Search engine optimization is very tricky because each year Google is making changes to their algorithm. The old fashion techniques are no longer working as well, and bloggers are trying to find creative ways to rank their content. It essentially comes down to the following:
If you can rank your content higher than your competition, you’ll be able to drive a lot of traffic to your website. With the popularity of social media, this targeted traffic can double or even triple within a short time. With that said, I’ll be exploring 7 ways which bloggers can increase their rankings in 2017. I’ll visit what expert bloggers are saying about linking building, and what strategies they have been using to get an edge on their competition. Let’s get started.
1 – Focus on Web Analyzer tools
These are tools that provide you with a lot of interesting data. We are now in a time where you shouldn’t be wasting time building links that don’t add value. This means you should know who your competition and what they are doing to outrank you in the SERP’s. Many new web analyzer tools will provide you with loads of great information like:
- Who links to your competition
- The value of each link
- The referring domain
- The referring anchor text
- Current keyword rank in search engines
- And much more.
What all this information does is help you focus your attention on the data that matters. This will help you put your time, effort and skills where they matter most. But, it’s important you use only the best web analyzer tools so do your research online and start to research some of them.
2 – Optimize Your Website
It’s important to optimize your website for performance because other factors matter when it comes to ranking. There are now over 200 ranking factors and load time, mobile compatibility, clean design, and reduced clutter are all included. If your site is lacking in one of these areas, it can quickly pull down the rankings of your site as a result of it.
With a very high performing site, you are increasing the user experience, and this means a lot to search engines. This is especially true with mobile speed and responsiveness as well. Companies like Google are in business because they provide people with information in an organized fashion. Not only that, they provide people with the best information available online. The next time you are skimming through your website, look for ways you can optimize your blog it going forward by either changing the content font, color, and making it mobile compatible. You also want to test the current load speed which must fall below 3 seconds.
3 – SEO Traffic, Remarketing and Emails
With so much emphasis on ranking higher in the search results and getting as much free organic traffic to your site as possible, site owners should want to take as much opportunity of this high-quality traffic as possible. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by setting up a remarketing campaign through Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, or any other remarketing platform.
When moving forward with a remarketing campaign, it’s important to make sure you have ad creative for all sizes and ad spots possible. Digital Monopoly Perth has a great article on their site that shows all of the sizes and image formats that are currently being used for Google Adwords.
The best way to rebrand and remarket to an audience is to have your ad banners display your logo, site colors, and also a call to action that will remind them on why they were previously at your site in the first place.
At the same time, while we are talking about the importance and value of search traffic, it’s key to get these users on your mailing list as well. You can see a perfect example of how this is being used at TerritorySupply.com. This site ranks very well for a wide range of products they have listed on their site. While the average person is going to visit the search from a search they did in Google, it’s likely most of them won’t make a purchase the first time around. The best way to turn this organic visitor into a longterm visitor and potential customer, is to offer them a free 20% discount coupon and getting them onto their mailing list.
This is a tactic that is being used by millions of sites, but only a small portion of those sites are doing it correctly. Take advantage of what popup tools like OptinMonster have to offer, by creating different popups and call to actions based on the pages your audiences are visiting, and also where they are coming from. Remember, most SEO visitors to your website will leave and never come back after the first visit. It doesn’t have a lot to do with your content, but instead that there are simply too many sites and distractions out there already.
4 – On-Page SEO
Many bloggers spend too much time building external links but fail to optimize their own website. There is no point in building links with strategic anchor text if your website doesn’t have the same keywords in the title, description, and URL. You should spend a lot of time with on-page SEO and understand what keywords work best at ranking your website. Personally, I think you should be focusing on the title, URL, description, and body. In the body, you should include not only targeted keywords but some which are related to the main keyword you are trying to rank for.
It’s stated, 75% of your ranking has to do with on-page SEO so you should work very hard on optimizing your site, and content.
When it comes to On-Page SEO and ranking factors, there are always going to be debates and discussions on which methods work best. Fortunately, there are now more reports out than ever before, showcasing which factors are likely working best. You can see a preview of these ranking factors in the graphic below from SearchMetrics.com.
5 – SkyScraper Technique
For you to outrank your competition, you’ll have to get creative, and nothing is more creative than the skyscraper technique. It involves finding related content to yours which has been published and looking for broken backlinks within the content. When you locate them, you need to first figure out what you can do to replace this link. Since your searching on a relevant blog, you know you can write content which is better, and up to date. After, you simply contact the blog owner letting them know about your content, then asking them to link to it as a replacement.
