Want to get more traffic from Google? You need to supercharge your SEO strategy. Here are 24 actionable SEO tips to boost your site in 2018.
At some point in your organic search campaigns, have you ever felt that your link-building efforts are barely moving the needle in the SERPs? Maybe once. Twice. Or every damn time. It could be because you're either building worthless links or because you think you're building quality links but, in reality, they're not. How do you assess the quality of a link? You've probably heard of the SEO jargon referred to as 'link juice'. So, what kind of link do you think passes a greater amount of juice?
There are many SaaS companies that sell marketing analytics and data-driven reports. From the top of my head, I can call out Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz, Majestic etc. Those are definitely the bigger players. Out of these 4, I've felt Ahrefs has the best crawler and metrics that determine the ranking potential of a specific page. I'm talking about UR. Higher the UR, greater the 'link juice' a page would contain. Here are my 2 cents: build high UR links and you'll notice the differences. Scale processes to produce high UR links and you'll beat them all.
Contributors: Rahul V J from Techwyse
Anchor text is extremely important. Make sure that you are optimizing your website by auditing the anchor text of your internal links. The anchor text should be descriptive to the piece that you are linking to and entice your visitors to actually click through.
Extra credit: audit the anchor text of your external links as well!
Contributors: Nicholas Christensen from Lottery Critic
If you are targeting local customers, then an optimized listing is imperative. Add posts, answer questions and have up to date opening hours and website details as well as images. Add a 360-degree walkthrough of your business if you have a shop front so that customers know what to expect.
Contributors: Rebecca Caldwell from Mash Media
Setting up and configuring Google Search Console for your website is a crucial step for your SEO strategy. By leveraging Google Search Console, you're able to monitor your website's crawl errors, indexing status, and submit your sitemap. Technical SEO is a very important part a solid SEO strategy and Google Search Console allows you to ensure your website meets Google's technical recommendations.
Contributors: Alan Muther from Thrive Internet Marketing Agency
Instead of using what you’ve found on the internet make your own images or graphics - you can use screenshots of graphs made in Pages and so on. How can this help with SEO? Well, instead of linking somebody else’s images you put yours out for others to link in their content. This may take more time than simply using something from Google, but trust me, it pays off!
Contributors: Iga Wójtowicz from INVO Technologies
This allows for a unique opportunity for website owners to strategically place keywords, but also have an opportunity to entice prospects to their website. Planning for solid, exciting meta descriptions will help a website for the future.
Contributors: Osiris Parikh from Allstate Insurance Agent: Reggie Reginald
Sprinkle keywords throughout the post in places where it seems natural (about every 100 words or so). Also, include at least one keyword in the first sentence and in the post’s conclusion. To get the most out of your keywords, make sure you include keywords in these areas of your post:
- The title
- Sub-heads/section headers
- Photo captions
- Image file names
- The URL of the post
- The meta-description
Contributors: Emily Sidley from Three Girls Media, Inc.
One of the easiest, yet often overlooked, SEO tricks is to label photos with top keywords. Most people simply upload an image with its generic tag/name, but one way to score some SEO oomph is to rename all image with subsequent focus keywords. Don't overstuff, but do be strategic with your naming.
Contributors: Lauren Gilmore from PR&Prose
A lot of older blogs have a wealth of hundreds of articles published, but unfortunately, the internal linking is all over the place. Because you had no content initially, your old posts do not link to fresh content, while the fresher content link to too many of your posts. Use topical clustering in your internal linking strategy. Let me break this down for you.
Start by going through all your existing content and classify them in a handful of categories or topics. Then, go through some content maintenance: merge redundant articles and refresh some older pieces with a better structure, new infographics, and new links. Finally, craft a pillar page for each topic.
A pillar page sits atop a related group of published articles in order to summarize them all in one place. Each of these articles will be linked to from the pillar page. Ideally, a pillar page is the entry point for all people interested in this topic. If they want to read more, they can visit these more in-depth links. Also called hub pages, these are generally longer in order to reach topical comprehensiveness.
Contributors: Lazhar Ichir from TopicSeed
One of the single, most effective strategies that I have implemented for my clients is the skyscraper technique. This technique is easy to accomplish if you're willing to do some work. All you have to do is take the keyword you want to rank for and research all the content on the first page ranking for that keyword. Then all you have to do is make the content better, and longer than what's out there. As long as your content is 100% original, you will see it influence your ranking positively.
Contributors: Sean Dudayev from Frootful Marketing
There are many resources available to analyze competitor links, one of the most popular is SEMrush. A competitor link analysis involves compiling a manageable list of competitors within your industry, making note of the domains and specific web pages that are linking to them, and finding opportunities where you can get similar links. It's a simple process and reports can be generated in no time. Competitive link analysis is crucial for an effective link building strategy.
