When you start a new website or a blog, it is not enough to just have all the content written down. Of course, you can do it, but that will be just a waste of time if your motive is to attract more leads and potential customers to your site with the help of those content. This is where you need to put an SEO strategy in place.
Before we proceed, for those who don’t know this already, SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it is a process of getting free (organic) traffic from search results on search engines. Now, have you ever tried performing a Google search? Like trying to find the best mobile phone in your budget or locating the nearest restaurant? Well, obviously you must have. So, when you search something on Google you see both paid advertising and “organic listings” on search results page that shows up. The paid advertising usually sits at the top and right-hand side of search result pages and to the left of these ads are what is referred to as “organic” search results. Ranking on the top happens when websites play their SEO card right.
All search engines, including the major ones like Google, Yahoo and Bing have primary search results, where pages and other websites are ranked based on what search engine consider is most relevant for the user. This side of digital marketing is free, and you just have to understand all its techniques and what you should do in order to make your website rank better for all the queries related to your business.
Why is SEO So Important?
Before we dig into the nitty-gritty of the deep world of SEO, let’s discuss why is it so important to focus on it.
Different people from all over the world who use internet search engines to find information or to buy something. If various researches are to be believed, almost 90 percent of people, will examine only the first page of search results. Consider this, how many time do you look around on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th page of Google while searching for something? Hardly ever right? That is the reason why you need SEO for your site. You need your site to rank on the first page else search engines will bury your content forever. The main idea is to achieve better optimization and therefore higher ranking in order to reach new customers and visitors.
Search engine optimization strategy is divided into two different categories: On-Page and Off-Page optimization. For the better results, you have to use them both to improve your rankings.
On-Page Search Engine Optimization
On-Page SEO also referred as onsite SEO includes optimizing different parts of your site in order to improve the search rankings. It is everything that you control and change on your own website and the best part is, optimizing your website for SEO is quite easy and completely free! Here are the most important elements that you need to optimize your website,
Each page should have a different title tag. It is important to put targeted keywords in the title tag depending upon the content you put on every single page of your website. For example, you wrote a blog post reviewing the recently launched iPhone X. It is therefore vitally important that you include ‘iPhone X review’ within your post title, perhaps include keywords like “Apple iPhone X review & Rating” or ’iPhone X Vs. iPhone 8’.
This way, whenever someone searches for iPhone X reviews in a search engine, your post has a better chance of showing up as you have included those keywords.
Try creating a meaningful URL structure and include targeted keywords into it to attract the search engines more. The location of these keywords can also be a major influence. For example, http://crazydigitalmarketer.com/blog/beginners-guide-digital-marketing-for-businesses is definitely performing better than if I would have used the URL structure as http://crazydigitalmarketer.com/blog/#.WiV-AkqWbI
Many people forget or skip including meta descriptions for their web pages. A short an crispy description with a relevant keyword is a must for each webpage as these are used within the search results when your page is listed. Also, these descriptions will help you rank better for the targeted keywords.
Body Tags (Headings –H1, H2, H3, H4)
Headings are an important element on the page, and search engines give them more weight than the actual content. Use a catchy heading that reflects the actual content and try including one of the targeted keywords in the headlines wherever you can. Generally, H1 tags are reserved for your main page title, with subsequent headings like H2, H3 or H4.
Alt Text For Images
Along with the caption, you need to add alt text to each of the images you put in your content. Alt text serves as a caption for the search engine bots and depending upon the alt text you use, they rank your image in the search results. Although these texts are not visible to your website visitors, it is important for search engines as they rank your images and your contents based on these texts.
Quick Tip: Rename each image differently before you upload them to the website and try including a keyword. This also helps images to rank better.
Optimize The Page Load Speed
Google dislikes sites that are slow, and your visitors will be frustrated too. Therefore you have to look around for ways to optimize your page to make it load faster and that will surely lead to better ranking. The optimum page load speed is 3-5 seconds for each page. Use Google webmaster tool to find out what is affecting your page load speed and work to improve them.
Compress All Your Images
Always look around for ways to compress the images you upload in your website. A full-size image usually is difficult to load and increase your page load time which is not at all good for your SEO as well as your site visitors who might have to wait till eternity to read your blog, which they will never do.
The content must be useful to others, and that is THE most important thing that you have to know. Find a specific topic, and write an in-depth content about it. It has to be easy to read and should provide great informational value to readers. Also, gone were the days when people use to publish 200-words long blogs to get themselves ranked. Today, long-form contents (at-least more than 700 words) are given much more preference while ranking.
Including relevant keywords throughout your content is very important, as it helps search engines work out what your content is about. However, try to keep your keyword density to roughly 2-5% or in general include the keyword only once or twice in the whole content, overusing the same phrase might have a negative impact on your rankings. Try using the synonym for the keywords for better results.
Your website should have user-friendly navigation, what next a visitor should read, what else they can buy, the home page button, the contact us options everything should be in place to help the users crawl or navigate through the website easily and effectively. Website/blog should contain sitemap and if the websites that have a lot of pages, including the breadcrumb navigation can enhance the way users find their way around.
