It’s an ongoing project: SEO What are the best tactics when it comes to ranking in Google and Bing? No doubt you’ll find a lot of information on the web about how to achieve incredible rank – some valid, some not-so-much. At the end of the day, focusing in on a few key tactics will give your site the best chance at ranking high in the search engines. Here are our best SEO tips for ranking in search results:
Build a good website.
What is a good website? The answer may seem simple on the surface. However, there’s more to a good website than user-friendly navigation and pretty pictures. A good website certainly does include these items, however there are a couple factors that must be addressed for better search results. These include responsive design and load time.
Responsive design is critical. According to Search Engine Journal: “Google is built for users – for people who search the web. In a world where those users are accessing the web via mobile devices, Google is acting accordingly. And so, it stands to reason that they are going to favor those sites that meet the needs of Google users.” Test your site on mobile to be sure it includes mobile navigation, renders properly and loads quickly.
Since 2010 Google has used page load time in their algorithms. While a slower site effects bounce rate and conversions, we also know that Google has announced mobile page speed will be used in their mobile-first index. Pay attention to your desktop and mobile load times. Think: image-size, server side processes, etc. Find out how you stack up to new industry benchmarks for mobile page speed with Google’s “Test My Site“.
Determine your keywords.
Your SEO strategy should begin with determining your keywords. Try to get into the minds of your intended audience. What are they searching for? Try to use their vocabulary whenever possible. Start with a couple of tools to analyze your current site’s keyword density. Then using the Keyword Density Analyzer (link below), see what the density is for the top-ranking (competitive) sites.
Google’s Keyword Planner, part of the Adwords network of Google offerings
Keyword Density Analyzer from SEOBook
Yoast also recommends the use of long tail keywords, especially if you are in a competitive industry. By using long tail keywords (3+ word phrases) you can narrow in on the audience that might use that phrase. Once you have determined your best keywords, looking at competition and search volume, incorporate them in all your content.
On-site SEO is easy and effective.
Using WordPress? Install Yoast or All-in-One SEO. Use the interface to add keywords and long-tail keywords in your meta data including page title, description and keywords. Be sure the title and description are reflective of your page content. You can (and should) use keywords in these entries but only if it makes sense. Write these for people; it will pay off in the end.
Write for readers as well as search engines.
For 15+ years marketers have tried to find ways to outsmart search engines to earn rank. But over time, and with Google’s continuous algorithm updates it is constantly a game of catch-up. With that, one thing has remained the same. Content developers need to write for people and the search engines. Sure you need to use your keywords but over-stuffing is ineffective and possibly damaging to your rank.
Developing rich content that is readable, stays on topic and is unique will create interest in your blog, your product or your service. The key is to bring readers in with quality information that answers their need for information and interest.
Engage with your audience.
Once you’ve developed rich content, share it. Find out where your audience lives, where they hang out. Depending on who your target is, this will undoubtedly include social media. Share your content on Twitter and Facebook, perhaps Instagram and YouTube, depending on your product or service. And don’t overlook local search opportunities with Yelp and Citysearch.
Engaging with your “community” will grow your social signals and help your chances of increasing search engine ranking.
So that’s it for now; we know this will change soon…it always does. We’ll be back with more tips before you know it. Work a little each month on SEO and watch for updates here on the best SEO tips.
If you’re one of those people who like to understand what’s going on “under the hood” then you probably want to know more about what makes SEO work. What are the things you should consider before, during and after launching your website.
There are tons of sources on the web today – just do a search on “SEO” or “Search Engine Optimization” using Google, Yahoo, or Bing. You’ll find millions of results. From my way of looking at it, the companies that appear on the first page probably know a thing or two about the business; after-all they got their business on the first page, right?
Having said that, here are a few that I like:
All on the first page!
Everyone’s doing it, right? Setting up a blog is a great way to share ideas and news with friends and family. Setting up a blog is imperative for business. Sharing quality content about products and services as well as related ‘edutainment’ type content enables a business to increase brand awareness, through social sharing, and improve customer service.
Whatever reason you have for creating a blog, doing it right from the outset will help you achieve your goals. Ajeet Yadav (jeffbullas.com) has some tips on Jeff Bullas’ blog that just make sense, The 15 Most Common WordPress Mistakes to Avoid. They’re easy to implement too. Number seven stands out to me:
#7 — Using the Default Permalink
This is the link created when you add a new post. It may look something like this: http://www.yourblog.com/?p=123. Be sure and check your theme’s settings and change this to include the title of your post. This will look better to your readers and help in search engine ranking.
Gating content means adding a form for users to fill in before they can view your content. It is used to capture lead information. But what happens when a search engine robot reaches your form? Does it get through to your content?
If you are hoping for organic traffic to this content, you may want to reconsider gating it. Guest author Janet Driscoll Miller writes about this on Search Engine Land‘s blog today in her article entitled “Should You Gate Content? The SEO Implications“.
I love the idea Miller has of creating a summary or preview on the form page. This will allow visitors to decide the worth of the content and the search bots to index the main focus of the content.
Image: Travis Reitter
Are title tags important? How can you improve your rankings by modifying your title tags? If you’re asking these questions, read this article.
Released last fall, (late September) Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm has changed the way we develop our websites and market to our customers. In the past, we have focused on keywords, populating ALT tags in images and of the meta tags (or meta data) in page titles, descriptions and content. Now with this latest change, we need to look at what a searcher intends. This is referred to as semantic or conversational search. Google’s new algorithm looks at the entire search phrase instead of a few key words.
Does that mean mind-reading? Not really, it’s just another way to look at search terms or phrases and catering our content to answer those queries. As always, content should be high-quality and focus in on the needs of your intended audience. For instance, my business is located in Hoschton, Georgia, which is close to Braselton, Flowery Branch, Dacula, Buford and other surrounding cities. By adding this to information to my blog, it may be that people from those locations will find Keener Digital Marketing in their search results. I do work for companies across the United States but this just gives me one more way to reach my prospective clients.
There’s plenty of information about Hummingbird available by companies that specialize in search engine marketing. Here are a few links, that you may find helpful if you want to learn more about SEO and the latest trends.
By the way, I’ve been following SearchEngineWatch.com since the mid-nineties and highly recommend this site. (Image provided by searchenginewatch.com)
What is Social Media Marketing? From our friends at Mashable.com, “Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites.”
It’s the activities you do on Facebook and Twitter to increase awareness of your business or your cause, or even yourself! Posting interesting industry news on your Facebook page is marketing if you target your customers and potential customers. Ideally these people will find your content worthy of sharing.
Sharing is the key to effective social media marketing. And that’s why quality content is important. Make them want to read it and then make them want to tell their friends and colleagues.
Another aspect of social media marketing is that of clout (aka Klout) — when your content gets shared, it adds to your clout score which means you might rank higher in search engines. Aha — that’s the best reason to enhance your social media marketing — you want new customers and they’re searching for you (and your competitors) on Google.