Things move pretty quickly in cyberspace, and with the world’s favorite search engine making hundreds of changes to their algorithm every year, many businesses are understandably intimidated when it comes to SEO. The good news is that by focusing on a few common best practices and always keeping user experience top of mind, it’s not actually that difficult to boost your rankings the right way. Here are some of the best proven strategies and techniques to do just that.
Not sure where to start? Ask Google
Did you know that Google offers a free Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide? If you’re relatively new to the world of SEO or want to brush up on your skills and make sure you’re not straying from the right path accidentally, this is the best place to begin.
Do an on-page SEO audit
The larger your site becomes and the more content you add, the more potential there is for errors. Whether it’s failing to properly optimize for mobile devices, forgetting to add alt text for an image or linking to an external page which no longer exists in one of your older blog posts, it’s easy for these issues to build up over time – and that’s not good news for your ranking. If you’re relatively comfortable and confident with doing your own SEO, you should conduct your own SEO audit from time to time. If not, take advantage of some of the great SEO audit tools available online.
Focus on long tail keywords and LSI
With millions of new pages of content added to the web each day, taking the time to choose the right keywords to focus on – i.e. the ones you actually stand a chance at ranking for – is a very wise investment. And while long tail keywords and LSI or ‘latent semantic indexing’ might be a bit of a mouthful, what it really means is using synonyms and related words in your content.
This has two main benefits – it increases your chance of ranking for those specific keywords, as well as helping search engines get a better idea of what your content is all about. If you find the idea of keyword research and strategizing intimidating, then get in touch with a reputable SEO company to help you. Focusing on the wrong keywords (such as those with mountains of competition) or relying on guesswork alone can be a huge waste of time and money.
Diversify your link building strategy
Search engines use external sources linking to your website as an indicator of its credibility and trustworthiness. Good quality backlinks will boost your rankings, while spammy or poor-quality ones may actually harm them. And while posting guest articles on authoritative sites is a great way to get quality backlinks, it’s just one method. By diversifying your link profile and expanding your brand’s digital footprint, so to speak, you can potentially achieve a significant SEO boost – especially if the content lends itself well to sharing on social media.
A few examples might include:
- Providing insightful, relevant and helpful answers to questions on sites like Quora, Yahoo Answers, and Reddit (aim to inform, not to sell)
- Posting on forums and social media channels dedicated to your niche or industry
- Contacting relevant bloggers to arrange to be interviewed or be a guest on their podcast
- Creating content that features an influencer in your field, and then reaching out to them to share it with their followers
- Providing useful tools like white papers, ‘how to’ guides, video tutorials and eye-catching infographics on your website that encourage other sites to link back to you – without you having to lift a finger
Expand on and update old content
While adding fresh content regularly is a cornerstone of good SEO, you shouldn’t let your older content fall by the wayside. Revisit and expand on your old content, updating it with any new information and going into greater detail to create valuable long-form evergreen pieces. Lengthier articles and posts tend to outperform shorter ones, and by republishing your content you’re also updating the ‘freshness’ of your entire website.
Encourage social sharing
By using catchy, emotive titles, providing unique resources or perspectives, and ensuring you have user-friendly social sharing buttons on your website, your followers are a lot more likely to spread the word on your behalf.
Aim to serve
There are no real shortcuts when it comes to SEO. Ultimately, search engines will always reward the sites that best serve their visitors, and penalize those that are misleading, spammy, or provide a poor user experience. To this end, always make sure your content is readable, easy to follow, and provides quality information and useful resources.