Do the blog posts that you write with so much effort also bring you a good amount of organic traffic from search engines? It’s true that SEO has become more difficult and more competitive in the last few years, specially after Google rolled out a series of massive changes to its ranking algorithm. There’s a lot of confusion over what’s best practice and what’s out of date. You really need to understand the latest changes to SEO and discover what works best.
But that’s just a lot of work, isn’t it?
If you follow the new SEO guidelines and optimize your blog posts appropriately, you can certainly drive a lot of free traffic from major search engines to your website or blog even today. It’s entirely doable!
Given below are some of the most important tips, in adherence to the latest SEO guidelines, that you should follow to rank each of your blog posts high up in Google search results and drive lots of organic traffic.
#1. Focus on Long-Tail Keywords
More than 2 million blog posts are published every day, most of them targeting specific set of keywords. Many bloggers simply stuff their blog posts with tons of keywords, which is not a best practice.
Don’t overuse keywords in your blog posts because search engines will penalize you for that black-hat tactic. Instead, choose just 1-2 keywords for each blog post that you write. Focusing on 1-2 keywords is a good SEO strategy because it keeps you on track when writing. It enables you to stick to a single topic and enhances the overall value of your blog post. When you target tons of keywords in a blog post, you will ultimately turn that blog post into a chunk of fluffy content.
At the same time, focus on long-tail keywords instead of short-tail keywords. Long tail keywords are a) less competitive and b) highly convertible. They bring you exactly the kind of traffic you want.
Essential places where you should have keywords include:
Title: You must always have the long-tail keywords in the title of your blog post. All you need to remember is that your title isn’t very long. Remember, it’s the title which both search engines and people see at first.
Body: You should also include your keywords throughout the blog post you are writing. But you need to be careful with the use of keywords because overusing them will lead to search engine penalties. What you should do is let the keywords flow into your writing naturally. At the same time, you should try to use multiple variations and synonyms of the keywords you have targeted. And all of this is part of the natural writing process, so you won’t have a hard time doing it.
URL: Normally, the words included in the title make up the URL. Make sure your URL too contains the keywords you have targeted.
Meta Description: Whether it’s Google or people, they come to know about the content of your blog post by going through the meta description which shows in search engine results. It is important that your meta description is appropriately optimized for conversion and contains the keywords. Again, don’t stuff the meta description of your blog posts with keywords because it won’t help.
#2. Write for People (not Search Engines)
According to modern-day SEO guidelines, you can’t rank a blog post higher in search if you just write to woo search engines. Major search engines like Google favor those blogs or blog posts that address the needs of the target audience through their content. Find out who your target audience is, what their day-to-day needs are and start writing to help them and make their lives easier.
When writing for people, you can –
> Answer common questions
> Teach a new skill
> Share an insight
> Break the latest industry developments
> Provide useful tips
Today, you can only rank high by providing original, high quality and value-added content to readers or the target audience. If you focus on solving people’s issues with your content, your content will rank higher.
#3. Create Long-Form Blog Posts
This is the age of content marketing. Today, businesses are investing in the creation of lots of highly useful content. Therefore, don’t just write short-form blog posts that have around 500-600 words each. Start writing longer posts which contain more than 1000 words. Writing longer posts doesn’t in any way mean creating junk or fluff. Longer posts mean comprehensive, in-depth content.
Blog posts that have 1500 words or more are proven to generate a lot of organic traffic – for the long term.
First of all, long-form content provides you with a good reason for promotion. Second, comprehensively written blog posts require more reading time, which in turn increase your time on site. Third, longer content pieces immediately attract attention from people on social media. All of this combined together results in the high search engine rankings of your blog posts.
Since creating long-form content requires a lot of time and research, it’s highly recommended that you hire professional writers for the job.
#4. Link Out to Credible, Useful Resources
Gone are the days when bloggers or web-based businesses wouldn’t want to link to external websites for loss of traffic. Today, the rules have changed. To increase the value of your blog posts and achieve high rankings in search results, you need to link out generously. Since people come first, Google wants you to provide readers as much value through your blog content as possible.
While it’s a best SEO practice to link out to other resources on the web, what’s even more important is to link to only those resources that are credible and useful. The point is to help readers delve further into the topic at hand.
So, the next time you write and publish a blog post, don’t stop yourself from linking out to other good websites and blogs on the web. If you check out the higher ranking blog posts in Google search results, you will find that most of them have at least a couple of outbound links in their content. While linking to external resources, just remember to make the outbound links open in a new tab.
#5. Use Categories and Tags Carefully
If you are using WordPress for blogging, you are definitely aware of categories and tags. Basically, these are WordPress features that allow you to categorize your blog’s content into various logical groups. Though both categories and tags may seem similar, they are used for different purposes.
To improve the SEO of your blog posts and your blog as a whole, you should understand how to use both these features to maximize the benefits.
Categories are used to create groups of content that match the primary topic or niche of your blog. If you run a niche-focused blog, you can’t have 30 or 40 categories. In case you have that many categories, you should immediately take a relook at them and reduce them to a smaller number. When you have your blog content scattered across too many categories, ranking high in search becomes harder.
On the other hand, tags feature is used to micro-categorize your blog content. You can think of tags as your blog’s index words. While using categories is essential, using tags is not. If you don’t create and add categories to your blog posts, they will be automatically categorized under the ‘Uncategorized’ category. In case you use tags as well, it’s recommended to make them noindex.
#6. Link to Internal Pages
Internal linking is also of utmost importance as far as optimizing your blog posts for higher rankings in Google is concerned. In the same way as you link out to resources outside your own blog, you should link to the pages on your own blog. So, internal linking should also provide value to the reader. You can link to other relevant blog posts, product pages or landing pages on your blog.
#7. Use High Quality Images
Good quality images are an essential part of a great blog post. But you have to choose only those images that improve the user experience. Make sure all the images you use in a blog post are of high quality, have the correct aspect ratio, have good resolution and are of a size that could be viewed across a wide range of devices. Always remember to resize your images in Paint or Photoshop so that you don’t end up uploading a huge file on to your blog post. Since huge image files make your site slow, they hurt the search engine rankings directly.
Give your images an accurate file or title name and describe them in the alt section without overusing keywords.
If you are struggling to rank your blog posts at a higher position in Google search engine results, the tips and guidelines mentioned above will prove to be of great help. Make sure you pay adequate attention to each step so that you can optimize your blog posts as per the new rules of the game and be a winner.
Almost every small business is fighting an uphill battle to rank their site at the top of Google. Creating a site is easy but the challenge is to transform it into an authority site that Google favors. If you are successful in making your site an authority site in Google’s eyes, rankings will come automatically. However, it’s not easy for every small business to build an authority site, particularly because most of them don’t really know what authority in this context actually means.
