Search engine optimization (SEO) is not, and never will be, dead. Search engines will always use criteria plugged into algorithms to identify and provide the highest quality sites users are searching for. That’s just a fact.
If your goal is to popularize your brand, drive traffic to your site, increase conversion rate, and inspire customer loyalty, improving your SEO is a critical starting point.
You don’t have control over search engine ranking factors, but you can improve the known factors that affect your site. Here are 5 easy ways to improve your SEO.
1. Start with an SEO Audit
Broken incoming and outgoing links, bad redirects, duplicate content, and other SEO errors can hurt your search engine rank.
The Fix: Repairing on-page mistakes is the first step to SEO success.
BONUS HARDCORE SEO TIP:
Go one step farther. Check out this SEO article: 5 Components of a Comprehensive SEO Audit.
2. Assess Your Content
Google relies heavily on quality of content. Everything on your site should be relevant to your industry, authoritative, and original. If you must use duplicate content, identify it with canonical tags. Be sure keywords are represented, but not overused.
Before you decide to remove an outdated or poorly written page, be sure there are no incoming links directed to that page. If a quality site is linking to your content, it’s better to update or rewrite than remove it.
The Fix: Quality content is absolutely essential. Add fresh, relevant content, and rewrite bad content.
3. Search Competitor Keywords
If your competitors are outranking you in search engine results, there’s a reason.
The Fix: Discover the keywords your competitors rank for and build new content around the same or similar words.
4. Analyze Visitor Behavior
One key SEO factor is bounce rate. Bounce rate is measured by how fast visitors decide to leave your site. It’s not always bad—visitors might go straight to a landing page that directs them to an affiliate link, for example. If your site visitors are clicking through to where you want them to go, no problem. If they’re clicking to escape your site—that’s a problem.
Top reasons visitors immediately leave your site:
- Slow loading. You have 2-3 seconds.
- Confusing navigation or layout.
- Poor quality website.
- Content isn’t what they were looking for (which means your metatags are poorly crafted).
- No matter how cool you think it is, anything that plays when your page loads is annoying to the vast majority of people.
The Fix: Figure out why people are leaving your site and fix the issue.
5. Go Mobile
More than 60% of all searches come from a mobile device these days, so you can’t afford not to go mobile. Google recommends mobile-friendly responsive design—and when Google talks, SEO pros listen.
The Fix: Design and implement a mobile-friendly website. Read more about mobile-friendly website design in this FREE downloadable guide.
Mobile-friendly responsive design is the KEY to great SEO. Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.
While there’s no guarantee you’ll get to the very top of search engine results, ignoring SEO will ensure you never get there. It’s a complicated issue involving ever-evolving algorithms. Only one thing remains constant: Google’s quest to provide the highest quality user experience.
If your website is high quality and up-to-date, you can’t go wrong.
Want to learn to DIY SEO? Well, turns out SEO is a complicated subject. Figuring out how each new Google algorithm impacts search and how to deal with all the new changes are subjects of endless debate.
However, SEO Basics are well within your reach—even if you’re new to SEO.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of strategically tweaking all the elements of your website to earn the highest possible placement in search engine results. Higher search results = more customers = money for you.
Searchers tend to click on websites that show up on page one, so that’s where you need to be.
Check out these SEO Basics to help you capture and keep that top slot.
1. Avoid Duplicate Content
Copying content is a fairly common practice, but it’s bad for SEO. You can avoid getting penalized by using special tags that identify the content as duplicate. But, for non-experts, a better answer is: don’t do it. Your website should be bursting with your own unique content. Multiple websites? Even if you own other domains, each one needs unique content. To play it safe, ensure each page and every post is different.
2. Gather Intelligence
Monitor social media and document customer service calls to learn what your customers are asking, what they’re complaining about, and what they like most. Your customers are your key to SEO success.
3. Focus Your Content
Unless you’re running a pet blog, you should probably keep your Pomeranian off your website, no matter how adorable he is. Keep your content industry and product focused—but don’t oversell it. Provide informational, helpful and relevant website content for best results. It’s not only great for SEO, it’s a great way to turn your site visitors into customers.
4. Include Keywords
Semantic search has taken the place of simpler keyword search, but keywords still have a place. Instead of using the same keywords repeatedly, make a list of words and phrases your customers might be searching for. To get started, write down your top 5 customer FAQs. Write content that answers those questions, using your keywords and phrases naturally throughout the content.
5. Understand What Your Audience Wants
When your content answers questions asked by your customers, you’ll naturally earn more traffic. If you’re not seeing more site traffic, it’s time to get back to brand basics. Create buyer personas to get to know your audience better. (Check out this free buyer persona template from Hubspot!) Consider how your products or services make your customers feel. After all, even B2B customers respond to emotional connection.
6. Change Up Your Content Delivery Method
Don’t stop at what your customers want to know, discover how they want it delivered. Trying to deliver complicated technical knowledge or dense statistics to a general audience may serve only to alienate them…unless you present it in a way they can understand. Kick-ass infographics and fun, yet informative videos are great ways to show complex information in an easily digestible form. Step-by-step photos are a great way to walk even a novice through a recipe or repair project. When you find a way to help your customer be successful, they’ll come back for more.
7. Go Mobile
Mobile search is becoming more important every year. Did you know that if your website isn’t mobile friendly, it won’t show up in mobile search? Yikes. That’s a huge chunk of business you could be missing out on. Your website content must be optimized for mobile.
Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.
8. Build Authority
How do you outrank your competition? You produce all the information your customers need to rank you as the leading authority in your field. No matter how crowded the field, a voice speaking from a new perspective can shine through. Find gaps in knowledge and fill the holes. Talk about what every other expert isn’t talking about. Make it personal and always about the customer. Build out your authoritative content over time for even more SEO juice.
Today, SEO is more about content and customer relationships than about tricks and shortcuts. You can’t game the system, you just have to be that good. These tips are low-tech ways to bump your SEO by improving your content and building your audience.
Have a question about SEO Basics? Let us know in the comments!