Many blog owners don’t have a problem replacing low-quality content with higher quality content. If the link is broken, then you’ve increased your chance of securing that link. However, just make sure you focus on quality when writing content, and you find a blog which is related to your niche. The last thing you want to do is ask for a link for a non-relevant blog.
When it comes to using any type of SEO or ‘working strategies’, it’s important that you are still relying on new and working SEO methods, and not old ones. A good way to stay updated with these changing trends is to keep an eye on what your competition is doing, while also looking at the most recent infographics, case studies and SEO reports from different agencies, especially like the one below.
6 – YouTube Traffic
This platform has changed the way people interact online so make sure you make use of it. With the right type of videos, you can generate a lot of traffic to your blog within a short time. However, for you to benefit, you’ll have to start creating videos which are not hard at all. You can use affordable software, and many of the operating systems come built-in with a video recorder, camera, etc. Do some research on YouTube looking at what others have created in terms of video, and try to create something better. Here’s the trick,
Once you go live, you want to make sure you optimize your video by adding the right keywords in the title of the video, description, and you add a link to your blog. You can add links to your social media accounts too. Again, create high-quality videos offering a lot of great value, and you’ll increase your brand awareness within a short time.
7) Social Media Traffic
The biggest networks are Facebook, Twitter and Google+ so use them to build an audience. Imagine having 100,000 Twitter followers, and what this can do for your traffic when you share a valuable post with them. Top bloggers generate 5,000 visitors within minutes after sharing their recent content with their followers. You can also build your brand by taking advantage of Facebook Ads which is great to promote an event, brand, post or even take a survey. Social media is able to connect and engage readers quickly so don’t let this avenue slip out of your hands.
Here’s the great thing, to join these networks doesn’t cost any money, and all it takes to increase traffic is a retweet from a power blogger in your niche. It’s important to network with other bloggers within your niche because they’ll be more than happy to share your content with their followers. Whenever you decide to share your content on social media, it’s important to make sure you optimize your title and add keywords within the description before sharing. This helps build engagement too.
Getting the Most Out of Your SEO Efforts in 2018
As you can imagine, with more websites and blogs on the internet than ever before, it’s going to be tough to rank your site on the first page of Google — however, it still is possible. Bloggers, brands, and businesses that want to rank higher in Google, need to put in the time and effort to make sure each of the factors above are implemented and live on their sites asap.
Follow these SEO tips, implement them into your site, and then watch and see as your SEO and site traffic continue to improve.
Google My Business – Local SEO Strategies for Small Businesses
If you have a website or business on the internet, you are likely thrilled with any search traffic and rankings you might receive. However, if you are a local-based business, it’s all about ranking for keywords that are relevant to your location or specifically about your business.
In most cases, local businesses won’t really understand the metrics of SEO or how to improve their rankings in the search results. More often than not, they will simply be happy if they are appearing at the top of Google for their brand name, and also have a Google Business Listing with their hours, location and business details.
This is ideal… but there are definitely more opportunities for traffic, growth, and improvement — especially when you start considering online traffic and content options with geo-targeted traffic.
Google My Business is a great place for local businesses to start with their online journey, but it’s definitely not the beginning and end. Implement these three components into your content creation and marketing efforts to get even more out of your local business listings in Google.
Start a Website or Blog for Your Local Business
Most small businesses and local retail locations should already have an online website or blog, but many still don’t. Unfortunately, way too many businesses think that a listing in Google Local or Yelp is going to represent them well online — however, this isn’t the case at all. Instead, it could actually be hurting them in the long run.
Without an official website for your business, there is no way for your audience and customers to really get in direct contact with you. Any information that might be found on other websites or local directories might also not be updated or accurate. At the same time, without a website of your own, you are letting customers leave reviews on other websites that you have no control over.
With a site of your own, you are always in control over what people see, find and discover about your business. This is also a great way to make a better first impression (through a nice website, pictures and company info). Once the connection has been made, you can then showcase your best customer feedback and ratings that appear within your Google My Business page.
Wouldn’t you rather be sending people directly to your own website when they search for your brand online, versus sending them to another third party website? You should.
Take Advantage of Facebook Advertising
There are currently over 1.8 billion users on Facebook. While the social network has worldwide exposure, it’s also done wonders for localized businesses and brands in the process.
Through the use of both Facebook Page and Facebook Advertising, local businesses can reach audiences within their area, while also growing a following at the same time. This is why you commonly see flyers that say “Like Us on Facebook” in your favorite retail locations. It’s a simple, fun and easy way for brands to connect with their audiences, while also allowing them to build a ‘social mailing list’ in the process.
