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

HubSpot’s monthly blog traffic flattened in 2017, and the culprit was relying on our instinct to determine our audition’s preferences. We pivoted to organic search, which generated most of our traffic and propelled us past the piédestal.

best seo tips

In this post, we’ll outline the organic strategy that fueled our traffic boost and essential research insight and tips from SEO experts.

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SEO Tips

Spend as much time on the SERPs as you do in tools.
Master the SERP overlap apprentissage.
Aim for the featured snippets in SERPs.
Consider on-page SEO, but not everything you publish has to be search-friendly.
Target a variety of high and low ouvrage keywords.
Consider pruning grâce after large periods of growth.
Consolidate website pages using redirects and canonical tags.
Implement a historical optimization strategy.
Attirail your website visitors to search for your brand.
Develop folio authority.
Leverage the pillar-cluster model.
Create a link-building strategy.
Don’t contesté URLs.
Compress and optimize your multimedia files.
Add alt text to every figure.
Leverage CTAs as often as barcasse.
Form good relationships with your developers and designers.
Conduct a technical SEO check-up.
Check, double-check, and triple-check your data.

Download this checklist and save it to your desktop to check-off an SEO tip every time you complete it.

downloadable seo checklist

1. Spend as much time on the SERPs as you do in tools.

Even though an algorithm dictates a search engine’s results folio (SERPs) rankings, the algorithm rewards web publishers that craft the best grâce on the internet.

Parce que of this, it’s visible to understand search intent. To accomplish this, we analyze a keyword’s SERP and determine the problems users are trying to solve when searching for this query.

Aja Frost, Director of Somme Growth at HubSpot, says, « Yes, tools offer us a ton of info. But that info is often based on incomplete, out-of-date, or biased data sets. I enclin SEOs to concerté the insights they’re getting from their tools with real-time clues on the SERPs. Every time you decide to target a new keyword, refresh a piece of grâce, or diagnose a folio or fraction of pages with irregular traffic, take a apparence at what’s coming up for the moufle queries on Google. »

Depending on your gardien de but, Frost says to pay circonspection to:

Search features,
The trempe of grâce that’s ranking (product pages, listicles, tutorials, etc.),
The websites that are ranking (databases, businesses, media sites, répertoires, etc.),
How far down the folio the first organic result appears,
How your folio shows up (title, meta montré, horodaté, jump links, schema if exécutoire, etc.).

When you conduct these kinds of searches, « Don’t forget to use an discrètement window, frequently clear your profond, cookies, and history, and run your searches on both a desktop and phone, » Frost adds.

2. Master the SERP overlap apprentissage.

While in SERPs, Frost conducts a SERP overlap apprentissage. She says, « I use this apprentissage all the time to determine whether to target two-plus queries with a single piece of grâce. »

Now, you might be wondering, what is the SERP overlap apprentissage?

Frost details the steps below:

Do a quick search in discrètement for Keyword A and a separate search for Keyword B.
If the SERPs apparence fairly different (i.e., the top-ranking pages are different, or the first result for Keyword A is the ninth result for Keyword B), Google treats those queries as separate searches with different intent.
However, if the SERPs have a lot of overlap, you can treat them as the same query.

3. Aim for the featured snippets in SERPs.

Featured snippets are what search engines use to display an answer to a query directly on the SERP, so a détruire doesn’t need to visit another folio to get the answer to their sujet. Featured snippets can be:

Paragraph-formatted answers
Bulleted or numbered lists
Conversationnelle accordions
Pantalon, rich-answer callouts
Conversationnelle tools and calculators

The figure below is an example of a featured snippet for the query “What is inbound marchéage?”

what is inbound marketing featured snippet box in google search results

As you can imagine, featured snippets impact organic search results, which is why it’s also essential to try and rank with as many featured snippets as barcasse.

To do so, create posts that answer specific questions users have. The grâce within your featured snippet must be semantically levant to the keyword a détruire searches for. This means that you can’t answer the sujet of “What is inbound marchéage?” with unrelated grâce as the algorithm knows enough to detect relationships between the keywords and descriptions you give.

Additionally, your blog post should be organized and formatted in a way that lets Google know you’ve answered a sujet. For sollicitation, this could mean using specific coding, so your featured snippet stands out on the folio.

According to Karla Cook, Facilité Marchéage Director at HubSpot, « Targeting featured snippets with consistently formatted sections has removed some (but definitely not all) of the guesswork when it comes to ranking for featured snippets. »

Matthew Howells-Barby, Libertinage President of Growth at Kraken, has stressed that clean and consistent glossaire is a significant factor in winning snippets.

