Though there are several ways of driving traffic to a website, SEO traffic is the most valuable and the purest form of traffic online. But today’s topsy-turvy SEO landscape has made it harder to rank higher in search.
You’ll find tons of advice on the web for ranking at the top of search results and driving traffic to your website, most of which is overwhelming and conflicting. Plus, the significant shifts in search rankings factors over the past year have taken the entire SEO world by storm, so much so that many SEO professionals haven’t thought twice before claiming something as big as ‘SEO is dead’.
The ‘SEO is dead’ outcry is simply a hyped up manifestation of how the rules of the game have changed.
In short – SEO isn’t dead, bad SEO is.
SEO won’t die as long as search engines are alive. However, it’s crucial to keep yourself on top of the changes in search ranking factors and quickly adapt to those changes as well to rank higher in search and get lots of SEO traffic.
For your help, given below are seven important tips that you can use to improve your SEO and start ranking at the top of search results.
#1. Write for People, Not Search EnginesWriting merely for search engines has long been an irresistible temptation. Most of the people were obsessed about keyword-stuffed content because they wanted to rank at the top of search engine results anyhow – until Google gave its ranking algorithm a major shakeup and altered the course of SEO.
Writing for people is the new SEO rule!
If you want your content to beat the competition and rank higher in search engine results, you should start creating content that people like. Google’s new search algorithm rewards content that’s written for humans. Today, content that aims to trick search engines and does not provide real value to people will actually have an opposite effect on your website, rather than boosting its position in search results.
Before you start writing a new piece of content for your website, you should first ask yourself, how does it help?
If the article or the blog post you want to publish doesn’t serve a clear purpose, it should be disposed of immediately. You can’t continue to ignore your reader base anymore because the consequences can be incredibly detrimental to your business. In fact, your website may soon be slapped with a search penalty.
Don’t create content that you don’t like yourself. Spend time asking your readers or clients what they want to see. Answer a common question or offer a valuable insight. Try to infuse your content with some personality. Most importantly, change the way you look at keywords. Let keywords flow into your content naturally as you go on writing to fulfill a specific need of the audience. And always keep in mind that content that’s good for people is also good for search engines. Period.
#2. Create Long-form ContentThink about it: if you found a 2000-word article titled “Why You Will Never Have a Happy Life”, would you only skim it? Definitely not! You’d want to read it between the lines – word for word. Even though most people on the web have a shorter attention span, they are willing to read longer articles. In fact, they love it!
You should create more and more long-form content because it will get you a lot more than just higher search engine rankings – authority, community and engagement. According to a study conducted by BuzzSumo, long-form content also tends to receive more shares on social media. Longer articles are more likely to be emailed than shorter articles. Long-form content also generates more leads and is a wonderful link bait. Longer content is simply pure gold!
It’s a given that you’ll need to write well to create long-form content that sticks with people. When planning to write a long-form article, you should outline your goals first and then choose the topics carefully. Whether you write the article yourself or outsource the task to a professional writer, quality should be your focus. Include real life examples, external resources and links to enhance the value of the content.
At the same time, remember to make the long-form content look good to the eye, easy to read and easy to share.
#3. Publish Content ConsistentlySearch engines love fresh content. If you want to see your website appear at the top of search results, you should publish content consistently. When you update your website frequently, search engines will stop by and visit your website frequently. Therefore, based on the kind of content you publish, your chances of ranking for a variety of keywords or phrases will increase as well.
Decide upon a frequency around which you would like to publish content on your website. Depending on the resources you have, you may want to publish new pieces of content on a daily, tri-weekly, bi-weekly or weekly basis. Choose whichever frequency suits you better and stick to it for results.
When talking about publishing consistently for higher search rankings, blogging is your best friend. Since most of the content on a website usually talks about a company’s products or services, having a blog (attached to the website) allows you to publish fresh content on a regular basis for your audience. Again, publishing frequently doesn’t only boost your website’s rankings, but it also positions you as a credible resource and enables you to gain the readers’ or customers’ trust.
