This article has been contributed by Mary Warner.
The internet is a crowded landscape overflowing with content. With 81,000 searches per second in 2020, how do you ensure your website is getting the attention it deserves?
As a website owner, you know the answer lies within search engine optimization (SEO).
Being able to reach and connect with potential customers organically is vital for online brands. But SEO is not something that should be done on a whim. It takes time and a clear SEO strategy to get results.
If you’re looking for ways to improve online visibility and boost your website’s ranking on Google, then this article is for you.
1. Research Your Keywords
You can’t get far in the world of SEO without keywords. And you can’t pick just the ones you like. In order to create content that aligns with what people are searching for, you need to use the terms they are using in their search queries.
You need to begin with comprehensive keyword research. There are countless online tools to help you identify relevant keywords that can improve your SEO campaign. Not only do they provide essential metrics such as search volume and competition, but they also suggest other effective keywords.
The key is to use your focus keywords naturally on the page in the text, image alt text and other strategic elements.
2. Use Long-Tail Keywords
In order to match queries with more specific answers, you’re going to have to incorporate long-tail keywords. Though they attract less traffic, they are more targeted and therefore have a higher CTR – 2.5 times higher, to be exact.
Image source: CWS
A good technique is to consider what phrases your audience would use when looking at a particular page. Picking phrases specific to your industry niche that sound conversational will help you rank better in search engine results pages (SERPs).
3. Find Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keywords
LSI keywords are terms that are relevant to another keyword, that help search engines recognize the comprehensiveness of content. Incorporating LSI keywords throughout your page allows search engines to see the quality of content and match it with search queries. Furthermore, LSI keywords can decrease bounce rates by 49% and simultaneously boost rankings.
4. Create Quality Content
Useful, relevant content is the key driver of search engine rankings. The content you create should offer information your target audience needs and aim to build a connection with them. More importantly, high quality content improves the authority of your website.
Discuss consumer pain points, trending topics, or ideas your competitors have not mentioned in their blogs. Remember, you can only make an impact if your content is unique and valuable to your audience.
5. Post Longer Content
Web pages with high word counts does not only provide an opportunity to place more keywords naturally within the content, but it’s also a great way to display expertise on a topic. The greater your authority in a subject area, the better your chances are of securing backlinks – both passively and actively.
Neil Patel provides compelling data showing that blogs with 3000+ words get more traffic in high performing niches. This could be because they generally get more shares on social channels, and attract more backlinks.
Image source: Moz
But longer articles should not be an excuse for adding fluff. If you don’t offer genuine value to readers, they will abandon your site. And a high bounce rate can damage rankings.
6. Update Existing Content
No one likes stale content or old statistics. More importantly, Google takes note of content that is new or updated.
In order for your blog to continue to offer relevant insights, update content regularly. You’ll be surprised to learn that this is a simple trick that can increase organic traffic by a whopping 111.3%. So alongside publishing new content, make a habit of auditing and updating old pages as well.
7. Ensure Website Speed is Optimal
People are getting more and more impatient. They will bounce if a website takes longer than 3 seconds to load. And since Google considers UX a crucial aspect of SEO, site speed is one of its essential ranking factors.
A slow-loading site will tend to rank lower in SERPs. To improve page loading speed as well as rankings, make the following optimizations.
- Reduce plug-ins on your website
- Use caching plug-ins
- Optimize images
- Upgrade your hosting plan
8. Optimize Images
Besides being attractive, images are important for a variety of other reasons. But to get the most out of them, make sure you optimize your website images. For starters, compress the size so that they occupy less space and do not hamper loading times.
More importantly, incorporate keywords into each image’s alt text so that search engines can understand the relevance of the image to the content on the page.
9. Incorporate Visual Content
Images, infographics, videos and the like are great ways of grabbing and retaining the attention of users. They encourage visitors to remain on-site for longer. According to Rock Content, blogs with images get 94% more views, while infographics can increase traffic by up to 12%.
So, by incorporating visuals in your content, you can significantly boost engagement and UX. Plus, Google appreciates and rewards websites that do this successfully by ranking them higher in search results.
10. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
Since 2016, most people have been accessing the internet using mobile devices (52% of web traffic). Therefore, it’s critical that your website is mobile-friendly so that your users’ experience with your brand is a positive one.
Image source: Broadband Search
Moreover, Google has rolled out mobile-first indexing protocols that reward sites that have been optimized for mobile. Start by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see whether your site hits the mark, and what you need to do if it doesn’t.
In order to boost your position on SERPS, always ensure the website has a responsive web design. This allows sites to resize content effortlessly to fit the dimensions of the device that it is being displayed on.
11. Add Local SEO to the Mix
Local SEO makes your business discoverable to nearby potential customers. 72% of searchers visited a store within 8km of where they searched for a type of business online. When done right, local SEO can improve your chances of appearing in the Google 3-Pack, which often drives motivated traffic to your business.
For example, a Denver SEO Agency could help you take the lead in the Denver area as well as drive your business on a national and international level.
12. Reel in the Power of Social Media
Google has not mentioned social media profiles as a ranking factor. However, your activity on social media channels can drive traffic to your site – which we know is definitely a ranking factor.
