Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second. That’s about 3.5 billion searches each day. With each search that’s relevant to your business, you have a chance to grow!
Without a high search engine ranking, however, consumers won’t know who you are. If they can’t find you online, they’ll turn to your competitors instead.
With search engine optimization (SEO), you can boost your ranking and expand your reach! A higher SEO ranking can help you generate website traffic, brand authority, sales, and more.
Not sure where to start with your SEO strategy this year? Here are 7 tips that can help. With these digital marketing tips, you can improve your ranking and boost your business!
Get started with these 7 tips today.
1. Start With Research
Before you can start creating content to improve your SEO ranking, it’s important to know who you’re creating content for. Otherwise, you could fail to create content your customers actually want to read.
If you’re not covering the topics they care about, consumers will likely turn to your competitors instead.
SEO is a great way to promote brand awareness. As your ranking improves, more people will see your website at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). They’ll see you have the answers to your questions and start to rely on you for help.
In order to appear for the right searches, you need to know what topics and search terms appeal to your target audience.
A strong digital marketing strategy requires audience research. A strong SEO strategy, on the other hand, requires plenty of keyword research. Using both will ensure you can attract potential customers to your website.
By starting with research, you can build a plan to attract high-quality leads to your business.
First, focus on your customers. Who are they? What problems are they facing?
How can your product, service, or brand help them?
Are you appealing to a broad target audience, or focused on a niche? If the former, try to break your target audience into smaller groups. You can focus on age, gender, location, or other demographics.
If you sell a range of different products, consider the consumer’s buying behaviors, interests, and pain points, too.
Creating buyer personas will ensure you help everyone by providing the right content for each consumer.
In order to improve your search engine ranking, you need to appear for the right keywords. What keywords and phrases do your consumers use in a search?
Focus on the problems your customers are facing. What questions are they asking?
You can use Google Keyword Planner and Trends to start developing a list of keywords to cover. Research your competitors, too. What topics are they covering in your content?
Make sure to update your keyword list throughout the year. Your consumers will likely experience different challenges as time goes on.
Using Keywords in Your Content
Once you have your list of keywords, you can start updating your existing website content. Make sure each page has a relevant focus keyword.
The focus keyword should appear in the:
- Page title
- Opening and closing paragraph
- Body copy
- A header
- Alt image tags
Don’t overuse your keywords within your content. Instead, keep in mind that you’re writing for humans. If it sounds awkward to you, it will likely sound awkward to them, too.
2. Craft User-Intent Content
Once you’ve gathered your list of target keywords, you can start creating high-quality content for your target audience.
Focus on quality over quantity. Try to answer the consumer’s questions while backing up any claims with research.
When creating content, make sure to keep the user’s search intent in mind. Search intent is usually split into two categories: product/service versus answer/question.
For example, customers might look for a graphic design company in the area. Others might want to know how to choose a graphic design company. These two blog posts cover different, though similar topics.
Try using different formats for your content, too. For example, videos are a great way to keep customers engaged. They’re easy for people to consume and likely to keep them on your website.
The longer people stay on your website, the better for your dwell time. A high dwell time and clickthrough rate can improve your SEO ranking.
If people leave without clicking around, however, it can increase your bounce rate. A high bounce rate can have a negative impact on your ranking. Creating interactive pieces of content, including videos, can help improve these metrics.
In fact, video content will account for 80% of all internet traffic by this year. That’s up from 67% in 2016.
Make sure to optimize your videos by adding a transcript.
You can also create polls, quizzes, vlogs, articles, ebooks, and case studies. Try recreating your existing content into different formats, too. For example, you can turn a lengthy blog post into a series of animations for social media.
3. Update Your Website
Your website will play a big part in improving your SEO ranking as well. If your website isn’t fast and easy to use, your ranking could suffer. Instead, try to update your website with user experience design trends in mind.
First, make sure your website is fast. No one wants to wait around for a page to load.
You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to determine what’s causing your site to lag. You might need to compress your images or remove old plugins.
Try to use a minimalistic design. Add negative space to give your content and images more space to breathe.
Use headers to break apart large pieces of content. Shorter paragraphs and sentences can improve readability, too.
Is your website easy to navigate? Make sure the page organization is intuitive. Update your navigation if it’s difficult to use.
Don’t forget your website’s security. Consumers don’t want to visit a website that puts their private information at risk. Update your website with an SSL certificate to improve brand trust.
Try to update your website every few years to keep up-to-date with the latest design trends.
4. Keep Up With the Trends
Google’s search algorithm changes throughout the year. It’s not enough to create content anymore. You also need to know how to appeal to search engines by keeping up-to-date with industry changes.
