Traffic is the cornerstone of the success of your online business.
Zero traffic equals zero sales, and zero sales equal zero revenue.
Of course, you can always pay to get better rankings in search engines. However, the cost of PPC ads can eat away your budget, and they aren’t considered to be very credible.
In fact, 70%-80% of search engine users ignore paid ads and focus only on organic search results.
So, the bottom-line is: You need to work towards improving your organic rankings in the SERPs if you want to drive quality traffic to your website.
This actionable guide discusses some effective SEO strategies to boost your organic traffic. Once you start leveraging these, you’ll be able to improve your rankings and perhaps even occupy the coveted Position Zero on Google.
Without any further ado, let’s get started.
Step #1: Refine Your Keyword Research
As Google turns 20, Ben Gomes, VP, Search, News and Assistant at Google says that the core principles of search still remain the same. And the very first one is to focus on the user.
Long-tail keywords help you do just that.
The way people search today is very different from what it used to be. Instead of using simple search terms, users have started to use longer queries known as “long-tail keywords.” So your content needs to be optimized for them.
For example, instead of searching for “SEO” or “SEO definition,” people use phrases like “How to use SEO to boost rankings.”
Can you see how the last search query clearly shows user intent? Your content needs to be tailored so that it satisfies user intent and above all, provides valuable information to your target audience.
This strategy can not only drive more traffic but also help you boost your conversions by targeting queries that your audience is likely to search for. And, if you can provide the information they are looking for, they’ll be more likely to convert.
But how can you get a list of effective keywords for your business?
Effective keyword research requires using professional tools to find the right keyword variations and being creative. There are plenty of free keyword research tools you can use for this purpose. Additionally, you can also use these tools to find the keywords used by your competitors. You can try the popular tools below.
This tool is easy-to-use, and you can quickly check out the search volumes, CTR, and competition scores of various keyword variants, including long-tailed keywords. It gives you a very detailed analysis that can help you improve your rankings. They even offer a 30-day free trial to help you explore all the features.
Image via Moz
It helps you find out search volumes, CPC, trends, ad copy, and the number of results for the keywords you enter. Their free account offers you 10 free searches per day, 10 results per search, and 1 project limit.
Image via SEMrush
Google Keyword Planner
This is a fantastic free tool that offers a quick and easy way to find keywords in your niche, with massive traffic. You can even compare trends over different time periods. It, however, does not offer backlink or traffic analysis.
So get started by building your keyword list, keeping your customers’ behavior in mind. Then use these tools to design your campaigns.
Step #2: Focus on Creating Quality Content
One of the biggest algorithm changes in the history of Google happened in January 2016. Google’s Panda update prevented websites with low-quality from ranking well in SERPs.
As a result of this update, sites that used black-hat SEO tactics like “keyword stuffing” were mercilessly tossed aside.
Panda was assimilated into the core Google algorithm. This meant Google no longer made adjustments to the filter. Instead, the Panda update became an ongoing process and it plays a crucial role in Google rankings today.
Google’s Panda and its sister, the Penguin update brought about Google’s move towards real-time search engine ranking algorithms. Both of these updates came on the heels of Rankbrain, an AI-based program released by Google in late 2015.
Today, RankBrain along with Panda and Penguin play a significant role in deciding how web pages show up in SERPs.
How Do These Algorithms Impact Searches?
Google’s migration to real-time search algorithms means that it continually updates the rankings of web pages based on how well they satisfy searcher’s’ intent. Google updates their ranking factors several times a year.
This means that to improve your rankings in the SERPs, you need to ensure that your site complies with the latest Google update.
While creating content, you must focus on your audience. Stop thinking only about your brand. Instead, start focusing on problems faced by your potential customers and the solutions you can provide. So, start by asking these questions:
- What drives your customer? What problems are they facing? And, are you providing them with the right solutions?
- What might they search for? Use Rule #1 to focus on keyword research. The goal here is to identify topics that can be used again and again.
