Most business owners have at least a basic understanding of SEO and its main principles – it’s been an integral part of online lead generation for decades and has helped many businesses achieve tremendous results, so there aren’t many people who doubt its effectiveness.
But merely understanding how it works doesn’t usually translate into actually achieving success. In fact, with so many people trying to use SEO for their business, there’s simply too much-contradicting information online to get a clear understanding of what one must do.
Today, it’s not enough to just put together a bunch of articles and add a bunch of keywords – Google algorithm updates have ensured that spammy content stuffed with keywords won’t achieve any significant results.
In order to have a shot at ranking for one of the more competitive keywords in your niche, you need to use more advanced SEO techniques that can help your website stand out from the competition.
That will take time and effort, but it’s not any more difficult than any other part of your business plan, and the potential upside makes it well worth it.
To get you started, here are four things you can do today that can make a huge difference in making your SEO strategy a success.
Re-Optimize Your Old Content
Content is at the center of any successful SEO strategy – without providing value through articles, blog posts, and infographics, there’s little to no chance of your website being noticed by the search engines.
But while it’s important to consistently create new content, that’s not the only way how you can build website value with content marketing.
If you’ve been publishing a blog for a while, odds are that you already have plenty of content that’s either become outdated or hasn’t performed well in the past.
Instead of allowing it to sit unread in your archives, you could try refreshing old content and bringing it back to life to not only give a boost to your traffic and website performance numbers but also give an additional lift to your SEO efforts.
But what exactly can you improve in your old blog posts to help with SEO? Well, here are a few things you could look at.
Update the Quality
The first and most obvious thing you should look at is making the content more relevant and informative for your readers. If it didn’t perform well, adding new information, expanding on current topics, or simply going more in-depth can go a long way into revitalizing the blog post and making it more successful.
Add More Secondary Keywords
Today, Google has a sophisticated approach for determining the relevance of an article, and secondary keywords are an integral part of the process. If you want your content to be noticed, you need to include plenty of keywords that are relevant to the topic. Luckily, this will happen naturally if you make sure that your content is of top quality – if you provide value, your content will be keyword-rich without having to add keywords manually.
Enhance Your Content Using Images and Media
If you haven’t updated your blog posts in a while, chances are that they lack visual elements that are required to make the content easier to consume and more engaging. If that’s the case, make sure you include plenty of images, videos, and other relevant media that help to enhance the content and make it more appealing. Google and other search engines value content that’s rich in visual elements, so it may be the nudge that your articles need to climb up the rankings.
Add External Links
External links are another great way to improve your content and make it more valuable in the eyes of Google – if you link to authority websites that help to illustrate your point and provide more information, you’re showing the search engines that your content is informative and useful to the reader.
Add Internal Links to Your Old Posts
Although internal links may not have the same SEO value as external links, they are still essential and play a role in your rankings. What’s more, internal links allow you to improve traffic to your other posts and keep your visitor reading through your content. If you add relevant anchor text to your links, you can even help the other posts improve their rankings as well.
Although these content upgrade methods may seem simple, they can make a huge difference, and they don’t require that much effort – instead of having to craft a new piece of content from scratch, you can revitalize old posts and achieve a significant boost to your SEO efforts.
Focus on Long-Tail Keywords
Trying to rank for the most competitive keywords in your niche can be a daunting task – achieving any tangible results with some of the keywords may take many months or even years because they’re hyper-competitive.
That’s where long-tail keywords can be so helpful.
They allow you to appear in results for keywords that are much less competitive, so you can get your website ranked in a fraction of the time that it would take with short and highly-competitive keywords. Long-tail keywords also require less effort, as there is usually a lack of quality content that covers the subject.
Although long-tail keywords usually get less monthly traffic, that doesn’t mean that you have to settle for fewer leads for your business. In fact, since long-tail phrases are usually very specific, you can expect people searching for those terms to be much more sophisticated prospects and be farther along the buyer journey.
Since long-tail keywords are more specific, you can also develop more relevant content that’s especially crafted with a narrow target audience in mind, and convert website visitors to leads at a much higher rate.