An authority site is a site that people trust and look at as a great source of information and knowledge. Therefore, small businesses that make sites focusing on the authority point gain strategic advantage over the competition.
If you’re as big as Amazon or Apple, you won’t have any authority or credibility issues. They are industry leaders and trusted by hundreds of thousands of people all across the world. When you are not a well-known company or business, it really is a challenging task to become an authority in Google’s (or other major search engines’) eyes. But there are some best practices and tips that you can follow to take your site from ordinary to authoritative. Of course, it requires a lot of time and effort to achieve the authority level. But it’s doable, if you are willing to do it.
Authority Leads to Higher Google Rankings
The best part about building an authority site is that it’s liked by Google more than anything else. If people trust your site and visit it often to gather valuable insights and important pieces of information, Google will know it in no time and will start ranking your site at the top of its search results.
You’ll find tons of advice on the web as to how you can improve the rankings of your site or achieve top Google positioning. Some of you also may want to trick the search engines to achieve higher rankings. But the days of black hat SEO techniques are far over. The only way to rank at the top of Google is by following the webmaster guidelines and creating a site the people like so much that they return to it over and over again. And that’s exactly what authority is all about.
Therefore, one surefire way to getting ranked at the top of Google search results and maintain the positioning for the long term is by making your site an authority site in Google’s eyes.
Build Authority Before It’s Too Late!
Pick any niche and you’ll be surprised by the kind of competition you’ll face. Google takes multiple factors into account to determine the authority of a site. Given below are some important tips that you should follow to become an authority site in Google’s eyes and get higher rankings as a result.
Web Design Matters: It’s the design of your site that the visitors see at first. It’s the design that makes the very first impression. If your site was designed by an incompetent web design professional or you designed the website yourself (and you are not a designer), the design will suck. Always remember that the way a website or blog is designed has an impact on human behavior. Attractively designed sites create a feeling of trustworthiness among visitors.
Make Your Contact Information Easily Visible: Don’t leave people guessing where you are located or whether you have an office. If you want to become an authority, the very first thing you should do is to put your contact information in all those places where visitors may look for it. You should include your contact information in the footer, in the header and if possible in the sidebar as well. Also, the ‘Contact‘ link should be placed in your navigation menu.
Keep Your Message Relevant: What’s the core message that you want to deliver to visitors or your target audience? First, understand the profile and behavior of visitors and tailor your message in a way that’s relevant to their needs. A website or blog that displays relevant information is always trusted by visitors.
Use Simple Language: It’s important to understand that people will not trust what they are unable to understand. You should always speak in a language that’s easy for your audience to understand. Start listening to your audience via social media and find out more about the kind of language they speak and then talk in the same language so that you can become trustworthy.
Don’t Make Grammatical Mistakes: Good grammar is one of the most important fundamentals to abide by when you want to build authority. Whether it’s your website or blog, you should make sure that your content is free from any kind of language or grammatical mistakes. Bad grammar and spelling leave a bad impression on visitors and they stop trusting you. Hire professional writers to create error-free content for all sections of your website and blog.
Create High Quality Content: Top-notch content is the backbone of a site. Whichever niche you belong to, you should always create content that informs and educates people. Your content should help people with their day-to-day problems, teach people new skills and inspire people to change their lives for the better. If you can’t have your own in-house team of content writers, outsource your content writing tasks to an agency or experienced professionals. If you plan to market your products and services successfully, you can’t afford to ignore creating value-added content. Useful and informative content is your ticket to becoming an authority in Google’s eyes.
Link Out Generously: While it’s important to link the pages on your site internally, what’s even more important is to link out to content on authority sites. When you link out to external resources generously, it sends a signal to Google that you really care about offering real value to people.
Show Your Client List and Testimonials: When you want to build the authority of your site in Google’s eyes, you should also remember to have a list of clients, testimonials (text or video) available on your site. This is something people expect to see before they decide to do business with you. Also, try to provide some information about the client by linking to their website or organization. Don’t ever make up testimonials of your own because people and search engines can see through the scheme.
Create Case Studies: How do you prove that the services you offer will truly bring benefits to people or prospects? Using case studies is an excellent way of showcasing your expertise and creating trust. Publish the case studies on your website or blog to increase trust and become an authority.
Improve Site Usability and Accessibility: Can the visitors find easily what they are looking for on your site? Make the navigational structure of your site fully functional and easy to follow. Optimize your site for both desktop and mobile devices. Ensure your site loads really fast.
Use Social Media Actively and Effectively: Social signals also play a crucial role in building the authority of a site. If you are on social media already, you should start using it appropriately: post updates regularly, share value-added information, show behind-the-scenes pictures, listen and talk to people. If you aren’t, create social profiles for your company right away because you are already late. At the same, remember to choose only those social media platforms where your audience spends time. And act according to a well-structured strategy.
Build High Quality Links: Though creating high quality content consistently will do a good job of attracting high quality links, you should also work out an effective link building strategy because links matter even today. When determining the overall value of a site, Google gives a lot of weight to the link factor. If you haven’t paid attention to the links pointing back to your site yet, maybe it’s time for a backlink audit so that you can clean up and improve your backlink profile.
Start a Blog: Since your website mostly contains information about your products and services, you should start a blog to showcase your expertise. Having a blog gives you an excellent opportunity to publish content on a regular basis, let people become aware of what you know, help them improve their lives and ultimately continue building authority in the process. Apart from writing yourself, you can also invite guest authors to share their expert opinions on your blog.
Keep Ads to a Minimum: If you display plenty of ads on your site, it clearly shows that the needs of users don’t come first. Stop looking desperate; keep valuable content above the fold. Since lots of ads kill user experience, Google doesn’t like it. If ads are not your main source of income, it’s advisable not to use them at all.
Building a site that has authority in Google’s eyes is the most effective way of dominating search engine results for the long term. An authority site will also give your competition a run for their money.
No matter how hard you try, you can’t turn a blind eye (or a deaf ear) to content marketing. It’s everywhere you turn. Talk about any niche or industry, it’s simply impossible to achieve marketing success without content. Web users, readers or customers are all hungry to devour content that teaches them a new skill, solves their day-to-day problems and answers their key questions.
Here are a couple of eye-opening statistics about content marketing:
> 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content each day. (Source: eMarketer)
> Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads. (Source: DemandMetric)
> 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing. (Source: CMI)
> Conversion rates are nearly 6x higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9% vs 0.5%). (Source: Aberdeen)
> 60% of the most effective B2C marketers have a documented content strategy. (Source: CMI)
Many businesses have understood the fact that traditional marketing is losing ground by the minute and so they have adopted content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a marketing method which focuses on consistently creating and distributing value-added content to attract a specific audience for driving profitable customer action.
