Search Engine Optimization, known as SEO, is an essential tools in any small businesses arsenal. SEO is all about making sure your website and services are seen online ahead of competitors. It’s easy in theory, of course. Yet SEO isn’t about going down a list of rules and checking off some boxes. It’s a little more complicated than that. The strategies employed in a solid SEO plan can be perplexing no matter what field you’re in. Every new week brings the latest techniques for bumping your business up in search results. Staying on top of SEO and making sure your site reflects positive SEO mechanics is a constant battle. We asked some readers to give their best SEO tips and their responses are below.
#1 – Intent of the Keyword
In my experience, Google search results is mainly governed by visitor interest and concerned parameters ( time on Site, CTR). This means that you should be trying to user engagement points with each feature on your website. For this, you need to meet the exact intent of a given keyword. You need to understand the user perspective – whether it’s an informational keyword, Research keyword or commercial keyword. If you are providing wrong page for a keyword, it will result in a spike at bounce rate and drop in time on site. Consequently, this leads to a drop or rise on each individual page.
Thanks to Jayakrishnan Jayasanker, Adjetter
#2 – Content is King
Content is king. Anyone looking to invest time or money in SEO needs to ensure that their website is consistently producing, useful and or interesting industry specific content. If you don’t have the necessary skills or time to write articles then outsource it to an agency or a university student. If your website has great content on it that will be useful or interesting to search engine users then you will pretty quickly find your site moving up the rankings.
Thanks to Jamie Rice, The Skill Centre
#3 – Focus on Relevancy
When focusing on building your brand through SEO, focus on relevancy. It may be tempting to think that having your website or business mentioned anywhere is good, but a link from an authoritative website in your own niche will not only be more effective in terms of your ranking within organic search, but it will also give you relevant traffic through to your site, which will increase your readership and customer base. In the same way, look to build relationships with influential bloggers in your niche or industry, as they are the people who will tell their devoted readers how good your business is, helping to drive traffic to your site and increase your authority.
Thanks to John Tucker, John Tucker SEO
#4 – User Behavior
My best SEO tip that people don’t know about yet is to focus more on user behavior and try to reduce the visitor bounce rate percentage, increase the time they spend on site, and generally make sure that your content is good enough that the user doesn’t have to go back to the search results. Google is now tracking all of these criteria and weighing them higher and higher as indicators of a quality web page, and it makes total sense – if your content solves their problem, then Google will rank you higher.
Thanks to Han Chang, InvestmentZen
#5 – Useful Content
You see, most entrepreneurs/internet marketers are still practicing outdated Off page SEO. By that I mean backlink building. There was a time when backlinks (especially do-follow ones) from one authoritative site to yours had value, that’s because it was like a vote. (One site vouched for another). Not to say that backlinks have no value anymore but the landscape has changed with social media making it easier for Google to see what sites get shared more (votes: like, pins, tweets etc…) Also Google puts more weight on bounce rate (how long a visitor stays on your site..) Another thing about backlinks, you’d be hard pressed to find do-follow links anymore (this is where one site passes ‘authority’ to another site.) these days, most backlinks are no-follow (no authority passed) That best thing one can do is create useful content that keeps visitors on your page (videos helps a lot in this regard) and at the same time focuses one or two targeted keywords.
Thanks to Ike Pa, I.M.G.
#6 – Ask for Links
Find places where you’re already mentioned and ask for a link: I did this yesterday and was able to get a backlink with great anchor text from a website with a low Alexa score and high domain authority. First sign up for a free service like Mention.com or Google Alerts. For keywords, put in the name of your business. Now, whenever your business is mentioned online, you’ll be notified. Occasionally you’ll see yourself getting publicity without having the article at hand linking to your website. SEO works by examining if you’re getting publicity (AKA links) to your site. Without any easy way to find you, no publicity, no increased traffic, and no SEO. Contact the author of the article and ask if it would be alright to have your business name link to your site. Lastly, understand that the decision to include a link is up to the editor or the author. Trying to force a link will put you at risk of going against search engines’ TOS.
