Are you looking for a way to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) ranking? SEO is crucial to your business's success, so you should have a coherent strategy in place.
SEO is essentially the process of improving where you appear in search results. Google's algorithm takes over 200 factors into consideration to determine where to place a website based on keyword placement and usage.
When you appear at the top of the search results for your chosen keywords, you'll generate more traffic, sales, leads and engagement. This phenomenon stems from how people use search engines. For instance, did you know that if you appear on the second page of Google, only 5% of the people who type in your keyword will potentially land on your site?
If your goal is to make it to the elusive first page of Google, we are going to show you how to get started. The tips we touch on today are easy to implement and can yield massive results for your small business.
It's time to get started!
1. Optimize your website speed and performance.
One of the most significant factors in your SEO ranking is your website's speed and performance. Have you ever visited a site that took forever to load? You probably got frustrated and bounced from that site after waiting a few seconds, right?
An abnormally high bounce rate can hurt your overall SEO score. If you're not optimizing your website for speed, you may see many leads leave your site, which sends a bad signal to Google's algorithm. The rule of thumb is your page should load within three seconds. When sites take longer, users start bouncing at an alarming rate.
When people leave without clicking anything else on your page, this tells Google that there's nothing helpful for users looking for that specific keyword. As a result, the page gets pushed down in the rankings, and traffic will quickly plummet.
There are several ways you can speed up your site and improve performance. For starters, we suggest compressing all of your images and deactivating plugins that you're not using. These two changes can dramatically boost loading times, which will encourage visitors to stick around and browse your site. If you're still having issues with speed after this, you may want to consider switching your hosting provider.
2. Create linkworthy content.
Almost every successful business has a company blog where it publishes advice, tutorials and more. Small businesses with blogs tend to generate 126% more leads, which is a great starting point – but you can improve that number and SEO ranking by creating content your users want to click.
Google uses both the number of pages on your site and how relevant they are to user inquiries when deciding where to position your website in the rankings. If you frequently post helpful, engaging content, you can get nearly 434% more pages indexed by the search giant.
The best way to create clickable content is to publish posts that resonate with your customers' goals, pain points and questions. When someone sees one of your articles, they should want to read it because they feel like there's something of value for them at the end.
You're tasked with turning the promise of a value proposition into something all your readers can use. Think about why customers use your products, then develop customer personas and create content that matches most of your customers' personalities and desires.
The type of business you operate can also help you determine what kind of content you should post. For example, the content team behind a SaaS company would likely create walkthroughs to help users make the most of the software.
If you're creating clickworthy content, Google will recognize this trend, and you'll see your site gradually climb toward the first page of search results for your chosen keywords.
3. Look for external linking opportunities.
Many new business owners assume that they can fine-tune their internal links and their site will instantly start ranking on Google. The reality of this situation is that you need external links to spread brand awareness, build connections and, yes, boost your ranking position.
The average site with a No. 1 page rank has a mind-blowing 35,000 external links. At a glance, this can seem overwhelming. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can build external links on your website.
One of the most popular ways to accomplish this task is by looking for guest posting opportunities. Your goal is to find publications in your industry that use a blog to connect with their audience. Reach out to these publications and brands to see if they are accepting guest posts on their blog.
If so, start thinking of clever topic ideas that you can pitch that provide value to their audience. Make sure you consider that their target audience may be slightly different from your own, which is fine. As long as you find a way to bridge topics between your brand and the partner publication, you can introduce your brand to new prospects.
Partner publications will generally let you include an author bio that links back to your website. When a reader finds your partner post, they may be intrigued and click your link at the bottom of the page, which drives more traffic to your website.
Extra traffic and external links tell Google that your site has value and is worth ranking for specific keywords and phrases.
4. Focus on medium- and long-tail keywords.
Speaking of keywords, we will now talk about the importance of finding and using medium- and long-tail keywords on your website. Marketers will often focus on a handful of words when trying to improve their SEO strategies, but that strategy doesn't work as well with the explosion of voice search, the inception of many new businesses and algorithm changes.
Instead of focusing on a general industry term, think about user intent and choose more specific keywords based on the traffic for those words and competition. For instance, if you run an online pet supply store, you would probably start targeting the keyword "pet supplies." The problem is that word is used frequently in the industry, so you will have a hard time ranking for that phrase.
But if you choose to target phrases like "quality cat toys and scratchers," you have a much better chance of improving your SEO position. That specific keyword has significantly less competition but is a prevalent phrase that users search for from their smartphones, computers and smart home devices.
The more unique long-tail keywords you target, the more often you'll appear in search results. You can quickly spread brand awareness and grow your lead list by actively targeting several low-competition keywords at once.
SEO has changed drastically over the last decade, with more changes in the works. This continually evolving aspect of your business is something you have to understand, track and improve if you hope to scale up to a globally recognized brand. The tips above will help you get a handle on your SEO strategy and start your climb through Google search results. Don't feel discouraged if you see that you're buried deep in your keywords' search results. Practice patience and consistently fine-tune your SEO, and you'll soon see dramatic results that include more traffic, sales and leads.