The main goal of content marketing is to provide value to the target audience. Therefore, content marketing uses blogs, articles, infographics, podcasts, videos and social media sites as a vehicle to inform, educate and help readers or customers. In fact, content marketing is communication with customers at its best because it excludes selling and delivers information to educate buyers.
At the same time, it’s also important to understand that content marketing is NOT sending informational garbage to sell stuff. Companies keep sending information that’s not very relevant or valuable. If you start doing the same in the name of content marketing, you’ll be bound to fail.
Remember, content marketing is something that makes a person stop, read, think and behave in a different manner.
Why You Should Adopt Content Marketing
Content marketing isn’t just a popular term or another marketing technique you may or may not care about. In fact, it’s a critical element in digital marketing. It provides businesses with a number of benefits that can’t be ignored.
Important benefits include:
> It generates more inbound traffic to your site.
> It boosts engagement with the target audience.
> It generates more leads.
> It increases sales.
> It creates brand awareness.
> It establishes you as a thought leader.
> It is cheaper than traditional marketing forms.
Provided you work according to a strategy, content marketing has the potential to breathe new life into your business. It can immediately take your business to a whole new level, leaving competitors far behind.
Onsite Content Marketing
When starting with content marketing, you should first turn your website into a great content hub. You should make your website a great resource of content that your target audience can use and appreciate.
Onsite content marketing tips include:
Write for People: Any piece of content that you let go live on your website or blog should address a specific need of your readers or customers. Instead of stuffing your content with keywords, you should make it valuable so that it solves a problem or teaches a new skill to your target audience.
Maintain a Consistent Tone: Apart from writing for people (and not search engines), you should also choose a tone that you would like to stick to for the long term. If the tone of your writing isn’t consistent across all the content on your website and blog, it will reflect poorly on your company or brand. On the other hand, keeping your tone consistent will create a unique identity for your company.
Create Unique Content: Uniqueness is the soul of content marketing. If you are really serious about marketing your products or services with content, you should make your content unique. Come up with original ideas and topics that not many people are talking about or have talked about yet.
Keep Your Content Structured: When your content is structured, users will be able to find it easily online and your employees will be able to redeploy it in a wide range of formats and media types. The main benefit of structured content is that it empowers your content to succeed in the context of any device.
Include Meta Data: Make sure every piece of content you publish carries a unique title tag and meta description so that both search engines and people can use it to understand what your content is about.
Use Semantic Keywords: Modern-day SEO isn’t about stuffing your content with the same keywords over and over again. Today, you need to cross the basic keyword research boundaries and get into synonym creation, semantic search and semantic themes. Semantics refers to how somebody interprets a word or a term. So, use a lot of synonyms and create supporting keywords.
Write Comprehensively: Don’t just write for the sake of writing. When you are creating content, make sure you define a topic really well and include as much information revolving around that topic as possible.
Publish Content Regularly: One of the most important onsite content marketing tips is to create and publish content on your website on a regular basis. The best way to keep your website fresh and rich with content is to start blogging. If your website doesn’t have a blog attached to it yet, create it now. Use your blog to publish high quality and value-added content on a regular basis.
Effective on-site content marketing will help you build web pages that have authority and resonate with the audience for the long term.
Offsite Content Marketing
Your website or the blog isn’t the only place where your content should live. It’s important to expand the reach of your content by distributing it via different offsite content marketing channels. At the same time, you should also take the time to create content exclusively for external platforms or websites so that you can improve your marketing and get better results.
Offsite content marketing tips include:
Change Your Approach to Guest Posting: Create a new, improved strategy for guest posting because it’s not just about finding popular websites and publishing relevant content there. While guest posting, you should choose only those websites that fall within the marketing segment you’re trying to reach. Today, you can’t crank out content in the name of guest posting. Your improved guest posting strategy should focus on creating high quality content that really addresses the needs of the target audience you’re trying to reach, in the same way as you do on-site.
Diversify Your Content: Content can take multiple forms and can be created in different formats. So, don’t just depend on how-tos and informative articles. Create videos, infographics, presentations, podcasts, interviews etc. By diversifying your offsite content, you’ll attract more readers and create interest for your brand.
Focus on Building Relationships: Your offsite content should not talk business all the time, as it will only drive readers away. Avoid being promotional, and put the audience’s needs at the forefront. Focus on providing content that adds value to the day-to-day lives of your readers or customers. Build your authority. Let your customers or prospects know that there are humans behind your company. Interact with them, answer their questions and be easily available.
Use the Right Social Media Platforms: Don’t try to be on all social media platforms because it’s just not possible, especially when you are still growing. Choose the social media sites you want to be on wisely. Find out where your target audiences are hanging out and use only those social media platforms.
Content marketing isn’t going anywhere; it’s here to stay for as long as you can imagine. Though content marketing isn’t a modern-day concept, it’s certainly becoming more and more important in the lives of today’s marketers. No matter what products or services you sell, the most effective way to market them is through content. As traditional marketing continues to degrade every day, content marketing is evolving in many new ways and you should be ready to use it as a powerful marketing technique. If you need help working out a well-structured content marketing strategy, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a marketing agency or an experienced professional.
Google uses as many as 10,000 signals and sub-signals to determine the rankings of web pages in its search results. Don’t believe me? According to Matt Cutts himself, Google has more than 200 ranking signals and many of them have over 50 variations within a single factor. So, if you take 200 signals and multiply by 50, you’ll get the number which I mentioned at the very start.
While you may have heard and known about the 200 signals that Google uses to rank its search results, do you know what RankBrain is all about?
On October 26, 2015, Google announced a new ranking signal called RankBrain. But it isn’t just any ranking signal. It’s the 3rd most important! Google’s hand-crafted search algorithm got a major overhaul when RankBrain was released. This new ranking signal has simply changed the way Google ranks 30 trillion web pages. Though RankBrain hasn’t replaced the current Google algorithm called Hummingbird, it’s certainly a pretty important signal Google uses.
What is RankBrain?
It’s an artificial intelligence system that Google has developed to evaluate web pages for relevance and rank them using a machine learning technology. So, this system is based on computer programs that can teach themselves how to rank search results, without manual assistance.
“RankBrain is one of the “hundreds” of signals that go into an algorithm that determines what results appear on a Google search page and where they are ranked,” said Corrado, a senior research scientist at Google. “In the few months it has been deployed, RankBrain has become the third-most important signal contributing to the result of a search query,” he said.
Definitely, RankBrain is the 3rd most important signal that Google is already using to rank pages in its search results. By creating this signal, Google is able to filter out those web pages that don’t provide high quality content and aren’t relevant to the search term being queried.