#4. Practice Ethical Link BuildingThough you shouldn’t become obsessed with links, you can never ignore links altogether because they matter in SEO even today. But the approach towards link building needs to change. In the post-Penguin era of Google, spammy link building practices are out of the game. You can’t buy loads of links and blast your way to the top of Google search results overnight. Most of the website submission directories are dead. Bulk article submission to build links doesn’t work anymore.
Any link building tactic that you use to manipulate or trick search engines is a bad practice, and should be avoided at all costs.
You should build links ethically – to rank higher (and avoid penalties).
Guest blogging is an excellent way of building links to boost rankings, provided you are willing to produce the kind of content readers will love. At the same time, you should publish your guest articles on those sites that are closely related to your industry, authoritative and have a Trust Flow of more than 50.
Use infographics to build links. Since infographics provide valuable information in a visually attractive form, people tend to link to them more often.
One of the most effective and easiest ways of getting links is to ask for them. However, asking doesn’t mean exchanging or begging for links. What you should actually do is write a value-added article or blog post and then reach out to those influencers or companies who you mentioned in that piece of content and ask them to have a look at it. If you do it right and with subtlety, you’ll have many of them sharing your content on social media. They may even link to your content in their upcoming blog posts themselves. When it comes to asking for links, you should get in touch with people who you know personally. Since asking people you don’t know for links sounds unpleasant, building relationships with them should be your first priority.
#5. Make Your Website Load FasterPeople don’t like to wait – whether it’s abouting getting a pizza at a restaurant or some information from the web. That’s why Google has included website speed in the list of its 200 ranking factors.
If your website loads too slow, people will get bored and they’ll switch to another website to fulfill their need. According to a study conducted by Radware, 51% of online shoppers in the US claimed that they won’t complete a purchase if a site loads too slow. In fact, most visitors expect a site to load in 3-4 seconds.
There can be several reasons that prevent a web page from loading fast. Unoptimized images, plugin/widget overload, bulky code, tons of ads, browser incompatibility and external embedded media are some of the most common reasons that lead to slow loading of a website. Therefore, the first thing in the process of speeding up a website is to identify the exact issues.
There are many free tools that you can use to test and improve your website’s speed. Tools like Page Speed Insights (Google), Website Speed Test (Pingdom) and Load Impact are highly recommended for the task.
#6. Use Social MediaSocial media and SEO have a close relationship. A strong social presence can help you achieve higher rankings. Search engines take social signals into consideration to find out how many people are interacting with your content.
To rank your website higher in search results, you should use social media platforms of your choice actively and build an influence. There are three factors that you should keep in mind in this regard – relevance, reach and resonance. Before sharing a piece of content on social media, you should ask yourself whether it’s relevant to the needs of your target audience or customers. At the same time, you should be able to reach out to a large number of audience and drive engagement.
Use social media in a way that it becomes your very own PR channel through which you can spread the word about your great content. Focus on building relationships with like-minded people. Join communities that relate to your industry. Show people that you are human yourself and care about humans too.
If you approach the process strategically, the exposure on social media can help you acquire high quality links, rank higher in search engine results and attract lots of free traffic from major search engines.
#7. Optimize for Mobile DevicesMobile devices have changed the way people communicate with one another. The time spent on mobile devices has already surpassed the time spent on desktop computers. The number of people using mobile devices to access information, check emails, download apps and make purchases is continuously increasing.
Google uses mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal!
Most of the users that visit your website are likely to be using a mobile device. Getting your website appropriately optimized for mobile is no more an option, but a necessity. Google’s mobile friendly algorithm, rolled out in April 2015, is active and was updated recently as well. The impact of mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor has increased further. If your website is already mobile-friendly, you won’t be impacted by the update. If it’s not, you should not waste another minute to start working on it.
Take Google’s Mobile Friendly Test now to find out whether your website renders well on mobile devices. Also, check out the guidelines you’ll need to follow to build a website dedicated to mobile users.
If you were struggling to take your website to the top of search engine results till now, the tips mentioned above will be the answer to your prayers. Use these tips to create a new SEO strategy or improve the existing one, put it into action without any delay and stick to it. And you’ll soon see your website ranking high and attracting plenty of traffic from the major search engines.