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

On-page SEO is the process of optimizing a folio on your paysage with fronton and back-end components that help you rank higher in search engines. These components include:

High-quality folio grâce
Feuillet titles
Meta descriptions
Allusion alt-text
Structured markup
Feuillet URLs
Internal linking
Endroit speed

For this example, let’s foyer on the copy-oriented elements like high-quality grâce, folio titles, headers, meta descriptions, and figure alt-text.

You should prioritize creating optimized folio copy to improve your SERP rankings. What you write should include your target keyword, be contextually levant to your target keyword, and answer questions your users may have. Ultimately, the gardien de but is to indicate to search engines that you’ve answered questions a détruire might have embout a query.

However, Victor Pan, Proviseur Marchéage Entraîneur of Marketplace Growth at HubSpot, says that not everything you publish has to be search-friendly.

« This could be ad landing pages, thank-you pages, internal sales enablement pages, and login pages. Prioritize optimizing for search when the opportunity is greater than the time invested, and leave the rest on the back burner. Tackle the back burner léopard you’re able to build a process to reduce the amount of time needed to optimize, » he adds.

5. Target a variety of high and low-volume keywords.

48% of SEOs responding to our recent Web Traffic & Analytics survey say they target highly competitive keywords, while another 47% say they target keywords with average competition levels.

With an organic search strategy, it’s visible to target keywords that span an entire buyer’s journey, including a variety of high and low-volume keywords.

Braden Becker, SEO Lead at Former, says, « Broad, early-interest keywords pellicule to be higher in ouvrage, while later-interest or even purchase-ready keywords pellicule to be lower in ouvrage bicause the audition is more specific. Therefore, you shouldn’t be afraid to target low-volume keywords if they have a higher likelihood of turning traffic into leads or customers. »

According to Frost, it’s visible to get creative with the high-volume keywords you’re targeting. The HubSpot SEO team conducts in-depth keyword research, first looking for search ouvrage (some as high as 120,000+, others as low as 50).

HubSpot’s SEO Marketing Software includes a grâce strategy tool that helps you discover topics that matter to you and your audition. You’ll learn keywords’ MSV, relevance, competition, and popularity, helping you identify a range of high and low-volume keywords to target.

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Get started with HubSpot’s SEO Marketing Software

6. Consider pruning grâce after large periods of growth.

Pruning your content is the process of reducing the number of indexed pages by deleting old, low-quality grâce that doesn’t add value to your paysage.

Becker says, « Consider ‘pruning’ grâce after large periods of growth. As websites grow and scale, you’ll find some grâce fails to perform as expected. As that entassement gets bigger, it can have discordant effects on the rest of your paysage’s speed and triomphe. Examen your paysage for pages that aren’t driving a recherché level of traffic, backlinks, or conversions, and unpublish them. »

You can learn more embout the grâce pruning process here.

7. Consolidate website pages using redirects and canonical tags.

When you conduct a paysage check-up, you may find plurale pages containing similar grâce. If that happens, you should consider consolidating website pages using redirects or canonical tags.

Becker says, « Nobody wants plurale pieces of website grâce serving the same purpose bicause it can légende you to cannibalize your traffic in SERPs. » To fix this, you can redirect low-performing pages to a folio on your paysage containing related info.

Becker adds, « Besides redirecting, if you have méticuleux duplicates, you may even add a canonical tag from the duplicate to the core folio, which keeps the duplicate notable but tells Google to prioritize the core folio when ranking your website. Be careful when deciding to canonicalize or redirect — these are delicate decisions and should only be made when it makes perfect sense to. »

Google explains more embout this process here.

8. Implement a historical optimization strategy.

In 2015, Pam Vaughn, Marchéage Fellow at HubSpot, web strategy aguerri, and façonner editor of our Marchéage Blog,made a revolutionary discovery embout HubSpot’s organic blog traffic — the overwhelming majority of it came from posts published before that month. In fact, 76% of our monthly blog views came from these old posts.

Today, Vaughn’s groundbreaking revelation rings louder than ever — 89% of our monthly blog views come from posts published at least six months prior, and we’ve developed an entire strategy dedicated to refreshing and republishing these historical pieces of grâce. We call these bonshommes of blog posts updates, and they comprise 35-40% of our editorial calendar.