Contributors: Lucas Wickens from MedicSpot
Backlinks happen when another blog, media outlet, or website makes mention of you and links back to your site. Why are they important? Because they increase your domain authority and make you seem more credible in Google’s eyes. Credibility makes a difference in where your website ranks in search engines. Reaching out to other bloggers to collaborate or pitching to media and news outlets can help you up your domain authority quickly.
Contributors: Katie Cauthen from Purcado
It's important to keep keywords in mind when you're creating content for your site, but it's often *more* important to make sure the piece reads well, is likely to be linked to by other domains, and that users see it as a quality piece of information. Have a list of keywords in mind while you write, but know that if you're writing quality content the keywords will show up naturally in your writing anyways.
One good way to find keywords to target for your SEO-driven content is by looking at your competitor's content. Using a tool like Ahrefs, you can take your competitor's root URL or a URL for a specific blog post and look up all of the keywords that site or page ranks for. From there, you can identify the best opportunities by looking at the estimated search volume and keyword difficulty score of each keyword. You want to find a keyword that has a decent amount of search volume with a low keyword difficulty score. I usually look for a keyword difficulty of 30 or under.
Contributors: Cody Slingerland, Organization: Jawfish Digital
Load speed has a small effect on search rank itself. But a slow website leads to a high bounce rate which leads to lower search rank. The main reason sites load slowly is that images are not compressed properly. Make sure they are web resolution, 72 dpi and no larger than you need. If you are on WordPress you can use a compression plugin like WP Smush or Imagify to compress them further.
Another thing you can do is make sure the site is cached. Caching delivers a static version of the site to reduce load speed. Using a caching plugin with a Content Delivery Network like Cloudflare can really speed up your load time. Some advanced techniques involve Gzip compression and removing query strings. Use a tool such as GTMetrix or Pingdom Speed Test to see what your speed is and their suggestions to speed it up.
Contributors: Gabriel Bertolo from Radiant Elephant
Make sure Google knows you exist by submitting your sitemap. Yoast can create that sitemap for you, then you need to submit within your Google Webmaster tools. When this is done, their bots can start crawling and ranking your site.
Contributors: Jessica Thiefels from Jessica Thiefels Consulting
An increasing number of search engine experts are now telling their clients to create content pieces which support each other, and thereby increase page authority because when you write a series of posts about the thing you do, which interlink with each other, you’re building an internal content network of sorts. And Google can see that. This isn’t necessarily a new thing, but the technique has had a resurgence because links have become one of the primary ways Google recognizes content in context. Instead of paying a hundred bloggers to link to your website, which takes time and money, you can reap many of the benefits of those inbound links by linking your own content to your own content.
Contributors: Nichole ElizabethDeMeré from Purpose Beyond Product
If you only do one thing to improve your search rankings I would advise you to start blogging regularly. Although it can seem a drag when having to write 1000+ word posts, nothing will increase your visibility quite like publishing regular content. More articles about your niche or local area increase your ranking signals as well as build trust with your audience. More content gives you a better chance of ranking for variants of your relevant keywords. More traffic leads to even better visibility whilst you develop credibility with customers - a win-win!
Contributors: Liam Pedley from Liam Pedley Design
Reading a book is different than reading on a screen. There are psychological reasons why extra white space improves online readability. This translates to more engagement or the user staying on the page and hopefully your site longer. Google rewards longer user sessions because this indicates the content answers the question and engages them. Use short sentences and paragraphs to improve readability and time on page.
Contributors: Chris Love from Love2Dev
Do a site: search for your site; for example, type site:futurety.com into Google. The top pages that are returned are the pages that Google sees as the most important pages on your site. How do things look? Consider adding keywords to your title tags, and making your meta descriptions engaging to the user. Do this for the top 10 pages, or as many as you would like.
Contributors: Sam Underwood from Futurety
To grow our business and ramp up our organic SEO what we have done is to create landing pages for smaller markets outside of our larger markets that we already operate in. For example, In addition to creating landing pages for large metros like Atlanta Ga, we also create them for Marietta, Alpharetta, Decatur, etc. This will ensure that Google algorithm can detect the keywords and our business in that specific location. This helps expand our business to a new city by ranking for search and has improved our business by 10% by launching this practice.
Contributors: Gene Caballero from GreenPal
You need to first understand how your users search online. Then you need to target those keywords. Then you need to add more robust content to answer user inquiries as seamlessly as possible. Then you need to capture the leads information through gated content, ebooks, etc. These are the steps to a successful SEO campaign.
Contributors: Joe Sloan from Advice Media
It can be tempting to write content or base your marketing efforts on the latest trends and fads. However, you must always remember that evergreen content, or content that will always be interesting to readers, presents an immense amount of value in terms of SEO. Ranking highly on content that readers consistently search for will enable you to drive traffic to your website/business all year round. While writing about recent trends can be tempting, don't forget to lay a solid foundation of evergreen content along the way.
