Is SEO dead? On the contrary, SEO is alive and well, and more important than ever with all the changes that happened on Google and other search engines. It’s true, however, that SEO strategy has changed dramatically since the early days of the internet and Google.
With that being said, the strategy you’ve done in 2019 might not work in 2020 and onwards. Here, we will show you effective SEO strategy for 2020, after considering all the recent changes in Google’s algorithm and the introduction of RankBrain.
SEO strategy is a planning process used to optimize your website for search engines like Google. The goal is to increase rankings for specific keywords. Components of a good strategy include Technical SEO, On-page SEO & Link Building.
1. Content SEO
Search engine optimization (or SEO) is a continually changing field. But throughout all recent changes, one thing has remained constant, and that’s the importance of content to SEO.
Content and SEO go hand-in-hand. People use search engines to find answers or solutions to their questions and search engines serve up the most relevant content they can find. While the top search result might be a blog post, a YouTube video or product description – it’s all content.s
There is a deep relationship between content and SEO, and it can be difficult to understand the nuances of they relate. This guide explores that relationship and provides actionable insights for how businesses can use content to support their SEO efforts.
The Relationship between SEO and Content Marketing
Simply put, great content is the basis for SEO success.
High quality, original content is the foundation for all your other SEO efforts. That’s precisely why the Periodic Table of SEO Success starts with the content “elements,” with content quality as the leading element.
What is SEO Content?
To understand what SEO content means, it’s useful to look at the phrase in two parts:
The first part – “SEO” (search engine optimization) – is the process of optimizing your website and content so that it shows up higher in search engine results pages for specific search terms.
The second part – “content” – is any information that you publish online that can be indexed by search engines. This includes website content, blog posts, images, graphics, and videos.
So, taken as a whole, SEO content is any content that is created to increase search engine rankings and therefore traffic to your website.
Search engines display their organic search results according to the relevance and authority of a web page. Relevance is determined by how often you use specific keywords and phrases within the content of a web page, and authority is determined by the number of trustworthy backlinks that point to that page.
To make your content more SEO-friendly, your content should be organized logically, contain relevant keywords, and be written with your audience in mind.
The Difference Between SEO and Content Marketing
Generally speaking, SEO is more technical with a focus on website design and structure. It involves making a website more user-friendly, using relevant keywords, optimizing metadata, and building high-quality links. All these things work together to help each web page rank higher in search engines for specific search terms.
Content marketing, on the other hand, involves the publishing of useful content across your website, blog, and social media accounts to attract and retain your target audience and ultimately stimulate interest in your products and services.
There’s an overlap between the two:
Optimizing your content for search engines helps it rank better, so you’ll achieve more of your content marketing goals.
Publishing quality content will improve your website’s authority and relevance and therefore increase its SEO power.
Good content and SEO work hand in hand. Without one, you won’t have much success with the other – if you don’t have the high-quality content that search engines want, your SEO rankings and readership are likely to be low. At the same time, even the best content doesn’t do you much good if your target shoppers aren’t able to find it when they’re searching.
That’s why it’s important to be able to consistently write SEO-friendly content that people enjoy reading. With that in mind, here are a few tips and best practices to get great content and SEO.
Focus on Keywords– But Not Too Much
Keywords still have a place in your SEO strategy, just be sure to use them thoughtfully and organically in your content while trying to use keyword phrases in addition to individual keywords. Using a keyword phrase in your title might not make for the most exciting or witty headline, but it will make your article more likely to be viewed by your target audience.
Headings are an essential but often overlooked aspect of good SEO. Header tags are the HTML tags that range from H1 to H6 and are used to create an outline and add structure to an article or blog post. Using headings wisely can help Google parse the main topic of longer articles.
For example, it’s critical to include an H1 tag on each page, but only use one. Multiple H1 tags can confuse search engines by implying that the content is about several main topics. Also, don’t use the same text in the header for every page.
Optimize the Length of Your Posts
Google tends to prefer longer articles. One study shows that the average length of a first-page search result on Google is 2000 words.
While it’s not necessary to churn out a post of that length each time you update your blog, you’ll probably have better luck if you tend to create longer posts in general. Breaking up your lengthy posts into manageable chunks for your readers (using bullet points, subheadings, and lists) can help prevent the dreaded “wall of text.”
Use Location-Specific Phrases
When people perform online searches, they’re frequently looking for local businesses. This is especially true when they’re searching on their mobile devices.
