If you’re a content marketer then you obviously know how critical it is to provide great content.
But what’s just as important is being able to draw people to your site – after all, what’s the point of creating great info if no one’s reading it?
And that’s where SEO comes in.
Simply put, the Google rankings are the keys to the high-traffic castle, and it’s essential to employ the right SEO techniques in order to make the Google “spiders” happy. These spiders are deployed by Google to crawl around the thousands upon thousands of websites to determine if your site possesses certain indicators such as fresh content, back links, domain age, and traffic; if your website does, then congratulations, you’re going up the rankings; if not, your site’s most likely going to live in obscurity.
So you want to impress those spiders, and SEO is the way to do it. But great SEO is as much art as science. It’s an ever-evolving game, but one that does have age-old fundamentals, and the top SEO practices embrace them.
And those practices are what I’ve provided for you here.
1. Be Original
Google wants its users to find what they’re looking for. This means that the core principles of SEO are based around showing Google that your site provides lots of useful and relevant information. By providing unique and helpful content, Google will see you as a trusted source and reward you with a nice boost up the rankings.
And don’t forget, content doesn’t have to simply be articles or text, there are several other forms that can include:
- Photos – People are visual, and by posting attractive, relevant images to your site, you’ll entice viewers to keep coming back.
- Videos – A great way to help your visitors is to provide useful video tutorials on YouTube. Not only will your audience appreciate it, but YouTube is an amazingly popular place and your videos being shared can lead to a ton of new traffic to your site.
- Plugins and Tools – Google wants to be impressed, and if you want to rise up the rankings, creating and installing a helpful plug-in or tool into your website is a great way to do it.
2. Work the Social Media Platforms
Social media is quickly becoming the bedrock for websites seeking to build their traffic levels. And for SEO purposes, Google now factors in social media popularity as a way to judge a site’s authority and importance. For example, the more Google sees an article being tweeted and retweeted, the better the chance it will decide your site provided something significant and reward it in the rankings.
Here are some ways to get your readers sharing your content on social media:
- Reciprocate – The classic technique of ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ applies big time in the world of social media promotion and the more content from other marketers you promote, tweet or share, the more likely you’ll see the favor returned.
- Provide Value-On-Top-Of-Value – Readers love the extra value. And by using the social media sites as places to provide content not found on your website, your readers will see the additional information as valuable bonus material which will only make them that much more loyal to you.
- Discover Who the Major Players Are – By identifying and casually getting to know Twitter’s power players in your niche, you’ll form a simple relationship where you tweet and re-tweet each other’s content.
3. Own Your Property
While using a free website platform is fine for someone just looking to have some fun, if you want your site to be a business, you need to own the property. Think about it like this, Google wants to make its users happy, thus, it will be more likely to take you seriously and recommend you as a content provider if you’ve shown the commitment of purchasing your own hosting and domain. So make the investment, it will greatly enhance your SEO and pay off big in the rankings.
4. SEO Your Theme
It’s essential to provide a pleasant experience for your site’s visitors and optimizing your theme is a great way to show Google that you’re a trustworthy player while also helping the search engine giant discover your content. Some ways to use SEO on your theme include:
- Make Sure There Are No Broken Links – Having links that lead nowhere is a great way to annoy your visitors, so make sure each link works and is intact.
- Be Intuitive – The last thing you want is for your site’s navigation to frustrate visitors, so provide a user-friendly theme that’s both functional and easy-to-use.
- (Slow) Speed Kills – In a world that keeps moving faster and faster, a slow loading site can cause visitors to jump somewhere else without thinking twice about it. So it’s crucial to keep your site’s speed up to standard. Both Google and your users will thank you for it.
5. Optimize Permalinks
People don’t just fall out of the online sky onto your site, they find it through permalinks; these are links containing both a root and an extension.
If the concept of having to maintain a strong permalink structure intimidates you, don’t work. WordPress makes it simple to change your site’s permalinks; all you have to do is click on “settings”, then “permalinks”. From that point, I’d recommend structuring the permalink so that the only thing inside it is the name of your post. To do this, simply click “custom structure” and type in /%postname%/.
If you want to optimize your permalinks even more, just run a search on the top keywords you want to rank under and modify your URL to include these words.
A keynote, you only want to modify new permalinks; don’t mess around with the old ones since doing so will break your backlinks.
6. Build Backlinks
By creating backlinks, you can connect other people’s sites to your own.
Here are a few things to abide by though to make the optimization of your backlinks effective:
- Understand Anchor Text – Anchor text is the words a user clicks on to access the hyperlink. The text should include words that are clear and relevant to the targeted keywords.
- The Source Matters – Part of a successful optimization with backlinks is to hook up with domain names that are high in Google’s rankings since Google will view such links as being way more valuable than those connected to sites that are lesser known. Look at it like this, a single top-notch link will enhance your ranking status more than 100 backlinks from sites no one has heard of.
- It’s Not Worth It To Buy Links – Google knows if someone’s done this and it doesn’t like it.
Just remember, the best way to develop a stable of impressive backlinks is to provide superior original content for your website, use it to gain the respect of your peers and then parlaying that respect into invites for guest posting on the top sites in your niche.
7. Be Smart With Your Keywords
If you play fast and loose with your keywords there’s a good chance you won’t be getting much out of your SEO. So you want to put in some time and research to figure out what the best words to use are, and considering some important factors and questions regarding keyword optimization and content marketing is strongly advised.
Proper SEO can be tricky, but if you follow the tips in this list, you create a powerful SEO foundation for drawing visitors to your site. From that point on it’s up to you. You can just keep focusing on the fundamentals, or you can venture off to some of the flavor-of-the-month techniques that can give that extra SEO edge. Just remember, good things take time, and if you put in the work and follow what I’ve laid out here, you’ll develop a site that enjoys lots of success.