A third of all the traffic directed toward company websites comes from organic search. In fact, organic search accounts for more traffic than social and paid search combined. So, what does this indicate? SEO is relevant and will remain to be relevant for the unforeseeable future.
If you are a content marketer, blog writer, or business owner, it is important that you know the basics of SEO. However, here is where you might experience your first challenge. To succeed in SEO, you need to have a good understanding of how search engines function, and a lot of time and practice to get everything right.
In addition, you also need to note that SEO is like a moving target, which means its best practices are developing and ever-changing. The main reason behind this is that the search engine algorithms are updated every now and then. In addition to this, there are hundreds of ranking factors that search engines look at when analyzing a website. Therefore, you will need to understand the basics if you want to be on a good start.
If you don’t have links, your search results will never get a better ranking. What you need to understand is, links are some of Google’s primary ranking factors, which means they are very important in SEO. You can consider them as your old friend, who has remained with you in every situation in life. Links are very reliable, and you cannot afford to forget about them.
What makes links so important?
Links from sites with high authority usually send a trust signal to Google. This is like someone vouching for you. The more links you have from high authority sites, the more trustworthy your site is.
So, how can you get these links? Well, it can be a challenge to get quality links, particularly when you are not conversant with link building strategies. However, you don’t need to be worried about this as there are some proactive methods that you can use to get these backlinks. Moreover, you don’t need any technical or special skills to get links.
Here are some of the ways in which you can get high-quality links
Publishing an original case study or report
This is one of the best and most natural ways to get links to your site. You only need to publish an interesting and original data from a study that you have carried out. If you manage to publish something that captures the interest of many industries, then they will end up linking back your site. In fact, they will want to mention your study of the results of the study in their web pages and link your site as the source.
In case you don’t have the data or resources to use, then you can also publish a case study, and it will also earn you links. If you choose to publish a case study, you only need to concentrate on one result and explain how you came across it.
Writing testimonials for other companies that you have already worked with
Although many people underrate this method, it is a very effective way of gaining links. There is a possibility that you have already seen testimonials in different places, and you might even have them in your site. Mostly, you will also see a name, image, and a link directing you to their site with these testimonials.
You only need to believe that you can do it.
What you need to do is to come up with a list of companies that you have already worked with previously, and then send each company an email thanking them for their remarkable service. Inform them that you would like to provide a testimonial for their website—if they are interested in one.
There is a possibility that they will agree to that—because there is no one who can reject a reference to their company. If they agree, don’t forget to as for a link—that’s if you don’t get one automatically.
One of the biggest SEO mistakes you can ever make is to neglect content on your website. Content is another important factor that you will need for better ranking, and you should never ignore it. There is one reason why you need to develop content—Google requires you to produce fresh and quality content regularly—so that it knows that your website is still active.
Content is one of the best ways to keep visitors engaged on your site. If your visitors stay for long on your website, search engines will know that you are offering useful and relevant information. Moreover, this is where keywords come in.
Google has changed how we should use keywords when writing content. However, this does not mean that websites will not rank for the keywords used. You need to note that many sites rank for using many keywords—but they need to be relevant.
Here are some tips you should use to develop content that is SEO-friendly.
Writing long-form content
You need to develop long-form content so that it can have the depth needed. Longer content offers more value to your visitors. In addition, it allows you to use as many keywords as possible—and this will assist your site in ranking.
Create different forms of content
There is one secret to content marketing—variety. Creating different forms of blog posts or content will assist your site to serve different purposes.
Here is another great idea—create video content.
If you have a blog post channel, then consider creating video tutorials, as they can go a very long way in offering value for your target audience. In addition, they can spice up your content. What you need to note about videos is that it is very highly likable and shareable content, and this makes then beneficial for SEO and traffic.
Moreover, you can still get the advantages of written blog posts. You need to post the video, together with its transcription on your site.
Repurposing old content
So long as it’s your content, you can do whatever you want with it! But, that’s not the only reason you need to repurpose your content. At times, repurposing your content is important as it keeps it fresh. When it comes to SEO, developments and trends move at lightning speed. That means the SEO content you developed a few years ago doesn’t have the up-to-date advice most people are searching for.
When it comes to repurposing your old content, you can also turn it into a different format, like a SlideShare, e-book, or an infographic. This way, your site will have up-to-date and fresh content—something that Google loves.
3. Headlines and Meta descriptions
The headlines and meta descriptions on your page or content are displayed in search engine results—and this is the first thing people see. You need to note that they are your first impression, and you need to make them as good as possible.
Also, you need to note that even though search engines don’t use meta descriptions as direct ranking signals, they do carry some importance. They greatly determine whether people will click on your search engine result or not.
The way online users engage with your site at this point is known as CTR (click-through rate). This compares the number of online users who click in particular result and how many users see it. With that said, CTR is another important factor when it comes to search engine ranking. Therefore, you should make sure that you optimize your headlines and meta descriptions of you want to improve your CTR. You need to understand that if users are not clicking on your links, Google will notice it, and will drop your SERP rankings.
Besides, you also need to note that your headline has a significant effect on your CTR. You should, therefore, ensure that your headline has your keyword. Google will want to know what you are discussing in your article, and your headline should provide the answer.
