Every year, the various SEO gurus, blogs, and agencies put out what they believe to be the secret formula for ranking better on the search engines. As we’ve discussed in detail many times in the past, there’s one thing that doesn’t change: quality content. If you put great content on your site and make sure that others can share and link to your content, you’ll rank better. It’s that simple.
At the beginning of 2014, Google’s Matt Cutts made headlines by stating that guest blogging was dead. This caused a lot of stir in the online community. People naturally got defensive and protested this as unfair. After all, hasn’t almost everyone used guest blogging to help with SEO at some point or another?
When I first started in digital marketing back in 2006, I had a dream of helping people take over the internet realm for their particular niche. At the time, I had 4 automotive clients and with the thought that content and links were so powerful for SEO while social media was the future, I pictured a product where my clients were blogging several times a week and posting them on several different blogs that fit in with particular topics.
Most people mistakenly believe there’s very little writing web content. They think that as long as they can find an interesting topic, they’ll be able to write up a few hundred words and their website will be good to go. Anyone who has ever worked for Article Writing Services will be quick to point out that writing content for websites isn’t that easy.
Given that 93 percent of Internet traffic starts at a search engine, ranking high by using SEO techniques is important for your website. Consider these tips to help improve your search engine ranking.
Create Inbound Links
When someone links to your website, it shows the search engines that your website is authoritative. The more links there are across the web pointing to your site, the higher you’ll rank. But you don’t have to rely on other content creators to set up the links. Use these strategies to create links to your website:
- Guest post on top blogs. Most bloggers allow you to include links to your website in your content or in the author bio when you guest blog on their site.
- Comment on blogs. Blogs that feature the plugin CommentLuv are a great place to start earning links since you can automatically include a link to your most recent content.
- Organize a link exchange. If you have a blog on your site or frequently update content, connect with other people in your business and offer to link to their website if they link to yours.
- Create quality content. If you wow your readers with your content, people will start linking to your site on their own.
Use Keyword Phrases
While search engines have moved toward displaying quality content instead of worrying about high keyword density, using keywords is still important to ensure that your content shows up in front of the proper audience. Choose keywords that relate to your niche, are commonly searched, and are valuable to your content. Place these keywords in your posts, in page titles, in photo descriptions, and throughout other areas of the site where appropriate.
Hire a Third Party
If you don’t understand SEO or don’t have the time for it, consider hiring a third-party. Experienced professionals keep up with the latest changes and techniques to help you rank higher and bring in more visitors to your site. While it may seem like a hefty cost at first depending on your budget and your goals, having an experienced individual organize your site for search engines can end up paying off by helping you sell more products and reach more people. For more information on hiring a third-party and how much to spend, check out these useful tips.
Utilize Social Media
Social media can do several things for your SEO. For one, it’s a great place to share links and build authority in your niche. It also gets people talking about your product and your content throughout the Internet to help you build your authority. When used properly, search engines are going to begin realizing that you’re an authority figure in your field and decide that your content is worth ranking higher.
One example of a company that utilizes social media techniques properly is GearyLSF, a company that engages their audience, shares useful links and media, and knows how to maximize customer visibility. To get the most out of social media and improve your search engine rankings, follow their example while adding a personal touch to your profiles.
Create Quality Content
You’ve heard before that “content is king.” While there are many other aspects to SEO, search engines realize how important quality content is to their users. Therefore, the higher quality content you produce and the more that people get out of it, share it, and engage with you, the higher you’ll rank and the more visitors you’ll attract.
But it’s not just that. When you write for the individual first and then the search engines, people will stay on your site longer when they find worth in your content. Since search engines interpret this longer visit as higher quality content than if the visitor left after five seconds, it can have a huge impact on your ranking.
Use these additional tips to keep people on your site longer:
- Keep your content interesting and engaging.
- Produce useful advice, quality entertainment, and unique content.
- Show your credibility and authority in your about section.
If you’re still confused about SEO or need more tips, check out the results from Moz’s 2013 Search Engine Ranking Factors survey.
Have you utilized any of these techniques? Did they impact your search engine rank?
