Get on the Front Page of Google With These 6 Basic SEO Tactics
July 11, 2016
July 11, 2016
The Best Part? You Don’t Need Any Coding Knowledge to Do It!
Most everyone with an online business knows that SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, but many don’t realize or aren’t convinced how important it is. In short, better SEO means you’ll have more people seeing and visiting your site. The more visitors you have, the better chance someone will buy from you, which means more revenue.
Good SEO = More revenue. It’s that simple. Really.
Part of the reason it isn’t a priority for people is because they don’t think it’s worth the investment in time because it is always changing. It’s true, that it is always changing. The main search companies (Google, Yahoo and Bing), are always looking for ways to adapt to how people search, as well as fix holes in the algorithm and make things as fair as possible, but this isn’t any reason not to optimize your SEO.
In fact, the cornerstone of SEO have remained the same for years, and with a basic strategy in place, you can continually improve your ranking to eventually make it to the coveted first page.
Being on the first page is important. Sites on page one of Google have a “click through rate” (CTR) of 71.3%, while sites on page two and three combined only have a CTR of 5.59%. That’s a big difference, and represents hundreds of thousands of people (Source: http://marketingland.com/new-click-rate-study-google-organic-results-102149)!
To help you achieve more visitors and revenue from your SEO, here is a 6-step path to crushing it with your SEO in 2016.
1. Site Audit
So, where to start? Well, if you’ve taken the first step and have a website up and running, you should assess your site and see where you can improve.
Usually, you won’t know what to fix until it’s broken, but by using available free online tools, you can see a full picture of the state of your SEO.
The two best free site assessment tools I recommend are Quick Sprout and Screaming Frog. Both are terrific, nifty tools providing an overview of the state of your SEO. It will tell you an overall SEO score, a list of errors and how fast your site is.
2. Competitor and Keyword Research
Keywords are fundamental for nearly every aspect of SEO and there is an easy and hard way for your keyword research. If you’re brainstorming potential words, with 25 tabs open, noting them in Excel, then stop what you’re doing and do it the smart way. That means using the work from someone else who’s already done it.
No guessing required.
This is done by researching your competitors and seeing what words they are using. Not sure who your competitors are? Start by searching for your business or product and see who comes up on the first page. They are now your competitors.
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. Sun Tzu – Art of War.
Understanding your enemy and using their weaknesses against them is a great secret weapon.
Once you’ve identified a handful of competitors, you can use a site called SEMrush to see exactly what keywords they are using.
Take note of their words and add them to your list. With this in hand, you can now use your creativity finding ways to improve them.
Basic improvement strategies are:
- Target more specific, nice, long tail words
- Start with 3-4 word keywords, avoid 1-2 words
- Use words people are talking about and naturally use
By following this step, you should have a list of 20-50 keywords that were based on what your competitors use, and have been improved upon with your amazing creativity and common sense. Now it’s time to start using them to make your content pop.
3. Create Killer Content
You’ve probably heard the line content is king, but why is content king? And how do you make content that is great?
There are full blog posts devoted to writing content, so here we’ll focus on how to find ideas people want to read and how to optimize it to improve your SEO.
Here are tips for improving your content for SEO….
How to find what to write
The best kind of content you can write should be what people want to read. A great trick to finding what your niche wants to read is to see what they’re talking about in forums.
By using sites like Quora, you can search for a topic and then see the most asked questions. Each of the top questions would be great blog post topics.
Quora isn’t the only place you can look either. Both Facebook and LinkedIn groups have great communities with engaged users asking questions. Don’t guess what topics you should write about, but rather see what people are talking about and tailor your content to them.
Optimizing your content
Having a great topic is only half the battle. Next, you’ll need to optimize your content for SEO, and here are a few easy tactics to keep in mind….
Be sure to include keywords in your content. You did all that competitor research, and now you can put it to work.
Aim for a keyword density of between 1-3%. This means if you’re writing a 1500-word blog post, you should have between 15 and 45 keywords in it. Doing any more and you could risk keyword over-saturation, which can negatively affect your ranking.
Write naturally for human readers. Often people trying to cut corners write only with keywords in mind, hoping that the robots which assess SEO of content will pick up on them. But, this usually results in articles that are difficult to read, and don’t necessarily make sense. Always write for a specific type of person, and make sure they can derive something from your content.
