Learning SEO is available, but often daunting. Where do you start, how soon will you see return, and are you doing the right thing, or simply following the textbooks?
This is our all-time favorite SEO graphic created by the industry-leading Moz:
And there are 2 keys when it comes to competitiveness:
Able to be seen
Able to convert
Grab onto these two keys, and your SEO will be a success.
And we want you to be successful. That’s why we scouted the broad Internet and put together 15 SEO tactics that will rock your ranking - even better, help you capture traffic.
Now - if you are still hesitating about whether or not you need a website, you should still keep on reading. The more you understand how SEO works, the more you will be able to see value in having a professional website. But most importantly, you will be more prepared when it’s finally time to talk about websites.
1. Keyword Research
Lately there has been a wave of rumors going around. The focus of the rumors is that “keyword research is dead.”
More so, it emphasizes the importance of paid traffic and how paid content changes the game, and dominates the search engine, putting organic traffic generated by keywords on the bench.
Is this true? No.
Up until July 2019, no.1 ranking result on Google still captures an astounding 30% CTR on the desktop site and 23.08% on the mobile end.
When conducting your keyword research, keep in mind that there are four types of keywords in general, and each reflects a different kind of consumer mindset:
Informational keywords indicates that your searchers are looking for tips and guidance. They are conducting research before making a decision. In this situation, the more information you can provide, the better. Because the more helpful you are, the more trusting your searchers become, and the more likely they will come to you for the final action
Navigational keywords, as its category implies, have a specific direction. Your searchers are specific because they know what they are looking for. They are conducting research as well - but on a specific item, brand or feature. Often, they are looking up a certain brand or product.
Searchers using transactional keywords are ready-to-convert. These keywords often comes with a higher price when looked in the paid traffic aspect. They usually focus on the “after-sale” aspect of a product, such as maintenance, how long an equipment will last, or how the warranty works.
If your searchers are looking up how much something cost, what is included in each price-tier of subscription… they are practically ready to buy. Now it’s time to capture their decision-making moment, and make sure you are seen when they search these keywords.
2. Focus > Coverage
Growing up you might have always debated in your mind: should I become good in all trades or should I focus on one or two?
In the SEO world, focus is always more desirable than a broad coverage. Once you’ve decided what keywords to target, create content that has a clear focus. Link these content with each other to create “clusters” which will immensely help you with keyword ranking.
According to a recent research done by professionals at Hubspot, the more interlinking they did, the better the placement in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Believe it or not, you may have already been doing some simple clustering without noticing.
Scroll back to the top of this page: you see the smaller print that says “Learn Marketing”? That’s the category this article is nested under.
Once you have multiple “categories” of articles, say, targeting different group of people, go through them and find the common topics.
Interlink those articles focusing on the same topic - you just made your very first topic cluster.
(Tips: check out the tags on each article!)
3. Attack the keywords - with quality content
At first glance, the quality of your content doesn’t necessarily fall in to the SEO category, right?
But it is not the first day when content creators and small business owners focus so much on keywords and SEO content writing, that they forgot that…
In another article, we talked about some crucial tactics when it comes to content creation and optimization. The bottom line here is simple: search engine ultimately serves users - people. Therefore, they will keep updating their algorithms so the SERPs (search-engine-result-pages) meets what their end users are looking for- helpful, valuable information.
Ever since Google made the major algorithm update last time, today, your content quality and how long your users actually stays on the page will drastically affect your SEO ranking.
A simple example:
If your reader bounces right away after getting into a page, it suggests that your content does not provide the value your user is looking for.
Yes, you did all the keyword tricks and all the on-site optimizations. But none of that can compete against the fact that the end-users did not find your article useful.
4. One keyword per page
It is inevitable that your page “touches” multiple keywords, keyword variations, or even long-tail keywords, because that’s how natural writing works.
However, assign only one keyword to each page as your “focus keyword” or “primary keyword,” and build your copy around it.
Vice versa: never assign the same keyword to more than one pages. Why? Because you only have that many pages, don’t you want to cover as many keywords, and gain as much impression as you can?
If you create one pillar page for each keyword that contains abundant content and valuable information, that will do the work.
Better than creating five 300-word pages targeting the exact same keyword.