What RankBrain Isn’t
Since RankBrain is fairly new, people have a lot of misconceptions about it. When you want to have a crystal-clear understanding of what RankBrain really is, it’s helpful to know what it isn’t.
Don’t think of RankBrain as a new version of the Google Knowledge Graph. Though Knowledge Graph is also an AI program, it’s not associated with RankBrain by any means. RankBrain is a stand-alone technology.
Also RankBrain isn’t a search algorithmic update. So, you shouldn’t look at it they way you look at Panda or Penguin. RankBrain is an important ranking signal which functions in conjunction with Hummingbird, which is Google’s current algorithm, to provide better and more meaningful results.
RankBrain isn’t a robot either, as many would believe. Though it’s an artificial intelligence (AI) system, it isn’t conscious. The system is based on a series of mathematical equations that have the capability of learning and improving by themselves, without any human help.
How Does RankBrain Work?
What RankBrain actually does is that it embeds vast amounts of written language into mathematical entities and then creates a format that a computer can easily understand. And when RankBrain comes across a word or a group of words that it doesn’t know, it will use that information to guess those words or group of words that might be similar in meaning and deliver results accordingly. That’s how RankBrain deals with search queries it hasn’t seen before.
For example, searching for “Trump” brings back pages and information that matches “Donald Trump”, a popular presedential candidate for US election 2016. Previously, Google might return you results which contained only the exact word “Trump”. But the RankBrain technology has changed it. Likewise, if you search for “Barack”, you might see pages that talk about “Barack Obama”, “US President”, “Michelle Obama’s husband” etc.
RankBrain has gone through rigorous testing and it’s successfully living up to the expectations. Search engineers at Google were asked to manually scan some pages and guess which ones they thought Google’s search engine technology would rank at the top of search results. It’s interesting to note that the humans guessed correctly 70% percent of time but RankBrain guessed correctly 80% of the time.
Though Google hasn’t specified a percentage yet, it has certainly stated that a ‘very large fraction’ of queries are being handled by RankBrain.
What’s the Purpose?
New search queries are rapidly increasing. According to Google, brand new queries make up to 15% of all searches every day. Since the total of number of searches that Google deals with each day is 3 billion, the brand new queries count stands at 450 million each day.
RankBrain is specially built to handle situations like these.
This technology uses mathematical calculations to understand ambiguous or unique words or phrases that have never been searched on Google before. As the demands of the modern-day users increase, machine learning technology is something that’s urgently needed. RankBrain doesn’t only deal with search queries in an effective way, but it’s also helping Google engineers understand search queries better.
Though RankBrain is currently being used to deal with only complex long-tail search queries, it’s future potential can never be underestimated.
How RankBrain Affects SEO
The machine learning technology that RankBrain is definitely impacts SEO. What it will do best is to put an end to spam and black-hat SEO tactics. Now that the RankBrain ranking signal is fully functional, you can expect a ranking boost for all those sites that are laser focused on its topics.
While you keep your site’s topics laser focused, it’s also important to take the technical part of SEO into consideration. If you plan to benefit from RankBrain (rather than losing out to it), you should pay serious attention to site speed, microdata and SSL. At the same time, you should focus your effort more on doing those things that never die regardless of the changes in SEO over time.
Important tips include:
> Delve deep into topics, and write comprehensively
> Answer more of the questions that your customers are asking
> Answer even those questions that haven’t been asked yet
> Try to become an authority on a topic or niche
> Create evergreen content
You may already be aware of these strategies, but after RankBrain you need to put them into action. If you want to build a solid SEO foundation while also making RankBrain work in your favor, focusing on these strategies is a must.
Since RankBrain is an AI system, it will constantly change and continue to evolve. While you may not be able to notice the changes, they have a significant impact on how search results are displayed. Going ahead, RankBrain may be the thing that will dictate the development of entire search algorithm. Therefore, it’s essential that you keep a close watch on this important ranking signal, understand it more and be ready to adapt yourself to the upcoming SEO changes.
Does RankBrain Affect Paid Search Too?
If RankBrain is already impacting SEO in a significant way, it’s most likely that it’s also affecting paid search. The main goal of Google is to provide users with most relevant and meaningful search results. If organic search results are becoming better and more accurate, ads served based on the search queries should become more targeted also. According to SEO experts, RankBrain can never ignore paid search if it’s affecting 15% of 100 billion Google searches on a daily basis.
Whether you’re an SEO expert yourself or an online business owner, you can never ignore RankBrain and what it holds in its palm for the future. You really need to gain a better understanding of this artificial intelligence system and make appropriate changes to your current SEO strategy to keep yourself safe and growing. However, don’t make any radical changes to your SEO. Watch your site’s rankings closely and improve your strategy bit by bit while avoiding the use of any kind of spammy or black-hat SEO tactics. RankBrain will only get better over time and it’s speculated that Google will apply this technology to its other parts of business as well.
The digital marketing industry is a huge one. There are countless companies offering a range of digital marketing services – SEO, PPC, social media marketing and content marketing. But do you know which of these services has the most demand? Alexandra Tachalova recently conducted a survey which revealed that SEO is still the most desirable service in the digital marketing industry.
It’s only that SEO has become tougher and more complicated. If you plan to achieve success with SEO, you must approach it strategically. Thankfully, there are tons of reputable SEO agencies that provide actionable plans to improve the SEO of your website, attract more traffic and get more leads.
SEO is affordable and highly effective.
It’s due to its effectiveness that SEO has been adopted widely as an online marketing strategy across a range of businesses and niches. SEO offers businesses an array of benefits.
Key benefits of SEO include:
> Increased Traffic
> Great ROI
> Increased Site Usability
> Brand Awareness
Though massive changes have happened to the digital marketing industry over the last couple of years, SEO still remains one of the most affordable and effective forms of online marketing for businesses to leverage.
But why is SEO the most desirable digital marketing service? The answer is simple – great ROI. Whether you run an online store or a non-ecommerce website, SEO is equally beneficial to everyone. Traffic generated through SEO is of the highest quality: it generates higher conversions. Once you become aware of what keywords your prospects are searching for, you’ll discover what they are most likely to buy. That’s the power of SEO. Equipped with a well-structured SEO strategy, you can boost your business quickly and generate more revenues.
The best part about SEO is that its results are easily trackable, unlike many other digital marketing strategies. While running a SEO campaign, SEO agencies can easily keep track of keyword rankings, traffic and conversions.
SEO is cost-effective as well. Compared to other outbound marketing strategies, SEO costs a lot less. This is because SEO targets only those users who are genuinely interested in a product or service. For example, leads generated through cold calling will cost you 61% more than those generated through SEO. Through SEO, companies can easily tap into highly qualified traffic and sell more while saving a good amount of money that’s otherwise wasted in on other forms of marketing. One of the biggest benefits of using SEO is that it leads to exponential growth in profits.
