Are you planning to start an online business?
A simple Google search will unleash a plethora of tips and tricks that you can follow to build a solid online presence. Needless to say, you might find it challenging to navigate through the various strategies.
The simplest way to proceed is to boost your search engine rankings, which brings us to SEO.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a combination of strategies you can apply to allow search engine robots to crawl and rank your website. There are many SEO strategies you can implement.
For instance, a common tip you might find online is to research what other online businesses in your niches are doing to achieve success and replicate the formula.
But, there is an organic way to rank higher on Google, starting from scratch, even if you lack the technical know-how and in-depth knowledge of SEO. Let’s find out!
Keywords are the backbone of a successful on-page SEO strategy. Unfortunately, a common misconception is that keyword stuffing works.
In other words, you insert as many relevant keywords into the content on your website. That tactic might have worked in 2011, but not anymore. Today, you have to take several factors into account, including semantics and long-tail keywords, etc.
Remember that you need to have a list of keywords ready to go before creating the content. Thankfully, there are tools you can use for this purpose, including the Google Keyword Planner.
1. Keywords in Title Tags
Once you have a list of keywords, start peppering them in your content. However, before that, include your target keywords in title tags. The title of any piece of content sets the agenda, i.e., Google will evaluate the coherence of the content in relation to the title you set.
You have to include a keyword in the title, at the start, for maximum SEO traction. However, keep in mind that you have to use relevant target keywords in the title tags for the desired benefits.
2. Keywords in Introduction
Regardless of the length of any, you have to add keywords from the start. The ideal tactic in this regard is to incorporate relevant keywords within the first 100 words.
Try and add keywords naturally to the content. Sometimes, this tactic might not work if you write the introduction and then find a way to work in the keywords.
Google will check the intro first, and you can make the search engine’s job easier by including keywords at the start of your content.
3. Keywords in URLs
There are several reasons you should include keywords in URLs. Again, you are making Google’s job easier by doing so. Google will consider content more relevant if you incorporate keywords in the URLs in addition to the title and intro.
4. Strategic Keyword Placement
Perhaps the most crucial tip when incorporating keywords in content is to avoid forced usage. Instead, the keywords should appear ‘natural’ to the readers and to Google. As mentioned earlier, keyword stuffing does not work in this day and age.
Therefore, you have to focus on strategic keyword placement to increase your chances of success. Avoid including too many keywords, but use them strategically throughout the content.
For example, for a short post, using the keyword in the title, intro, subheading, and conclusion should be sufficient. For longer posts, put the keyword in the body.
5. Assess Keyword Competition
A common approach people take when they try to optimize their website for SEO is to research keywords. Generally, they veer away from keywords that have high competition and difficulty, as naturally, the cost of clicks will be higher. Breaking in to a competitive keyword pool can be a significant challenge.
However, that does not mean you should give up. Instead, target keywords that are slightly less competitive. In other words, you should explore long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords, as the name suggests, are keywords longer than one- or two-word phrases that people might search for. The traffic for these longer keywords is lower, but the chances of conversion are higher.
This is because a long-tail keyword focuses on a particular product compared to a general category or niche. Therefore, you are more likely to reach your target audience, who are more likely to convert, via this tactic.
6. Use LSI Keywords
You have to think about semantics when selecting keywords that you want to rank. Latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords are search terms that are similar to your target keywords. By focusing on LSI keywords, you can boost your rankings.
The LSI keywords are what you see at the bottom of the Google search results page, referred to as ‘Searches Related to …’ This is a low-risk tactic that can deliver results.
Using keyword research tools helps make the process of keyword research a lot easier for your online business blog. Here are some of our suggested tools:
Linking is a crucial component of the user experience of your website. Effective linking can help visitors navigate through your website while also providing resources they can refer to should they require further information.
1. Outbound Links
You can increase the attention your website receives by linking to other websites. Adding outbound links to other pieces of content on the web proves authenticity. In addition, adding outbound links shows Google that the content you posted is valuable to the readers and accurate as well, and the search engine considers both these factors when determining rankings.
The only catch is that the outbound links you add should be relevant to your niche, and more importantly, the topic of the content that you posted.