And on that page, make sure you complete the following items:
Use the keyword in your page’s url (“SEO tactics,“ for example)
Use the keyword in your title tags
Use the keyword in your page’s description
Use the keyword in your image alt text
5. Avoid keyword stuffing!
The least thing you want is sounding like a broken record. You didn’t do your keyword research so even the least educated reader can tell you wrote an article to rank instead of to genuinely share information.
By the way, consumers hate that.
As a devoted chef, I’m always looking up new recipes. My least favorite? Trying to find a recipe and getting forced into a 3-page long personal story that doesn’t even tell me what the ingredients are after four scrolls on my phone!
If you repeat the primary keyword too many times, that’s what you are telling the search engine: you are screaming to rank high and you are suggesting that you don’t even want to do the hard work required to rank high.
Will Google like that? Surely not.
6. Branded keyword
First of all, what’s a branded keyword?
In general, when we talk about the “branded keywords”, we are speaking of two categories:
The brand keyword itself;
The brand+ keywords (Lush “+” soaps, Amazon “+” coupons, etc)
Focusing on such keywords, and adjusting your paid traffic strategies accordingly, can significantly increase your return on investment.
Below is the SERP of our own branded+ keyword:
As you could tell: our SEO strategies focus on ranking branded keyword by including our brand name in our webpage’s SEO titles and snippets. Of course, there are more to branded keyword ranking and optimization, but if you want to know where to start, try adjusting your search engine titles first.
7. Credibility & Consistency
Nothing angers the search-engine crawler more than inconsistency. The keyword clusters you focus, the structure of your website, the way your data is presented…
… the reason we lay so much emphasis on writing down a hard-copy of your digital marketing strategy is the same as this-
- the lack of a strategy will often lead to inconsistencies. This includes:
Back and forth changes of verbiage and page layouts:
Vertical layout on one page, and overall collage on the other. Unless there is a specific reason for the drastic changes in layouts, inconsistent designs are user-unfriendly, and therefore interferes with crawling and also confuses your audience!
Inconsistent mention of focus keywords, for example:
”Digital marketing” in one case and “social marketing” somewhere else -unless we are talking about these separately, inconsistent terms not only confuses the search engine, but also indicates your visitors that you don’t really know what you are talking about.
Having variations of similar content also raise the “repetitive content” red-flag on search engine, which can further impact your ranking negatively.
8. Utilize lazy-loading to increase speed
We all love those big, high-res images. Of course - they’re beautiful!
But they can also be a burden on your ranking because they take longer to load.
There are certain ways you can optimize your images, however, for some industries, there may be important reasons behind why you would rather keep as many original images as possible.
Also, there is a limit on how much you can “optimize” your images - unless combined with other methods, the savings on file sizes, and the acceleration regarding loading speed is restricted.
That’s why “lazy-loading” is such a great tactic to implement on any visual-heavy website.
Lazy loading, or off-side loading, is a technique where not all images are loaded when someone opens a webpage. Rather, only the ones that are directly seen (in the focused panel) will be loaded.
This is extremely effective when it comes to increasing mobile site speed because there are often more “visual panels” on the mobile end than there is on a desktop viewing layout.
9. Contact information
Make sure your company’s contact information is visible across the site. This content should remain the same on every, single, page, with clickable links that prompts an email form, or initiates a call (mobile-end).
Make sure the information on your website (name, address and phone) is formatted in the same or a similar way as they are formatted on your google business page - unless, of course, your physical business address is a residential address.
This helps you to rank higher on local search results and local keywords, and poses no negative threats or risks.
Tips: It is also a good practice, not only for SEO but also for compliances and security purposes, to show your. registered business name and any DBA your website operates under on every single page.
10. External Linking
“Why would I want to give someone else a linking if they don’t link back to my site? That’s stupid!”
If that’s how you’ve been thinking, it’s time to change that thought pattern!
Linking to trustworthy, industry-leading external websites can immensely benefit your SEO score. Plus, these sites are also more likely to provide content your visitors are interested in, and will most likely benefit from.
However - remember anytime you link to someone, by default, you are endorsing that link, whether it’s an infographic, a snippet, or a quote. So be sure to think about what impression you’d like to create, and what kind of credit you’d like to endorse, and selectively apply nofollow links to those you don’t want to become tangled with.
On the other hand, when you create a do-follow link, reach out to the link owner and communicate with him. Tell the other site what you are linking and why you are doing so, and try to develop a relationship so they can voluntarily link back to your content.