User intent is becoming more important as Google’s machine learning grows. In order to appeal to search intent, make sure you understand your customers. What are they looking for when searching online?
Try to use long-tail keywords that hyper-focus on your target audience.
Appealing to the search intent will ensure you’re attracting potential customers to your website.
Try creating hyper-targeted content, too. Remember, you’re supposed to write content with your customers in mind. What information can you provide that will help their daily lives?
Separating your target audience into personas is a great way to create hyper-targeted content. What questions are each group asking? Create content for each group to show your entire target audience you’re there to help.
Google’s machine learning algorithms allow it to become more intuitive than ever before. As the user experience continues to change, Google’s search engine algorithm does as well.
Google uses three main systems: Neural Matching, RankBrain, and BERT.
Neural Matching allows Google to determine the search intent. RankBrain allows SERPs to change based on unique consumer behavior data. BERT, meanwhile, analyzes the structure of a consumer’s search.
Keep an eye out for news on these mechanisms for potential SEO marketing hacks down the road.
Zero Click Searches
Consumers don’t have to click on your website to find the answers they need anymore. Instead, they can find their answers from a SERP.
For example, you might have noticed Google’s 3-Pack; the map that displays local businesses and their contact information. Google My Business listings can provide this information, too.
Rich and featured snippets are becoming more common, too. You might have noticed featured snippets at the top of a search page. These snippets can appear as paragraphs, lists, recipes, Q&As, and more.
Learning how to appeal to featured snippets can help you reach the top of a SERPs page.
To boost your SEO ranking and appear as a featured snippet, you’ll need to structure your data. Think about the snippet you want to appear for. Then, format your data to suit that snippet.
For example, you can add a bullet list to the beginning of your blog post, then go into more detail within the post. The bullet list will appear as a snippet above organic search results.
About one-third of all mobile searches are related to location. In fact, searches with the phrases “near me” and “nearby” doubled in the span of a year. When improving your SEO strategy, don’t forget your local customers, too.
What location-based keywords are relevant to your customers? Do you have landing pages for each of your different business locations?
Try creating content with location-based keywords in mind.
Otherwise, update your Google My Business listing regularly. This listing appears on the right side of a search page. Your content information should remain consistent with your website.
Don’t forget to ask your customers for reviews, too. Updating your website and Google My Business listing with happy reviews will boost your brand authority.
Voice and Mobile Search
Voice searches are becoming more popular as well. In fact, over 25.6 million Americans already use a voice-activated device at least once a month. How we phrase search queries for voice assistants differs from how we type our search queries, though.
If you want to boost your SEO ranking for search queries, you’ll need to consult your keyword research. Which keywords and phrases sound like they’re meant for smart speakers?
Most search queries are phrased as a question. Keep that in mind as you start creating content for voice searches.
In some cases, you can use the main question as your target keyword. Give a brief answer at the start of your blog post. This is the answer Google will provide for voice searches.
Then, go into more depth with your answer throughout the rest of the blog post.
With the emergence of voice searches, mobile searches have grown as well. In fact, Google started rolling out mobile-first indexing in March 2018. Since then, the search algorithm has looked at mobile websites to determine search rankings.
Why? For starters, about 60% of all traffic occurs through a mobile device.
If your website isn’t mobile-optimized, get on it! Otherwise, your competitors will likely rank ahead of you on search engine result pages instead.
As you start creating content for your website, don’t forget to consider your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT).
Why should consumers trust you? What expertise can you provide that they won’t find anywhere else? Are you backing up your claims with industry-relevant research?
Appealing to EAT will help you stand apart from your competitors. It can also improve your brand authority and credibility while boosting your search ranking.
5. Stay Social
Don’t forget to share your content with your entire audience. Each time you create a blog post, plan to share it on social media and other platforms. Sharing your content can help you attract more traffic to your website.
As you attract traffic, search engines will take notice. Google wants to boost content consumers are already reading. By sharing your content, you can attract more visitors over time!
6. Build Links
Link building is an important component of a strong SEO strategy.
Internal links send readers to other pages on your website. These links can improve your clickthrough rate and dwell time.
External links, on the other hand, send readers to other resources. You can refer to studies and research from reputable resources to build your own authority.
Consider guest blogging as well. Guest blogging is a great way to attract readers to your website.
Get Ahead of the Rest: 6 Ways to Improve Your SEO Ranking
As you use these six tips for improving your SEO ranking, make sure to review your analytics regularly. Which blog posts are attracting attention? Which pages are falling flat?
Reviewing your data will help you discover new ways to improve and boost your business! As your ranking improves, you can generate more traffic and attract more customers.
Need help improving your SEO strategy? We can help! Receive SEO services from an award-winning agency today.