Do you remember how you reacted the last time you tried to visit a site and it wouldn't load? Like most people, you probably exited the tab and moved on. If your site load times are slow, it won't rank high in search results. Not to mention, the customer experience won’t be positive if your site isn’t up an running in seconds, three seconds to be exact. For every second longer that goes by, your abandonment rate will skyrocket, leaving unhappy customers and potential sales on the table.

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A backlink is a link to your website from another website. Backlinks from complementary businesses or industry influencers will not only get your business in front of a larger audience, but it will also drive qualified traffic to your website. In addition, Google picks up on backlinks and will increase its trust in your business if it sees other trusted sites pointing to yours. More trust from Google leads to higher rankings, which leads to more traffic. Get noticed on Google for free with quality backlinks.

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Aim for “position zero.” When a user asks a question in Google Search, Google sometimes pulls content from a relevant website and displays it in a special featured snippet or answer box above the #1 search result. Getting content into a featured snippet is a great way to increase traffic (snippets include a link to the page where the content came from), as well as boost the credibility and visibility of your brand. To increase your chances of having your content selected as a featured snippet by Google, think of likely searches related to your business and pepper your site with clear, authoritative answers.
9. Sponsor photo contests. Ask your customers to send photos of themselves using your product or service in a creative way. Not only does this provide interesting content for your site but, people love to win things. The photos can be uploaded to your company’s Flickr and Pinterest accounts, providing more opportunities to engage with potential customers. Then use Google reverse image search to find other websites that use your images. Asking them to credit your site as the source, results in even more links back.
Next, log into Google AdWords and click “Tools” > “Keyword Planner.” Once you’re on the Keyword Planner menu, click “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category.” Complete the form that appears; to start with, search for your type of business and location. For example, if you own a hair salon in Chicago, you would want to enter “hair salon Chicago.”
While short-tail keywords are often searched more frequently, it is more difficult to rank for them on search engines. Targeting long-tail keywords, on the other hand, gives you a better chance of ranking higher (even on the first page) for queries specific to your products and services—and higher ranking means more traffic. Plus, as search engines and voice-to-text capabilities advance, people are using more specific phrases to search online. There are many free tools available to help you find keywords to target, such as Answer the Public.

Take your competitors’ SEO work and apply it to yourself. For example, when writing your meta titles and descriptions, look at your competitors’ paid ads on Google for your keywords. Do they all mention a word or phrase (“complementary” or “free estimates,” for example)? Try using those to improve your titles and descriptions. After all, they spent money testing theirs out.
Headlines are one of the most important parts of your content. Without a compelling headline, even the most comprehensive blog post will go unread. Master the art of headline writing. For example, the writers at BuzzFeed and Upworthy often write upward of twenty different headlines before finally settling on the one that will drive the most traffic, so think carefully about your headline before you hit “publish.”

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The title tag is used by search engines to display a page in search results, as well as appearing at top of the browser. These tags tell search spiders and users what your page is about. Google only displays between 50 – 60 characters in their title tags, therefore its important to keep descriptions short, compelling and relevant. Keywords and page topics should feature towards the front.

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Having an industry influencer publish a blog post on your site or turning an interview with them into a blog post can help to drive traffic both through organic search but also via that influencer promoting the content to their audience (see the backlinks section above). This can also help to add more variety to your content and show your visitors that you are active in your field.

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Organic search results are free and display below Google Ads and sometimes local results. Google uses a sophisticated algorithm to determine which sites rank highest for organic search results based on keyword usage, relevance, site design, and other factors. Generally, Google provides the highest quality, most relevant results based on the keyword(s) used by the searcher.

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