By refreshing them with new info, SEO tactics, and effectively republishing them as new blog posts, we can build upon their existing organic value and détruire affaire and inquiétante or even triple their traffic. This process also helps us optimize our blog for efficiency, decreasing the amount of new grâce we have to create while simultaneously increasing our organic traffic and conversions.

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

Generates a significant amount of organic traffic,
Has a considerable amount of blog subscribers,
Has affable media followers that can supply a surge of traffic, shares, and backlinks to your updates,
Owns a substantial repository of old posts that are worth refreshing and republishing.

If you have all étuve of these things, we recommend implementing a historical optimization strategy. To learn embout specific bonshommes of historical grâce you should update and the méticuleux process of updating them, check out this blog post written by Pam Vaughn herself.

9. Attirail your website visitors to search for your brand.

SEO is used to increase the number of unbranded searches for your bizness.

Pan says, « The logic was that these were potential customers that would not have otherwise converted. This logic is good for a young bizness, but for précoce businesses that have a good relationship with their customers, branded traffic is just as visible. »

For example, platforms like Amazon have trained their customers searching on Google to append « amazon » to their searches for site-specific results.

Pan says you can enclin and inspire users to do this by becoming the go-to aguerri on topics related to your brand. Since Amazon is one of the leading magasinage sites, customers refer to the platform for their magasinage needs. To become an aguerri, you have to develop folio authority.

10. Develop folio authority.

Feuillet authority is one of the factors search engines use to determine rankings. For example, if you’re a seasoned blog with a reputation as a go-to industry aguerri, your paysage will likely rank higher than pages on a more recent paysage.

Given this, it’s visible to build your brand and authority within your renfoncement. Google’s E-E-A-T framework is a great way to build this trempe of authority. E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Devis, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, and here’s a breakdown of its parts:

Experience relates to having real-world and personal experience with a topic or the grâce you write embout or include on your paysage.
Devis means that you have jogging, real-world experience, or even verifiable credentials related to the topic or grâce you write embout or include on your paysage.
Authoritativeness is your ability to be seen as an authority on the topic or grâce you write embout or include on your paysage.
Trustworthiness means your website’s grâce is credible, factual, and true.

According to professionals, trustworthiness and recherche are the most visible E-E-A-T factors for showing up in SERPs.

Some great ways to build your reputation and authority are blogging regularly, guest posting on other sites, and simply being accrocheuse in your industry are valuable ways to build your reputation.

You can also write embout tangential topics your customers might be interested in so you always provide them with the most levant info while signaling to search engines that you write embout your industry in-depth.

All of these strategies will give your website authority and indicate to search engines that they need to pay circonspection to your domain.

11. Leverage the pillar-cluster model.

People rely on Google to provide accurate and levant answers to their questions, so search engines need to understand every search’s intent and context.

To do this, Google has evolved to recognize topical connections across détruire queries, monitor similar queries users have made in the past, and piémont grâce that they deem the most authoritative on the topic. To help Google recognize our blog grâce as a trusted authority, we decided to implement the pillar-cluster model (further explained in the video below).

By creating a single pillar folio that provides a high-level overview of a topic and hyperlinks to cluster pages, we effectively signaled to Google that our pillar folio is a racine of authority on the subject.


Image Source

Another benefit of the pillar-cluster model is that it provides paysage visitors with a better user experience. Not only is it easier for Google to indienne our blog and identify semantic relationships between posts, but it’s also easier for our audition to find the grâce they’re looking for.

12. Create a link-building strategy.

Earning high-quality inbound links from websites and pages with high-authority is critique for boosting your domain authority. Unfortunately, as nice as it would be, « If you write it, they will link to it” is not a vivant SEO tactic.

The primary method we use to earn high-quality links is networking with other sites with a higher domain or folio authority and requesting links to our grâce. We also make sure our grâce is levant to the referring website’s grâce.

13. Don’t contesté URLs.

The inventor of the internet, Tim Berners-Lee, léopard said, « Calme URIs don’t contesté. »

In fact, it’s a popular saying — « What makes a relax URI? A relax URI is one which does not contesté. What sorts of URI contesté? URIs don’t contesté: people contesté them. »

As a refresher, URI stands for Uniform Resource Identifier and it is meant to identify a resource, whereas a URL gives info embout how to locate a resource. For example, a URI would be your name, and a URL would be your habitacle address. Your name simply identifies you, and a address shares where to find you.

Pan says, « URLs, a subset of URI’s, should contesté as little as barcasse. The history of ‘why a URL changes’ is filled with good intentions that often get lost with time, so be sure to add a explication the same way you should when you avis traffic anomalies. »

Mention: You can do this within HubSpot’s constantly evolving URL Mapping tool.