If you have a local company, make sure to include geo-specific terms in your keyword phrases to ensure that your content shows up prominently in those searches. Use these location-specific keyword phrases in your titles and within your H1 tags, and you’ll see your local SEO improve rapidly.
Quality links are one of the most important ingredients of a healthy SEO strategy. They help Google, and other search engines measure the relevance of websites and return better results to searchers. If you want to improve your search engine rankings, you need quality links.
But developing a strong link profile is not all that simple; first, you need to understand what makes a good link, what makes a bad link, and what you can do to optimize your website for better results.
The PageRank algorithm was developed by Google to rank websites on their search engine results pages.
Basically, this works by measuring the importance of a website by calculating the number and quality of links to its pages. Any link from one page to another passes part of its PageRank (or link juice) to the page it links to, thereby increasing the PageRank on that page.
But with incoming links, outgoing links, internal links, and more, the relationship between links and SEO can be very confusing.
Every web page should have internal links (pointing to the same page or another page on the same domain) and outbound links (pointing to external web domains). They help users navigate a site and find useful information, and help search engines understand and index a site. But they are all formed differently.
Anchor texts. These are often highlighted, clickable links that can help increase search rankings for specific keywords. However, Google punishes repetitive anchor texts, so use a mixture of non-repetitive branded and keyword-rich phrases.
Naked URLs. This is when the full URL is displayed in the link. Generally, they’re not as powerful as anchor texts for SEO.
Brand citations. Instead of showing the full URL of a company website, the link is merely the name of the company.
An image link can be an excellent navigational tool, but only when it’s a link. (The alt attribute tag for the image acts like anchor text.)
Reciprocal links. These happen when two webmasters agree to provide a hyperlink to each other’s website. If they both share the same target market or offer complimentary services or products, the link can be seen as relevant. If not, reciprocal links can harm PageRank.
There are also variations in the way each link operates:
Do follow links are standard links that search engines can follow and count toward PageRank.
No follow links have extra markup in the code that tells Google crawlers to ignore the link, so it doesn’t count toward PageRank.
Google advises using the no follow tag for paid links or for links to websites you don’t trust. Many sites use the no follow tag for the comments section to avoid spam links.
How to Analyze Links
What makes one link more valuable than another? There are a few factors you need to consider.
You can measure website authority in a variety of ways. There’s the Google PageRank toolbar (not available on some browsers) that displays the PageRank of a website, but it’s not updated that often so the information can be misleading.
Then there’s the SEO toolbar from Moz, including MozRank and other metrics. The Alexa toolbar is another respected SEO tool that is more focused on web traffic. If you can get links from sites with more authority, you have the potential to outrank your competitors in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Relevant links are more valuable. It’s better to get a link from a website that is related to your industry or field of expertise. Outbound links should also be relevant to the context of your content. Internal links will have more value if they help users and search engines navigate your site more easily.
There are no guarantees when it comes to how Google and other search engines rank links based on their location within a page. However, most SEO experts agree that links within content are more valuable than navigational links or links in the page footer.
These factors, taken together with the link type, all contribute to link value. Considering all these details, we can summarize what makes some links better than others.
Good links include:
Backlinks from websites with more authority.
Backlinks from relevant websites
Backlinks from websites that already rank high in SERPs for certain keywords.
Anchor text links that are relevant to the content they are a part of and link to.
Bad links include:
Links to websites or link directories with little useful content.
Links to websites that are not related to the content of your website.
Links to poor-quality websites.
Repetitive keywords or exact-match keyword phrases in internal links.
Purchased links without the no follow tag.
As long as you try to create SEO content naturally and avoid stuffing your web pages with over-optimized links, you don’t need to be obsessed with building links for SEO.
Just focus on delivering quality content to your readers and help them find the information they are looking for.
This should result in a balanced link profile that includes a variety of natural links that are more useful and credible to humans and search engines.
How to group and structure your content will also have an impact on SEO. Enter topical optimization.
With topical optimization, businesses have moved away from optimizing for single keywords and instead optimize for larger topics and key-phrases (also known as long-tail keywords). No more singular, competitive keywords – we’re talking strings of them. And it makes sense to use this approach, considering that roughly 70% of page views are a direct result of long-tail keywords.
Think Like a Customer
Think about how you search for something on the web. To get more specific results, you tend to enter more words.
