What if I told you improving your position in the search engine results pages was easy?
That by following a few tips and tricks you can increase the organic traffic to your website in no time?
And, better still, you don’t need to be some digital marketer, a search engine optimisation specialist or spend any money on courses to do it?
Well it’s all true! In this article I’m going to share my easy to follow SEO tips and killer SEO tricks.
Why does a good SEO strategy matter?
Ultimately the better or higher your site ranks in any organic search result (non paid search result) the more organic traffic your website will get. More traffic, so long as your website ranks for the correct keywords, should equal high quality visitors and more leads or sales and more income for your business.
Research shows that as of April 2019 websites on the first page of Google get on average 85% of the traffic for any given search term with the click through rate for the first search result being an average 34%.
If only 15% of searchers ever go past the first page of Google then you really need to ensure that your website is on the first page of any search engine to take advantage of any traffic relating to your chosen keyword.
Keep reading to discover my highly successful SEO strategy…
It is important to complete the on page SEO, especially tips 1 – 9, and all the technical SEO tips first before doing any of the other tricks as these will help you rank higher quicker.
On page SEO tips
1. Keyword research
Related post: How to do keyword research with these 3 free tools
Keywords are simply words, or groups of similar words, that describe what your web page is about.
It is important that you spend some time researching your keywords and putting them in groups of similar keywords. For each web page you should only target one keyword or keyword group.
For example an accountant might have keyword groups that look like this.
When you have completed your keyword research you should decide which page should target which keyword group and create new pages for any keyword groups without a page.
2. Semantic and synonym keyword research
As well as researching your keywords you should also research and find semantic and synonym keywords, these will enable you to strengthen the page meaning without over repeating the target keywords.
A synonym keyword is a word that means the same as your keyword whilst a semantic keyword is a word that is closely related to your original keyword.
3. Page title
The page title should be defined inside the <head> tag of your website using the <title> tag. If you are using a content management system like WordPress then this should be done automatically by your theme.
The page title is often displayed in the browser tab and search engines will normally display it within the search results.
By using keywords and attention grabbing phrases we can encourage people to click on our page instead of a competitors increasing our click through rate.
4. Meta descriptions
The meta description is an HTML attribute of around 160 characters. It is used to tell search engines what a page is about. The good thing is that search engines will often display this in their search results.
Increase your click through rate by including your main page keywords in a short but compelling description that encourages searchers to click your link in the search results.
Both these last 2 points have been aimed at increasing click through rates and there is good reason. Google reportedly uses click through rate to as a measure of a sites usefulness. A higher click through rate and a low bounce rate means searchers have found the site useful for the keyword they searched.
5. Use header tags
Header tags are often overlooked. They are part of the HTML markup on your website and many content management systems allow you to edit your text to include them. They are used to help tell search engines and your visitors what the page and each section is about.
There are six header tags from <h1> to <h6> and there should only ever be one <h1> tag, this should be the main page title and include your primary keyword phrase for the page. It should also be readable not just a list of keywords!
Ideally the <h1> will be closely related to your page title if it not the same, certainly the keyword or keyword phrase should be the same.
Header tags <h2> – <h6> should be used to define the content of the paragraph or section under the header. You shouldn’t just reuse your primary keyword phrase, instead you should use synonyms or semantic keyword phrases.
This page uses the <h1> tag at the top of the page then <h2> tags to separate out the main sub content areas and <h3> and <h4> tags to break these down further.
6. Use keywords in your content
You’ve done your keyword research and included them in your header tags, now make sure you use your keywords in your content.
Look back at each header on this page, notice that the keyword or phrase appears in the text below each header? Normally in the opening paragraph of each section.
This is so important as your headers should contain a keyword phrase and so the content below a header should naturally contain those keywords, if it doesn’t then is the header really reflective of the content?
Don’t overdo it with the keywords though as this could be deemed to be keyword stuffing and this is bad, use synonyms instead.
7. Optimise images
Not only should you optimise your text you should optimise your images. This has two distinct benefits, first it reaffirms to Google what your page is about and secondly it helps visitors who are using assistance software such as screen readers.
There are four things to consider:
- Image size, not it’s physical dimensions but it’s file size. You do not want to be using images that are more than 250Kb at most. The ‘Use of header tags’ image above is 83Kb
- Image name, name your image something descriptive of what the image is rather than a series of numbers. The image above is called Use-of-headers.png
- Image caption, if you’ve named the image correctly then if you are using captions it is a case of repeating the image name without any hyphens
- Alt Tags, this is part of the HTML of your website and is the text that pops up when you hover over an image. Again if you’ve named you image correctly then it a case of repeating the image name
You can use a website such as Optimizilla to compress images if you do not have any software on your computer.
8. Increase the time spent on page
No not increasing the time you spend creating the page but increasing the time your visitors spend on the page. Google considers this an indication of usefulness of your website in relation to a search term and the metric is a ranking factor. Google’s algorithm tries to display websites it thinks are useful for each search term.
You might think that it is impossible to influence but that is not true.
A visitor arriving from a search engine has searched for a something and decided that your website will be relevant to what they are looking for from the search engine results.
Make sure that as soon as they arrive on your page the content reflects what they thought it would be about. If you have been following the steps above you should be OK.
I’ll repeat a paragraph from the header section.
Ideally the h1 will be closely related to your page title if it not the same, certainly the keyword or keyword phrase should be the same.