- Finally, your content should be engaging and informative. They should be able to spark the interest of the reader.
Pipedrive, a Sales CRM firm was able to secure the #1 spot on Google for a high-volume keyword in just three months of adopting an effective SEO strategy.
As part of this strategy, they picked the keyword, “sales management” and used quality content creation strategies to secure a good ranking for it. The site managed to outrank other authoritative sites like Salesmanagement.org, Docurated, InsightSquared, and even Wikipedia, US News and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
They used the popular Skyscraper Technique for content creation which involves content creation from scratch + guest posting + outreach.
You need to create content that is valuable and satisfies user intent effectively in order to boost your SERP rankings. The quality of content you publish has a great impact on your search rankings.
Step #3: Do a Comprehensive Audit of Your Website
Look under the hood of your site. If you have any missing page titles, image tags (alt tags), broken URLs, and missing meta descriptions, you need to fix them as soon as possible. Google has a list of on-page SEO factors that impact your page rankings in search results.
You need to provide informative and quality content on all of your web pages.
Popular columnist Andrew Dennis, of SearchEngineLand, was able to take a freshly built site from zero traffic to over 100,000 visitors in twelve months. He didn’t use any SEO tricks or hacks. Instead, he made sure that he followed the basics like providing the right information on all pages.
Here’s a quick guide to boost your page rankings using on-page SEO strategies:
- Start by identifying your most popular web pages.
- Then, review your meta descriptions.
- Compare them with those of your competitors who have outranked you.
- Check whether the title of your page accurately describes the content on it.
- Check if your description is click-worthy.
You can use the Website Grader Tool from HubSpot to get a snapshot of your web pages. This helps to uncover the critical on-site issues and provides you with further advice on how to resolve them.
Image via Website Grader
Alternatively, you can download and run the Screaming Frog tool. This is a free tool that allows you to scan up to 500 pages. It highlights on-page data that needs immediate attention.
Image via Screaming Frog
Getting your on-page SEO right is a simple yet effective strategy to boost your rankings.
Step #4: Provide the Best User Experience
When it comes to online businesses, the experience of the user on your website is a crucial factor that determines your customers’ willingness to spend more time on your site.
A great user experience can reduce your bounce rate and increase the visitor’s time on site. These are important metrics to boost your SERP rankings. You can track these metrics on your Google Analytics Dashboard.
Image via Crazyegg
Most of these metrics vary based on the industry. Here are the top SEO factors that can make or break the user experience:
- Page Load Times – No one has the patience to wait for a site to load or buffer. This is a top priority in improving customer experience and retaining existing customers.
- Responsive Design – Regardless of the size of the screen your website visitors use, you need to provide them with an optimal experience. So, adopt a responsive website design that provides a seamless experience across devices.
- Heading Tags – Not just H1 tags, but even H2 and H3 tags are essential to boost readability of your content and improve the user experience.
- Dead or Broken Links – These detract the user experience and reduce site navigability.
- Font Size and Style – Don’t go overboard with the use of flashy gifs and graphics. This isn’t the 90’s. Use them sparingly to enhance and emphasize your message without making it seem overwhelming.
- Meta Data – As mentioned earlier, Google uses this data for determining rankings on SERPs. So, make sure to spend some time to create compelling meta descriptions.
Page load speeds, metadata, fonts, website design, and links play a crucial role in shaping the overall user experience. If you want to attract and retain visitors, you need to provide them with a compelling reason to come back.
Remember that improving the user experience isn’t a one-time hack. It needs to be periodically checked and adjusted.
Improving your SERP rankings while retaining existing customers and pulling in new ones is indeed a crucial challenge. But the good news is that SEO is simpler than you think.
Good SEO should be an extension of what you’re already doing. I hope these five rules will help you boost your traffic this year and beyond!
Can you think of any other ways to boost your search rankings? Let us know in the comments below.