Although you may maintain a Facebook and Twitter page on top of your company’s web page, it is still not enough to generate organic traffic to your website. The best and only way to start getting more traffic to your site is through traffic coming from search engine results, that much is obvious. What might not be so obvious is how someone is going to be able to find your link among the hundreds of other search results when they search for their keywords.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a tool used by companies to better their chances of being seen on an online search engine. SEO is essentially a way for marketers to get a better ranking on the results page of a search engine, such as Google or Bing (though, Google is by far the bread winner of the two). A lot has change in the ways of SEO in the last ten years, techniques that worked in the early days of the internet could potentially get you a penalty from Google itself now. The days of spamming links, exact matching anchor text, content just stuffed with keywords are gone and will now give you the red mark of a spammer if used. Although Google is bound to change its algorithm again in the future, here are 5 hacks to use in order in maximize your SEO in 2016.
Find Keywords for Internal Search Data
Using site analytics is a necessary part of running any website, whether it’s a sales website or a blog. Analytics give you the ability to see exactly what keywords are being used to find your website as well as the content in your website.
Use sit analytics to see exactly what keywords your audience are using to find content on your website. These words are your first clue as to what words you need to use more often in the content you post. When you learn these key words, start using them more often in your headings, subheadings, body, and even URLs, so when someone searches your site internally they will be able to find the exact content they want.
You can track this informatics by purchasing tracking software, such as CAKE or using the free Google Analytics. Both options give users the ability to monitor all the traffic coming to the website. The software gathers information about where the user is located, what time the page was accessed, how they found the site, keywords used, and even their Internet provider. Embedding a tracking software into your website is a must for anyone trying to improve their search result rankings.
When someone is invested in reading online content they are immediately going to take notice of any links embedded within the text. Backlinks and link building is a great way to start getting noticed on Google’s search results. However, they do offer other great benefits to your website other than SEO benefits.
Strong links can help promote your brand, give you steady referral traffic, provide a log of resources for your audience, and help create new relationships. Brand promotion is the most important part of establishing any company whether it is only online or has an old-fashioned brick and mortar establishment as well. When a reader notices your link within the text they read, they are going to start associating your company’s brand with content they happen to enjoy reading. Because of this they will eventually follow that link back to your website, thus generating new traffic from those who may have never gone to your site in the first place.
Once new audience members will start associating your brand with the kind of online content they like, a steady traffic of referrals will start to come to your website—especially if your links are embedded into a very popular website that get millions of views a day. Eventually, and hopefully, you’ll build a long term relationship with these new referrals and they may actually become regular visitors to your website, leading them to sign up for any extra content your website produces.
Backlinks on popular websites that will have a long lasting life will create a long-term directory to your own website—which is great if you are planning to create content on that site for many years to come.
But if you want to avoid getting a red flag from Google like the gross, spam field websites, make sure you are building high quality links, because your goal should be to get a higher ranking in the Google Search results—not completely manipulate the search results. Just look at the links you are building like someone from Google would.
Write Longer Content
At some point the blogosphere decided that going over 500 words was a bad idea for blogs. Really, no one wants to read your college thesis online, but your written content—especially if you are running a blog—should be around 1000 to 2000 words a post.
This might not make sense with so many studies coming out about how the humans’ attention spans are shortening, but for SEO it does make sense. Google tends to favor long-form content to short-form.
Why is that? When people go online they aren’t looking to read a novel, so wouldn’t it make more sense for Google to favor short form content? These are very relevant points because a lot of people online do like reading short form content, but it’s not really a good idea if you’re struggling to get traffic to your website.
Simply put, the more words you have written on the page the more keywords you can use within the post. A 500-word post can only have so many keywords in it before it raises a red flag for Google. If your post is twice the length you’ll have an easier time burying the keywords within other words you are using. However, these words should not just be the same kind of fluff you used to finish your Literature 101 paper at four in the morning.