For example, a consumer might be looking for someone to repair a specific brand of air conditioner, do-it-yourself repair tips, troubleshooting advice, pricing information for various repairs, etc. Ideally, a particular heating, ventilation and air conditioning company would optimize pages for each of the keywords associated with the topic of air conditioner repair.
With topical optimization, you don’t just hope to rank for certain keywords; you build out your content to dominate an entire topic. Instead of focusing on a single competitive keyword, business marketers can create more substantial, natural and helpful content to consumers.
Keyword research is critical but be sure to think about intent as well. Some users are seeking general information; some might be looking for a particular product and others might be comparing different products. In our previous example, there were some different intents for the simple keyword phrase ‘air conditioner repair’ – that’s why it was essential to optimize for all the various keywords associated with that topic.
So, how does topical optimization help your SEO ranking?
Long-tail keywords or phrases generally have less competition, placing you on the first page of search results, with a higher likelihood of ‘winning the click.’
The majority of people search long-tail keywords, so by answering questions or providing information more naturally, you can do a better job of matching the searcher’s intent.
Longer keywords tend to be easier to rank for than more specific single or double keyword phrases. Therefore, search engines will rate sites that employ this tactic higher.
The more specific the search is, the more it reflects the searcher’s interest level. This equals more sales conversions.
By showing thoughtfulness and insight, you can build up your authority and provide a superior user experience to potential customers.
It’s All About the People
As the SEO landscape is always changing, you need to continually adapt your content and your optimization techniques to work well with Google’s latest algorithms. Not only is topical optimization an effective way to rank higher in search results; it’s also a smart content marketing strategy. After all, it’s actual people who search for stuff, not search engine bots!
So, is keyword research dead? No way. Topical optimization isn’t a complete departure from keywords; it’s just a different way of using them. And, when you create content that delivers what searchers are looking for, everybody wins.
SEO Content Optimization Checklist
There is a lot to think about when it comes to creating SEO content. Use this checklist when publishing your next piece of content to make sure you’ve got the most essential elements of SEO covered.
1. Research optimal keywords
Use Google Adwords Keyword Planner to discover how various terms and phrases perform in search results and try to use more detailed long-tail key phrases that fit your specific product or service. If the page is not immediately relevant to a human user for their search query intent, they’re unlikely to stick around.
2. Use keywords naturally and strategically
Don’t repeat a keyword too often just because it’s the highest ranking for your audience. You will end up sounding insincere and robotic, but Google will punish that page by pushing lower down the search results. Instead, try to mix in synonyms and syntactically related phrase to your keywords.
3. Optimize title tags
Your title tags are the first thing people will see when viewing your organic result after a search. Ensure they speak to the topical relevance of the page, use your brand name if possible, and bear in mind that visible character count generally hovers between 45 and 55 characters.
4. Include relevant keywords in the URL
We’ve covered the importance of an effective URL structure.
By including keywords and other descriptive wording in your URLs, you will be confirming the association between what the viewer is searching for and how your website can help them. From a backlink acquisition point of view, many links to your site will simply have anchor text that is the URL itself, in which case, those keyword rich file names can help to boost your rankings. Moz suggests using the following format for your URLs:
The faster a site loads, the less likely human users are to bounce. Load time consequently is an algorithmic factor and affects your website’s standing in the search engine results. In many cases, the largest contributor to page load times are images, so having compressed image file sizes is beneficial.
6. Write compelling meta descriptions
Visible meta descriptions are 148-155 character snippets used to summarize a webpage’s content and are included with the title tags in the search engine results. It is, therefore, imperative to optimize these descriptions to effectively describe your site to viewers and capture their interest. While these do not directly impact your rankings, they do have an indirect effect based on human user behavior.
7. Link to related, authority websites
Use authoritative websites as references, and including hyperlinks within the text. This helps Google determine the relevancy and accuracy of your content. You can use nofollow tags if you choose.
8. Internal linking – link to your own content
When possible, reference and link to previous relevant blog posts or site pages using descriptive anchor text. This helps drive new interest to these older files and can contribute to a boost in their rankings. Don’t think of your content as a one-time use. Rather, try to leverage it as much as possible.
9. Make it easy to share
According to an article from the Social Times, research is starting to prove that people like to share content that they relate to or that makes them feel connected to others with similar interests.