While SEO is one of the most affordable forms of marketing, it doesn’t have a fixed ‘rate card’. The price of SEO services may vary depending on the type of your business, the level of competition and your business goals. Whether it’s keyword analysis, link building or other SEO activities, different situations have different requirements. Moreover, the quality of SEO also varies. Therefore, it’s crucial to always stay away from scammers, newbies and ignorant practitioners.
SEO is never too expensive; it’s a highly profitable investment. It’s a marketing strategy which allows your website to be viewed by hundreds of thousands of ideal clients. What’s important to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t do your own SEO, particularly after all those game-changing Google updates. In the same way as you wouldn’t risk to print your business cards yourself and will get it done only by a professional company, you should also work with professionals to get the most out of your SEO. A professional SEO agency has been there and done that; they have the experience to assess your situation efficiently, create an effective plan and implement it appropriately so that your website attracts the right type of audience and makes you more money.
Bad or low quality links can easily hurt the search engine rankings of a website. If you’re an SEO professional or an internet marketer, you definitely understand why it’s crucial to keep a close watch on the link profile of a website. Articles about link removal or link profile clean up simply abound the web. Also, there are plenty of companies that specialize in removal of bad links.
Whether you want to recover from a Google penalty or avoid it in future, getting rid of bad or spammy links is essential.
In the post-Penguin era of Google, you need to approach link building with extreme care. Just like one bad apple can spoil the entire bunch, a handful of bad links can ruin the quality of an otherwise nice backlink profile.
The link profile clean-up process includes:
- Collection of backlink data
- Identification of bad or low quality links
- Removal of bad links
- Disavowing the links you couldn’t remove
Though link profile clean-up or removal of bad links is difficult to accomplish, it’s completely doable.
What Kind of Backlinks Does Google Like?
Before we go into the details of cleaning up a website’s link profile, let’s first understand what links mean in the post-Penguin era and what type of links Google likes or favors. Most webmasters believe that too many links enhance the value of a website and increase search engine rankings. Maybe, that was the case 5-10 years ago. Google has come a long way since that time.
Today, Google looks at links as a measure of a website’s content quality. The point is simple and easy to understand – people like linking to valuable content. If you have a business website, the best way to attract high quality, authoritative links is by publishing value-added content on it regularly. The greater the number of high quality links in a website’s link profile, the more credible it looks to Google. And that’s how content-rich websites appear at the top of search results.
Google likes those links that are natural or acquired unasked. Manipulative link building is now a thing of the past, and penalty-prone today. Some of the links that get a lot of affection from Google include editorial links, implied links (mention of domain name), social citation, co-citation etc.
Link Profile Clean-Up
Let’s get back to the main topic – how to clean up the backlink profile of your website? Earlier in the article, we already broke down the process into 1) collection of backlinks data 2) identification of bad or low quality links 3) removal of bad links and 4) disavowing the links you couldn’t remove.
Collection of Backlinks Data: First of all, you need to collect all the backlinks data of your website and download it in a CSV format. Since it can be difficult to gather this data manually, copy-pasting links one after another, there are multiple tools that you can use to simplify the task.
Google Webmaster Tools is your #1 option. All you need to do is log into your GWT account, go to ‘Search Traffic’ and click on ‘Links to Your Site’ for the domain whose link profile you want to clean up. On the next page, click on ‘more’ and then on ‘Who links the most’. Finally, you should click on ‘Download more sample links’ to download all the backlink data of your website. Apart from GWT, you can also turn to Open Site Explorer (Moz) for collecting the link data. If you are looking for more information, check out Ahrefs and Majestic SEO.
Identification of Bad or Low Quality Links: Now that you have the backlink data in your hand, it’s time to conduct a quality check. You need to identify that dirt that’s tarnishing the reputation of your backlinks profile. If you have hundreds of thousands of links to check, it can again become hard to do it manually. There are multiple tools that you can use to succeed with the task.
Keep an eye out for these bad link types:
- Backlinks that are part of a spammy blog network
- Sitewide links
- Links with similar anchor text
- Directory links
- Blog comment links
- Do-follow guest post links
If your website’s backlink profile contains more than 20% of bad links, you’re vulnerable to Google’s Penguin penalty. However, you should always try to keep your link profile as clean as possible because you never know when the bad link percentage increases and you become prone to Google penalty. There are many tools that you can use to identify which links are bad and need to be removed. For example, Monitor Backlinks and Backlink Quality Checker are good choices to accomplish the task. Monitor Backlinks allows you to track those links that are out of Google’s index for various reasons. Also, you can sort all the backlinks on the basis of domain pagerank and MozRank using this tool.
Removal of Bad Links: This is the trickiest part of the link profile clean-up process. After you have found the harmful links, it’s time to get rid of them. But how do you reach out to webmasters so that they pay attention to your link removal request? First and foremost, you have to approach them with politeness. You should never make the mistake oF ordering or threatening webmasters. Second, each email that you send to webmasters for link removal should be appropriately personalized. Third, you should provide the webmasters with clear instructions regarding the location of the link you want them to remove. Unless you make the webmasters’ job as simple and easy as possible, they may not cooperate at all.
Fourth, you should never forget to follow them up to make sure the requested link was removed. Lastly, you should keep in mind that many webmasters may ask money for link removal. It’s advisable not to give in. The links that you can’t remove can always be disavowed, which is the final step of link profile clean-up.
Disavowing the Links You Couldn’t Remove: You need to have some patience after sending the link removal request to webmasters. It may take a couple of weeks for most of the webmasters to take action. However, you should always send follow-up emails to remind webmasters of your link removal request. There are some tools that can automate this task for you as well; BuzzStream is a good example.
You’ll need to disavow the links that you couldn’t get removed even after sending several emails and following up. Using the Disavow Links tool, you can ask Google not to consider the harmful links that you were unable to remove.
First, you’ll need to create a list of such links and then upload the file to Google. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:
- Go to the Disavow Links tool page
- Select your website
- Click on Disavow Links
- Click Choose File
Google may take some time to process the file that you upload. You may have to wait a few weeks before Google considers your request and has the links disavowed. It’s also important to note that once you upload a new file (list of harmful links) to Google, it will replace all those files that you may have uploaded earlier.
Wrapping it Up
Approach each of the above-mentioned steps with patience, and use different tools to make the process of link removal easy. When collecting your website’s backlink data, it’s always advisable to use multiple tools. Most importantly, you should pay close attention when identifying the links that may be hurting the search rankings of your website. At the same time, you should also make changes to your future link building plan so that you keep your website’s backlink profile clean and penalty-free. A backlink audit at the interval of every few months is a high recommend.
