Many business owners and marketing companies (yes!, even marketing companies) will Google "How to get better rankings" or "How to improve my SEO". Google's search results come back with all sorts of information that rarely helps marketers improve rankings which means if the experts are not getting the rankings, the small business owners with little knowledge of SEO are left in the dark. It can be a very frustrating situation for businesses who need results now, not later. I recommend a repeatable SEO process that will guarantee results. Ready? Let's dive in.
Step 1. You will need to set up essential SEO tools and plug ins for your website. The most important that every website needs is Google Search Console. Google offered this free tool to track your website's performance. It also helps find technical SEO problems so that you can fix any errors that Google is potentially penalizing your website for. Google Search Console most importantly shows your keywords and their rankings. You will also want to set up Google Analytics which will find pages on your website which "lets you measure your advertising ROI as well as track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications." -Google. Lastly, if you are using Wordpress for your website, install the Yoast plug in. This plugin is infinitely better than all other plug ins for Wordpress.
Step 2. Find keywords that customers search for and find long tail keywords in Google Suggest. 3 techniques you can try that have been proven effective are using the suggesions in Google Suggest by typing in the keyword but do not hit enter or search. Google will list similar highly searched keywords. Now jot those down and use them. Simple! Next, try Google Keyword Planner. This is very effective for SEO but was actually designed for Pay Per Click ad campaigns. This will provide all of the keywords you might be looking for in a one stop shop. Lastly, try spying on online communities such as Reddit, Quora and niche forums. You can also get involved in those forums and ask questions where community members almost always offer some helpful information.
Step 3. Now that you have your keywords, it is time to keyword optimize content. Google provides a higher rank for keywords at the top of your page and some extra weight on the title tags. Make sure to use short urls which also helps your ranking. Even though H1, H2 and H3 tags do not hold much weight, every little bit helps, so add your keywords there too. But make sure not to do keyword stuffing- Google despises that!
Step 4. Find and fix technical SEO errors. Google is now a mobile first index so having a mobile friendly website is king. Perform a mobile friendly test here. Next identify the crawl errors Google reports to you. For more detailed reports, this can be found in Google Search Console. (Remember that from step 1? Make sure you create a Google Search Console account). Page load speed is important. The faster the page loads the better. That is because Google know's it's consumers very well and people searching tend to click off a web page that doesn't load fast. This increases your bounce rate with Google and hurts your rankings. You can find your page speed using Google's Page Speed Insights or webpagetest.org.
Step 5. Write great content. What is great content? It is content that is Great! If you want to rank on Google, you have to write amazing content that people want to read. Google can tell if people are reading the content if they are staying on the page. Try using the skyscraper technique. This is where you find content related to what you want to write about, , rewrite the content to make it better and then advertise your new fresh content. Break the content into chunks so it is easy to read and skim through. Make sure that you cover all that anyone needs to know about the topic. Also, make sure to add in multimedia in every post such as infographics, images, polls, visual content, videos, charts and screenshots.
Step 6. Bonus Tip!
Did you know that 94% of content gets 0 backlinks? Why posts, what posts, infographics and videos get significantly more backlinks. Backlinks and link building is a very important ranking factor. Link round ups are a hit and if you are linking to amazing content, Google will reward you with higher rankings. Linking using strategic guest posting the right way with respected people or businesses in your industry and can relate to your site will give you kudos in Google's eyes. If you do it the wrong way, you can get penalized so make sure to do a good job linking to people in your industry that are not spammy. Podcast as a guest is an underrated but very effective way to get nice contextual links. All you have to do is schedule an interview, show up and give good information. Mention influencers in your articles, videos or podcasts and let them know about it. This is a great way to get your business name or personal name out there and in turn garner a great link and fresh content that may get some additional tractiion from the followers of the influencer.
Step 7: Delete zombie pages. If a page has no traffic or very little traffic, Google dings your site for it. Get rid of pages that have no relevancy or traffic. Go back through your content and update the content so that it is fresh. Focus on quality not quantity. Use your Google Analytics account to locate the zombie pages and delete them or redirect them to updated fresh pages. Make sure to keep your content up to date!
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