Contributors: Tom B. from This Online World
The biggest and most-effective thing you can do today is to always be creating fresh content! Keep your pages up to date and stick to one keyword per page. Write your content organically rather than awkwardly by letting your keywords flow into your sentences. When you want to make a heading for your page with a keyword, turn it into a sentence; it doesn't have to just be your keyword in the title. Blogging is also an amazing away to organically rank for additional keywords and current Google trends, and also gives the user a better experience by providing them with the answers they were searching for.
Contributors: Jessa Black from Livalto
Voice search is becoming more popular as time goes on. Make sure that you are thinking about voice search when you are adding keywords to your content. When you perform your keyword research, try incorporating more voice search-related queries.
Contributors: Alayna Pehrson from BestCompany
I recently attended a digital marketing conference and heard the MET in New York talk about how the museum redesigned their user experience and marketing strategies to become IRRESISTIBLE.
Pay attention to the experience, not just the art.
SEO strategists often forget the conversion optimization elements of an SEO campaign. If you're not looking at how to better convert a lead into a sale, then you're missing the last critical piece. Create a unique experience for visitors so that they're more included to become a customer.
Contributors: Scott Fish from 32° digital Museum Marketing
In terms of SEO, business owners should focus on the user intent of search queries. If you’re able to understand the kinds of questions your users are asking, you can optimize your website content so that it directly answers those questions. Rather than focusing all your time on finding keywords, try creating content around your keywords. This will get your content closer to what users are actually searching for. Nothing is guaranteed in the world of search engine optimization. However, if your site architecture and technical elements are optimized, your content strategy is in place, and you’ve implemented an ongoing “white hat” link building campaign, it is far more likely you will see improvements in rankings and continue to grow.
Contributors: Brandon Schroth from Gillware Data
Many SEO pros analyzed Google's August 1 search algorithm update and found that sites with low credibility were hit the hardest, especially businesses in the YMYL (Your Money Your Life) categories such as finance and healthcare. To boost credibility, follow Google's E-A-T recommendations, which are outlined in the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. The acronym stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust.
The idea is that by boosting the credibility of your website, you could not only improve your search rankings, but users will establish a greater sense of trust with a brand. E-A-T is becoming more important than ever as users feel more skeptical of online information. So you can do things like cite expert sources in your content, include author bios, provide useful (not branded) content, and implement features that make users feel safe (such as including relevant certificates on your website).
Contributors: Valerie Turgeon from Brandpoint
Google alone is one of your biggest SEO assets as it is the number one search engine, with the second owned by Google, YouTube! So, I highly recommend to every client that they set up a Google+ page completely. That means all photos, all contact information, and everything else that shows you are in business and know what you are talking about. But as with everywhere else on the internet, make it about the customer journey, not a brag about how well you’ve done. If you are using videos anywhere on the web, whether that’s a webinar or a Facebook Live, all video should have a home on YouTube.
When you can, make sure you embed those videos on your website. Google favors Google content so that helps your SEO incredibly. Google Ads Keyword Planner is an invaluable resource for brainstorming your keywords. It gives you phrases around what people searching for your chosen keywords are actually searching. In turn, add those to your metadata and SEO locations. Finally, especially if you work locally, set up a Google My Business Page. It doesn’t have to be a physical location if you work from home but highlights your business in search results.
Contributors: Cat Smith from Get Social with Cat
Link building is the foundational element of increasing SEO, and now it is manifesting through images and video. Using Pinterest to post images related to your business presents amazing opportunities to both share quality content and simultaneously reap SEO rewards. Pinterest is the second largest referrer of traffic to websites, which means that only Facebook refers more site visits. On this platform, when you link an image back to your website it counts as a backlink, and that link can be measured in the Google Search console.
The key here is that every time the image is re-pinned (shared), the link duplicates. Google’s artificial intelligence platform, RankBrain, is very accurate at recognizing images. This means that a picture that is relevant to your business can create hundreds of backlinks, which is huge for SEO and rankings.
Contributors: Kellen Kautzman from Send It Rising Internet Marketing
A keyword map is a simple guide that identifies the topical theme for each web page of significance. Containing information such as URL, page type, target keywords, title tag and meta description, this document prevents keyword cannibalization and helps keep content creators focused on the primary topic of each page. Over time, the use of a keyword map will help maximize organic visibility by increasing the number of keywords for which a website can rank.
Contributors: Bill Rowland from Trinity Insight
Customers landing on your website from search engines often are discovering you for the first time. Traffic alone doesn’t generate revenue – you need conversions. To convert that the person browsing your website to a lead, you need to create comfort in giving you a call, entering contact info in a form, or making a purchase. For service-based companies, the best way to build credibility is client testimonials. Real video testimonials from satisfied customers go a long way. Also consider website tools that display 5-Star Facebook, GoogleMyBusiness, and Yelp reviews. You can feature membership with organizations such as the Better Business Bureau, chambers of commerce, or professional organizations in your niche.
Contributors: Earl White from House Heroes LLC
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