Thanks to Edward Sturm
#7 – Video Content
Content is king for SEO and the king of all content is video. At Blue Sky Video we have been producing videos for ourselves and our clients and posting them to YouTube. But in order to rank in search, you have to do more than just post video. The 4 key elements that need to be included with every video uploaded to YouTube are Title, Description, Tags and a custom Thumbnail image. In addition, each element needs to contain relevant keywords that enhance the SEO of the video. We then take the value of producing and posting videos one step further, by creating a blog on the our or our clients’ website. The blog contains both an embedded video and a keyword rich summary of the content. Video content does not have to be created specifically for YouTube either. It can be repurposed from a number of other platforms such as Facebook Live, Periscope, Blab and more.
Thanks to Bruce Himmelblau, Blue Sky Video Productions
#8 – Think Global, Act Local
Think Global, Act Local: I see many businesses trying fight for high volume/high competition keywords in organic. That’s good! You will get there! But not right away. Organic takes a lot of time and effort, and first results are usually seen not earlier than in 6 months (best-case scenario). And if there is no results for so long, it can be very discouraging. Here is what you should do – focus on local for a couple of months (if you are a local business). When done properly Local Search Optimization strategy can get you in the local 3-pack (where people often choose where to go) relatively quickly. And if you are local business, maybe it’s all what you need – be in the local 3 pack for the most relevant key words. Play Ahead: If you are small business, and your website does not have enough authority chasing high-competition key words probably isn’t the best idea. We already know what local businesses should do, but what if you not? Target long-tail keywords. These keywords are generally very low in the conversion funnel, and they often have lower competition level. Also, know what’s happening in your industry! Let’s say you know that you are an immigration lawyer and know that a new legislation will be in place next year. Chances are – there is no much written/said about it on-line (low competition). There is not much search volume either, but there will be. And you can be the first one to write about it. You get the first-mover advantage, and can establish some authority on the subject long before competitors even start thinking about it.
#9 – Leveraging Link Roundups
The one SEO link building tactic that’s been working very well for me is leveraging link roundups. These are weekly or monthly roundups of content around the web that people will link to and promote through email and social. When you make a piece of fantastic content, let people with link roundups know and there’s a good chance they’ll include your work. One way to find them is to search your industry + weekly link roundup” in Google but they can go by many names. Do some looking around and you’ll find them! Links are a big part of the ranking equation and this is a great way to get some.
Thanks to Christian Sculthorp, Agency Analytics
#10 – Anchor Text
1. Don’t forget your own website. Too many people focus on building links, which is a critical part of SEO. Too many companies forget that all the inbound links in the world won’t help if Google can’t crawl your website and/or doesn’t find the right factors on your site. Bad URL structures, too many H1’s, bad/duplicative (or just altogether missing) title/description tags, and duplicate content. Google hates these things – invest in structuring your own site properly – then you can really benefit from all those great links you are generating. 2. Be cautious of your anchor text. Too many people focus on building great links, but only ever use their business name as the anchor text for the link. There are two problems with this – first, google only knows that you are relevant for your business name. For example, our business name is Loftii. We help charities generate revenue by partnering with retailers to donate a portion of consumer purchases to the cause they chose. If Loftii is the only term that people use when they link to our website, Google will never know that we have anything to do with charities, donating, online shopping – all terms we want to rank for. The second issue is that Google has gotten very smart in the past few years on finding clues that identify link-building practices rather than organic links. One of their biggest clues is too much density around a single set of anchor text. Again, if Loftii as a term makes up 90% of our inbound links, Google knows that we likely employed link-building strategies and will discount those links you worked so hard to build.
Thanks to Amy Larson, Loftii
#11 – Be Part of the Community
I really didn’t know what SEO was, I just thought the natural thing to do was to connect with groups, forums, and businesses that were in my industry. Turns out by doing exactly that is what got me ranking in search engines because all these places that I was being a presence in all started linking back to my site. Which again later I found out that is the key ingredient in search rankings. So today in my new blogging business this is one of the key SEO steps that we still implement today. Lots of things have changed in the SEO game over the last decade but the one tried and true method for us that is gold is good ol being part of the community and add value in the the places that your key customers are at.