4. Off-Site Linking
To understand how off-site linking works, you need to understand how algorithms assess SEO. When a site posts a link directing people to your site, these search spiders see this as a positive vote that your site is good. One link, one vote. Makes sense right? But these algorithms understand that not all votes or links are created equally. Existing established authorities like major new organizations or Wikipedia’s votes are more highly valued than a mom and pop blog that was started last week, with little traffic.
Getting a link from a site is said to give your site some link juice, and the more link juice you have, the better your SEO will be.
Your goal is to get as much link juice from big sites as possible. If you try and cheat the system, and show up on multiple big sites overnight, Google will notice the strange behavior and not count it. The only sure fire way to improve with link building is slowly and consistently.
Right now you may be thinking: “How do I find the best sites that are a good fit for my content and how do I get it up on them?”
Just like we did with keywords, we’re going to let our competitors do the heavy lifting. If they’re trying to optimize their SEO, odds are they’ve been featured on sites to get some link juice. To find out where they’ve been featured use a free site like backlinkwatch.com. It will tell you when and how many times and where else they’ve been featured.
Now that you know what sites will feature content like yours, you simple need to reach out and ask them to put up yours. Odds are, if they’ve featured a competitor and are looking for something to post, they will likely post yours as well.
SEO has a lot of moving pieces that you can work on to optimize your website and content. Here are a few that anyone without any coding skill or experience can implement within a couple of hours…
Optimize images: Believe it or not, but search engines pay attention to the name of every single image on your site and what its name is. Always be sure to change the image name to something descriptive. For example, a bad name for the image below would be IMG_0142, because it doesn’t tell you anything about the image. A good name would be beagle puppy running. This isn’t difficult or too time consuming and you should do it for all of your images.
Alt tags can also be applied to images – they are alternative descriptive texts which will appear when you hover over an image. If Google sees your image and can’t decide what it is, it will use the alt tag to help.
Lastly, make sure your images match the content you are writing about.
Optimizing URL’s: As your website grows and you continue to publish more and more content, be sure that your links are simple and easy for a person to read. For example, the URL for your page on SEO improve should not be called www.yoursite.com/333575_improve_SEO_index2016, but rather: www.yoursite.com/tips-for-better-seo. If you publish a significant amount of content about SEO, you could also consider having a subpage devoted to it, with URL’s like www.yoursite.com/seo/2016-tips.
Meta tags: Meta tags communicate to the search engines what your post is about and are located in the HTML on each page, specifically in the <head> section.
There are 2 types of meta tags to be aware of: keywords and descriptions.
Keywords are just that: the words you are targeting with your post. These should be no more than 100 characters or 45 words, whichever comes first.
Description tags describe the content on the page and should not be longer than 150 characters.
Most people leave these sections blank, so always be sure to fill them out.
6. Local Shift
Recently, as of 2016, there has been an enormous shift toward the growth of mobile as a platform. To be relevant in 2016 and have great SEO, your site needs to properly work on a mobile device.
In the past 2 years, mobile as a platform saw a 5x increase in searches and is quickly overtaking desktop in total searches and use. It’s not enough to be mobile friendly anymore, now you need to be mobile optimized.
People searching for something with their mobile device are often looking for something nearby, so here are a few ways to improve your local searchability and appear to people nearby who are actively looking for you….
Claim your business site: More often than not, the first few results of a local search are Google + pages, YP store pages or Facebook pages, so it’s essential that you either create a business page or claim an existing store page.
Track impressions, not page views. When monitoring the results of your SEO work, it’s important to track impressions and not views for mobile searches. Most people don’t actually click on your site while on mobile and impressions act as a better indicator of how well your site is doing.
Get a free consult with local research pros: They specialize in improving local SEO and offer free consultations. During the call, they’ll give you lots of great actionable insights and tell you exactly how they can place you in front of more customers. Even if you don’t’ have a substantial budget, by listening to their free consultation, you’ll be able to improve your SEO strategy to increase bottomline revenue.
In the world of SEO, things are always changing, but the basics remain the same. Always focus on what your users what to read and deliver amazing content. Do it organically and not by poking holes in the system for long term success. Also, be sure to go the extra mile by filling in your meta tags and image tags and always make sure your URL’s are easy to read.
By following all the tips in this post, you will certainly see an improvement with your SEO rating, and start seeing more people come through the door.
What have you done to improve your SEO? Let us know in the comments below!