Advanced local businesses and brands can also take advantage of the demographic and geo-targeting options that are available through Facebook Ads. The same can be said for ‘custom audience’ targeting options, which allows site owners to display ads through Facebook based on visitors to a website or emails on a mailing list.
Keeping with the theme of how to maintain a great online presence and building up your Google My Business profile, Facebook Pages and marketing can also be a great way to lead people to your local search listings where users can leave ratings and reviews of your own. Since your audience is already following you on Facebook, there is a good chance their review and rating would be positive.
Focus on Local SEO, Content Creation and Competitors
The third and final tip for improving a local business’ presence online, is to simply know how to rank your site in Google. As mentioned, it’s not hard to claim your Google My Business listing in Google… but that doesn’t mean you are going to listed at the top of the search rankings for generic search phrases like ‘car repair’, ‘food services’ or ‘pizza’ in your area, even if the geo-location settings are turned on for results. To improve your rankings you need to understand how to do each of the following;
- Rank for Local Keywords – Ranking in Google is a science. If you don’t already know the basics of SEO, you can follow them here. In short, you need to create valuable content for your website and gain backlinks to your site. Those are the two most simple and straight to the point methods for explaining how rankings work in Google. The same thing goes for Google Local rankings as well… the more content and rankings back to them, the more likely they are to rank higher.
- Create Local-Based Content – A listing in Google is great for your business, but there is a lot more opportunity if you are willing to put in the time, work and effort. For example, think about the many different things your potential customers might be searching for in Google (besides your company name). Ratings, locations, coupons, how to’s, local events… you name it, all of it can be used for potential content ideas you can create through your own site.
- Know Your Competitors – As a local business, your competition is everything. If they have a bigger store, better advertisements and higher search rankings… you need to know! Tools like SEMRush and Google Alerts will allow you to keep an eye on the competition, both through search ranking movements and any new content appearing in Google your competition might be ranking for.
Another method that has worked for various businesses to help improve the look and activity of their sites, is to send geo targeted traffic to their sites. This type of traffic marketing will help with Alexa and SimilarWeb rankings. While these aren’t key components to SEO or determining how successful or big a site might be, they are metrics that brands and businesses do keep an eye on. Also, depending on the size of your business, this type of paid traffic can also bring in new audiences and customer to your website (and even local business as well).
Claim Your Google My Business Page, then Build Out Your Own Site
I’m all for having a Google My Business page for your local business, but don’t rely on that for everything. I always tell my audience the same thing — you want to own your own content! This is why it’s so important to have your own domain name and web hosting, versus starting a website on Blogger.com or WordPress.com. At the same time, you don’t want to have 100,000 fans on your Facebook page and not leading them to join your own mailing list of visiting a site you actually own.
No matter how much of your business is coming from local residents in your area, your online presence is of the utmost importance. Follow these Google My Business and local SEO marketing tips to stay ahead of the competition.
7 Quick Tips on How to Best Optimize Your Images For SEO
Images are an often overlooked part of SEO and the whole search engine experience, however they can play an important part and proper utilisation can be very beneficial. So, here are some tips to help you optimise for the best SEO.
Focus On Quality And Originality When Choosing Your Images
Images can add a lot to the overall user experience. Ideally, all of the images that you use on your website should be original. They should also be highly relevant to the content of the page where they are shown.
There are a couple of different ways that you can go about getting original images. For photographs, you can take your own pictures using a high-quality camera. For other types of graphics, you can use an in-house designer or you can outsource them, hiring a graphic design firm to create them for you.
Ultimately, all of your images should serve a purpose on your website, providing your visitors with a good experience every time they land on one of your pages.
Stock photographs are so common that most people ignore them. Matt Woodward advises you take your own photos, on the other hand, makes it much easier to grab people’s attention when they spot your one of your photos in the search results.
If you aren’t sure where to find the best images for your site, and don’t want to pay for them, check out this list of free image sites that offer royalty free graphics and images.
Make Sure Your Images Serve A Purpose
The best images are the ones that reinforce an idea or that make it easier for users to understand a concept or a product.
Many people are visual learners, meaning that they learn best when content is presented to them in a visual format. From an emotional standpoint, images are also typically far more impactful than big chunks of text.
Ideally, you should try to add images to all of your content. Just make sure that they are relevant. It is better to have no image than to add an image that doesn’t relate to your content.
Screenshots are another valuable type of image to add to your website. You can use them to explain concepts or to help people understand how to perform certain actions. They are particularly beneficial when you are writing about a topic that is complex or difficult to understand.
In terms of content creation, the goal of images should be to serve as a complement to your written content. They should enhance your writing, making concepts easier to understand or showcasing products. They can also be used to break up large blocks of text.
