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 – Competition
For certain industries, competitions are an SEO godsend. With the rise of social media and blogging platforms, a link to a business' competition can be shared thousands of times every hour. Make a competition everyone wants to share and win and you have a perfectly legitimate posting network doing your work for you. Granted, they may not always be do follow links, but the sheer volume you can obtain is ridiculous. I found this out when consulting for a company called McLaggan Smith Mugs in the West Coast of Scotland. They utilise e-mail campaigns, so I came up with the idea of including a small competition in one. It blew up and resulted in a lot of exposure for the company.
Thanks to Tom Wishart, Smarter Digital Marketing
#2 – Industry Knowledge
It is all well and good doing keyword research and trying to find the popular search terms within an industry to try and rank for, but if you do not know the specific industry you could miss out on a number of quality keywords. My advice would be to immerse yourself in to the industry, speak to people from every level of the industry from employees to industry leaders to establish the terminology they are using and how they describe certain things within the industry. The more knowledge you gain for the industry the more opportunities you will find for keywords.
Thanks to Matthew Spendiff-Smith, Returnloads.net
#3 – CTR Magnet
One of the most underrated SEO technique right now is the CTR magnet technique. When you're on the first or second page of Google SERP pages, you need to create a killer headline which attracts more attention than the top positions. Something which boosts your CTR rate as compared to the other results on the page.When Google sees your post attracting more clicks than the top positions, you will get a huge ranking boost towards the top. Of course, a great title and headline is not enough, your content must be absolutely excellent and answer the user's search query intent fully such that they don't bounce back and search again. For that reason, your content should be a long form article (typically 2000+ words)
Thanks to David Attard, DART Creations
#4 – Keep Content Simple
It's of no use to stuff keywords in your content where it's not necessary. Keep your content simple with naturally placed keywords and free of plagiarism. The more informative a content is, the more value it earns from Google. Try refreshing your content after every few months so that it ranks more efficiently. Avoid going for a sales pitch too aggressively and try pushing out educational content that generates users' interest which ultimately leads to sales.
Thanks to Haris Mumtaz, PureVPN
#5 – Guest Posts
I am a a real estate attorney and estate planner licensed to practice law in Maryland and DC. My best SEO tip is to build back links by guest posting on your colleagues websites. For example, I can guest post on a criminal attorney's website about the criminal implications of of a fraudulent real estate transaction. By doing so I have created a back link to my webpage and I've given my colleague valuable content. I can write on a family lawyers blog about why it's difficult for landlords to evict their spouses (I get asked to do that all the time believe it or not). The amount of back link building opportunities are endless within your own professional community!
Thanks to Brian Pendergraft Esq., The Pendergraft Firm LLC
#6 – Mobile Responsiveness
SEO continues to evolve at an alarming rate. As I'm working on my 2017 SEO client strategies I have 2 tips that I've found made a significant difference for my clients in their 2016 4th quarter. Ensure your website is fully mobile responsive. Mobile friendly isn't good enough any longer. With over 1 billion users accessing the internet through mobile devices, if your site isn't compatible you don't stand a chance of anyone sticking around to see what you have to offer. With OK Google, Siri, Alexa and Cortana being everyone's new best friend, SEO has been forever changed. Websites have to be voice searchable. Simple keywords are no longer effective. Natural voice spoken phrases in your SEO strategy is an absolute must. Voice search optimization has arrived in the SEO world. Though I don't think short tail keywords will ever entirely disappear, a 2017 SEO strategy focus needs to be on long tail conversational key words.
Thanks to Denise Angus, Vets and Pets Marketing Solutions
#7 – Keyword Research
Do proper keyword research. It is important to understand which stage of the buyers journey a potential customer is in by the query that they use to search for your products and services. Depending on if you want to target a customer in the awareness, consideration, or decision stage, will determine the type of content you create and the keywords you focus each piece of content on. If you are purely looking for sales, focus your content and keywords on search queries that display high buyer intent rather than general awareness about why they need your product. Some examples of high buyer intent keywords would be queries that contain comparison or review. A good way to target those keywords would be to create a piece of content comparing specific products that you offer and then linking to your product pages directly from the content.
Thanks to John Reinesch, Austin & Williams
#8 – Customers First
Empathy will get you a long way in the SEO game – the best approach to modern SEO puts your customers first. Creating a good, useful experience is imperative to driving SEO success in 2017 and beyond. To start improving the experience of your site, take a look at your analytics. Which pages have high bounce rates, or exit rates? Anything over 50% tends to be a red flag. Some pages will almost always have high bounce and exit rates (pricing pages, for example) but if multiple pages with high bounce and exit rates indicate you're not delivering useful content, or your site is hard to use. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer – what information would you want to see, in order to build trust with a company you may never have heard of before performing a Google search to solve your problem? How would you want that site to behave? How would you expect information to flow? Better yet, start asking existing customers. Find out what they like about your site, what they don't, and what's missing. Talking to people who are already paying you is a great way to identify ways to find more customers, and grow your business.
Thanks to Tyler Moore, App Press
#9 – Inbound Traffic
SEO these days is based on content. Content that is specific to what people are searching for. The best way we've seen to help grow your SEO strategy and direct more inbound traffic to your site is to create content based on what people are actually searching for related to your business or industry. The easiest way to figure this out is to listen to your customers. What questions are they asking you? Because, if they are asking you about specific topics in person, you can pretty much bet that others have the same question, and are turning to the internet for answers. If you can narrow down how people are searching that question, and use that string in your blog post/video/imagery/etc., and really answer that question for them, you're going to find that you'll get people finding your business more often through search, and potentially sharing your information for you across their own channels.
Thanks to Matthew White, Qebot
#10 – Provide Value
In order to improve your SEO for your business website you must provide value to your customers. Google has made it very clear if you want to rank on their search engine you must provide relevant high quality and unique content. Writing engaging and informative articles will help build trust among your target audience. Not only that other websites will organically link to your because they find your content to be relevant to their website. Building credibility and authority among your niche through content is by far the most effective way to improve your SEO. Remember to write for your target audience not Google, their algorithm is so refined it may hurt your SEO instead of improving it.
Thanks to Lisa Chu, Black N Bianco