How to Find and Choose the Right Long-Tail Keywords?
There isn’t a clear-cut answer to this question – keywords are unique to every industry, so you will need to do your own research if you want to find the best long-tail keywords to target.
However, there are approaches you can take that have been effective for many companies.
You can start with taking a look at your biggest competitors online – analyze what they are doing on their blog, what ads they’re running, and look for keywords that they rank for. This can help you get insights into which keywords are bringing in the best leads, and you can adjust your own efforts accordingly.
There are also plenty of SEO tools that can help you discover hidden keywords that receive consistent traffic but aren’t too competitive. Although this still takes time, by digging deeper for some of the main keywords, you can find variations that can bring you terrific results.
Loading Speed of Your Website Matters a Lot
In recent years, Google has put a strong emphasis on providing its users with the best possible experience, no matter the device that they’re using.
That’s why the last few algorithm updates mainly focused on promoting websites that are mobile-friendly, easy to use, and load quickly. Meanwhile, the sites that didn’t meet the requirements got punished and started losing their ranking positions.
So, if you want your website to have any shot of appearing for competitive keywords on Google, you must ensure that it provides a seamless experience to all of your visitors.
And the speed at which your site loads is one of the key areas you should focus on.
Google punishes websites that take a long time to load, but that’s not the only way that it’s hurting your ranking. Today’s users are accustomed to browsing websites quickly, so if your site doesn’t meet their requirements, they will leave and go to your competitors. In fact, 53% of visitors will leave a mobile site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
That’s bad on its own, but what it also does is increase your site’s bounce rate numbers, which is a vital indicator that Google uses to measure if a site is valuable and useful to its readers.
Obviously, it won’t matter how fast your site loads if its contents aren’t valuable to the visitors, but at the same time, a slow website can hinder your efforts even if you have top-quality content that would otherwise be valued by both your readers and Google.
But how can you improve your site’s loading speed? Well, here are a few things you can do as soon as today.
Make Sure It’s Mobile-Friendly
Although it’s essential to make your website mobile-friendly on its own right, it also matters in terms of loading speed – if your site isn’t optimized to view on a mobile device, it will take much longer to load and will not be convenient to browse.
Minimize Your Image and Video Sizes
Images and video are the biggest files that you’re likely to have on your site, so you need to optimize images for the web to ensure that they take up as little bandwidth as possible without losing the necessary quality.
Check with Your Hosting Provider
Sometimes, it won’t matter what on-site changes you implement because your hosting services provider isn’t able to deliver a consistent service to you and your site’s visitors. If that’s the case, you may need to find the best web hosting provider for your individual needs that’s able to guarantee consistent performance.
Local SEO Optimization
Today, local SEO is more important than ever.
If you own a business that’s based in a specific location and caters to the local community, it’s almost impossible to achieve any real success online without it.
Local SEO allows you to become visible to thousands of potential customers who are looking for what you’re providing on Google and other search engines.
Once set up, you can start attracting visitors based on your city, state, or even proximity to your business – Google uses a sophisticated geo-qualifier system that allows it to match up people with companies that are close by.
Today’s users trust Google and value its suggestions, so if your business appears at the top of the local business list, that can provide a considerable boost on its own. At the same time, if you’re not present on local searches, it can be difficult to showcase your credibility and compete with other businesses that are displayed on Google.
How to Get Started with Local SEO?
Well, your first step is to claim your local listing on Google and other search engines. You can do that on Google My Business, as well as Bing, Facebook, YellowPages, and many other sites and directories.
Once you claim your business and gain access to your profile, you can add relevant information and provide convenient ways to learn more and to contact you. Often, this alone can start providing you with a steady stream of hyper-targeted leads.
With time, you should start getting reviews of your business on various local SEO pages, which, if your reviews are good, can help you become the go-to business in your area.
You can also showcase your excellent customer service by responding to both positive and negative reviews and showing that you’re willing to work with all of your customers to make sure that they are happy.