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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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.
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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Participate in Forums – Getting involved in online forums, such as Reddit and Quora, can help increase the number of unstructured citations for your business. To maximize the potential of getting citations here, make sure your user bio includes your business website. Also, use the forums as a way to provide helpful information and not as self-promotion.

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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While with search advertising, you’re paying to show up in the top spot for relevant searches, with social media advertising you are paying to show up in relevant feeds. With both forms of advertising, you can specify the type of audience in front of which you’d like to appear, but with more psychographic data, social media offers superb targeting.

Another way to get traffic for free is from other sites in your niche. Getting links with other sites in your niche is also good for SEO, especially if you manage to get links without the famous nofollow attribute. But even if the links are nofollow (i.e. they are useless for SEO), they still help to get traffic to your site. If you manage to put your link in a visible place on a site with high volumes of traffic, you can get thousands of hits from this link alone. If you need a list of sites within your niche where you could get backlinks from, check the Backlink Builder tool. However, be careful if you exchange links because linking to bad neighbors can do you a lot of harm.
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.
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.
Once you punch in a headline, the tool assigns it a “Headline Score”. It also gives your headline a grade based on the overall structure, grammar and readability. The report dissects your headline into “common words”, “uncommon words”, “emotional words” and “power words”. It tells you your headline “type” (this post is a “list type”) and does a length analysis. Lastly, you get some cool tips to improve your headline, all for free and in under a few minutes.
Search engine optimization (SEO) tools enable you to take the guesswork out of search engine optimization by giving you insights about your keywords, analyzing your website, helping you grow your domain authority through directories, and more. Optimizing a website to rank on Google can be tricky if you’re not a search engine optimization or web development pro. However, there are tools available to help make it a lot easier for small businesses.
Spread content, get links, and get noticed. I highly recommend doing this the “white hat” way. White hat is a SEO term that means you are linking your content for customers, and not just for Google to see. Back in the day, people would post links like crazy everywhere. There would be websites just full of links called link farms. Google created updates to combat this type of black hat scamming. So, don’t risk your site’s SEO, and go the trusted route of getting links from reputable sites.

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A URL is up there in the first things that a search engine uses in order to determine a page rank, hence why it’s vital to make them easy for spiders to search. This can be done by keeping the URLs short (which also enhances the user experience), keeping them relevant to the page’s topic and keywords, and by ensuring the URLs help categorise the site pages.

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This one needs to be handled with caution. Just like the old link farms there are some really bad places pretending they handle a true Press Release. The top ones cost. Alternatively there are ways to get a free press release from a reputable press company. One way is to do something newsworthy in your town and then talk your local newspaper reporter to put the news “on the wire” for you. It might get picked up provincially/state-wide or nationally.

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New websites have a hard time competing for top keywords, that’s why it’s best to start off by identifying long-tail keywords (a phrase containing three or more words) that your site can more easily rank for. The task of identifying what those long-tail keywords should be is tedious, there’s no way around it. Google’s Keyword Planner is a great place to start plugging in keywords that are relevant to your site to see what the competition for each of those keywords looks like. This will help you eliminate the ones you shouldn’t be optimizing for and select the ones that can work best to drive traffic to your site. The three key things to look for:
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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6. Locate references without links. Look for web pages that mention your business or website. Without a link back to your site, Google will not count the citation as a vote. You can use Google Alerts to create an automated notification, so that anytime a website mentions your business, you will receive an e-mail. You can then get in touch and ask them to provide a link back to your website.

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In order to optimize your site, you need to make sure you are including the keywords that you want to rank for multiple times throughout your site. Also, ensure your site has complete and up-to-date contact information, that you’re using appropriate meta tags, and that you include pertinent business information as text—not text on images that Google can’t search.

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This one is so obvious, we’re going to look at it first. Paid search, social media advertising and display advertising (try our Smart Ads Creator!) are all excellent ways of attracting visitors, building your brand and getting your site in front of people. Adjust your paid strategies to suit your goals – do you just want more traffic, or are you looking to increase conversions, too? Each paid channel has its pros and cons, so think carefully about your objectives before you reach for your credit card.

Hey Ted, thanks for the great questions! The peak times refer to your particular time zone, if you are targeting an audience that resides in the same zone as you. You can also use tools to find out when most of your audience is online. For example, Facebook has this built into their Page Insights. For Twitter, you can use https://followerwonk.com/. Many social posting tools also offer this functionality.

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