From simply being devalued to becoming ‘toxic’, bad links have come a long way. If you’re hearing the term ‘Penguin’ (in Google search algorithmic context) for the first time, this algorithm is an update that was first rolled out in April 2012. What the Penguin algorithm does is that it keeps a close watch on a site’s backlink profile with a view to identifying unnatural or spammy links. The rankings of a site faced with a Penguin-based penalty can degrade almost immediately. Worse still, recovery isn’t immediate or easy even after fast reconciliatory action.
Till now, Google has updated its Penguin algorithm six times. The last update happened in December, 2014.
We’re now awaiting Penguin 4.0!
Whether you’re the owner of a website, an SEO professional or an internet marketer, it’s crucial to understand what Penguin 4.0 will be about, and how you should prepare for the same in advance.
Since Penguin 4.0 is an update to the Penguin algorithm, there’s no doubt that this update too has everything to do with low-quality, spammy or unnatural links or backlinks. According to SEO experts, what’s different with the new Penguin update is that it will continuously occur in ‘real time’.
So, how does it impact your site’s SEO? Well, after the launch of Penguin 4.0, both Penguin-based search penalties and recoveries from the same will happen almost simultaneously. Earlier, webmasters had to wait for the recovery for weeks or months or till the next Penguin update after removing the harmful links or taking the remedial steps. But things will change with the launch of the new Penguin update in question. If the newly updated Penguin algorithm hits your site, you can hope to recover from the loss of rankings almost as soon as you get rid of the bad links that caused the search penalty. After the roll out of this much-awaited update, the Penguin algorithm will run independently, without requiring manual data refresh.
While some believe that Penguin 4.0 has already started rolling out, others maintain that it’s still to come. It was first expected to roll out at the end of 2015. When it didn’t release last year, it was expected again in the first quarter of 2016. But the wait still continues. In any case, Google hasn’t yet announced or confirmed the reports of Penguin 4.0 having already been started.
How You Should Prepare Yourself!
Since a Penguin-based penalty can do serious damage to an entire site and Penguin 4.0 is expected to be a real time update, it’s always advisable to prepare yourself in advance. You know it: the best defense is a good offense.
The Penguin algorithm is all about a site’s backlink profile. So, the very first thing you should do is take a microscopic look at the backlink profile of your site. Conduct a backlink profile audit, if you haven’t done it yet. Seek out those links that are spammy, unnatural or of low quality. Remember, even a handful of spammy links could ruin the value of 100s of high quality links. Keep an eye out for all those links that look suspicious or that Google can become suspicious of. Once found out, update your disavow file consequently.
Additionally, you should evaluate whether your internal linking practices are sound or legitimate as per Google quality guidelines. Most importantly, give your link building plan of action a closer look. Make sure that you (or the team involved) commit to a healthy, natural link building plan on a regular basis.
If you lack adequate experience or knowledge about conducting a backlink profile audit or working out an effective link building strategy, you should not hesitate to seek the help of a well-qualified SEO professional or agency. Appropriate action taken in time will protect your site against future Penguin penalties, and your online business will continue to grow uninterrupted.
What’s your strategy for higher search engine rankings in 2016? Google uses as many as 200 factors to rank websites and web pages. And it doesn’t explicitly tells much about how different ranking positions are assessed. There are new algorithm updates at the interval of every 2-3 months. While newbies keep guessing things, there are SEO experts and SEO companies that remain busy experimenting on their websites. You must have read a lot of articles or blog posts on how Google actually ranks sites. From time to time, some ranking factors increase in impact while others remain the same and some others decrease impact.
At SEOExplode, we also have a team of search marketing experts who keep a close watch on all the Google algorithm updates as they happen. On the basis of experimentation and applied logic, we try to decode the Google ranking mysteries to help our clients improve their site’s rankings.
Given below is a list of all the top search engine ranking factors that will play a major role in the year 2016 and beyond.
Main Keyword in Title
For an article, a blog post or simply a web page, the title tag still carries the utmost significance. The title is the very first thing that Google considers when deciding where to rank a particular web page. Therefore, you should make sure that your title tag contains your main keyword. At the same time, you must exercise caution so that you don’t over-optimize. You should place the main keyword(s) in the title tag in a way that looks unique and natural.
The duration for which your website has been in existence is another important search ranking factor. The longer the duration of existence, the better. If you launched your website or blog only a few months ago, you shouldn’t expect higher rankings too sooner. Aged domains have a history (or past records) associated with them and new domains don’t. Google thinks of those websites that have been live for 5 or 10 years as credible sources of information for web users.
Experiments have shown that your website has to be at least 3 years or older to acquire ranking power on the basis of domain age. What’s important to keep in mind in this regard is that the date of domain registration isn’t a proof of quality. If a domain name was registered several years ago but wasn’t used, it won’t have any ranking power due to a lack of past records. Old domains acquire some ‘longevity rank’ over time because of their past records (i.e. backlinks profile).
Keyword in H1 and H2 Tags
Placement of keywords in H1 and H2 tags of a web page also increases its chances of ranking higher in Google. Again, you should not stuff keywords in desperation. The keywords in heading one and heading two should look natural. If you just focus on a particular topic, it will happen naturally.
Low Keyword Density
The maximum limit for keyword density is 3%. But you should not blindly follow this percentage. You can rank higher in Google even if you keep the keyword density between 1%-2%. Try to use multiple variations of your main keyword, but avoid over-optimization at all costs.
Penguin-Proof and Relevant Backlinks
Google’s Penguin update keeps a close watch on how backlinks are created. It penalizes those websites that indulge in manipulative link building. In the year 2016 and beyond, you should be extremely careful while building links. Your link building strategy should be Penguin-proof and the links should be relevant. Link building isn’t dead yet but it’s certainly become more complicated.
In the post-Penguin era of Google, you shouldn’t try to get links just for the sake of building links. If you get the wrong links, the entire existing search rankings of your site may suffer. Wrong or bad links will take your site down.
The best tactic to build links is giving people compelling reasons to link to your website or blog. Ask yourself this question – ‘Does my site offer real value?’ If it doesn’t, you should start focusing on the quality of your site. Once your site becomes useful, people will start linking to it unasked.
Content rules. Studies have shown that Google prefers those websites that are rich in content. In a study conducted by serpIQ, it was revealed that web pages with higher word count ranked higher in search results. When you’re planning to rank for competitive keywords, you should hit at least 2,000 words. The best part about creating long-form content is that people like to link to it more and more. The only thing you should keep in mind is that you don’t create fluff. If you create in-depth, original and unique articles/blog posts with higher word count, you can expect to rank at the top much quicker as compared to short-form content.
