The Better Your Search Engine Optimization, the Better You’ll Be at Attracting Visitors
Whether we like them or not, rules are usually there for a good reason. And most of the time, because we’re not the ones making them, we either play by the rules or we don’t play at all. The “rules” of the Internet — specifically the way in which search engines rank your website — aren’t any different.
With their ever-changing algorithms, search engines like Google, DuckDuckGo, and Bing are designed to give preference and, more importantly, higher rankings on their Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) to websites they view as more valuable, those that “play by the rules” best. Now, there’s little use fighting the process. What you can do, however, is learn how to take advantage of those rules to boost organic rankings, increase website traffic and engagement, and give your brand an edge on competitors who don’t bother or, at least, don’t do it well.
After all, your website is your business’s central hub for all of your online content. All of your other channels, from social media to digital ads, should be intertwined with your website, leading visitors to and from it and creating a seamless online customer experience. Making sure that your website and its content are optimized for search engines is one of the biggest keys to online success.
While search engine optimization (SEO) is an ever-evolving process requiring know-how, research, and constant vigilance, there are a number of best practices you should incorporate into your online strategy to improve your SEO and perform better in search results. Although it might take some time to notice meaningful change, there’s no better time than now to get started with these seven top ways to boost your SEO:
- Incorporate Relevant Keywords
The first thing that typically comes to mind when it comes to SEO is the use of keywords, which play a significant role in your website’s ranking and are tied to the words and phrases people type into their search engine query box or ask their voice assistant.
Placing keywords relevant to your industry and product carefully throughout your web pages will alert search engines to your strong connection to those categories and place your site higher in rankings when those specific words and phrases are used.
Through proper keyword research, you can find and analyze the most popular keywords your target audience uses in their searches to find information related to your industry, product, and competitors. This enables you to specifically target these words in your content strategy. Optimizing key elements such as titles, headers, description tags, image tags, and more with primary keywords is especially important for search engines to recognize your site correctly.
Because search engines are leaning more toward longer queries and search intent, consider using long-tail key phrases, which are longer expressions, as well as question-based ones starting with indicators like how, what, and where, which are popular with voice queries.
Though they get a smaller number of searches per month, long-tail keywords and a search intent focus tend to have higher conversion rates. Meanwhile, don’t get carried away with the keywords, as search engines tend to frown upon “keyword stuffing.”
- Create Relevant, Quality Content
Search engines are designed to deliver quality content in response to each person’s query, which is why one of the best ways to enhance SEO is by developing and offering information-rich content.
From insightful blogs, to product-showcasing videos, to well-crafted infographics, quality content that’s engaging, easy to understand, and relevant draws visitors in and keeps them coming back for more. Staying on-brand and speaking to your target audience is key here. Likewise, savvy consumers can sniff out filler copy and misleading information a mile away, so it’s best to avoid such content.
There are two main types of website content — evergreen and topical — and each has their advantages and disadvantages. Like an evergreen tree, evergreen content remains “fresh” to readers for a long time — years, even decades down the road. How-to blogs, product reviews, lists, term glossaries, and human interest stories are among the most popular evergreen examples.
While evergreen is great for racking up useful long-lasting content, it’s not for addressing recent events and news. That’s where topical content comes in and shows that your brand is active and present in the challenges and trends of the day. However, topical content requires regular updating to remain relevant and compelling.
- Focus on Mobilization
Does your website get along with smartphones and tablets? In other words, is it as easy to access, load, view, and navigate your website content on smaller devices as it should be on a PC? It better be. Creating an efficient and satisfying user experience is paramount these days, especially on mobile screens, as society moves further away from desktop browsing to browsing on the go.
According to recent research, 85% of American adults now use smartphones, and mobile searches account for approximately 60% of all organic search engine visits in the U.S. Meanwhile, in the fourth quarter of 2021, 63% of Google’s search traffic share came from mobile devices.
This goes to show that if your business isn’t taking their mobile presence seriously, you’re likely missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with a ton of potential customers where they are increasingly going for their information and shopping experience.