And then the content or header in the paragraph directly under this should reinforce this message and make the visitor want to read on.
9. Reduce your bounce rate
Bounce rate is where a visitors leave your website after visiting just one page. Reducing your bounce rate shows Google that visitors find your website useful, again this is a metric that is considered a ranking factor.
A high bounce rate combined with low time spent on page is especially bad as it demonstrates a page was not a good match for a searcher.
So how do you reduce your bounce rate?
- Ensure that your web design looks professional and trustworthy
- That your website loads quickly (covered under technical SEO tricks)
- Offer your visitors options of other pages to visit. Either by providing internal linking to other pages within the actual text of the page or by offering other pages the visitor may like to visit such as related blog posts or similar products etc.
10. Create new content
Creating new high quality content is hugely important and there is a reason that we are mentioning it last in the on page SEO section. You now know how to research keywords and content ideas, how to set out your web page and how to use keywords in the page content.
You could create new content as a blog or news article or perhaps you will simply create new pages, whichever method you choose you should ensure that you:
- Create new content on a regular basis and be consistent about it, like creating a new blog post every Wednesday
- Ensure that each new piece of content is unique and targets a keyword or phrase that you are not already targeting on another page
- Make sure your new content is at least as long as the average content on the page one of the search engine results page for your target keyword, preferably longer and more in depth than the longest
- Use links to other websites in your content to provide citations or evidence
Technical SEO tricks
Related post: The Only SEO Audit You’ll Ever Need And It’s Free!
11. Create a sitemap
A sitemap is a page that lists all the pages contained within your website. There are two types of sitemap, one for humans that is formatted for readability and the other an xml sitemap that is designed to tell search engines about all pages on your website.
It is important to create both types of sitemaps. If you are using a content management system it may create an xml sitemap for you. If not you will need to create one by hand.
12. Configure your robots.txt correctly
Configuring your robots.txt file correctly lets you tell robots, typically search engines, how to crawl pages your website.
The file name is case sensitive, robots.txt is the correct version to use. Within it you should disallow web pages that you do not want to be indexed, allow web pages you want to be indexed and include the location of your xml sitemap.
13. Improve your website speed
Website speed is an essential factor in improving your user experience, this is all the more important in today’s mobile first world.
You should aim to have your website load in under three seconds, GTMetrix is a useful tool to assess your own website performance. Even better it tells you what you need to do to improve your own websites speed!
14. Be mobile friendly
52% of web pages were served to a mobile device in 2019 according to Statista. Your website should be mobile friendly or you risk alienating more than half your potential visitors. Worse than that though if your website is not mobile friendly your search rankings will take a dive as Google takes a mobile first approach.
15. Consider your website and URL structure
If you are just creating a website take some time to consider your website and URL structure up front. If you already have a website then you will need to look at your existing structure and URL format to decide if it is the most appropriate.
For example the accountancy company from the keyword research section my use the website and URL structure below.
If your URLs have a ? in them then they are likely to be served dynamically by your content management or eCommerce software and you should really consider in changing your settings or installing a plugin to use search engine friendly URLs.
16. Use schema markup
Using schema markup can help Improve your Google ranking, especially if you have a local facing website and are looking to rank well for keywords relating to your local area.
The schema markup needs to be placed within the head section of your website. You can generate local schema data here and paste it into your HTML files. If you are using a content management system or similar then you should be able to either use a plugin or paste the code directly into your theme.
Off page SEO tips
17. Create a Google My Business page
Google has a Google My Business tool where you can make a listing for your business straight into Google. Best of all it is completely free.
You can add your business details, logo, web address, opening hours and much more. By not having a Google My Business page you are really reducing your chances of appearing in the Google local listings.
As well as Google My Business, Bing and Yahoo also offer there own version which whilst not having the traffic of Google it is certainly worth completing them.
18. Name, address, phone number – NAP
Having consistency with your business name, address and phone number, or NAP for short, will boost your chance of a good ranking in the Google local listings as Google will have confidence in the business details it displays.
You should consider entering your NAP details in respectable general directories and ones aimed at your business niche.
19. Use social signals
Social signals are where your brand or website is mentioned on social media.
You should use your own social media accounts to promote your own website and brand, especially any new content that you create. You should also interact with any social media users who mention your brand or website.
Building up relationships with influencers within your niche on social media and then having them mention your blog post or brand can not only bring instant traffic but it can improve your website authority and trust.
20. Create back links
Related article: How to get more backlinks to your website.
Back links tell search engines that other sites want to link to you and that your content is worthy of being linked to. Along with content back links are the biggest ranking factor for Google.
But, not all back links are are created equal:
- The more trustworthy a site is then the more a back link from that website is worth to your site
- The more relevant the website is to your site the more the link is worth to your site
You should reach out to trustworthy websites that operate in your niche but that are not directly your competitors and offer to create content on their website and as part of the linking out to other websites include a link to a relevant article on your own website.
Make sure that you always check with the website owner first though that they are happy for you to link out to your own website as well as 3rd party sites. If they don’t allow this then they will often allow a link to your website as part of an author bio, whilst not as good as a contextual link the opportunity should not be passed up.
We have learnt that it is important for your business to improve it’s Google ranking to drive more traffic to your website.
Hopefully you will now start to review your own website and start to implement the tips and tricks that we have shown you today that will show you how to improve your search engine rankings.
Let me know how you get on in the comments box below.
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