Seeking a winning SEO strategy? When it comes to advertising your business online, few forms of marketing are as vital as SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Getting your website to rank on the first page of Google can bring you substantial amounts of organic and directed traffic, yielding you substantial sales in the process.
Curious as to what a good SEO strategy entails? Then read on. Here are 12 SEO tips and tricks to help you facilitate a flawless campaign.
1. Research Your Keywords
One of the most important aspects of SEO is keyword usage. If you want to enter the ballgame, so to speak, you need to make use of keywords that are relevant to your business or brand.
Now, you could just use the first keywords that come to mind. For instance, if you’re a plumber in Nashville, you could just use something to the effect of “Nashville plumber” or “plumber in Nashville”. Note, though, that these are high-competition keywords and are going to take a lot of time (and effort) to rank for.
While, yes, you should be using keywords such as these, you should also be using less generalized keywords. In particular, you should be using long-tail keywords.
How do you find relevant long-tail keywords? The answer is keyword research. Keyword research is typically facilitated by research tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner.
These tools can cost you a bit of money (Ahrefs and SEMRush cost hundreds of dollars a month). Note, however, that they can make all the difference in your SEO campaign.
By helping you identify never-considered keywords, they can assist you in targeting a new group of internet users. For instance, instead of helping you find people who are looking for a Nashville plumber in general, they could help you find people who are looking for an emergency plumber in Nashville or a drain specialist in Nashville.
Keyword research is, well, key. Take it seriously and your SEO campaign is almost sure to thrive.
2. Write Guest Posts
Perhaps the most important aspects of an SEO strategy is getting backlinks. In most cases, backlinks are what separates the haves from the have-nots. The more and higher quality of backlinks you have, the greater chance your website has of ranking on the first page for relevant keywords.
The problem lies in getting appropriate backlinks (it’s not easy). Perhaps the simplest way to get them is to write guest posts for other websites. This way, you can attach a link within your post, a link that leads back to your website and, therefore, provides you with a backlink.
Note, when doing this, you need to find sites that have some authority and which are relevant to your niche. So, if you’re a transmission repair shop, for instance, you might consider writing a guest post for a manufacturer of transmission-related parts.
Search engines will see the relation between your website and the guest post website and will determine your website to have some authority in your niche. The more authority your website is deemed to have, the higher your website will rank over time.
3. Build Relationships
Writing guest posts might be the easiest way to obtain new backlinks, at least in the short-term. However, if you really want to nab backlinks, you’re going to have to build relationships with others in your industry or geographical area.
The more and stronger relationships you build, the greater chance there will be of others linking to your site. In fact, you might even be able to forge agreements in which local businesses link to your site in exchange for something else. Sometimes it’s as simple as giving backlinks to each other.
The point is, the more ingratiated you become in your industry or niche, the easier backlinks will come. In the long-term, these backlinks might even start to come organically. That’s when you begin to dominate your sphere.
4. Create a Google My Business Profile
In this day and age, SEO doesn’t only happen on one’s website. When it comes to small businesses, it occurs on Google My Business as well.
Google My Business listings show toward the top of every local business search. For instance, if someone were to look for “electricians in Omaha”, a Google My Business window would pop up listing the most prominent electricians in Omaha. In most cases, the top 3 businesses are listed, making them the most prominent for the keyword entered.
Your goal should be to break into the top 3 of this list. This is known as the 3-pack and it’s sought after by any respectable SEO specialist.
To land your business in the 3-pack, you have to create and curate a Google My Business profile. This involves updating your business data, uploading business-related photographs, and posting to the platform on a regular basis.
The more active you are on Google My Business, the better chance you’ll have of ranking in the top 3. So get on it and get active. Exposure and increased sales await.
5. Get Citations
Google My Business is just one (though the most important) of the entities known as local citations. Local citations are essentially business listings upon which you leave your business’ name, address, and phone number. The more citations you have, the more credibility you’ll gain with Google, and the higher your ranking will be.
The key to local citations is to use consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone). If you use inconsistent NAP, you’ll confuse search engines, causing your ranking to plummet.
So, if your business name is “Ray’s Burgers”, your address is “123 Fake Street, Nashville, Tennessee”, and your phone number is “555-555-5555”, you need to list those 3 elements in exactly the same way every time you create a citation. This is true whether you’re listing on a site like YellowPages or in a guest post on someone else’s site.
The most important citations are Google My Business, Facebook, and Yelp. Note, though, that you should also obtain citations that are unique to your industry or geography.
Chamber of commerce sites are usually easy places to obtain citations. You might also try to have your business information listed in a local publication.