(Image via Forbes)
LinkedIn was created for business persons to communicate with each other. You can improve the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of your profile so that you are more likely to appear on the Google search engine results pages, as well as making your profile more prominent and easy to find on the LinkedIn website itself. LinkedIn is not as prominent on the Google search engine results pages because contacting people on there is not so easy sometimes, but the new Google Hummingbird update may soon change all of that, so it is wise to start optimizing your LinkedIn profile now.
Make sure you fill out every section on your profile
This is imperative, as they are there for a reason. It is not like Facebook where there are parts that you can and cannot fill in and it does not matter. The only time it does not matter on LinkedIn is if the thing it is questioning you about is literally nothing to do with you. For example, if it asked for your limited company ticker number and you where/are not a limited company, then you would leave it blank. Otherwise, fill in every bit of your LinkedIn bio and profile.
Filling out your profile is important
Think about how people are going to read your profile. Google are very eager to make everything all about the user. This means that they are phasing out things that apply directly to the search engines and are trying to make it all about the user in every way. So it is up to you to think about how your website is viewed by others.
Look at the profiles of other people
You can start by going to look at some other profiles to see how they have done it. Look for blank spots on their profiles and look at how glaring it is. Look at how they have filled out their profiles. Take notes on what are bad and what are good. Look at some of the factors they have included and think about how you could include them. For example, are you going to write BA or bachelor of the arts? How have other people written it, and how is it formatted? Look at what looks good to you, and steal the good ideas whilst avoiding their mistakes.
What did other people do to rank so highly?
All of this research is relevant because firstly the LinkedIn results you are seeing on Google are probably the ones that are the best optimized. Secondly, you can pull lots of ideas from their profiles in order to make your profile better, and thirdly you are going to see evidence of why their profiles are ranking so highly. It may be that they have a lot of contacts, but you will also notice that it is because they have been thorough when filling out their profiles, whilst still being concise.
Think about the questions that may lead people to you
This is an idea that Google are playing with a lot these days. They are more interested in questions and less interested in keywords. So, instead of strategically placing keywords on your profile, think about what questions people may ask before they drop on your profile.
Things related to your service are possible, so let’s say that you paint houses, then a suitable question may be “who can clean my house in Randy Town?” If you optimized your profile with a relative answer to this question, then you may do better when it comes to ranking up your profile. This is especially true when it comes to location based queries, as it removes a lot of your competition from other companies online.
Keep up to date with current SEO updates
There are often rule changes internally within social media networks and within the Google search engine. This means you need to keep up to date with the most recent ranking updates for LinkedIn, and for Google. The LinkedIn profiles do appear on the Google search engine results pages, but normally only if you type in a person’s name and it has already shown you the Facebook and Twitter answers for that name. However, the wind is changing, and the hummingbird update is having an effect.
This may mean that optimizing your LinkedIn profile for internal ranking is just as important as ranking for external ranking via something such as the Google search engine. It is also a good idea to update your LinkedIn profile from time to time to make it appear that you are conscientious about keeping your information on there accurate.
There are those who have been spreading (indefinitely, it seems) the thought that SEO is dead. It never ends, the thought (hope?) that search engine optimization has reached its conclusion. The main reason for these calls is, of course, when “experts” in search marketing start to find that their techniques don’t work anymore. Nothing will make someone believe a practice is dead more than finding out that they’re processes aren’t working.
Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for the rest of us), SEO is alive and well and growing in importance every day. The reasons are many, but here’s a quick breakdown:
- Mobile visibility is driving clicks on the go. Many people are no longer doing the majority of their searches on desktop computers. The computers in our pockets are doing just fine (sometimes better) at delivering the information we need. Mobile’s continuous onslaught on our time and eyeball share means that SEO today must maintain a “mobile-first” mentality. If you can make it rank well on mobile, you can make it rank well on desktops.
- The vision is pretty much set for the near future. Google and Bing are known for frequent updates and since 2011, Google has sent out some big ones. We will see a slow down on the major updates and a focus on tweaks for quality and adjustments to fight spammers. The gameplan is right there in front of us, which means that those who are good at SEO can duck their shoulders down and start barreling through the line.