Select the Correct Format For Your Images
Deciding on an image is only the first part of the process. Once you find the perfect picture, you need to decide what format to save it in. The three most common file types used on the web are JPEG, PNG, and GIF.
JPEG is the best option for photographs. It compresses images, helping to keep the file size down. Unfortunately, this compression can result in a loss of quality. Another drawback to JPEGs is that they don’t support transparency. However, when you are dealing with photographs, it is usually the best file format since it helps keep the file size as small as possible, ensuring that the photos will load quickly.
GIFs are the best choice for basic art or for animated images. GIFs can only contain 256 colors, meaning that this file format is usually not appropriate for photographs. For simple graphics or business logos, however, it does a great job of keeping the file size small while at the same time creating crisp, clean images.
PNG files combine the benefits of GIFs and JPEGs. Like GIFS, they support transparency, making them a good option for logos or other types of digitally-created content. At the same time, they also have much greater color support, meaning that they can be used for photographs, as well. Although the file size of PNG images can be somewhat larger than JPEGs, you may find that it is a good option for situations that call for high-quality images that are as crisp and clear as possible.
Check the File Size Of Your Thumbnails
Thumbnail images are a great way to give people a preview of larger images that reside on another page. For instance, in an e-commerce store, products may have a thumbnail image on the store category page with a larger image on the product detail page.
The only thing you have to keep in mind when using thumbnail images is that the file sizes can quickly get out of control. Instead of just shrinking down a larger image, you should save each thumbnail individually, making sure that it has the smallest file size possible. That way, your category pages won’t take too long to load.
Because thumbnail images are so small, you can usually sacrifice a little bit of quality in order to keep the size of the file small. Since most pages with thumbnails include more than one image, you need to focus more on small file sizes than on the quality of the images.
When filling in the alt attribute for these images, try to use different text than the text that you use for the larger, higher-quality images. Imagine how disappointing it would be if your thumbnail image got indexed by the search engines while your larger image got ignored. Some experts even recommend avoiding using the alt tag on thumbnail images.
Use A Sitemap Specifically For Your Images
You can either add image information to your existing sitemap or you can create a second sitemap that is devoted only to images. The process is a lot easier than you might think. In essence, it just involves adding a small amount of image information for each URL.
There are even plug-ins available for WordPress that you can use to easily create a sitemap for your images.
Use Descriptive Names For Your Images
When you pull images off of your camera, they have a default filename. As tempting as it might be to leave this file name, it is generally a bad idea from an SEO standpoint.
Renaming them using relevant keywords is a great way to help the search engines better understand what the pictures are all about. The more descriptive you can be with the titles, the better job the search engines will do of listing your images.
Here is a great example:
Imagine that you are selling a Hyundai Elantra. When you take a photo of the car, your camera automatically assigns it a name, which is usually made up of a jumble of letters and numbers. Instead of sticking with this original name, you should change the name of the file to something like 2018-Hyundai-Elantra-blue.jpg.
When coming up with names for your images, think about the types of search terms that your customers are the most likely to use. Then, name your images accordingly. You can find detailed information about the phrases that your customers are searching for by checking the analytics of your website.
Share Your Images
Sharing your content is a great way to get noticed. As long as you are providing high-quality images, people who discover your content after you share it may decide to link to it on their own, which can be beneficial from an SEO standpoint.
Luckily, visual content performs extremely well on social media and in newsletters. People are naturally drawn to images, making this content ideal for sharing through these channels. The more often you share your content, the more likely it is to get shared with others, helping to expand its reach. You can make it easier for your visitors to share your content, as well, by adding social media sharing buttons to your site.
5 No-Brainer Solutions to Increase Organic Traffic to Your Website
Starting a blog or a website isn’t the hardest part, getting noticed and attracting the right audience is. Many blogs and websites have gone into oblivion not because they lack content, but because no one actually notices the hard work put in place to create the website and so their posts are just one of many—hidden deep down in the archives of the internet.
To get noticed on the internet, you need exposure and one of the best ways of getting the right exposure is gaining organic traffic. Organic traffic is traffic from search engines and this can be one of the most rewarding ways of generating traffic. Before we talk about how to increase organic traffic to your website, you should keep in mind that your organic traffic would only spike if your search engine optimization (SEO) game is 100%.
The tips that we’re going to share would guide you in the right path to optimizing your website for search engines and how to do SEO the right way—which would make search engines fall in love with your website.