Mobile-friendliness is now an important ranking signal. In April , 2015, Google released an algorithm update to give a boost to mobile-friendly websites and web pages in search engine results. Having a site which isn’t mobile-optimized in 2016 will only get you into serious trouble. The number of mobile device users is rapidly on the rise. So, Google is also favoring mobile-friendly sites.
Click-Through Rate and Time Spent on Site
There are many user metrics that impact SEO. But two of the most important ones are – SERP CTR and time spent on site. According to SEO experts, Google doesn’t dig into a site’s analytical data directly. It only checks out the two aforementioned metrics. The click-through rate and the time spent on site are two user metrics that speak volumes about a site and Google uses them for quality evaluation. If most of the people clicking (your link in SERPs) leave your site immediately, it tells Google that your site lacks quality or doesn’t offer value to people.
Download Time of Site
We live in a time-poor age. People get bored or angry if it takes longer to have a task done at the bank or get a pizza. The same goes with websites. Google has always favored those websites or blogs that load quickly. In the year 2016, how fast a page loads impacts SEO even more. Whether it’s the desktop site or its mobile version, you should ensure that your site loads quickly. Since site speed is directly connected to user experience, Google uses it to determine rank.
Unoptimized pages, widget/plugin overload, bulky code and plenty of ads are some of the reasons for delayed loading of pages. There are various tools (free and paid) that you can use to test the download time of your site. If you site takes longer to load, you should identify what’s wrong and fix issues now.
Google has already announced HTTPS encryption as a search ranking signal. If you don’t know, HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. Earlier, sites using HTTPS witnessed a minor ranking boost. But over the past few weeks, this search ranking factor has increased in impact. Since HTTP doesn’t offer protection for user account information, it’s vulnerable to malicious attacks. Having HTTPS on your site makes users more secure and Google considers your site more trustworthy. Therefore, you should seriously consider it as an important search engine ranking factor in the year 2016 and ahead.
Love it or hate it but you can’t ignore social media. There are various reports that suggest Google is using social signals to determine rankings. If your content has more likes, retweets and shares, it tells Google that it offers value. Once Google knows that it’s valuable content, it boots its rank. Therefore, focus on creating valuable content that people don’t just read but also pass on to others.
One of the most important factors that impact the rankings of a website or blog is the sitemap. Search engine crawlers have a good time going through the sitemap of your site as it makes database indexing much easier. If you plan to establish your site as an original source of your content, you should always create an XML sitemap for directly communicating with search engine crawlers. In the age of content syndication and the post-Panda era, a well-maintained XML sitemap is a surefire way of improving your site’s credibility and search engine rankings.
Avoid Duplicate Content
Having duplicate content on your site is a guaranteed SEO killer. Google doesn’t excuse sites that have duplicate content. Even if only some portions of your site have copied content, the rankings of your entire site are going to suffer. Therefore, make sure at all costs that every page on your website or blog has original and unique content. If your site has duplicate content issues, fix them quickly.
SEO is very much alive even today. It’s only become more complex. If you plan to boost the search rankings of your website or blog, you need to work out a well-planned SEO strategy keeping in mind the current ranking factors. If you lack experience yourself, you should definitely seek the help of an experienced SEO professional or get in touch with a reputable SEO agency.
Lots of free traffic from Google is something that every internet-based business aims for. But whether you’ll attract lots of organic search traffic or none at all depends on the ranking status of your website. The biggest challenge, in this regard, is that SEO keeps changing. And you need to keep yourself up-to-date with the latest Google algorithmic changes and updates. Ranking a website at the top of Google search results wasn’t a tough job 5-10 years ago. Today, SEO has changed and expanded a lot.
If you’ve read 100s of articles and blog posts on how to rank on Google and things are still not working in your favor, this guide is for you. Most importantly, this Google ranking guide helps the newbies who are looking to gain a deep understanding of how Google’s search algorithm functions, which SEO tactics are valid even today and those that have become outdated because of Google Webmaster quality guidelines violation.
Whether you’re the owner of a web-based business or working as an SEO professional, you should read every bit of this guide between the lines and follow all the advice given to rank your website at the top of Google search results.
Google Algorithm Changes & Updates
Google’s search algorithm is a logic-based procedure which helps users find the most relevant web pages for a specific set of keywords. The web’s most dominant search engine focuses on getting users the exact answer or the most reliable piece of information they’re searching for, as fast as possible. To be able to continuously succeed in its mission, Google keeps on updating its search algorithm. These changes could either be small or drastic. As a result of these changes, high quality websites get a boost in their search rankings while poor-quality websites get penalized with lower search rankings.
There have been plenty of updates since Google came into being. However, there are some that truly require attention because of their significant impact on a website’s overall SEO. Major Google algorithm updates are as follows:
The Panda Update: First rolled out in February2011, the Panda update aims to lower or boost the rankings of a website on the basis of content quality. Websites with duplicate content (even if the number of duplicate content pages are a few) lose their rankings and face search penalties due to this particular algorithm update.
The Penguin Update: This update was first launched in April, 2012. If a website participates in link schemes to boost search rankings, Google’s Penguin will find it and punish it by decreasing its search engine rankings. For years, SEO professionals have manipulated search results by using black-hat link building techniques because the more links pointed to a website, the higher it used to rank. Google’s Penguin has put an end to such schemes which include purchasing links or acquiring them via link networks.
The Hummingbird Update: Google started to roll out this update in August, 2013. The update aims at judging the intent of a person as they conduct a search. It shifts focus from ‘what people are looking for’ to ‘why people are looking for something’. After this update was announced, long-tail keywords (or conversational queries) gained more prominence.
The Pigeon Update: First announced in July, 2014, the main goal of this algorithmic update is to provide preference to local search results. Apart from boosting the rankings of local listing, this update also impacts Google Maps results.
Google updates its search algorithm more than 500 times every year. While you don’t need to worry about the minor changes much, you should certainly keep track of the major ones so you can understand the changes and their impacts.
Google Search Ranking Factors
For taking a strategic approach to planning the SEO of your website, you should be aware of all those ranking factors that have a direct impact on Google’s search algorithm. There are many ranking factors that will increase in value while there are others that will have reduced impact in the near future. Also, there are those ranking factors that will continue to have equal value as they did in the past.
Ranking factors that will have increased impact include –
> Mobile friendliness
> A website’s or web page’s perceived value
> Quantity/quality of instant answers provided in SERPs
> Click-through rate and time spent on website
> Influence of structured data in SERPs
> Association with mobile apps and popularity of apps
> Clickstream data from outside of SERPs
> Download time of website
> On-page topic modeling
The value of Google ranking factors like topical relevance of links, social signalling, URL structure and internal linking structure will remain the same. For detailed information on this topic, read this article – How Search Ranking Factors Might Change in 2015 (and Beyond). By keeping a close watch on what’s changing and how it impacts Google’s search algorithm, you’ll be able to work out a SEO strategy that yields a better ROI.