2. Internal Linking
Did you know that websites with effective internal linking have a lower bounce rate and better optimization than those that don’t? Internal linking is a means of linking all the pages on your website, allowing visitors to move from page to page without hassle.
As a result, they spend more time on your website instead of clicking on some other website or blog. Eventually, this will also result in an uptick in your site’s traffic
Effective internal linking enables you to reduce bounce rate, boost traffic, and improve user experience, all key factors that Google considers vital for ranking.
Keep in mind that you can help Google bots crawl the pages that might not receive a high traffic volume by adding internal links. This helps boost the overall ranking of your website.
That said, do not overdo links, either outbound or internal.
Finding high-quality backlinks is among the most challenging SEO tasks. However, the rewards are definitely worth the effort.
Simply put, link building can increase your site’s chances of ranking high for the most valuable keywords in your niche. You do not have to shy away from keywords with a high level of competition or traffic if you work on link building. There are several ways to secure backlinks to your site, including:
Locate Broken Links
Look for broken links on sites relevant to your niche and replace them with active links that direct visitors to your content. After all, no webmaster wants broken links. You simply have to reach out to the website owner and offer to replace the broken link with an active one. Luckily for you, several tools can assist you in locating broken links that you can capitalize on.
This technique is becoming increasingly popular for backlinking. First, locate a content piece within your niche relevant to what you offer. Next, pad out the content by increasing the length and adding more keywords.
Reach out to people who are posting valuable content in your niche, as the authority of the content will play a significant role in determining the effectiveness of this strategy. By refining and enhancing their existing content, you can link the pieces of content to your website and direct traffic.
Posting on reputable blogs in your niche can also allow you to backlink. For example, you can write a guest post by contributing to a website that your target audience finds relevant. Then, add relevant keywords and make the most informative and valuable and place a link back to your site or blog.
Write Long-Form Content
You will have a lot of chatter online about the ideal length for content. However, some experts remain adamant that the longer, the better, while some have a different viewpoint.
The Ideal Length
When writing content for the web, the rule of thumb, primarily focusing on ranking, is to go long-form. The recommended length for a piece of content is 1,000 words minimum, with 2,000 words being the target length.
A major reason for the trend of long-form content gaining traction for SEO is that incorporating long-tail keywords proves easier in longer pieces of content. Therefore, you will be better able to target people using longer phrases to perform Google searches.
Moreover, you can anyway add more keywords in long-form content without the risk of stuffing. Google also considers longer pieces more relevant as compared to shorter posts. As a result, you can increase the authenticity of your content by writing longer articles.
However, keep one point in mind: quality matters! As many leading SEO experts state, you can write a 10,000-word post full of keywords and yet not rank while reaching the top of the search results with a short post, which is not keyword-rich. The differentiating factor is the quality of the content.
The ideal starting point is researching. You cannot just jump headlong into writing a piece. Start your research well before you even create an outline for the draft you will be writing. The research phase involves gathering information that is relevant and authentic. Remember, you cannot get authority on content that lacks proper research.
This one is a no-brainer. You cannot overlook any errors in the content you post. The grammar has to be perfect, there should be no typos, and the piece should not be boring to read. Sometimes, staying grammatically accurate while writing naturally can be a challenge, and this is why you need to research in advance so that you have enough to say.
Complete the Tags
As mentioned earlier, incorporate keywords in the title tags. The title tag is part of the tags you have to complete for Google bots to crawl your content.
Simply put, the title tag is the title of your content.
If you are writing an article on the benefits of sanitizing your hands regularly, the title tag could be ‘Sanitizing Your Hands: 6 Reasons to Develop This Habit’.
To start off, you have to include the target keyword in the image files. Then, when uploading pictures to your site, make sure their file names have proper titles, including the keyword you want to rank. In addition, include the keyword in the Alt Text for the images you add to your content.
You can optimize your images, which will boost rankings. In any case, adding images to your content is a wise move, as you can enhance the aesthetic and visual appeal of your posts while at the same time capturing the attention of readers.
Since you are already adding images, you should optimize them to generate maximum traction in your Google rankings. This step can also improve your Google image search rankings.
