. Social Share Buttons
When users shared your content on the social network, it means they liked your content and found that your content is useful for their friends and networks.
At the same time, lots of social shares also give a good signal to Google that your content is good and helpful to Internet users.
Moreover, a social share will leave a footprint (to your site) on where they shared your content to, which is one of the effective ways to bring referral traffic to your site.
But first, you need to make it easy for your audience to share your content on your website by installing a social share plugin.
There are 2 main types of social share bar available in the market, the first is fixed social bar (usually display on beginning or end of your post) and the second is floating social bar (float on screen and follow users when they are scrolling your content).
Use the float version or both as sometimes audience want to share your content at the halfway reading your content.
6. Website Security
Huh? Is website security have anything to do with search ranking?
Yes, it does.
Users are serious about security, so the same for Google.
From the fact that Google uses HTTPS as a ranking signal, we knew that security is another top priority that Google is concerned about.
Even if Google not concern about your site security, I believe as a website owner, you surely do.
Nobody wants to see their websites got hacked, attacked or infected. It’s not only hurt your website reputation, but also your website ranking.
To protect your website from various intrudes such as hack, DDOS attack, brute force, malware, and more, you will have to engage a security partner like WordFence and Sucuri.
7. Topical Depth
As you might already know, Google likes to display results from authority website.
When you publish a lot of relevant content under the same topic, it tells Google that your website is highly relevant to that topic, which establishes an authority around that topic.
For SEO, authority means a higher ranking on Google.
To develop topical depth and authority for your website, choose a topic and keep writing contents around that topic.
For example, if your website is about SEO, you may write contents like SEO tips, keyword research, on-page SEO, link building, ranking factors, and more.
72% of marketers agreed that relevant content creation is the most effective SEO tactics they used.
So, don’t just settle for one article with one target keyword, write more relevant articles and targeting related keywords.
As we discussed earlier, Google primary focus is user experience, and your website’s user metrics will directly reflect whether they enjoy your site or not.
Some of the important user metrics are bounce rate, time on site, and page views.
Multimedia like images, videos, diagrams, and graphs in your content can enhance the user experience and improve your site’s user metrics greatly.
Not only that, content with rich information and multimedia have higher perceived value compared to those do not, which have a higher chance to get backlinks from other websites.
Therefore, make it a practice to include multimedia in your content whenever possible. It’s great for SEO.
9. Featured Snippet
The featured snippet is now the top position you can have on the first page of Google SERPs.
It’s an additional block that appeared at the top of Google search result which shows the preview of information extracted from one of the top 10 pages.
Which means, in order to appear on the featured snippet, you will have to rank your page on top 10 results first.
To increase your chances of appearing in feature snippet, your content needs to have the detailed answer to user’s query.
Here’s what you can do to increase your odds:
- Make sure your content provides answer accurately to the user’s query
- Wrap the search query in a header tag (h2-h6)
- Wrap your answer in a <p> tag directly below the search query
- Write the answer in 54 to 58 words
- Write an answer that begins logically
There are many factors which affect your site’s ranking.
To rise up from millions of websites, don’t just settle for a few common SEO tactics and stop there.
Instead, go beyond and apply the above uncommon practices to outrank your competitors.
So, which uncommon SEO practices above are you going to implement?
Let me know in the comment below.