Research confirms that the number of times people share your posts on social media can influence your SEO ranking. So that means the more high-quality content you publish, the more organic search traffic you might receive.
Image source: Cognitive SEO
To make it easier for users to share your content from your website, remember to use social media sharing buttons.
13. Linking is Important
Backlinking, or external linking, is a vital aspect of SEO. Not only can links from other websites drove more traffic to your site, but they are even more important in terms of building the authority of your site.
But don’t just focus on external links and neglect internal links. Internal links are vital to your users’ navigational experience. When used successfully, they can reduce bounce rates, increase time on site, and even increase conversions.
An efficient network of internal links is also beneficial to your SEO campaign, as it can create a crawlable link structure for search engine spiders to crawl. This means that search engines can find all of your content, index it for relevant keywords and recognize your site’s strength and authority in particular topic areas.
14. Identify User Intent
People come to Google to find answers, whether it’s a recipe for a cake, directions to the nearest shopping mall, or how far away the sun is. According to the March 2019 Google algorithm update, search engines are paying close attention to user engagement.
Writing content that matches searchers’ exact needs will make it easier for you to show up in SERPs. When they find the answers to their questions on your page, they will remain on your site longer. Bounce rates decrease while time on page increases. Google notes these metrics and recognizes engagement levels.
To up your SEO game, you need to be focusing on what users are looking for when you want them to come to your site. Depending on your niche, you need to create content that aligns with user intent, in particular, for specific target audiences in various stages of the funnel.
15. Prepare for Voice Search
In the past year, 60% of smartphone users used voice search. It’s the newest and fastest-growing way to search. In fact, with COVID-19, people prefer this hands-free search method which limits physical contact and potential contamination.
Accordingly, optimizing your content for voice search should be a part of your SEO strategy. You will need to start by focusing on conversational keywords and creating detailed but concise answers to common questions. Something to consider is that users perform queries on-the-go using their mobiles, so you will need to prepare voice-optimized content that supports local search as well.
16. Use Readable and Meaningful URLs
URLs need to be easy to read and understand – by both humans and search engines. You may be surprised to learn that the easier a URL is to read for humans, the better it is for your SEO campaign. That’s because clear URLs enhance readability and accessibility, both of which are important parts of SEO.
Shorter URLs improve usability and user experience. Instead of creating a URL with a string of numbers and letters or a lengthy one, aim to only use 2 to 4 words. They are easier to copy and paste, share on social media, type, and embed.
17. Create and Publish Content Consistently
One of the best ways to raise rankings on SERPs is to create unique and valuable content consistently. The more often you create content, the more opportunities search engines have to crawl and index pages on your site.
But more importantly, frequent publication of new content signals to search engines that a website is active and that it should be checked often for additional content. This improves the online visibility of a business and increases the chances of ranking higher in search results.
18. Easy Navigation and Site Structure
UX and SEO go hand-in-hand. So your goal should be to create a successful experience for both humans and search engines.
Navigation and a site structure that enable users to easily find the information they’re looking for, and then be guided to related information, will also allow search engines to do the same.
Conversely, numerous pop-ups, too many options, and dead ends will have a negative impact on UX, and thus on SEO. Keep your site navigation and site structure clean and intuitive.
19. Welcome Emerging Technologies
Trends are changing, and as a brand, you need to make sure your content keeps pace with customers’ preferences. That means making sure content can be repurposed for different types of media. Not only will this improve engagement but also the chances of increasing search rankings.
Repurposing your content and publishing it in another format is an easy way to update it. For instance, content from a blog can be used to create a podcast, video, or infographic. On the flip side, transcribe into text any content that is not published as a blog. Incorporating the right keywords can improve page rank and drive more organic traffic to your site.
20. Harness the Power of SEO Tools
Who doesn’t want to get attention on search? It is what all businesses vie for. But in order to get noticed, you’ll need to employ a strong SEO strategy. And with ever-changing consumer preferences, emerging technologies, and algorithm updates, it’s hard to keep your efforts on track.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel. SEO does not have to drain your time, money, and resources. With the right SEO tools by your side, you can make sense of it all. They can help gather, monitor, and analyze important data. With detailed insights about current campaigns, you can decide which strategies need to be rectified to produce the right results.
21. Elevate with AI and ML
Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are taking SEO to the next level. In the past few years, new Google algorithms such as RankBrain are giving users’ search intent more importance and helping to place relevant search results at the top of SERPs. For instance, search results are more accurate because ML offers a better understanding of the relationship between words used in a search. Moreover, AI-backed algorithms will filter out inferior content and increase the rankings of high-quality, relevant content.
SEO is a challenging aspect of digital marketing that is constantly evolving. New algorithms keep rolling in, and consumer preferences are always changing.
But without a comprehensive campaign, your website could disappear. With these simple and easy tips, you can approach your strategy head-on.
Are you ready to optimize your website for SEO and watch it rise in SERPs?
About the author: Mary Warner is an enthusiast blogger who loves to share her views on the latest trends in marketing, technology, ecommerce, and the like.