The meta description shows up in the search results, right under the title of the page, when people search for keywords that your site is ranking for. In other words, you can rest assured that they will consider the quality of the meta description when deciding whether or not to click on your site.
You have to write informative meta descriptions that should incorporate relevant keywords and grab the attention of your target audience. Make them curious and interested enough that they feel compelled to check out what you are offering.
Put yourself in the same position. When you perform a Google search, you most likely read the meta description when deciding which link you should click on. Hence, you cannot underestimate the importance of the meta description.
Link building is a form of off-page SEO, but there are several other strategies that you can use. Simply put, off-page SEO involves a combination of tactics that you use to bolster your online presence but going beyond your website.
Promote Your Content
You have to promote the content that you post on your website to generate traction and boost traffic. When it comes to promotion, the best way to proceed is to go all out. The relevance of your content improves when you promote it, and therefore, your ranking will receive a boost.
The simplest technique is sharing an update on social media every time you post a piece of content. You can even consider converting your written articles into videos and sharing them on different platforms for maximum reach.
Keep Pace with Google
Google likes to chop and change things frequently. You have to keep pace with the updates to the Google search algorithm; otherwise, your ranking might suffer. Google gives sufficient time to update your website after the updates they roll out, so you have to stay up to date.
A common mistake new business owners make is that they focus too much on optimization and end up designing a site that is more relevant for search engines as opposed to users. You have to avoid any kind of manipulative tactics or deceptive behavior, or else you risk incurring the wrath of Google.
Keep in mind that you might find a loophole in the Google quality guidelines, but that does not mean that the search engine approves that tactic. Therefore, you have to play by the book and maintain quality to enable your site/blog to rank higher.
Does Duplicate Content Hurt SEO?
Can you copy and paste content from somewhere on the internet on your website? Duplicate content is any piece of content published on multiple URLs. As of now, there are no penalties for duplicate content. However, this might still affect your rankings.
The most obvious issue is that search engine bots cannot determine which URL to crawl, and as a result, rank. Therefore, your target audience might not be able to locate you if you have duplicate content on your site.
Skyscraping is a more effective tactic, as you can build on authority content that already ranks in your niche. The bottom line is that you should avoid using duplicate content.
What are Topic Clusters and How Do They Impact SEO?
An effective content strategy for SEO is to write a main, long-form piece of content, known as a pillar, and then create content around it. In other words, you are creating topic clusters, which cover a similar, basic theme but across multiple contents that revolve around the pillar. So, how do topic clusters impact SEO?
For one, the pillar content makes it evident to both Google and users what your site is about. So, naturally, the pillar content will feature links that make navigation easy and target keywords that you want your content to rank.
The key to making this work is to create a pillar post that is as long as possible. There is no limit on the word count. As long as you can offer valuable content while maintaining quality, you can just keep going. Keep updating it from time to time to refresh the links.
How Long Should Blog Posts Be for SEO?
We focused on this aspect earlier, but it is crucial to emphasize writing long-form content. Pillar content is also a form of long-form content that can boost your SEO and improve your rankings.
You should write at least 1,000 words per post, but aim for 2,000 words, and stick to that number, on average, to enhance your rankings. In addition, by writing long blog posts, you make it easier for Google to recognize your content and its relevance to the search queries in your niche.
As you continue writing long blog posts, you will build content authority, a vital ranking factor.
How Do I Optimize My Blog Post for SEO?
You can follow a simple step-by-step process to optimize your blog posts for SEO:
- Research first and then start writing, as when you have sufficient information to write long-form content, you will not struggle to extend the length while offering value.
- Create a title that is relevant to the meat of the post while incorporating the target keyword in the title.
- Add internal and external links to help readers find relevant information to enhance their understanding of the content.
- Always write unique content, even when you are borrowing basic ideas from other sites in your niche.
- Proofread and edit your posts to ensure there are no errors or grammatical issues.
As long as you are maintaining quality, Google will consider your blog posts valuable and relevant.
So, there you have it, a guide to help you rank higher on Google. Starting a new business and breaking into a crowded market poses several challenges. But, by following Google’s guidelines and sticking to basic SEO, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to reach the top of the SERPs.