Even though people do in fact like to share content, they won’t do it if it requires too much effort. If you work on creating a streamlined sharing process for your content, you will be in a better position to have that content shared which, in turn, may garner a boost in backlinks with equity.
10. Optimize for mobile
As of April 21, 2015, Google now penalizes sites that are not optimized for mobile. Instead of creating a mobile site from scratch, consider adapting a responsive design instead. To check if your site is compliant, click here.
11. Continually work to garner quality backlinks
Guest blogging is not dead, nor is asking for links despite what you may have heard. Infographics are also a great way to gain traction, as is getting active on social. All these and more are covered comprehensively in this article on http://searchengineland.com.
12. Analyze and track your data
Install Google Analytics or another tracking software to track your visitors and analyze visitor entry sources and points, exit sources and points and behavior while on your site.
2. Technical SEO
You should build all SEO Strategies on a solid Technical SEO foundation. Often referred to as On-site SEO, this foundation refers to website, hosting server and DNS optimizations. These technical optimizations are vital in helping the search engine crawlers index your site more effectively.
SEO URL Structure
Your SEO URL, or “slug”, is important for search. For good practice, keep URLs short, using the target keywords most relevant to your web page topic.
SEO URL Tips:
Use all lowercase
Use only dashes (hyphens) to separate words
Max of 512 characters or Google will truncate
Page Load Speed
Your site speed is extremely important to SEO and is now a ranking factor. Google considers a slow loading site to be a poor user experience. There are many factors that can affect your website’s load time.
How to Improve Page Load Speed:
Use a top hosting provider: WPEngine, HubSpot, etc
Use a premium SSL certificate for HTTPS
Change your DNS service to CloudFlare
Serve optimized images
Serve site files via a CDN
Use server-side caching
SEO Navigation Best Practices: Menu and site links
When search engine crawlers visit your web pages, they follow your links. As we mentioned, Google does a better job reading text. So, use text-based links for your website navigation and body links to improve the crawlability of your website.
Don’t underestimate the power of your links. They help the crawler discover new content. Strategic links can help the crawler determine topic relevance of the link it’s following and the relationship of the destination web page to the current page.
Tips for SEO Anchor Link:
Use a keyword as your anchor text link instead of “click here”.
Don’t over-saturate your pages with links. 1-2 links every few paragraphs.
Too many links on your page could max out your crawl budget.
Link to external sites when it helps add value and context for the user.
When linking externally, give link preference to high authority sites.
Link to internal pages when it helps add value and context to the user.
Link internally when the destination page is topically related.
Link internally when the linking page is part of a content cluster.
When linking externally, give link preference to high authority sites.
Don’t be afraid to use same page anchor links.
An XML sitemap is a simple file that lives online alongside your website. It serves as a roadmap to your most important web pages, blog posts and site assets.
XML sitemaps are good for SEO because they speed up the crawling of your content. This file makes sure Google can find all important pages besides helping it interpret your site’s structure. In addition, the acts as a failsafe if the crawler doesn’t discover every site link.
A robots.txt is a simple text file that lives online alongside your website. Its job is to give indexing instructions to the search engine crawlers. Each instruction will allow or block the crawler from indexing specific file paths.
Also, the robots.txt file is standard practice and used to prevent the crawler from indexing non-essential files, web pages and directories. It’s good for SEO and will improve the speed and effectiveness of each crawl.
Broken Links & Broken Redirects (404 not found error)
I’m sure you’ve seen it before, the HTTP 404 Not Found Error. It simply means you were trying to load a web page or file resource that couldn’t be found. It’s the result of a broken link or redirect.
Broken site link sends visitors to a non-existent resource. Not good.
A redirect is a server instruction – when “page A” is requested load “page B” instead. A broken redirect also sends visitors to a non-existent resource.
Broken links and redirects happen when moving content or renaming page URLs but don’t update your links. It happens to everyone. But, it creates a poor user experience. In addition, it’s bad for SEO as the crawler can’t index non-existent content. A simple site audit or a trip to Google’s Search Console can help you discover these issues.
Duplicate Content is content that’s identical or very similar to other published content in multiple internet locations. Where locations are defined as a unique URLs. The concern is that Google doesn’t always know which content to give preference. This confusion can cause poor ranking.
There are many myths around content duplication. One myth cautions that Google may penalize your content. I’m not here to challenge the myths nor have I ever seen such a penalty. What I will say is, aim for high quality, unique content and Google will reward you for it.
