Running a successful online business or retailer is all about getting the right amount of traffic to your site, and converting them to paying customers. There are a number of smart marketing techniques to get people to your website, but one of the most successful, and rapidly evolving is SEO. Marketers globally have listed SEO as one of their top priorities within the marketing strategy and day-to-day operations.
But why is SEO such a hot topic? Statistics show that 53% of all traffic on a site comes in organically, with 94% of all users focusing on the ranking of the site to make a purchase decision. So, SEO is a vital aspect of your overall strategy. But, it can be intensely time-consuming and resource-heavy.
Search engines are continually changing and updating their processes around SEO. In fact, Google updates its search criteria about 500 to 600 times a year, which can be entirely overwhelming for a business. Not only do business owners need to effectively manage the day-to-day operations of the business, but they need to keep up with these changes. So, we thought we would step in and help. Below, we unpack some of the key tips to improve your SEO and drive that traffic to your site.
1. Create A Valuable Link Building Strategy
Despite the continuous updates and changes to Google’s algorithms and strategies, link building is just one of the ranking signals that has stuck around. What you need to keep in mind is that the mission of Google is to organize the information on the internet, make it accessible and useful to people. So, in order to be ranked in the right category for your particular product, Google will need to understand where exactly to put you.
Link building can take some practice, and you will need to know what Google really wants to see. High-quality and informative content is critical for Google, so ensure that your content will not only empower your target audience but is keyword-rich as well.
You will then need to find sites to share this content with and ask them to link it back to your site from theirs and visa versa. The trick is that these sites need to be of high quality, trusted and authorized. The concept is known as domain authority and can have a great impact on your ranking. This can be highly time and resource-consuming, so it could be worth your while finding professional SEO linkbuilding services to help you out.
2. Work Toward Being the Featured Snippet
As we mentioned before, Google is constantly evolving, and over the last few years, they have introduced and perfected a feature which we are sure you have picked up too.
The featured snippets offer direct solutions to your questions and problems right there on the search page and usually offer around five or more solutions from a website.
These content-rich snippets are usually triggered by a questioning word like how, what, where and why. Here is an example of what we mean.
This snippet links directly to the featured site, which the visitor can click on the read further button into their query. They contain numbered points, bullet points, tables and even short paragraphs to answer a question directly.
The great thing about these snippets is that you don’t need to pay for them, and you don’t have to be a particularly dominant site. It is simply about getting the content absolutely on point, and putting as much out as possible, and hoping to get featured.
There are, however, a few things that you can do from your side to try and actually land that coveted place:
- Find a popular question relating to your offering and answer it precisely and simply;
- Keep the length of your answer between 40 to 50 words;
- Do keyword research and find out what your competitors are posting. Do not replicate the content, rather optimize it;
- Pay close attention to your header tags (H1, H2, H3);
- Providing simple, consistent HTML code.
3. Even Keywords Have Evolved
You simply cannot mention SEO without dropping the keyword bomb, right? Well, as much as conducting regular keyword research is important, keywords have changed a bit over the last few years. Google’s algorithm has become a bit smarter and has realized that relying on simply ranking sites based on keywords might not organize the content properly.
Take, for example, terms like Apple or Amazon. These could be used for either the companies or the fruit or giant forest in South America. Google realized that it would need to look a bit more into the content to establish just where to put the articles holding the keywords.
This is where LSI, or Latent Semantic Indexing, comes in. Essentially, when writing content for your site, and ensuring that you are using those essential keywords, you will need to factor in words relating to your products and offerings too. So, for Apple, inclusions of technology, phones, devices, etc., will help Google organize the content correctly.
Now, there is a bit of controversy with LSI, with some claiming it is imperative, while others believe that Google’s technology far outweighs this simple process. But the fact is that labeling your data correctly allows Google to index and serve the content in rich results across multiple devices and platforms. There is simply no harm in promoting the co-occurrence of terms to help search engines figure out where to place you.
4. Conducting SEO Audits Is Essential
The last thing to consider for the advanced SEO tips is regular audits. This is a simple, yet highly effective exercise that you can take your company through every few months to establish the strengths, but also pitfalls of your site. It may be time and resource-intensive, but it is critical for your ranking health.
Make sure you include the following on your SEO audit checklist:
- Checking the SEO meta titles, headlines and descriptions;
- Your keywords and new, trending keywords;
- Your URLs;
- Duplicate or 404 pages which are hindering your rankings;
- The size of the images as well as their descriptions and ALT tags;
- All backlinks and whether they are linking to working pages.
There are a number of useful online resources that can help you out with your SEO audit, or you can make use of a trusted service to help you. The fact is, it is something that has to be done regularly to make sure that your site is as optimized as possible.
SEO can be somewhat overwhelming for someone who already has a lot on their plate or for a business owner of a new start-up. The fact of the matter is, as soon as you start getting comfortable with the basics of SEO, you will be able to effectively start managing it. Remember, every time you make a change to a landing page on your site, Google will need to rescrape it to rank it. So, get used to doing the checks on a page before it goes live and push for Google to index it to get ranked. You will soon start seeing your site being pushed further and further up in the rankings, and your conversion rate will start sky-rocketing.