What’s your search engine optimization strategy for this year? Are you making an effort to stay abreast of the goings on in the SEO arena?
Throwing random links at your website doesn’t produce the results you need! If you want to ensure that you have the best information about what’s currently working in SEO, read on to find out everything you need to know about how to stay on top of the SERPs in the New Year.
In this article, I’m going to provide you with useful context to help you create your own full-fledged strategy. A sound strategy and a holistic approach to the topic of SEO will not only get you more traffic, but it will result in a lot more leads for you, too.
So, let’s dive in, shall we?
Ranking in Google: What are the Ranking Factors?
SEO changes so rapidly that most marketers find it extremely hard to keep up. Even the experts will tell you how crazy the industry can be. Each year Google comes up with more and more complex updates… But the bottom line is that ranking high in organic search these days is pretty much the same as it’s been for the past decade.
It all comes down to two things:
Links are still the main driving force behind high rankings in the search engines. So, for all that talk about how everything in SEO is evolving, it turns out all the basics are still the same. Having said that, now is the time to start preparing for the future.
Recent years have seen Google putting a bigger focus on better understanding content, topics, and search intent. Their Hummingbird algorithm was designed to try and understand the connection between articles, topics, subtopics, and synonyms.
Google’s main goal is to match user queries with answers. So, if they can rate documents based on their likelihood to answer queries, then they’ll have a whole new means of ranking documents. That’s why they are now focusing not just on the voting mechanism of links, but also on that page’s actual content.
Use LSI and Synonyms in your Content
Google and all the other search engines keep getting smarter by the day. They aren’t looking at searches keyword by keyword. Instead, they are determining what the intent is behind the search, and coming to the understanding that some different searches actually have similar intent.
This is why you don’t have to create different pages for your various keywords, but you need to focus on building the pages on your site based on topics, instead. Old-school SEO was all about building out pages for every keyword, eg. ‘online marketing tools, digital marketing course, social media marketing for beginners’, and so on.
But now, search engines understand those are all more or less the same thing, which means that now you could just create one page, and rank for loads of variations. The better Google and other search engines can understand content, the less heavily they will need to rely on links as a major ranking factor.
While this isn’t strictly true today, evidence does show that it’s where they’re going.
This is the main reason why pages with longer, more in-depth content tend to rank better. There’s simply a greater chance of such pages fully explaining the answer to the user’s query. All in all, the best way to get higher rankings in the SERPs right now is to establish yourself as an authority within your niche. That’s the most convenient and efficient way of getting Google to open its traffic floodgates to you.
But How Does Google Define ‘Authority’?
To be seen as an authority in the search giant’s eyes, you need three things:
1. Content Depth – This has to do with building long articles that help to fully answer your readers’ questions on that subject.
2. Content Breadth – This is all about creating a lot of articles to answer various types of questions that your customers may have.
3. Authority Links – Because links are still one of the largest ranking factors, you need to focus on building QUALITY links as part of your long-term play.
These three things, combined, will give you a massive increase in your traffic in a relatively short period of time. In the past, people had a short-sighted view to achieving success with SEO. They were mostly focused on two things: Keywords and Ranking.
The idea was, ‘If I can rank number one for my product keyword, then I’ll win. If I can’t, I’ll lose’. Thankfully, that’s simply not the way SEO works anymore. So, if you are still holding on to this old-school mindset, it’s time to let it go, otherwise, it will lead you to failure.
I know some of you are asking: If links are such a huge ranking factor, how will I find success since NOBODY wants to link to my product pages…?
To get link equity on your site, you need cool stuff to link to. That’s why it’s better to go with the new approach to SEO which is more about traffic (as opposed to rankings), and topics (rather than keywords).
See where I’m going with this?
The new way of doing SEO takes into consideration your customer’s journey. This means that while it’s great to have your product pages ranked for end buying cycle keywords, most of the traffic will actually be beginner or mid-cycle keywords.
These are keywords that prospects are searching for prior to being ready to buy. They are simply the questions that your audience is asking you each day.
So, by building out that useful content, you’ll be able to:
- Capture a lot more traffic
- Establish your authority on the subject
- Build relationships with your audience
- Boost their trust in your brand, and…
- Ultimately, make more money!
So, that’s the context behind the plan – but how do you actually create a strategy that will help you generate massive increases in targeted traffic, leads, sales, and revenue? What actionable steps can you take to get more traffic from Google?
