Once upon a time, stuffing a web page with keywords and paying for links was enough to help a website rank well.
Thankfully, times have changed!
Search engines have evolved drastically over the years and old optimization practices — especially the shady ones — simply won’t do anymore.
Nowadays, any attempt to manipulate algorithms and search engines can potentially cause a website to be penalized, resulting in losing almost all its online traffic. According to Safari SEO in Manchester, black hat SEO techniques were all but eliminated with the Google Penguin update that obliterated the digital landscape back in 2012.
Does this mean that you should scrap Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques altogether?
In fact, according to Matt Janaway of Marketing Labs, “SEO is still a necessary element of your content marketing strategy. It can still spell the difference between you attracting bajillions of visitors on your site, or your pages getting lost in the myriad of pages published on the internet daily.”
In this post, we’ll help you focus your time and energy on effective SEO practices that will give you the biggest results.
Let’s jump right in.
1. Make ‘em stick with well-crafted content
Okay, this isn’t exactly something new. You probably know that you need to produce engaging content to keep your readers interested.
But, just how mindful are you when writing?
Are you intentional with how you craft your sentences?
Do you pay close attention to your piece’s format and readability to make your audience stick around?
Dwell time is a Google ranking factor. If a person spends more than a couple of seconds reading your post, you are more likely to get higher organic rankings.
To pull this off, you need a little bit of copywriting skills and a little bit of SEO knowledge.
Let’s take Bucket Brigades method, for example.
It’s a copywriting technique designed to keep the attention of readers by using short snappy phrases that are more digestible than a big block of text.
If done right, using Bucket Brigades will hold the interest of your readers and keep them scrolling down. It will likely improve the readability and engagement rate of your posts as well.
You can use the SimilarWeb plugin to measure your dwell time as well as the dwell time of your competitors. Pay special attention to time on site, pages per visit, and bounce rate.
Generally speaking, a lower bounce rate, longer time on site, and more page views could translate to higher rankings.
2. Think outside the box when coming up with keywords
By now, you probably know that keyword research is an important part of any SEO strategy. It is a way to understand what your readers want by consistently gathering and analyzing data.
But, there’s a problem: Buyer keywords tend to be too competitive.
What if there is a more strategic but less technical and less time-consuming way to know what your readers are looking for?
Neil Patel suggests focusing on “user intent” in order to rank better.
It involves trying to understand what’s behind Google queries. It focuses on what readers want rather than what keywords rank better.
Just take a quick look at the FAQs displayed on the search results page to have an idea of what questions people are asking.
Scroll down to the bottom of the search results page and you’ll find more ideas.
By looking at the results, try to understand what your readers need.
Some may want tips on doing something for the first time. Others may want a checklist before taking a leap.
You can structure your content around these results.
User intent takes away the focus from keywords and highlights the importance of producing quality content for real users.
3. Address technical issues that are hurting your rankings
Not many people will wait over three seconds for your page to load.
After all, visiting a slow-loading site is never a good experience. Out of sheer frustration, your readers might leave without consuming your content or checking your products.
Site speed is also important if you want better organic rankings. Google penalizes slow websites on both desktop and mobile.
The online tool, Pingdom, can help measure if your website is on a par with Google’s standards.
By the way, because smartphones have overtaken laptops and desktops when it comes to accessing the internet, it is important to conduct a mobile SEO audit of your site as well.
You can use the Google plugin WooRank to check if you have a mobile-optimized site. You can use it to check how your competitors are doing as well.
4. Update old posts
If you’ve been blogging for a while now, you probably have a ton of content on your archives. Getting new visitors to read some of your old posts means growth for your blog.
It’s also a relatively easy way to improve your page’s rankings on the SERPs.
Updating old posts means fleshing out old ideas and updating information. This is also a good opportunity for you to fix broken links, upload better images, and clean up your site.
Tip: Use an online dead link checker to help you track broken links that need your attention.
So, how do you breathe new life to old content? Here are some specifics:
Update the information: Add new information that did not exist when you were writing the original blog post. Keeping your content accurate is important for your credibility.
Add infographics: With tools like Canva and Piktochart, creating infographics has never been easier. Make your posts more shareable by adding infographics that summarize your points.
Add more details: If you have a good post that didn’t get a lot of attention, you might want to add details and make it longer. Flesh out ideas and add new opinions to make it more interesting.
Don’t forget to add an editor’s note to let your readers know that you added new information to the post.
5. Know the latest SEO trends and techniques
Do you know that Google changes its algorithm 500-600 times per year?
SEO is a fast-paced industry. What works like a charm today may be completely obsolete in 2020. It is crucial to keep up with the changes if you want to maintain your good rankings.
Keywords and SEO techniques will always remain relevant in getting better organic search rankings.
In the end…
SEO and producing quality online content are not separate marketing tactics. They go hand in hand in improving your site’s visibility and rankings. You need both to see results.
What techniques have helped you improve your rankings? Do you think they will still be relevant next year? If you have strategies, comments, or ideas that you’d like to share, please do so in the comment section below. Cheers!