Tips to Rank on Google
Everyone wants to rank at the top of Google search results. If you plan to achieve better Google search engine rankings, you should come up with a well-structred SEO plan. Of course, it requires multiple years of industry experience and knowledge. To help you through the process, we’ve come up with some of the most useful tips and guidelines considering the latest Google algorithm changes and the ranking factors that matter today.
Know Your Current Position
What’s the current position of your website in Google search results? Whether your website has been in existence for many years or it’s brand new, it’s crucial to find out where you stand at present. To successfully conduct an SEO audit, you may need to use multiple tools. Many of these tools are available for free.
Things you need to evaluate include –
> The speed of your website
> Top ranking keywords
> Number (and quality) of backlinks
> Amount of organic traffic
The assessment needs to be as accurate as possible. Google Analytics, Pingdom, Open Site Explorer and Serps are acouple of good tools you can use.
Create a List of Keywords You Want to Rank for
Now that you know where your website stands in terms of SEO, you can begin with the keyword research part – the most vital one. Take a relook at those keywords that you’re already ranking for, identify other important keywords and create a list of all those keywords that you think matter the most for your business.
One big mistake that many SEOs make in this regard is that they try to rank for a single keyword at a time. This should be avoided. Instead of trying to rank for a single keyword at a time, you should try to rank for 100s of long-tail keywords with the same piece of content. Focusing more on long-tail keywords is also beneficial from the point of view that it will generate more conversions. Provided you do it right, the results will amaze you.
Research the Competition
The next important step is to weigh in the level of competition you’ll face while trying to rank for your chosen keywords. For each set of selected keywords, you need to find out how much effort will be required to beat the competition and rank higher on Google.
After running a search query, you can evaluate the situation based on –
> Keyword in the title tag
> Keyword in the URL
> Keyword in the content
> Page/domain authority
> inbound anchor text
The research can prove to be an eye-opener! During the process, you may also identify missed opportunities that you can exploit quickly.
Create High Quality Content
Right from the time Google rolled out the Panda algorithm, value-added content is only gaining more and more prominence as a major Google ranking signal. Any piece of content that you create and publish on your website should not be a ‘mere collection of words’. In fact, it should provide ‘real value’ to the reader by answering a question, teaching a new skill, solving a common problem etc. Also, you should create content in different forms – infographics, videos, podcasts, how-to guides, interviews, PowerPoint presentations etc.
Key traits of high quality or value-added content include –
> Easy to understand
It’s a good idea to create a mix of both short-form (less than 1000 words) and long-form content (more than 1000 words and upto 5000 words). Remember that value-added content is the backbone of an SEO strategy. If you plan to rank high on Google, you should pay serious attention to strategic content creation.
Don’t Forget On-Page Optimization
It’s on-page optimization where most of the SEO professionals make mistakes. To get the most out of your keywords and the content that you feature, you should become aware of the advanced on-page optimization techniques.
These tactics include –
> Internal linking
> Diversification of anchor text
> Use of keywords in title tags
> Use of keywords in URLs
> Structured data
In any case, you should avoid over-optimization at all costs. Excessive on-page optimization in the hope of boosting your website’s Google rankings overnight could easily get you in trouble. So, keep it all natural!
Work Out a Link Building Plan
Finally, you need to improve your website’s backlink profile to rank high on Google. In fact, you should keep on increasing the number of links pointing back to your website. Here’s the secret – if you spend most of your time on creating superior quality, value-added content, you won’t have a tough time building links.
On the basis of the quality of the content on your website, you can not only acquire high quality links but also acquire them in less time. On the other hand, you should dedicate some time to establishing relationships with fellow bloggers, industry experts and influencers in your industry because a lot of link building is actually about building relationships. There are multiple white-hat tactics that you need to master over time so that you can build more and more links for your website to improve its search rankings.
Putting together a fancy e-commerce website with a list of all your products offered at a competitive price is only the fundamental step. What’s next and the most important step is to make sure people can easily locate your website when they’re conducting a keyword search. In fact, your e-commerce website or online store should be optimized for major search engines in a way that it shows on the first page of SERPs when searched online. That’s exactly where most of the online store owners fail to make a hit.
If you plan to sell more, you really need to pay serious attention to boosting the SEO of your website, while adhering to the webmaster quality guidelines in an appropriate manner.
Here are some of the most important tips to follow –
Fix Your Product Descriptions
This is where you have to begin. Each product that you showcase in your online store should have a good description. Sadly enough, most of the e-commerce websites either lack product descriptions altogether or even when they have it, the descriptions are duplicate, copied from the manufacturer’s website. It’s a surefire way not just to ruin your search rankings but also get penalized for having duplicate content on your website.
Therefore, ensure your product descriptions are –
- Original and well-researched
- Written persuasively
- Benefit-focused, and not feature-focused
- Easy to understand
Unless your product descriptions are in order, you’re not yet ready to either rank at the top of search engines or sell more.
Get More Reviews for Your Products
One of the commonest reasons for not making a lot of product sales is the scarcity of customer reviews. Buyers, when searching online, first look for reviews about a product they’re planning to buy. It is, therefore, crucial that you encourage your customers more and more to leave reviews for your products on your e-commerce website or other relevant forums. What’s more interesting about review pages is that they carry more search potential than the selling pages. One additional benefit of having lots of reviews is that they add freshness to your product pages, thus boosting the search rankings.
Don’t Forget to Have Optimized Images
Having lots of product images on your website actually provides you with an excellent opportunity to optimize your website some more for better rankings in search engines. Ad ALT tags to each of the images as well as add keyword-optimized captions. If possible, you should create original images of your products so that you can quickly set your e-commerce store apart from the competition. Make sure every product image that you feature on your website is of the highest quality and compelling.
Get Rid of Broken Links
Major search engines like Google hate to see lots of broken links on a website. To keep your e-commerce website’s SEO on the right track, you’ll always need to keep a tab on the broken links status. Even though Google may send you messages (via Webmaster tools) about broken links on your website from time to time, it’s advisable to have a routine check in place for the same. Broken links are bad both from the search engine and people’s point of view. When someone searching for a particular product reaches a broken link or a ‘Page 404 Not Found’ error, they get instantly frustrated, which in turn hurts the sales.
Search engines claim a high percentage of all online traffic. If you really plan to boost the keyword presence of your e-commerce website, you should sit with your in-house team of SEO professionals right away and work out a strategy with the help of the guidelines or tips mentioned above. In case you don’t have an in-house team, you should not make any more delay in reaching out to an experienced SEO services provider and get the strategy planned.