If you’re like me and guest blog, you’ll know there are situations where your content will live in multiple locations. Whether you produce original content for another site, then later republish on your own site, or vice versa, there’s a simple fix. Use the handy HTML rel=“canonical” Tag on each subsequent instance of content. It tells Google where original version lives – everyone's happy.
SEO Meta Tags
SEO Meta Tags are bits of HTML code that live on every web page of your site. They offer more detail about your web page to the search engines and are very important to SEO.
Special bits of code (or Schema.org markup) added to a web page's HTML that’s interpreted by search engines. Google will use this structured data to generate rich snippets inside their search results. Excellent for SEO as a featured snippet can outrank the top organic positions.
Last but certainly not least. Mobile optimization is the practice that allows a website to adapt to smaller devices. In web development it’s referred to as mobile responsive.
Older style websites were once designed specifically for the desktop experience. When the bulk of search traffic shifted to higher mobile usage, users had to pinch and zoom to see content. Not a great experience. For a time an organization might create a second mobile version of their site ie https://m.mysite.com. Of course you had to support multiple versions of the site.
Responsive websites overcome that challenge. The website and its content now “respond” to the device viewing it – desktop, smartphone or tablet. The new mobile optimized standard ensures a good user experience across all devices within any orientation.
In addition, a mobile optimized website is good for SEO and is now a ranking signal. That's right Mobile First Indexing Impacts SEO. As of March 2018, Google started its rollout of the Mobile-first index.
This means they’ll use the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking.
3. On-page SEO
On-page SEO (AKA on-page optimization) is a series of marketing tactics performed at the website level used to improve user experience and search positions. On-page tactics include content optimization, keyword optimization, mobile optimization, snippet optimization, etc.
It’s common practice to start your on-page efforts with keyword research. Not a bad place to start. You might base your keywords around your product names, your services or your type of business. But, this may yield broad terms with low search intent.
You need to know more about your audience and what problems, challenges or needs they need solved. Whom do you want to have a conversation with? Your ideal customer right? Then you need to develop a buyer persona first to find these factors. Once you do, you’ll have more useful data to fuel your keyword research.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on real customer data and market research. No guessing please.
No SEO guide should be complete without a brief intro to the buyer persona. Do you know who your targeted consumer is?
Ideally, you’d want a blueprint of your ideal customer. You’d want to know their age, gender, and economic makeup per demographic. Moreover, you’d want to understand what drives them.
Every page of your website should speak to this consumer with targeted keywords aligned to their needs and challenges. Most importantly, you’d design your sales funnel for this buyer. Here’s an example:
Example Buyer Persona
Let’s say Mary is your ideal customer. What problems do you need to solve for Mary? What topics or terms might she use in search? Focus on the “Challenges” and “Goals” for starters.
Next, you need to know what’s motivating your ideal customers' search queries – something we call search Intent.
What is Search Intent?
Search intent (AKA keyword intent) is the reason someone is using the search engine.
There are a few types of search intent queries:
Navigational – we don’t mean Google Maps but people searching for a specific website usually via a brand name query.
Informational – people looking for info about a specific topic or have a specific question.
Transactional – people searching intending to buy something.
Commercial research – people looking to make a future buying decision. What’s the best flat-screen TV? They need more convincing so they research specs, ratings and sales. Think of commercial intent as a hybrid of informational and transactional.
Buyer Intent Keywords
The terms people use in search will help determine their intent. People using terms like buy, sale or discount are likely to purchase something. Where people using terms like how to or DIY are looking for information. Also, where people using terms like best or versus are likely comparing products or service provider for a future purchase.
How to do Keyword Research (BKA Search Analysis)
In a nutshell, keyword research is the SEO task needed to define the best words people are using in search engines. Keyword research should also be the vehicle to help align your web page topics to search queries.
As mentioned, simply dreaming up keywords, your product/services, or business type won’t be enough to help you rank. Even if you could rank for broad terms for say “financial services”, would you really want to? The term is very broad, no buyer persona alignment and no search intent.
