Originally published on March 6, 2017. Updated on May 12, 2020.
The statistics are undeniable – these days, consumers look to the web for information before making a decision on where to spend their hard-earned money. Every day, your prospective customers are reading Google reviews and Facebook recommendations to find the business that is going to help them solve a problem.
The key to success is search engine rankings. Optimizing your website for search means your content will appear higher and higher up Google results pages until you land on page one. As far as digital real estate goes, this is gold. It’s the virtual version of being in the right place at the right time and the returns can be huge.
Small things can make a big difference, so here are 10 tips to help boost your rankings.
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1. Create long-form content
The length of your content matters for many reasons. Google considers longer content more authoritative, probably because anyone who takes the time to write 1,000+ words about a topic is genuinely interested in educating others and being helpful rather than just selling things. Longer sections of text also naturally provide a lot more space for keywords and avoid the keyword stuffing that often comes with shorter posts. sInternet users and search patterns both focus on long-tail keywords (think full question instead of just strings of search terms), which fits in perfectly with long blogs and page texts since you are more likely to answer those queries.
Read more: 5 content marketing tips to improve your SEO
2. Be original
Being original may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how often plagiarism happens. Write your own content, people! No-one knows your business like you do, so capitalize on that and write from personal experience, share the ins and outs of the products and services you offer, answer questions that your customers frequently ask you, address concerns that commonly occur in your industry. Don’t be afraid to tackle tough issues. It’s a pretty safe bet that your competitors aren’t doing it, which leaves it wide open for you to step in and potentially increase your market share.
Read more: How to create a show-stopping SEO strategy
3. Get your facts straight
The internet is full of rumors and weird stories. Make sure you fact-check what you post, especially if you’re going to quote statistics on your website or in a blog. We recommend seeing if you can find the same fact on at least three independent sites (trust us: you’ll definitely find some interesting information when you start trying to collaborate facts and stories!). It’s a bit scary how often the same fact is quoted by multiple sites, but hard to trace to an original source. Other times, you may find the original factoid has been misquoted or misrepresented. Research is vital to authenticity, which leads to greater trust, which leads to customer loyalty.
Read more: 6 expert ways to SEO optimize your blog
4. Write interesting posts
The key to creating good content is to write things people actually want to read. That means writing for the readers, not just stringing streams of SEO-friendly keywords together, because Google is constantly tweaking its algorithms to improve the consumer experience. It wants to make sure quality content is available for its users, so when your webpages and blog posts cover topics people like, Google will rank them higher. Resources like Google Keyword Planner make it easy to see what terms people are searching and create a strategy accordingly.
Read more: Why the SEO blog will never die
5. Keep SEO in mind
That said, you never want to forget SEO. The magic of good content is that it will both help your customers and increase your website’s ranking. Weave the keywords into the content you are writing for the reader, and when you look at Google Keyword Planner, focus on the words with medium competition. This means that lots of people are searching for them, but your chances of ranking are better when the competition isn’t super-fierce. Remember, digital marketing is about using the right bait for the right readers, not casting a wide net in the hope of catching a bite like traditional marketing methods.
Ready to get started? Schedule a free consultation.
6. Focus on the visuals
Visuals are really important when it comes to building trust with readers, because prospective customers like to see who they’re doing business with. It’s also important when it comes to conveying information quickly. Video, in particular, has become increasingly popular as time-poor internet users look for alternative ways to consume content. After all, it’s much easier to hit play and listen than it is to read a lengthy article! Focusing on visuals will ensure your business looks up-to-date and ready to assist customers with their questions.
Read more: Why video marketing is so important
7. Answer questions
When we searching the internet, we are usually looking for an answer. The sweet spot for business owners and marketers is figuring out the questions. Remember Jeopardy? You have the answers; your customers have the questions. Your job when you are generating content is figuring out the most important issues to address. Here are some ways to make sure you are answering the right, real questions.
- Talk to your sales people. What questions do they routinely answer during their meetings with clients?
- Talk to your customer service staff. What persuades people to become clients?
- Type in a question to Google. What are people also asking?
8. Be helpful
When you are answering questions your customers and prospects want answers to, make sure you are useful and give them enough information to go on. Don’t be so vague that you aren’t saying anything at all. Many companies are afraid to give away too much information about what they do, and how they do it. However, that’s almost impossible. Obviously, you don’t reveal confidential data, but don’t be afraid to give insights into how you do what you do.
The other thing that’s worth noting is that people really don’t like to be teased. When they click on the link to your blog or web page, they want actual information. They do not want to click on the link and read a paragraph or two only to find out that you aren’t offering anything. We’re all familiar with this method: the teaser, followed by just enough to keep you on the line, but never really helpful information. Don’t be that company.
9. Use Case Studies
Accurate case studies are powerful tools when done correctly. They are an opportunity for you to highlight your product or service and how it impacted your client. The format usually goes something like this:
- Challenge: Summary of why the client came to you and the problem they needed you to solve
- Method: Explain your solution to the problem and the steps you took to implement it. Include a timeframe if possible.
- Results: Include details and statistics whenever possible, describe how what you did was successful.
- Call to action: Provide the reader with a way to contact you and some kind of action to take while they are excited about what they just read.
10. Publish how-to guides
How-to blog posts are popular because it answers some of the most frequently-searched questions online: “How do I…” Start with the problems your business solves on a daily basis. How to ignite a pilot light? How to teach kids to brush their teeth? How to cure headaches? Then write a step-by-step guide.
Again, don’t worry about giving too much information. More often than not, if the person is a really into DIY, they’re going to learn a lot and have positive things to say to others about you. Word of mouth is an incredibly powerful marketing tool. However, if they see all the steps and feel overwhelmed, it’s also really likely they’ll give you a call. You’re an expert, after all, so you can easily help solve their problem.
There’s a lot of information here, we get it. While everything on this list will help, you don’t necessarily have to do it all. Start with one or two things, and make sure you do them consistently. For example, even just getting a solid stream of fresh content up on your site on a regular basis will help improve your website rankings.
Of course, you can also call the professionals. Schedule a free consultation.