1. Choose a Reliable Web Host and Site Design Platform
Before you even start to think about how to get your site to rank in the search results, and the thoughts of massive traffic and cash flowing in… you need to first make an important decision on who is going to host your website. This decision will be important for many reasons, such as — every site needs to have a reliable host to keep their site active on the internet, making sure you go with web host that has not only a 99.9% uptime rating but also loads your content fast, and also to choose a host that can grow and scale with your business in the process.
When it comes to cost, it’s also important to know your budget. Most shared hosting plans will cost less than $10 a month, but if you are going to have an e-commerce site or one that you know is going to get a lot of traffic or make some serious money, it might be best for you to go with a virtual, private, or dedicated server. To learn more about all of your options in the world of web hosting, be sure to check out HostAdvice’s cheap web hosting service reviews and guides.
2. Perform Extensive Keywords Research
When it comes to creating content for your site, one of the first and most important steps prior to creating and publishing content is keyword research. Adequate keyword research will point you in the right direction of search queries people are using to find topics that matter to them on Google. Using the Google keyword tool to find valuable, popular keywords prior to writing your content is one way to attract search engines. Spicing these keywords (a mix of long and short-tailed keywords) will help you get better rankings on the web.
Another popular research method is the Ubersuggest tool from Neil Patel. This tool will provide you with all of the same data from Google Keyword Planner, but also make it more visually appealing and easier to sort through as well. The more you know about your content, and how to make it the best possible, the more likely you are to find with SEO and promoting it to the right audiences.
3. Publish Quality Content Regularly, but Focus on Quality
Yes, content is king. An even truer statement is ‘quality content sells itself’. Once you pen down top-notch content, you’re more likely to get noticed with links pointing to your posts from other websites, as well as receive social media shares. These social signals would tell search engines that your website users are finding insight and value with that content, leading to a higher ranking on search engine result page (SERP). Staying ahead of your competition by churning out quality content on a regular basis is definitely a helpful way of increasing your organic traffic.
As important as content is, it’s important to know how to create the best content possible. For example, these days, it’s much better to create an article or blog post with 2,000+ words, versus going live with different articles that are just 500 words each. There are many reasons for this, such as quality and text within one article, the ability to promote and focus your efforts on just one article versus four, and the various reports (shown above) that continually back up the claims that more words continue to rank better in Google.
In addition to creating the best content possible, it’s also important to make sure you are linking internally within your site as well. This will help with both SEO and users navigating through your site. A good internal linking system helps you get backlinks to your sales pages or articles easily. Internal links are helpful for SEO as it keeps visitors engaged on your site for longer (reducing bounce rate). All you need to do is to link to relevant but articles or pages on your website using strategic anchor texts.
4. Optimize Your Content and Metadata
If you’re planning to rank on Google for a specific keyword, you want to optimize your metadata with that keyword as that’s one of the first places Google checks. Google gives ranking preference to websites which have information regarding the user’s queries. To improve your search ranking and organic traffic, the following are highly required to be optimized:
- Meta titles, keywords and descriptions
- Image title, alts and description
- Adding your target keywords in the first paragraph of your content
A perfect example of this can be seen through the content creation and promotion efforts from Canterra Suites Hotel, a downtown Edmonton hotel. In most cases, people traveling to Edmonton might not know of the name of the hotels in the area. So for a business or brand that is location-based, it’s important to know what keywords they want to rank for, and how to secure their positions in Google for them. In the case of Canterra Suites, anything related to ‘hotels’ and ‘Edmonton’ would be the keyword.
In short, know how your audience is going to search for content online, and it will be much easier for your site or brand to attain those rankings and be seen by the right audiences.
5. Contribute to Different Reputable Sites in Your Niche
Getting noticed, especially for a new website is very difficult. Becoming a contributor to popular and highly revered websites and blogs in your niche will give you that visibility you crave. Aside from getting your website in front of an established audience and potentially sending you referral traffic, you get a link back which is gold and impacts your SEO positively. Please note that guest blogging on websites with low-quality could negatively impact your website instead of helping you grow and increase your organic traffic.
While the concept of guest blogging is easy enough, it’s definitely going to take some manual work and time to find results. This means going to Google, searching for sites that allow guest blogging, building relationships with those sites, and then creating high-quality content for each of those sites. You can also find a list of 75+ sites accepting guest bloggers here.
Site Optimization and SEO is Always Changing — So Should You!
With so many different options out there for gaining backlinks, improving the on-site experience, and ranking higher in the search results, make sure you don’t just stick to one working method. At the same time, try not to cut corners and use shady methods to rank higher as well. The best way to see longterm growth and solid rankings in Google, is to create pillar content that can continually be referenced to time and time again. This content creation and marketing method worked ten years ago, and it will likely still be just as effective ten years from now.
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