Example – your client is a financial advisor
Keyword idea 1:financial advisor
Broad term, low search intent and not aligned with buyer persona
90,500 monthly searches, extremely high competition
1.28 billion total SERP results (massive)
Mixed search results: Google ads, how to become one, definition of, local results, what do they do, news stories
Many organic results are internet authorities: CNBC, Forbes, USNews, etc
It would be tough to outrank authority listings
Keyword idea 2:can I cash out my 401k while still employed
Niche term, high search intent and aligned with buyer persona
1,000 monthly searches, medium/high competition
482k total SERP results (good)
Organic results: mainly blog post content that are education based
Top ranking content is thin and unengaging
The top list ARE beatable
Assumptions: Someone needs money for something soon, I know our client provides this service and help people in this situation. Competition is on the higher, but our client’s domain authority is high enough to offset. The content we’d be looking to outrank is weak and last dated 2 years ago.
NOTE: these are real assumptions concluded from an actual client campaign using the following:
Keyword foundation research
intense client discovery
buyer personas created
SERP listings research
defined client goals
set inbound targets (so we could measure success)
formulate primary topics + related (synonym) topics relevant to the business & aligned with persona challenges or goals
Caveat: Keyword Research is a big project which could take you 1-2 weeks even with the best research tools. This purpose of the guide is to provide the high points, a few examples and get you the right direction. Backlinko has a great keyword research guide to expand your learning.
Your ultimate goal is to optimize for keywords that will to solve for the user. Otherwise, you might create content for questions no one's asking. Resulting in little or no search traffic. On the other hand, poor persona alignment will cause low visitor to lead conversion. So, finding the right questions will lead you to the best keyword opportunities.
Next, you need to find the ideal way of integrating the keywords into your website’s structure. It may seem obvious, but, we do this to establish a priority and purpose of our page/post to the search engine.
Put the keywords toward the beginning of a post title (if possible) and within the first paragraph of the content. More placement opportunities include the page URL, H1 title tag, meta title, meta description, image file names, and image ALT tags.
Just a reminder to add your keywords into your URL.
H1 Title Tag
Your H1 title is usually the primary heading that sits atop your body content. It’s good practice to include your primary keywords in the title.
H2 – H6 Title Tags
It’s good practice to include synonyms or words semantically related to your keywords in your subheading titles.
I like to start the first sentence of the first paragraph with my primary keyword. It should sound natural and add value to the context. Introducing the keyword right away reinforces its importance to Google.
What’s important here is that your primary keyword is present. Again, it should be natural and contextually relevant. More importantly, it’s the blue link displayed in the SERP, so, it needs to stand out. Refer to the Meta Tags section for more info.
You Meta Description should support your primary keyword and claim made in your Meta Title. Again, it should be natural and contextually relevant. This is the ad copy displayed in the SERP, so, it needs to stand out. Refer to the Meta Tags section for more info.
It may seem trivial but you need to put your primary and related keywords into your filenames. The search engine can’t interpret the image but it “can” read the filename.
I.e. – my-amazing-keyword.jpg
Image Alt Tags
Short for “alternative” and is the text used in place of the image for screen readers. Its purpose is to help visually impaired visitors understand the context of a placed image. So, use your keywords to describe the image adequately and in detail.
Image Title Tags
We never come across any concrete data supporting the image title tags’ SEO significance. When setting our Image Alt Tag, we copy this value over to the image title for good measure.
Mentioned earlier and referring to words similar in meaning or share some relationship with your primary keyword. It allows you mix in related meanings as not everyone knows terms by the same name.
Simple example: financial planner and financial advisor. Often used interchangeably.
Compound example: social media
Do you mean Facebook or Twitter or something else? Or, do you mean the content shared amongst people online? What if I added terms like hashtag, tweets and 280 characters to my content?
Adding semantic words will improve the relevancy to Google by adding context to your page’s purpose.
Content Structure for Web Pages & Posts
Other On-page factors import for SEO include internal links, external links, length of content, content diversity, content reading level and multimedia.
Longer content – typically, blog posts typically rank better in search, especially when part of a content marketing. Not because of its length, but because the writer, covers the content in greater detail. Note: that if the top 3 search competitors average around say 1,200 words, I won’t write 600 (too little) words nor 3,000 (too much).
It’s important to keep your content interesting. Be sure to keep short sentences, lots of white space, relevant visual images/graphics/screenshots/infographics and bulleted lists.
Content Reading Level
Known as the Flesch Reading Ease Score, refers to reading difficulty of your text copy.
Strive for a reading ease score of 60-70 that’s good for web copy.
Score of 70 – 60 = School level of 8th & 9th grade
Considered being plain English and understood by 13 to 15-year-old students.