6. Be Active on Social Media
Though social media marketing is quite a bit different from SEO marketing, there is some overlap between the two. Namely, in order to thrive in SEO, you have to send out social signals. In other words, you have to, at the very least, consistently signal your activity on social media platforms.
So, set up a Facebook, and a Twitter, and a LinkedIn. You might even consider setting up an Instagram. Then, just sporadically make updates to these various platforms, sharing your blog and posting new statuses.
Social signals are far from the most important aspect of SEO but every little bit helps. As such, if you want to beat your competition, you’re advised to get social.
7. Make Use of Schema Markup
Google is getting more complex by the day. One of the ways in which this is exemplified is in the budding importance of schema markup.
Schema markup describes an underlying form of data. This data characterizes the website, informing Google as to its particular identity and traits. Simply put, if you want to be at the top of the Google search rankings, you need to prioritize schema markup.
There are a few different ways to implement schema markup. One way is to hardcode it into your website. Note, though, that this is risky, particularly for those who have never coded before.
The better option is to use a plugin on WordPress or Joomla or whatever other content management system your website exists on. These plugins cost a little money but enable you to update schema markup in a matter of seconds. In fact, many of them allow you to auto-assign schema markup, making the process as efficient as possible.
8. Install an SSL Certificate
One of the newer aspects of a top tier SEO strategy is the aspect of the SSL certificate (Secure Sockets Layer). This is an entity that ensures security between two corresponding computer networks. It’s helpful not only for security purposes but for proving a website’s credibility to search engines.
As such, if you want your website to rank high on search engines, you need to install an SSL certificate. These certificates are often free with different forms of hosting. Note, however, that they can also be purchased for as little $20.
9. Make Your Website Responsive
At this juncture, there’s really no other option. Your website has to be responsive. If it’s not, search engines won’t take it seriously, and it will be relegated to the depths of search engine purgatory.
What does it mean to make a website responsive and why is it important to a strong SEO strategy? It means making it equally as visible on phones and tablets as it is desktop computers or laptops. In other words, you need to create your website so that it “responds” to different interfaces.
If you have a web designer (or if you’re versed in the process), you need to make the change sooner rather than later. If you don’t have a web designer (and if you’re not versed in the process), you would be wise to hire an online marketing strategist.
10. Optimize Load Speed
Load speed is one of the many factors that search engines take into account when gauging a website’s ranking. As such, you must ensure that your website is loading as quickly as possible.
There is a lot that goes into this, so you’ll want to study up elsewhere. That said, some of the most important measures include avoiding large images, keeping the use of videos to a minimum, using good hosting, making use of a content delivery network (CDN), and caching your user data.
To gauge the speed of your website, you can use online tools such as these ones from Google. Other tools you might consider using include GTMetrix and UpTrends.
11. Create Content
Perhaps the most important aspect of a strong SEO strategy is creating content. If you don’t create content on a regular basis, your website will fall behind others in its niche or industry. The only way you can overcome a lack of content is by obtaining an unbelievable number of very-high-quality backlinks.
The most important aspect of SEO content creation is the creation of written content. Blog posts, white papers, and other such documents will enable you to plug new keywords into your website, allowing for increased exposure on all search engines.
Note, though, that you shouldn’t stop at just written content. Videos are becoming ever-more important in the world of SEO, with search engines assigning them increasingly more value.
The best practice is to establish a content publishing schedule. You should be uploading at least one piece of content weekly. This content should offer direct value to the consumer and should be relevant to your business or brand.
For instance, if you’re an auto mechanic, you should write articles about engine repair or brake repair or tire installation or the like. These articles will not only help the reader, but they will also prove your legitimacy within your industry.
12. Optimize Your Web Design
The last thing to do is to implement proper web design. The easier your website is to navigate, the greater your SEO will be in the long-run.
Why is this? Because Google takes into account factors such as the time that visitors spend on your website, and whether or not they click through to another page. As such, the easier your website is to navigate, the better its user-related metrics will be, and the higher it will rank.
Unless you have extensive experience with web design, you’re advised to utilize the services of a professional web designer. He or she will make your website as functional and user-intuitive as possible.
Need Help With Your SEO Strategy?
Are you still struggling with your SEO strategy? Need a little help with it? If so, we here at 316 Strategy Group are the people to see.
We’ve carried out SEO campaigns for a bevy of different brands and businesses throughout Omaha, Des Moines, Kansas City, Nashville and beyond. Regardless of the nature of your business, our team can help you create a winning SEO strategy.
Contact us now to get the process started!