Thanks to Rob Boirun, Reviewster
#12 – Effective Keywords
1) Find Effective Keywords: Don’t take a wild guess at what keywords you should try to rank for – that is a complete shot in the dark! Keywords are massively competitive these days. Use the tools that people have put the effort and time into building to save you effort and time. There are tools that can deeply analyze the competitiveness of a keyword, exactly who your competition is, and how to outrank them! If you have a newer site you will need to pick less competitive keywords to go after and then build from there as your page rank authority grows. 2) Use the Yoast Plugin If you don’t even know what SEO stands for but know it’s something good…this is the plugin for you. Yoast is a life-saver for beginners. Although using only this plug-in for your SEO is not the most thorough approach; Yoast is free and will check the main factors of your content to let you know how well it is optimized before you publish the post on your website. Simple and straight-forward. 3) Know Your Target Audience. Think about all the different variations of words that people type into Google every minute – it’s huge. No matter how specific a search is, there will be multiple people searching that every month. Keep that in mind when analyzing your target audience – what kind of words may the put into Google in order to find a product/service like yours. Then research all the nitty-gritty details (search volume, value, competitiveness, etc.) of those keywords before jumping head first into trying to rank for it. There are too many factors that go into the success of a business ranking for a keyword that you cannot judge it off of just one factor looking good.
Thanks to Melissa Gosse, CanIRank
#13 – Customer Speak
As business executives, we often use industry specific terms that everyone in our industry knows and uses regularly when talking to each other. (Those sort of ‘inside baseball’ terms.) The problem is that our customers don’t know those terms and use different words when explaining our companies, products and services. Whether optimizing your website, writing blog posts or creating other types of content, be sure to use those words and phrases that your customers use because these are the ones that they will use to search for you on Google, Bing and other search engines. You can put together a list of terms by listening to customer conversations, reading their online comments and questions and monitoring their posts on your social media channels. Use this list as your keywords for SEO success.
Thanks to Lisa Masiello, TECHmarc Labs
#14 – Mobile Friendly
Make sure your website is as mobile friendly as possible. This is especially important since roughly half of the traffic on the Web now comes from mobile devices. To make searches easier for mobile users, Google began factoring sites’ mobile-friendliness in their rankings. The more mobile-friendly the site, the higher it ranks in the search. You can check out how your site performs on smart phones and other devices by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly tool. A low score may indicate you need to switch to a responsive design that adjusts its layout to accommodate the screen of the device that accesses it.
Thanks to Brian Sutter, Wasp Barcode
#15 – Learn the Skill
We paid a half dozen people to optimize our website for SERP placement on page one. Everybody claims they will provide great results. We paid monthly fees as little as $500.00 per month for website optimization and spent as much as $20,000.00/year with a managed Google Adwords campaign. Nothing worked. So, I rolled up my sleeves, I got into my office very early, and I learned the trade myself. I needed to migrate my website onto WordPress and that was a bit to technical for me and so, I found an offshore company to help me with this. You can’t believe how little some of these guys work for. I also subscribe to an online system that grades website key factors like: Keyword density, relevance Headings and tags, Symantec markup, Schema markup, Backlinks, Competitor rankings and strategies, Social engagements, Local versus generic placement, And much more. There are literally dozens of companies offering this from as little as $30.00 to as much as $100.00 per month. Rank Watch, Spyfu, Sight Analyser, Moz. I now spend less than $300.00 a month on my SEO campaign (which includes website programming changes & monthly subscription fees) and I have ten keywords that rank on the first page and each month they all get better. We no longer have any paid for campaigns, and our phone rings. I read somewhere that if you pay someone to manage your SEO, the cost is such that you might as well pay for a Google Adwords campaign. Now that I’ve taken it upon myself to learn the SEO trade, I agree. But if you do bring the campaign in house, my experience is that you’ll spend a fraction of the cost and get better results.
Thanks to Kristain Irr, Preventive Maintenance Support Services