5 Tips to Help You Get More Traffic from Google
1. Define Your Ideal Audience
Who are you trying to attract? Any marketing campaign you set out to run needs to start here if it’s going to succeed. Determine who your target audience is, first. You may already have customers, some of whom are easy to please, don’t ask for a lot, and give you lots of money.
Then there are others who are a total pain. They are cheapskates who ask for countless things, and generally make your life hell. Yes, you can work with both these customers – but do you really want to? I’ll bet the majority of business owners would take one good customer over ten bad ones.
This is where defining the people you want to work with comes in. That process is also going to help you find out which keywords you rank for, as well as what type of content you need to create. By understanding your audience well, you’ll be able to come up with tons of content ideas and keywords to rank for.
Pro Tip: Listen to your audience and market – Find out what prevents them from buying your products and services, and attack those doubts from every angle. Address each and every question they may have. This creates authority and trust, and when those customers are ready to make a purchase, you become the first person they think of because you already have a solid relationship with them.
2. Competitive Keyword Research
Now that you have a firm understanding of who you’re targeting, it’s time to determine the best keywords to target. In spite of what you may have heard keyword research is actually very easy to conduct. There are keywords that you are already targeting on your blog, and those that you’re not.
The first thing to do is to take advantage of the easy wins. Use a keyword research tool to find the keywords that you’re ranking for, but not in the top 3 spots (including Google’s page 2). Each of them must have a good search volume.
You’re already seen as relevant for those keywords, you’re just not ranked in the top three for them. Optimize those pages and send more links to them and you’ll be able to increase your ranking a whole lot faster than trying to rank a new keyword.
Next, use content gap analysis to find all your competitors’ keywords. This process basically involves going to all your competitors’ sites, making a list of all the keywords they rank for (excluding the ones you’re already ranking for), and then targeting each of those keywords through blog posts and other types of quality content.
Make sure the keywords all have good search volume. You can also use the CPC>$1 to exclude the really useless ones. When making a list of your competitors, remember to include both direct and indirect competitors (those that don’t sell the exact same products as you, but have a similar audience).
3. On-Site and On-Page SEO
Make sure your web pages are optimized with your keywords, and build content that covers your topic in-depth. Optimize your meta tags including:
- Title Tags
- Meta Descriptions
- Header Tags
- …and more
Your focus here is about creating the type of in-depth content that Google loves to see. Focus on 2, 000+ words (if that makes sense for your niche), making sure you answer users’ questions as well as you can. These are the types of articles that tend to rank better. Follow that list of keywords you came up with earlier, and build out quality content around them.
Don’t forget to add internal links to your content.
Your Content Marketing Strategy – You’re going to attract your target customers to you by building out content that helps them answer their questions and solve their problems. This is referred to as inbound marketing and it’s a very effective way of getting more leads into your funnel.
Tips to help optimize your efforts:
- If your blog already has lots of content, re-optimize old posts to get the most from the assets you already have.
- Use means outside of SEO to help promote your content. Channels like email, social media, paid ads, and so on.
- After building out content, add more links to boost rankings.
- Take advantage of user experience signals. For instance, if a particular page is ranking well, model it in terms of navigation, design, content, etc.
4. Link Building Strategy
Although link-building often gets a bad rap, it’s hard to ignore the evidence that it’s really the power behind rankings. In as much as you shouldn’t underestimate the number of links that you need to rank, you should not over-optimize your anchor text or create unnatural profiles as this can get your site penalized. When starting on your first campaign for building link equity to your website, follow these steps:
Step #1: Begin with branding and diversity – Use natural anchor text only eg. https://www.PlanetBizOp.com or simply use your brand name as your keyword. Build your social and authority properties to signify that you’re an actual brand.
Step #2: Next, get some in-content diversity links – Create web 2.0-type properties for this. Use a varied mix of natural, brand, low-competition keywords and their long-tail variations.
Step #3: Get High-Power Links – After building a substantial base, you can start adding high-powered links that have exact match anchors. Don’t repeat the same anchor twice, but make it slightly different every time. Guest-posting on authority blogs and other high-trust publications is a great way of building quality power links.
5. The Final Step: Measure Your Results
You already know that SEO takes time, right? But it’s always a good idea to track and measure your results so that you know what you’re doing right and what you need to improve upon in your SEO strategy. Use a combination of keyword rank tracking and Google Analytics traffic reports. And don’t get discouraged if it takes a few months to see results. You may also experience some fluctuation but over time, you’ll see definite increases in rankings and traffic by following these 5 steps.
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