Internal links make crawling your site easier and show relationships between the pages, which emphasizes relevance to core topics AKA pillar pages.
Add external links to relevant websites, which increases the search engine’s understanding of your pages’ topic. Tip – It’s best to link out to authoritative sites that add value to the visitor.
You should adopt a multimedia approach to add value to your content. Use videos, podcast players and SlideShares to keep users engaged on your page longer. As mentioned earlier, this is a good search signal.
4. SEO Link Building
AKA Off-page SEO is arguably the biggest ranking signal Google uses to determine page rank. SEO link building is the process of earning or gaining links to your site.
Sites with more backlinks tell Google it’s a quality resource worth linking to and generally earn a higher ranking.
What is a Backlink?
Quite literally a hyperlink from a third-party site to yours. Think of a backlink as a vote or citation in favor of your site content.
Your page rank is influenced by the site linking to you. The more authoritative the linking site, the more impactful the confidence vote. On the flip side low quality backlinks can affect you adversely.
Backlink Quality Factors
Trust Flow (coined by Majestic) – determine trust by measuring quality
Citation Flow (coined by Majestic) – link popularity
Spam Score (by Moz) – determines risk of penalization
Link Building Strategies
Any SEO guide stresses the importance of link-building. But, some feel that building links is an SEO magic trick. I can assure you there’s no sorcery. Here are a few examples of how to build backlinks:
Reaching out to relevant, authoritative site owners and show your content is worth linking to. A few ideas might include:
Your content may be valuable to their audience (think):
Resource guides, videos & infographics
Your content is better than content they’re linking to now
They discuss products or services you offer
Your blog post directly answers a question
Your content is more expansive or offers a unique perspective
Editorial Links via Brand Mentions
Results from producing high-value content that influencers link to organically with no influence by you nor sponsoring the link.
Share your expertise with others. Guest posting (AKA guest blogging) is writing an article that’s published on another site. Site owners will generally allow you to include backlinks within your article to your website’s relevant content. Moreover, you can add your biography to the blog post where you share your website URL.
One note here. Google seems to be tougher on these types of links. There are sites solely in existence for guest posting for sponsored placements – so watch out. We’ll still guest post if it’s a super authoritative site with high trust flow.
A local citation is a listing of your business name, address and phone number in a local directory. Local directories can be a great place to create a listing which are often free. The listing will comprise your business profile, website link and often your social profiles. The linking power from these sites may not carry the weight they once did, but it’s still a good resource if you’re just getting started.
Be visible in your local community. The local Chamber of Commerce and bbb.org can be a great place to create a business profile and post your website from a respected site.
It’s important to analyze your own link profile for new and lost backlinks and the over quality of the links.
In addition, you’ll want to conduct competitive backlink analysis at regular intervals. It’s good to know who's linking to your competitors and to keep an eye out new linking opportunities.
See our list of SEO resources for great SEO Link Building Tools & Backlink Analysis Tools.
“Earning” your links and performing “real outreach” to impact your SEO takes work. I won’t sugarcoat it. Gaining new backlinks is hard… really hard and links from your friends website won’t cut it either. Unless of course your friends are Neil Patel or Rand Fishkin (top SEO influencers).
Pros and Cons of Investing in SEO
Name: SEO Strategy in 2020: Effective SEO Techniques
Description: Looking to boost organic traffic to the pages that really matter? Here is an SEO strategy in 2020
Before we dive in to the pros and cons of investing in SEO, let’s firmly define it.
SEO is an abbreviation for search engine optimization. While the term, SEO, can leave many startups confused, it’s simply how you get free and organic traffic to your website.
Breaking it down even further, consider this example. Your potential customer goes to Google and enters a term in the search bar that has something to do with your business. If you show up on the search engine results page near the top or at least on page one, you’ve succeeded at search engine optimization.
Google, Bing and Yahoo are the three major search engines, and if your business populates on page one, your SEO is working.
You gain more business by spending time and money on SEO. Do note that it is a long-term marketing strategy. Getting listed on page one of the search engine results pages takes time and patience. When you continually fine tune your SEO, you watch your page rise on results pages in a gradual manner.
Search engine optimization takes time, and it’s not a quick fix. For example, if you use paid advertising, you notice an increase in web traffic as long as the ads are running. With SEO, you invest in the beginning, but you still reap the benefits for months and years.
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