However, you need to note the following: Optimizing your headline for SEO might not make it so appealing. Therefore, you will need to look for the perfect spot where your headline will be ideal for your target audience, as well as search engines.
Here are some ways in which you can do that:
Place your keywords near the beginning
You need to make sure that you place the keywords in the most natural way and position as possible, but also nearer to the beginning. This way, Google will get your signal very well.
Make the headline attractive and clickable
You cannot deny it—you have come across various viral headlines. Even though such headlines appear to be a little intense, there is a way in which you can produce such successful headlines. What you need to understand is that headlines with particular phrases have higher engagement on Facebook. There is even more—emotional headlines also have a higher engagement rate—and curiosity too. You can also opt to use certain phrases towards the end of your headline so that it can perform better. Therefore, you will need to use a headline with viral-style.
However, you need to be careful…
Always make sure that your meta description and headline represent the content you have written. Otherwise, you will end up convincing users to click on content that’s they are not searching for, and this can also affect your SERP rankings.
4. User Experience
Search engines always value user experience or UX. It’s important to note that Google collects data on how visitors behave whenever they visit your site. If your website doesn’t have a good user experience, it will affect your SEO negatively. This makes a lot of sense because it’s Google’s job to give the searcher the best result they can.
That can be very good if your site has quality content that’s relevant to what the visitors are searching for. If your site doesn’t load fast enough, the user will always get frustrated and leave very quickly, and there is a possibility that they will bounce. When more people come and leave, it sends a signal to Google that your site doesn’t have a good user experience.
You should note that the time your site needs to load is one of the metrics that Google uses to analyze and assess the user experience of your site. User experience is a very complicated discipline, with a lot of aspects that it has people who deal with it exclusively. So, how can you improve your user experience, even when you have a little technical experience?
What you need to understand is that UX is all about putting the user in your mind whenever you are engaging your SEO activities. There are some things that people like and things that they don’t. Your website might have the best design, but let’s be honest, users always visit your site to search for information or product. They don’t care that much about its design. They only need their experience to be very easy.
So, how can you improve the user experience of your site?
Increase its speed
Earlier, we highlighted the need for speed and its impact on a site. But, how can you improve the speed on your site? Well, there are some things that need some technical skills which others don’t. One of the things that you need to do is to crop the images so that they are of the right size. Also, you need to compress them using various online tools. Doing this means your site won’t take that long to load. Also, you can opt to delete the plugins that you don’t use since they might be slowing your website down.
Keep your website clear, clean, and simple
Users don’t like visiting sites, and then get confronted by image slide or every single service or product you are offering. This can be very overwhelming. Your website should have a simple message, as well as clear sections to allow your users to find whatever they are searching for.
Limit the ads on your site
Having too many ads on your sire can put off your users, especially those on mobile. It’s important to note that ads shouldn’t take up more than 30% of the vertical space of the user’s screen. Pop up ads are very terrible for mobile user experience, and you should avoid them as much as you can. Mostly, these ads don’t resize correctly to fit on mobile devices. In addition, it’s not that easy to get rid of them as you would on a PC.
Today, mobile SEO has become very important more than ever. Soon, Google will be using page speed as one of the key ranking factors. Although Google’s algorithms are currently analyzing your site’s desktop version, soon it shall be using mobile indexing, and you need to be ready for it. Most people are conducting their searches using mobile phones, which means you need to optimize your site for mobile devices. According to Google, over 50% of all search is done on mobile devices.
What do you need to do to optimize your site for mobile?
The best and simplest method to see if your site is mobile friendly is by using Google’s mobile-friendly test. You just need to copy and paste your site’s URLs—and you will get the results within a few seconds. The test will tell you whether your website is mobile-friendly or not.
In case your website fails the test, Google will inform you where the errors are, and you will have to create a responsive site to fix the errors.
Here are a few tips mobile SEO
Local SEO optimization
To do this, you need to think of how to do your searches on your mobile phone. At times, you are always trying to search for a restaurant or a local shop using your mobile phone—and you are not alone in this. Close to 89% of users search for local businesses using their phones each week, and 58% do this daily. This means you need to improve your local SEO if you want to achieve the best results on mobile.
Search voice optimization
Today, many people are using voice search on their mobile phones. Actually, 20% of all mobile searches are done on voice search today—and this shows that the importance of voice search is on the rise. Therefore, you need to think about the type of natural language people use when doing a voice search—and add these discoveries to your list of keywords.
Do not hide your content
Never play display your content differently or platy hide-and-seek on your site’s mobile version. This means, there you should not hide any content behind expandable buttons, menus, or sections. You need to note that Google needs to see all the content on your mobile site for your site to rank better.
The most interesting thing about SEO is like to hit a moving target. However, the skills needed behind the above basics will make sure that you hit not one, but a number of targets. What you need to understand is that there are several proactive methods that you can use to boost your SEO—even when you don’t have any technical skills.
You need to pursue the essential metrics like links or the content with basic methods and tricks. Always put your audience and search engines into consideration whenever you are working on your website. Lastly, don’t forget to familiarize yourself with the trends by optimizing your website for mobile.