No matter if you have a beautifully rendered website, or a stunning portfolio you won’t get very far if you’re lacking sufficient SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). The thing is, Google, Yahoo, and Bing are extremely objective when it comes down to things like sitemaps, alt tags, and keywords – just to name a few. Understanding the terminology isn’t really that important, but understanding how to improve your SEO is.
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For example, a plumber could first find a service that has search volume on Google, but may not be talked about that in-depth on their competitor’s websites. In this example, a service like “leak detection” may be listed with a small blurb on your competitor’s sites, but none of them have elaborated on every angle, created FAQs, videos, or images. This represents an opportunity to dominate on that topic.
Unstructured citations include things like a mention of your business in an online newspaper article, press release, online job board, and other sites. Unstructured citations and links are important because they let Google know that people are talking about your business. To get the most unstructured citations, work on getting positive reviews, host events, send out press releases to the media, and engage with customers online.
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Local results appear for people who search for businesses and places near their location. They're shown in a number of places across Maps and Search. For example, you’ll probably see local results if you search for “Italian restaurant” from your mobile device. Google will try to show you the kind of nearby restaurant that you’d like to visit. In the image below, Google uses local results to suggest some options.
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An easy way to keep your website current and relevant is by maintaining an active blog. This allows you to create posts that use your keywords while also telling Google your website is up-to-date without actually having to update your web pages. Consider writing on topics that answer frequently asked questions or sharing your expertise in your industry.
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Use the right anchor text. Using our previous example: if you wanted to internally link to the “how to make money” blog post, you can write a sentence in another blog, like “Once you have mastered [how to make money], you can enjoy as much luxury as you can dream.” In this case, the reader has a compelling case for clicking on the link because of both the anchor text (“how to make money”) and the context of the sentence. There is a clear benefit from clicking the link.
The strength of your link profile isn’t solely determined by how many sites link back to you – it can also be affected by your internal linking structure. When creating and publishing content, be sure to keep an eye out for opportunities for internal links. This not only helps with SEO, but also results in a better, more useful experience for the user – the cornerstone of increasing traffic to your website.
Each image and video that you have on your site can have descriptive words added to its imprint. These are known as alternative text descriptions. These descriptions allow for search engines to locate your page using the keywords found in your image and video descriptions, as well as the usual text throughout the site. Therefore increasing the opportunities your site is found, which consequently raises its page ranking.
When someone searches for the name of your business specifically, Google will pull information from your Google My Business page and display it in a panel on the right-hand side of the search results, increasing your business’ exposure. This is great for small businesses, because not only do you get a lot of space on the first page of Google’s organic search results, but you are also able to immediately show what your business is about. Again, the panel is only available to those who have set up their free Google My Business page.
Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are combined to help find the best match for your search. For example, Google algorithms might decide that a business that's farther away from your location is more likely to have what you're looking for than a business that's closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.
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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Free products and services are great for getting free traffic to your site and one of the best varieties in this aspect is viral content. Viral content is called so because it distributes like a virus – i.e. when users like your content, they send it to their friends, post it on various sites, and promote it for free in many different ways. Viral content distributes on its own and your only task is to create it and submit it to a couple of popular sites. After that users pick it and distribute it for you. Viral content can be a hot video or a presentation but it can also be a good old article or an image.
Before you say it – no, true guest blogging isn’t dead, despite what you may have heard. Securing a guest post on a reputable site can increase blog traffic to your website and help build your brand into the bargain. Be warned, though – standards for guest blogging have changed radically during the past eighteen months, and spammy tactics could result in stiff penalties. Proceed with caution.
Offline promotion is frequently forgotten but it is also a way to get traffic for free. Yes, computers are everywhere and many people spend more time online than offline but still life hasn’t moved completely on the Web. Offline promotion is also very powerful and if you know how to use it, this can also bring you many visitors. Some of the traditional offline ways to promote your site include printing its URL on your company’s business cards and souvenirs or sticking it on your company vehicles. You can also start selling T-shirts and other merchandise with your logo and this way make your brand more popular.
Ranking highly on Google is achieved by strategically using keywords and design elements on your website that are favored by Google. Learning how to rank on Google will help give you the ability to capture the top organic and local results. Every business should be consistent in their efforts to increase and/or hold their top position on Google, as online searches are a primary way for customers to find companies and products.