The world of SEO can be complicated and is ever-changing, so it’s easy to get frustrated or at the very least overwhelmed. However, SEO is foundational to successful marketing and for driving traffic to your website. In the end, the whole reason we market online is to drive traffic to our site so that we can convert visitors to leads and leads to customers and customers to fans!
Before we get into some specific tips to improve your blog, let’s first touch on the technical side of SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization. According to Webopedia:
Search engine optimization is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP) — including Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.
While not an exhaustive list by any means, today’s blog is going to focus on some of the strategies, techniques, and tactics to improve the ranking of your blog and therefore your website.
Focus on 1-2 Long-Tail Keywords
The short definition of a long-tail keyword is a keyword phrase with at least three words. Using keyword phrases is powerful because it targets a niche group instead of the masses. The more narrowed search means you don’t have as many search results to compete against for viewers. Take the examples below for example. There is a difference of 958,620,000 search results between the two! So your likelihood of being in the first couple of pages in the search results
are significantly better when you use long-tail keywords.
This is not one of those cases where more is better: You never want to “keyword stuff” your blog. Don’t cram in as many keywords (long-tail or otherwise) into your blog as you can and sacrifice readability. This is where strategy comes in. You do want to focus on 1-2 long-tail keywords per blog and naturally, work them into the blog where it makes sense and fits with the flow. It is effective to use them multiple times in each blog, but again, don’t force it. The search engine bots are looking for blogs that seem to be stuffed with keywords, and they will put them at the bottom of the pile. So be strategic with your writing and work those keywords in with intention and forethought.
Invest in Backlinks
Backlinks can be one of the most nebulous parts of this whole process. Their definition is pretty straightforward: they are incoming hyperlinks from one web page (usually outside of your website) to your site. The more backlinks you have, the more “popular” your site is and the bots judge this favorably and will increase your website’s ranking. It seems many people are frustrated by and wonder how to get backlinks. First off, let me say never, ever, ever purchase backlinks. Search engines are on this blackhat SEO technique, so it is a guaranteed way to get your website shut down. Instead, focus on gathering quality backlinks from reputable sites. Building a network of backlinks is not a fast process and takes an investment of time.
- First, identify leaders in your industry or niche.
- Second, subscribe to their blogs and follow them on social media.
- Use the first two steps to start building relationships with these industry leaders.
- Foster the relationships through making meaningful comments on their blogs and social media posts.
- Share their posts and link to their blogs when relevant in your blogs.
- As to be a guest blogger.
- As you build the relationship, then ask for the industry leader to backlink to your content in their blogs.
- Once one or two industry leaders backlink to your site, then you have a foot in the door as it were and more backlinks will naturally follow.
SEO Optimize Your Website
There is enough information out there on optimizing your site to fill many, many blogs so that I won’t go into all of it here. However, I will touch on two important factors: First: Make sure your website is a responsive site so that it is optimized for mobile devices. In 2014, mobile access to the internet surpassed desktop access, and the trend continues. Additionally, Google reports that mobile device users are more likely to take action and click on a link or offer than desktop users. So if your website isn’t optimized for mobile use, Google has promised they will flag your website and send it to the back of the proverbial line. Second, it is critical that your site loads quickly. While mobile users may be more actionable, they will not have any patience for a slow loading blog.
Ideally, you want to keep your title to about 65 characters and use a subtitle in the first line of your blog if you want to enhance or build on the title its self. Also, make sure to remove any “extra” words like a, an, the, etc. from the permalink. You want to focus on headlines that grab people’s attention. Make them interesting and distinct. They need to stand out among a lot of titles all competing for the same views. Remember how we talked about focusing on one or two long-tail keywords for your blog? You want to use one of those in your title.
Leveraging Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are the bit of text that appears below your title in the search engine results.
Readers use this information to determine what the link is about; it goes beyond just the information in the title. The meta description is your opportunity to capture the viewer’s interest and encourage them to click on your blog over others. Your language should be as concise and as engaging as possible.
Optimize Your Images
Search engines can’t see your image so all they rely heavily on the alt text descriptions of the pictures. When you take the time to put descriptions in the alt text space, you give the search engine context, so they understand the context of the image to the blog. Knowing that information, the search engine will be able to sort and rank the image, thus giving your blog yet another way to be discovered by potential customers. Using your keywords in the alt tags can further increase your blogs ranking.
These tips and others can help your blogs perform better, which is the reason we invest the time to write them, so they drive traffic to your website. For more information on the value of blogging in lead generation, check out our blog “13 Marketing Stats Your CFO Will Love.”