It also is a better representation of your place within the niche you are writing about. Visitors will see your 2000 word articles compared to someone else’s 500 word articles and get the sense that you are more knowledgeable about the topic. Therefore, don’t just fill your content with redundant phrases; make sure the 2000 words you write create a comprehensive and informative picture of the topic at hand. If you have problems just writing long-form content off the top of your head, make an outline of the keywords and the points you want to use and build it from there, like your high school composition teacher told you to do. If you divide the content you are writing into key sections, the you are going to be able to focus on each section as its own 500-word article, which is why the popularity of the “listicle” has grown so rapidly in the last two years.
Responsive Site Design
Technology has advanced in ways someone watching You’ve Got Mail when it first came out would have never dreamed. More than a million people browse the internet on their phone, which is why it’s important to have a website layout that looks good on your phone, your desktop, and your mobile tablet—because there’s nothing more frustrating than going to a website on your phone and seeing it’s only designed for desktop access. It makes everything tiny, and difficult to read, which means most people are probably not going to stick around to read what you have posted.
Also, since we are talking about Search Engine Optimization, we have to think about what would make Google happy, since it is the most used search engine worldwide. When someone uses their phone to search the web, Google gives a higher ranking to the search option that has a mobile website because they know people don’t want to deal with hard-to-read text.
A lot of website providers, like Squarespace and WordPress, have responsive design already built into their templates. However, if you are planning on building your own website from scratch, make sure you research the best ways to build in responsive design or be prepared to build an entirely separate mobile website. But keep in mind: building a separate mobile website might be the easier option, but it means that mobile website is going to have a different URL and HTML layouts whereas a responsive website shares all of it and just adapts itself for the browser being used. It’s awful and time consuming, yes, but it’s vital to ensure your website is accessible to anyone who wants to use and skimping on any of it could lose traffic to your site.
Building a responsive design website will require some advance HTML knowledge but there are thousands of tutorials readily available, if you don’t have an Information Technology major readily on hand. Also, consider using a freelance web designer, which can be found through a variety of sites, such as Upwork or Elance.
Get Friendly with Google+
By now we all know Google+ was Google’s way to compete with Facebook but never really caught on, like many other potential competitors to Facebook. The platform has been trying to establish itself for the last few years and has now made all of Google’s other platforms accessible from one log in page. Even with the all the accessibility Google+ provides, it still has yet to catch up to other social media platforms in terms of popularity, which is a shame because the site provides a lot of benefits to both individuals and companies—particularly for Search Engine Optimization.
Jeff Sauer, of Jeffalytics fame, conducted a test in early 2015 to determine just how much having a Google+ page affects search results. His hypothesis was that content posted from an established Google+ page would increase the page rankings of a new webpage. His conclusion proved that having a Google+ immediately helped boost the company’s name in the search results and content shares from well-known brand accounts, which helps attest to the content’s quality.
His study proved that one of the easiest ways for a company to improve their search ranking is to build and maintain an active Google+ webpage. However, in order for the page to work, you have to use some of the other advice given in this article, like using keywords and linking back to your actual website. The goal is to bring more visits to your actual webpage, not just become popular on a social media platform.
There are other benefits to having a Google+ page outside of SEO purposes. As stated above, Google+ streamlines all of Google’s enterprises into one, easy log in screen. So when you sign up for Google+ you are also signing up for YouTube, Gmail, and Google Docs, which are three of the most important websites currently on the Internet. At this point, you are doing nothing but a disservice to your company if you are not signed up for a Google+ account.
Google is always changing their algorithm, so even though these hacks work this year, they may not be as affective in 2017 or 2020. It’s vital for any one trying to learn the ways of Search Engine Optimization to constantly stay up-to-date with the latest tips and hacks, so their content doesn’t get lost in the vast sea of information.
Search Engine Optimization is the only way to take control of where your website stands on the search results page. Your standing on the search results page is what will lead visitors to your page and help grow your business. With these tips as a starting point, you will find yourself on the right track to becoming an SEO master in no time.