We've covered SEO ranking tips in this blog before (here and here). Search engine optimization is a critical topic for any business, and a challenging one. It’s also complex, as it touches on social media, content marketing, and website usability. So it’s certainly enough fodder for another post – especially for those of you who want to know how you can most efficiently increase your page ranking with Google.
Y’all probably know these SEO statistics already, but they’re noteworthy enough to bear repeating: 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and Google owns over 70% of the search engine market share. (source)
And yes, it’s frustrating that just when you think you’ve got a handle on SEO, Google changes up their algorithm… again. But there’s no escaping it: SEO is here to stay, so you might as well take the time to figure it out and stay up-to-date. Because the right SEO ranking tips could mean a huge difference for your business in terms of leads -- and ultimately revenue.
Tip #1: Write Interesting Content
Believe it or not, Google can tell whether people find your content interesting or not. One way this happens is with Bounce Rates (the percentage of people who leave your site after visiting only one page) and Average Time on Page metrics (the amount of time people spend on a page before moving on). These metrics tell Google whether people stay on your site once they find it, and whether your content is compelling enough to keep them reading for a period of time.
How can you write interesting content? Know your target audience. Create personas. Answer their common questions and offer useful information that can make their life or job easier, more successful, or more fun. If they really like your content, they might even share it, and that is the golden key of SEO. Rack up the shares, and your ranking will climb as well.
Tip #2: Refresh Your Content Often
To remain relevant and useful to your buyers, it’s important to add new content to your website on a regular basis. New information keeps visitors coming back, keeps your business top-of-mind, and helps to further the trust and relationship development that high quality content can foster. On the other hand, using your website as a static “business card” is an outdated concept that doesn’t work for today’s SEO-led online world. People expect your website to a resource that responds to changes in your industry and market, and addresses their needs and interests.
Tip #3: Write Unique Content
You possess experience or perspective that is unique to you. No one else has the exact same combination of experiences and insight as you. That is what your readers want to hear (not the same repetitive advice that other sites in your industry publish).
The first step to writing unique content is to know what other content exists in your industry. Check out your competitor’s websites and blogs and familiarize yourself with what they’re writing. Then think about what you can contribute to a larger conversation within your industry or space? Maybe it’s a different take on a trending topic, or a lesson learned from a recent project.
When you write content that is unique to you and your business, readers will keep coming back for more.
Tip #4: Use a Keyword in Your Page URL
Although keywords aren’t everything when it comes to content marketing, they are critical for SEO. Search engines use keywords to help connect relevant content to search requests. Using the optimal keywords in your page URL can help bring the right kind of visitors to your site – those who are looking for the type of content (and products or services) that you provide.
Using a keyword in your page URL gives people a clear description of what content the link goes to, whether they are doing a Google search, using social media, or are in email. And when the link is copied and pasted, the URL with a keyword included can serve as its own anchor text (which is used for SEO rankings).
Tip #5: Forget About Keyword Density
More does not equal better ranking when it comes to keywords. Instead, focus on writing strong content that is useful and clear. There’s no need to aim for any particular keyword density (i.e. When you divide the total number of words by the number of times a specific keyword was used, you get the percentage of keyword density). While in the past, people believed that a range of 1 to 3 percent keyword density is ideal, this is no longer the case. As long as you have good content, and your keyword is included in a natural way within the text, google will find your site.
Tip #6: Don’t Try to Trick Google
Search engines are smart, and they keep getting smarter. (A little scary, huh?) If you try to link to invisible text or images, Google will know. It will know that you’re trying to trick it, and you will be penalized in the search results. Learn more about why sites get penalized by Google.
Tip #7: Chose Your Partners Carefully
SEO is complex and can be time-consuming, so many businesses choose to outsource some or all of their SEO management. When selecting an SEO partner, you are placing your business’ online reputation in their hands. Choosing partners who are ethical and transparent is important. One way to weed out the undesirable SEO consultants is to know that no one can guarantee page one results on Google. (Sorry, but they can’t.) And as the old adage goes, if it seems too good to be true, it is.
Be sure to understand fully what any SEO partner is doing to your website, because search engine penalties can deliver a significant hit to your website.
Tip #8: Write Meaningful Meta Title Tags
Meta title tags are the brief text that is used by search engines to determine a page’s topic. They appear in browsers, search engine results pages (SERPs), and external websites. For these locations, an optimal length for title tags is 50 to 60 characters.
A good title tag helps the reader understand what the content is about before they click, and is important for SEO and social sharing. It should include a keyword (ideally toward the front of the title tag) that is relevant and unique to that page.
More reading: Title tags from Moz
Tip #9: Write Meaningful Meta Description tags
Meta description tags are the short line of text underneath the page title and link that introduces someone to the content on that page. They are not used to directly inform search engine rankings, but instead can be considered as “ad copy”. They are an opportunity to convince readers of the value of your content, and encourage them to click through.
Google will usually cut off meta description text that is longer than 300 characters (Google increased from 160 to 300 characters in December of 2017), but the optimal length is around 50-300 characters to support most search engines, social media platforms and mobile devices. Try to putting the most interesting and intriguing information in the first 130 characters. Keep in mind that the "optimal" length will vary depending on the situation, and your primary goal should be to provide value and drive clicks.
More reading: Meta description tags
Depending on your business and industry, these SEO tips can drive real results to your bottomline. This is not an all inclusive list, but 9 elements that truly matter. A tool we'd highly recommend is semRush for helping you audit, optimize, and track your SEO performance. Let us know if you have questions or you'd like to schedule a call to talk about how we could help your company grow.