User-Friendly 404 Page
You must have encountered this error while trying to open a link that no longer exists or has been moved to a new location (having a different link). The latest trend that many good sites follow is to customize the 404 error page in an engaging way that will let the user explore the other pages of their site. Build a customized 404 page for your site. Like the one, I have for CrazyDigitalMarketer.com
Linking to other pages is useful not only to visitors but to search engines because that is the way you will be able to show them that content is researched well and informative. Try to add only backlinks that are close enough to a topic that you are writing about, and choose relevant links from other informative websites in order to get better rankings.
On-Page SEO will ensure your page is relevant and informative to the visitors and search engine bots. With good on-page SEO you can easily find your website, and navigate the structure of content.
Off-Page Search Engine Optimization
Off-Page SEO focuses on actions taken outside your own website to improve the search rankings. In simpler words, you are using other popular websites to promote yourself. The more you do this, the better you have the chance of getting ranked. People associate off-page SEO strategies to merely with link building activities but a good off-page SEO strategy is not limited to that. Brand mentions (your site URL or brand name mentioned on another site without a hyperlink) are also an integral aspect of off-page search signals.
The most popular ways to begin your off-page SEO technique includes,
If you have an e-commerce site, make sure you have a blog section where you post regular content. Then look around for famous blog directories and add your blog there with a link pointing to your website. It’s something like yellow pages, especially for blogs.
Forum Posting and Signatures
Join the online forums in your niche and participate as much as possible. Comment on other’s post, create a thread, reply to other’s messages, you can mention the link to your site wherever necessary (avoid spamming though). Also, include the link to your website in your signature or status for generating more backlinks.
It’s somewhat the same concept as forum postings but here, you comment on some other website or blog in order to gain a link.
By publishing your articles in article directories, you generally get a link back to your website. Some article directories accept only unique content while other directories accept anything from syndicated content to spin articles. So look around and check their publishing policy before submitting your content. Few popular article directories include Hubpages, ehow, Ezinearticles.
Guest Posting And Shared Content Directories
Websites like HuffingtonPost, Entrepreneur, WikiHow allows you to publish some relevant and insightful content (usually unique content) and in return, you can add a couple of links pointing to your websites. The best way to generate quality backlinks as well as to attract more visitors to your site!
I see this one is quite trending among the bloggers and website owners these days. Instead of trying to publish content you could get in touch with other webmasters and ask them to exchange links. In other words, two people can post a content with linking back to each other’s site, Win-Win situation for both! However, make sure you link back to a relevant site that actually help your readers in some or the other way and don’t just go around linking to any random site just for the sake of it.
Using Social Media Sites
Promote your content on Famous sites Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other sites like Tumblr, Quora, Medium that link back to your site. Here are top tips for to get started.
Social Bookmarking Sites
These are one of the best platforms to promote your website. You can gain high traffic to your website or blog by bookmarking them on popular social bookmarking websites like Stumbleupon, Digg, Delicious.
Go ahead and create few attractive documents related to your blog or business in either a pdf or ppt format and submit them to the document sharing websites like Slideshare or Scribd.
Question and Answer
One of the best ways you can get high traffic is from various Q&A websites. Sign up to these sites in your niche and search for questions related to your website, business, or blog and give a clear, non-spammy and in-depth answers to such questions. You can provide the link to your website wherever you can and this will help in bringing you more visibility.
Image, Video, and Infographics Submission
It is one of the more popular ways to get quality backlinks. Head to popular submission sites in each category and regularly upload relevant images, videos, and infographics on them. Make sure you provide a proper title, description, tags and reference links on each of the video you upload. Few popular sites are-
Video– Youtube, Vimeo, Ustream, Vine.
Image– Instagram, Flickr, Shutterstock, Imgur
Infographics– Submitinfographics, Nerdgraph, Visual and even Pinterest.
Which is more important? On-Page SEO or Off-Page SEO?
This question is more like what is more important, the roof or the foundation for building a great house! Both of them are important, and only together they can make your website perform better. Of course, strategies for both of them are different, but you should work on both aspects in order to improve your ranking.
Start with finding the right keywords for your niche and create content around them. You must have high-quality and unique content, in order to get better rank on Google, Yahoo and Bing or any other search engine.
- All these techniques will help you generate more links for your site, however, it is not only about link quantity but also about creating shareable content. No one can tell you exactly how many links you need to rank better, but you should always focus on creating meaningful content rather than generating more links.
- NEVER buy links. However tempting it may sound buying such links are not good for your site’s health and chances are most of the links are spammy and as a result, search engines will penalize you by decreasing your rankings. Such techniques come under black hat SEO method. Remember, quality wins over quantity, and that is everything you should know.
- If you have a brick & mortar business (local business) like a hotel, restaurant or a bakery you need to work on your local SEO strategy as well.
SEO has changed over years, earlier you just had to generate a large number of backlinks in order to get a better rank, but those days are long behind us now. Today, everything that matters is high-quality content. If something is badly written with low-quality, you cannot expect it to rank high because the goal of Google and other search engines is to deliver the best search results for their users and they will never let you cheat them.
Do you have any other SEO tip to share? Let me know in the comments below!