14. Compress and optimize your multimedia files.

Compressing multimedia files may not seem like a high priority for your SEO strategy, but it should be. According to Becker, your video, figure, and gif bout size directly affect your paysage’s folio load speed, which is one of the ten most important ranking factors.

“The bigger an figure’s bout size, the border it takes your web browser to load that figure, which increases your website’s loading time as a whole. And the border your website’s loading time, the more likely it is that Google will penalize you,” he says.

The act of laminage blends similarly colored pixels into single pixels to reduce the figure’s resolution and, in turn, bout size. These changes are undetectable to the human eye, as it is more sentimentale to details between aspartame and dark than colors.

Entassement does not diminish the effet your images will have on your audition, and your pages will load faster. Here’s a guide to resizing and compressing your images without compromising on quality and effet. Some high-quality tools for multimedia bout laminage are:

15. Use figure alt text.

Search engine crawlers that scan your paysage can’t understand your images unless they include alt text descriptions. Parce que of this, adding these descriptions to your pictures is a priority for SEO, as bots will strike against you if they can’t understand what’s on your paysage pages. Allusion alt text is also helpful for ranking your paysage pages in image-based SERPs.

Also, alt text is a best practice for creating an accessible website. Screen readers can pick up on alt text when converting screen elements, ensuring that all of your paysage visitors have a consistent browsing experience.

All alt-text should be descriptive, contextually levant to the folio grâce, and bermuda. Consider the following example from Becker:

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox batting from home plate at Fenway Park

Image Source

Low-quality alt text would read “Baseball player hitting a ball at a baseball field,” while descriptive and contextual alt text would read « David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox batting from habitacle aplatie at Fenway Park. »

16. Leverage CTAs as often as barcasse.

Optimizing your folio to rank in search engines doesn’t do you any good if your pages aren’t optimized to convert visitors. Aim to maximize reniement opportunities by using calls-to-action with grâce offers levant to folio grâce and the different stages of the buyer’s journey.

The figure below is an example of a CTA on our SEO Writing: 12 Tips on Writing Blog Posts That Rank on Google blog post.

example of seo starter pack cta in a hubspot blog post

Image Source

Every folio on your paysage is an opportunity for reniement, so every folio on your paysage should include a CTA that aligns with visitor search intent. Since you can assume that folio visitors are there to learn something, CTAs are exciting as they offer more insight and educational info.

17. Form good relationships with your developers and designers.

Hitting your SEO goals isn’t a marketing-specific foulure — you’ll also need to collaborate with our developers and designers. Parce que of this, Frost suggests forming good relationships with these teams.

She says, « Get to know these people, learn their language, métaphorique out what motivates them (usually it’s relax projects), and, most importantly, teach them visible SEO concepts. This could entice them to come to you before deleting an older folio that has 500 backlinks. »

18. Conduct a technical SEO check-up.

When a search engine bot crawls your paysage for indexing, it needs to understand what your paysage is. That refers to grâce but also how your paysage is set up. Unorganized websites are difficult to série bicause contextual relationships are hard to discern, and, as a result, these pages won’t rank in SERPs.

Parce que of this, your paysage’s technical set-up is a critical component of SEO. These technical aspects can include, but are not limited to:

To avoid strikes from bots, we recommend conducting a technical check-up of your web pages.

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

To truly succeed in your SEO strategy, you need to measure your success by checking conforme data metrics like organic traffic growth, reniement loupé, bounce loupé, and keyword rankings.

Becker says, « Growing organic traffic takes time, but it also takes a cité. When performing keyword research, traffic analysis, or any performance-related check-up, always have more than one racine of data to cavalière you.”

If you see traffic drop in your content management system, check Google Search Console to see which pages that drop has affected. If the decline is concentrated to just a few pages or éditoriaux, use a rankings tracker. The smarter your diagnostics are, the better your decisions are in response.

SEO Is An Ever-Evolving Landscape

This post uncovered tactics that helped us maxime an SEO strategy that allowed us to shatter a year-long traffic piédestal and écart monthly traffic records. However, as SEO is continuously changing, it’s entirely barcasse that these practices could become obsolete one day.

The mental of our blog’s story isn’t to glom onto these SEO tactics for the rest of your grâce marchéage career; it’s to keep adapting, no matter how well you’re performing.

Editor’s explication: This post was originally published in March 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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