Check out 15 ways to grow your business and get it at the top of Google rankings.
SEO and content marketing are becoming more aligned every day. Search engines are increasingly focused on the same user engagement signals content marketers track, and content marketers urgently want the free traffic SEO can bring.
Thinking about using content marketing for your business? Not sure about where to start with SEO? This is for you.
Here are the basics you need to know to get more search engine traffic for your site:
1) Think of keywords more like concepts than fixed phrases.
The days of stuffing keywords into a page in order to rank are over. The days of picking just one keyword and optimizing exclusively for that keyword are about to end, too.
Don’t get me wrong. Keywords still matter, but they’re more flexible than they were in the past. That’s why many SEO experts urge us to think of keywords more as concepts or topics rather than static phrases.
As you’re doing your keyword research, pick one core keyword for each piece of content. Think about how others might search for that keyword and work those variations into your content.
Let’s say you’re writing a blog post that talks about the pros and cons of laptop computers. To help with keywords, you would try to include other commonly searched-for phrases into your article:
- Advantages of laptops
- Disadvantages of laptops
- Laptop computer vs desktop computer
- Review student laptop computers
Don’t force keywords into sentences where they don’t belong. Good SEO writes for human readers first and search engines second, and it’s easy to do. As long as you stay on topic, you’ll probably just naturally write all the keyword variations you’ll need. Never do something like this:
- We are the best computer repair shop in Dallas, Texas. If you’re looking for someone to repair your computer in Dallas, call us. We offer reasonable prices on computer repair, lower than any other computer repair shop in Dallas.
2) Promote your content to the right people.
Reach out to “micro influencers” to see if they’ll share or link to your content. This builds the best kind of relevant, high-quality backlinks.
Links, like keywords, are less powerful than they were before, but they still matter, and they can still help. Just one or two links from high-quality, relevant sites for each piece of your content are a great start.
Social media groups like those on Facebook and LinkedIn can also be valuable for promotion because you’re able to reach large numbers of people already interested in your topic.
3) Add internal links.
You should have links to other parts of your site sprinkled throughout your content. These would be links that are in addition to navigation links or “related articles” links at the close of blog posts.
Don’t go crazy and abuse this, but one or two internal links per every 500 words of content is a good goal.
We’ve had great success doing this with our blogs at Wasp Barcode. All of our company blog posts incorporate internal links to our case studies, videos or other blog posts. This deep-dive information not only helps our SEO, it also helps educate potential customers about how our products and services could benefit their business.
4) Page titles are very important.
Webpage titles are created by the title tag. WordPress and many other website building platforms allow you to set up title tags when you create or edit your page. Each title tag should have a core keyword. But again, don’t just write for search engines – write for people.
Title tags function much like headlines. In the example below, the blue line of text is the title tag. In the search engine results, it performs more like a headline.
5) Page descriptions are also important.
Page descriptions, aka the “meta description tags,” are used to create the two black lines of copy below the green URL line. In the example above, the page description begins with “Newly built homes are often priced higher than resale.”
Think of these as the sub-heads for your pages in the search results. Page descriptions should include a related keyword or two, but even more importantly, they should be written to entice the reader to click. Don’t start out sounding like a used car salesman with a “Click Here! Click now!”, but do give an accurate, interesting description of what people will find on the page.
How your pages appear in the search results matters for human users, but it also matters to Google and Bing.
Your pages’ click-through rate – how often people click on your listings in the search results – is an important factor in how your pages get ranked.
6) Is your website fast?
Websites need to load quickly to do well in the search results now. You can check your site’s speed for free with the Google PageSpeed Insights tool. If you get a low score, work with your Web developer or designer to improve it.
7) Is your website mobile-friendly?
Roughly half of the traffic on the Web now comes from mobile devices. To make searches easier for mobile users, Google began factoring sites’ mobile-friendliness in their rankings. The more mobile-friendly the site, the higher it ranks in the search.
You can check out how your site performs on smart phones and other devices by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly tool. A low score may indicate you need to switch to a responsive design that adjusts its layout to accommodate the screen of the device that accesses it.
8) Bounce rates matter.
Bounce rates refer to the percent of people who arrive on your site and then leave without clicking through to another page. This metric, measured as a percentage, is an important marker for search engine algorithms. It demonstrates how engaging your site is.
Digital design and marketing firm GoRocketFuel.com analyzed average bounce rates from 60 different websites and discovered most sites’ rates range between 26% and 70%; a rate of 26% to 40% is considered excellent, and anything about 70% is problematic.
To see the bounce rates for your site, log into your Google Analytics account. Go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. Look for the column titled “Bounce Rate” in the listing of your most visited pages.
9) Time on site matters, too.
This is another piece of information the search engines use to decide how good your pages are. There’s no real metric for a good time on site or a bad time on site (15 seconds would clearly be pretty bad) – the goal is to improve it.
You can see your website’s average time on site in the dashboard of your Google Analytics account. You can see time on page for individual pages in the same view that you found the bounce rates on.
10) Longer content does better on SEO.
Pages with 1,000 words or more, also known as “long-form content,” do best in search engine results. That doesn’t mean you have to get 1,000 words on every page or that you should write filler copy until you’ve hit 1,000 words.
The idea is to write high-quality, useful, detailed information that’s worth not just reading carefully, but also worth sharing with friends or colleagues. That’s the kind of content that actually generates more business.
11) Make your content easy to share.
Getting shares on social media for your content helps with SEO, but it’s not the magic bullet. Still, this is another little thing to get right if you want better rankings. There are dozens of plugins and sharing buttons available. Social Warfare is pretty good and makes it possible for you to share content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google +.
12) Filenames matter.
One place where you can use keywords with confidence is in file names. Blog post URLs, image filenames and video filenames should all have relevant keywords in them.
While no one is a fan of the IRS, they do a good job using keywords in their downloadable forms like this PDF of a Form 1040. Notice the URL, https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040.pdf, contains the file name.
13) Alt tags matter.
Got images on your site? Then include alt tags for the images people might share. Alt tags are another HTML tag you can add words to. Any keywords (and related keywords, of course) in the alt tag will help you rank in the search engine results. It’s not much, but they’ll give you a lift.
The alt tag content will also get grabbed by some social media platforms like Pinterest and become the description for that image when someone shares it.
14) Build content your readers will be interested in.
How does this affect SEO? Well, if you write about what people are interested in, they’re more likely to click your page listing in the search results. That helps rankings. They’re also more likely to stay on your site and read or watch your content, which helps your rankings. And they’re more likely to share your content, which helps even more.
15) Don’t even think about gaming the system.
SEO is all about quality now. Don’t get into a link-building scheme, buying links or letting anyone submit your site to 10,000 directories. Just keep your visitors engaged and coming back, and Google will naturally lift your site higher in the rankings.
You don’t need a degree in SEO to get ample traffic from search engines. Just stay focused on your visitors. The basics of “technical” SEO – title tags, page speed, etc. – are important and relatively easy to get right. The real art is making your website visitors happy.
source: forbes.com by Brian Sutter