14 Ways to Improve your SEO
Little SEO Nudges go a Long Way
We all want to get to the top of Google. But SEO can be tricky, and what works today may not work tomorrow. Fortunately there are some things we can do that will help give those little nudges that over time will result in number one placement.
Some of these may be a little basic, you likely already know them. Others are good tips that optimize the site for readers, and in turn Google picks up on them to help improve your standings.
Fourteen Ways to Improve Your SEO
Create Content – More words means that Google has more to draw on. Think of it like a puzzle, with 7 pieces you don’t know what it’s about, but with 700 you get a better picture. Don’t just slap up poorly written junk; Google can read and will penalize stuffed content. Write for the readers and not the search engines. And remember, longer is generally better.
Use Headers – Headers aren’t just for SEO purposes (although they do help). Their primary design is to break up the text so that it’s easier to read. If all of the words were just jumbled together, you wouldn’t be able to scan past the information you know, in order to get to the good stuff. Write for the readers, not the search engines.
Insert Alt Tags – Google can’t see pictures (they can match pixel patterns), so you have to say what the image is about. While context within the post will give some indication, the best is an alt tag. This is SEO 101, so if you’re not using alt tags yet, you’re missing out. Try using a sentence instead of stuffed keywords.
Utilize YouTube – Google owns YouTube. But the biggest gain you are going to get from using this video site is more publicity. Use a long description in the description of the video, include a link where people can learn more, and then embed that video into your posts. If you’re not using video, you’re missing out on the next era of the internet.
For the Love of Lists – People love lists. Lists like 14 ways to improve your SEO. The reason is that you can skip the parts you know, extract the parts you need to work on, and plus it feels good to go through and say “I knew all those, yay me!” Google knows what people want, and they’ll move lists up higher.
How-To’s – Aside from naughty websites and social media, the internet is largely used to learn how to do something. A couple years ago Google even made a top spot for the best How-To, where you get a good portion of the information without ever clicking. The picture shows an article I wrote for J&J Construction that surged to popularity.
Meta Description – A good meta description is more for the user experience than for the search engines. People want to know what they’re getting into before clicking; you want to give them a snippet of the information so that they click to read more. Putting your keywords in the descriptions helps, but only marginally. Remember, write for the reader, not the search engines.
Google Plus – Google Plus isn’t just a social network. In fact, most people don’t use it that way. But it’s owned by Google, and it’s a way to build your portfolio. You want to create your content, and then promote it on Google+. When people see it and like it, they will +1 the content. More popular content on Google Plus means a higher ranking.
Guest Blog – If you are running a site, you have quality information to share (hopefully). But until you’re ranking highly, you need a way to share that information with people so that they see it. Guest blogging is the perfect way to get your name out there (not to mention earn a high quality backlink). The host loves the fresh content, you love the link juice, and you may even get paid for it.
Plug your Address – If you are running a site for a local business, Google needs to be able to track where you are. While having your address on the home page, or the about us page is great, put it in the content as well! For instance, Sery Content Development is a web content company with a focus on high quality copywriting. We’re based in Billings, Montana and have helped local companies find their spot on Google.
Link to Yourself – Imagine that you’re exploring a castle. But each room only has two doors, the one you came through, and the one you can go through. To get to another room you have to backtrack. Google wants easy navigation through your site, while there is generally a menu at the top that gets to the main pages, you should be linking to relevant posts as well. Internal links are an often overlooked part of SEO.
Link to Your Support – There’s no shame in relying on others. We have all done it as we learned our trade. It costs you nothing to put in a link to the sites that have helped you grow (or you have used as a resource for your content), so freely link to them! Google likes to see that you have backed up your claims, so show that you’re not stingy with your outgoing links.
Comment on Others – A popular way to build links used to be commenting on other sites. Alas, the spammers have ruined that for all of us, so comments are hardly a drop in the bucket when it comes to linkbuilding. But they aren’t entirely worthless. Comments help to build rapport, they develop relationships, and if you leave a thoughtful and insightful comment, people will follow the link and check out your site too.
Stop with the Huge Pop-Ups – Ads are largely ignored these days. So are little boxes asking you to sign up for the site’s newsletter. We are all busy, we have crammed inboxes, and we don’t really want more emails. But we have to get in front of people so that they know we can send the information right to them! A small pop-up is an inconvenience, but it’s necessary. A huge pop-up and Google may penalize you (ironically that site has a huge pop-up…).
Improve your SEO
There are a lot of moving parts to SEO, and improving your rankings can seem daunting. But here’s the secret, you don’t have to know them all! What it boils down to is this:
Write high quality content that is unique and written for the reader. Guest blog and share your content on a variety of social medias, and engage with your readers.
Great content gets shared; more sharing means more visibility which leads to more links, which ultimately leads to higher ranking on Google.