- Competitors are increasing but true competitors are diminishing. Everyone is getting into the SEO game, but there’s only a handful that truly get it. By focusing on quality of content, links, and social signals, SEOs are able to succeed. Once you introduce shortcuts (and the majority of them do) you lose the effect. This is a benefit to those doing true SEO because it allows them to rise to the top more easily.
Don’t get trapped in the SEO-is-Dead mentality. SEO is alive and well in its purest form. Bad SEO is dying. This is a good thing.
There are many people who believe that when it comes to WordPress based blogs, the only ones which are naturally SEO friendly are those ‘fresh out of the box’ ie. those which have not been customized in any way. When you start to add themes and plugins you begin to create a sort of hybrid version which can become somewhat incompatible with search engines.
Thankfully, there are some fairly easy ways to address this issue and with that in mind let’s look at a few of the SEO do’s and don’ts which will maximize your WordPress based blog’s search engine visibility
DO Make Use of SEO Plugins
When you need SEO help it makes sense to consult an expert in that field rather than a ‘Jack of all trades’. Using a dedicated SEO plugin such as WordPress SEO, Yoast or All in One SEO Pack is a lot like consulting an expert. These plugins are designed to handle all of your SEO needs and many of them are free. There are many themes available for WordPress which offer built in SEO assistance. However, this will tie you to that theme unless you want to redo your SEO whenever you change your theme.
DON’T be Lazy When Adding Images
WordPress has an excellent media uploader that is easy to use, so take advantage of that when adding images to your blog posts. The tool has an easy to follow form to enter all of the SEO information relating to your image and it is important to fill it out in full. You can provide a relevant name for the image, a caption featuring your keyword, alt text and even a description all of which will go some way towards improving SEO on that page/post.
DO Create a Proper Permalink Structure
One of the great things about WordPress is that it gives you the ability to customize your permalinks. This is great in terms of SEO, but only if you make good use of it by choosing a blog title and thus a post URL which will tell search engines (and readers) a little something about the post.
DON’T Go Nuts With Categories & Tags
It is a good idea to use categories to organize your content and to tag your posts; however, it important not go overboard with the categories. If you are going to implement indexing of your blog’s taxonomy archives you will have multiple unnecessary archive pages which are basically duplicates of your posts. It is much better to come up with just a handful of categories that the majority of your content can be filed under. Many SEO experts suggest that between 5 and 7 is the optimal number of categories per WordPress site and that posts should have approximately 3 tags each.
Do Claim Google Authorship On All Posts
Google Authorship is a great way to gain exposure as an expert author in your particular field and will lend additional credibility to your website when used. There are lots of ways to make use of Google Authorship including a variety of plugins which will take care of it for you. Just make sure that your contributing authors have added your blog on their Google+ profile.
These are just a few of the things which will affect the SEO status of your WordPress blog. There are many others that you may wish to thin carefully about including choosing the most appropriate server hosting service and producing truly engaging content. With a little effort and attention to detail you can have effective SEO for your blog.
Many of us who have been doing the hybrid search/social game for long enough remember what it was like to discover Tumblr. I got in pretty early and was able to get Social News as one of my Tumblogs, a pretty decent subdomain that is (unfortunately) completely underutilized and really just focuses on my Instagram pictures. That doesn’t mean that you have to sit around and let Tumblr not work well for you.
SocialMediaToday community contributor Mark Scott posted an interesting piece about using Tumblr as an SEO tool. While there are things in there that aren’t 100% correct such as the concept that all “links you add to all posts on your Tumblr blog are do-follow links” (some are nofollow), but otherwise he gives very sound advice about how to use the platform for something that it’s frankly not very good at for its own self: SEO.
Yes, it’s a great SEO tool and yes, it’s possible to optimize a Tumblog to do well in search, but it’s the benefits that it can bring to other websites where the real juice can come into play. As a supporting site, it’s great for search as long as the content is strong and you’re able to build up a decent following.
Here’s what he said on Social Media Today:
Tumblr essentially functions as a secondary blog you can use solely for the purpose of SEO. You can send optimized links back to the main website, allowing your website’s reach to expand and incoming traffic to multiply. What makes Tumblr great for SEO is the inbuilt promotion and SEO-friendly features that it comes packed with by default.
Read More: Social Media Today