More than that, a page lacking mobile optimization may turn away not only customers but also search engines, as they rank sites lower when they lack engagement and performance. Therefore, making sure your web pages are optimized for mobile devices goes a long way in boosting SEO.
Loading speed (under 1-2 seconds), visual clarity, and touch-friendly responsive design are among the top factors to focus on, but just about everything on a page including links, images, typography, and videos contributes to effective mobile optimization.
- Build Better Links
Link building is one of the most-effective strategies to raise your organic rankings as search engines favor websites with high-quality links that point to their value and credibility. There are two main types of links — external and internal — and you should be utilizing both to create the best path to SEO success.
External linking involves links to and from other online sources for information. Linking to an external source tells search engines that your content is backed up by useful facts and knowledge such as scientific articles and useful statistics. When creating external links, you’ll want to ensure that your sources are relatively popular, credible ones and relevant to your page and its content.
Earning quality “backlinks,” which are links to your content by solid external sources, can really spark a rise in the rankings as they reflect your site’s value to others. This requires not only crafting great content that people want to use as a reference but also reaching out to sources to get link placement in such channels as blogs and news stories.
Just as important as external links, internal links connect different blogs, brand journalism, product pages, and other site pages. Creating links between new and older content can increase your visibility among search engines by increasing the value of those pages and your site as a whole.
One other “link” you should take seriously is your social media accounts and linking those to your website content. Increased likes, comments, and other engagement on Facebook, Instagram, and so forth will enhance your brand’s reputation and only lead to more website traffic and SEO improvement.
- Keep Tabs on Competitors
Sometimes when you’re having trouble beating them, you might want to consider joining them, or at least finding out what they’ve been doing right and emulating it to some extent, especially with competitors that continually rank higher than you in search results.
By comparing their pages to yours and exploring how they use keywords, content, and structure, you can improve your own web pages with content that is obviously working for them. There are a variety of competitor analysis tools to help you with this, or you can turn to marketing and SEO specialists who have those tools and know just how to use them 😉.
- Update Your Old Content
There are few things more frustrating than when a search engine result takes you to a blog, news story, or other web page with outdated, irrelevant information. When the written date says 2011, immediately leaving the page is a quick decision. However, sometimes there is no date, and you have to dig a little only to find out that the statistics, science, references, and other insights have not aged gracefully or correctly. Then you realize you just wasted your time and leave the page, doubtful to return to that source.
This is why it’s so important to make sure your content is as current as possible. Topical blogs and articles from months and years ago can be revitalized with a few changes. Meanwhile, evergreen content may last a lot longer, but even it sometimes needs revised when new information, numbers, or science necessitates it. Tweaking the headlines can also improve engagement in search results with past content.
Remember that SEO is about playing the long game. The more quality content you build up, the better your overall SEO should be, as long as you keep that content up to date.
- Roll With the Changes
As search engines and their algorithms evolve, it’s important to keep up to date on the latest in SEO and best practices. While REO Speedwagon has rocked for decades, what works best today in SEO may not be what works best just a few months from now. By doing your research, staying on top of SEO trends, and analyzing your site’s stats, noting what’s working or not, you and your brand can stay ahead of the competition and atop the search results.
Again, keep in mind that any changes you make now to enhance your SEO aren’t going to show immediate results, but they will begin to impact your visibility with search engine crawlers scanning your content. Patience is the name of the game as you may have to wait months or longer to see real results and drive a meaningful amount of traffic to your website.
For a more in-depth look at how to use search marketing to elevate your digital presence, check out our earlier blog: 3 Ways You Can Outrank Your Competition & Thrive in Today’s Digital Age Through Search.
With all your business entails, you may not have the time or resources to create and implement an effective SEO strategy. That’s where M:7 can be a big help. Our SEO experts, copywriters, and website developers work together to offer solutions that help you rise in the rankings and get more eyes to your site. Reach out with your SEO and other marketing, strategy, and communications needs today.