SEO is the fickle big sister of online marketing. She’s constantly changing her mind about what’s important on a website and how to rank pages.
With the ever-changing algorithms, how can you know what you should do to improve SEO for your business?
There’s no shortage of SEO tactics. The problem is, these quick and dirty SEO tactics never last.
Search engines learn and adapt quickly, punishing businesses that employ black hat SEO strategies meant to drive quick rankings. As hopeless as that sounds, there are a few tactics that remain effective - even throughout the constant algorithm updates.
Here are 10 timeless ways to improve SEO and keep your business website in good standing with search engines.
1. Do Better Keyword Research
Before you can optimize your website, you need to know what you’re optimizing it for. What keywords make the most sense for your company? For example, if you’re selling health food products, do you rank higher for “healthy granola bars” or “gluten free granola?”
Many businesses use tools, such as Google’s Keyword Planner to hunt down the words or phrases with the most traffic. Although this is valuable, it doesn’t show you which keywords will drive visitors who convert into buyers. To do this, you need to go a little bit further with your keyword research.
- Start by finding relevant keywords;
- Search for the keyword yourself to determine what type of content shows up on page one;
- Once you find out what words your customers are actually searching, you can utilize this for a number of SEO tactics below.
This takes time, but it’s well worth the effort to find the most valuable keywords for your business.
2. Analyze Your Business Website
It’s time to get introspective. With your valuable keywords in mind, take a look through your website to make sure you’re using them in your copy. If not, Google has no way of knowing you’re relevant for that keyword.
A word of warning here: Don’t stuff your pages with your valuable keywords in an effort to stand out to Google. This can make your page appear spammy and will have an adverse effect.
3. Start Blogging
The more content you have on your website, the better. Not only do the search engines need a lot of content to know how to position your website in the search results, but your visitors appreciate it too.
Post on your blog at least once per month. Ideally, you’ll post more often than this.
Choose one keyword for each post. If you find yourself using the same keyword repeatedly, choose a variation of it to cast a wider net and harness the same quality of traffic. Boost it even further by adding a few valuable, relevant tags.
4. Use Headers
It’s important to break up your blog posts using headers. Not only does this make it easier for your readers to quickly scan and absorb, but it also shows Google which keywords are most relevant in your post.
Ideally you’ll want your keyword in the headline (which will appear as an H1 tag for Google, which is the most important heading). Then, you’ll want to use your keyword in at least one subheading (which should appear as an H2 tag in the body of your post).
5. Link Internally
The goal of your blog posts is to keep your readers on your website so you can ultimately convert them. To do this, your content must work as their guide to move them effortlessly from page to page.
Internal links, or links to other pages on your website, are an easy way to do this. If you have a page on your website that’s relevant to the topic you’re discussing, add a link to move the reader to the page for more information. This shows the search engines the depth of your website while also making it easy for your audience to find the information they need.
6. Expand Your Internal Pages
Some businesses have started to use one long page to sell their products and services. These don’t typically rank well.
In addition to adding content to your blog, expand on your internal pages. For example, create a page for each product or service you offer. Then, add a page with an overview of everything you offer linking to each page for more information.
7. Nix Duplicate Content
Here’s a word of warning: In an effort to add content to your website, be careful not to add the wrong kind of content.
Duplicate content is anything that has previously been published elsewhere online - including on your website. This is heavily punished by search engines and should be avoided at all costs.
To keep things simple, make sure your copywriting and blogging are all 100% original.
8. Keep Your Contact Information Consistent
There is one exception to the duplicate content rule - your business name, address and phone number (NAP).
Your NAP should remain consistent on your website and anywhere your business is listed. To find your current listings, use Moz’s free local search feature. Choose one exact style for your business information and then make sure it looks consistent on all listings online. If something is incorrect, fix it. If you don’t, the search engines will be confused and you could hurt your SEO.
9. Connect with other Blogs - (Blogger Outreach)
The secret sauce to SEO is (and always has been) backlinks.
Backlinks from high quality websites show the search engines that your website is valuable and interesting. High quality is the key term there. To make a difference in your search engine rankings, you need to get backlinks from websites with a domain authority over 30. (Domain authority essentially shows how trustworthy and popular a website/domain is) One of the best ways to do this is to write content for these websites or give the blogger a reason to link back to your website.
This goes back to the importance of creating quality content.
10. Get Social
Another way to get backlinks is to add your own on social media networks.
If you haven’t already, add your business profile on the top social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Yelp, LinkedIn, etc.
Once you have your profile set up, make sure you add in a link to your website. This is an easy way to get a backlink from websites with high domain authorities and add value to the people who are interested in following your business.
These are ten easy, yet highly effective ways, to improve your rankings on search engines. Some methods are fast (such as ensuring your NAP is consistent) but others require work. It’s all worth it to improve your website’s position in the search engine results.