The marketing team must ensure that your potential customers can easily find out more information about your business online. Search engines like Google and Bing are massive drivers of online traffic and often, the first place an individual goes for information with most online experiences beginning with a search engine. To increase traffic to your website, many marketers use search engine optimization strategies. Search engine optimization (SEO) improves website traffic quality and quantity to a website or a web page from search engines.
Also, improving your site through SEO Software can help your site to rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP), drive more traffic to your site, and bring new customers. Now, search engine optimization is not nearly as daunting as it sounds – it just requires some creative thinking, the right set of tools, proper strategy, and some time for implementation.
Here are ten SEO hacks to improve your site's ranking and traffic.
#1. Understand Your Current Website Traffic Through Analytics
Before you can begin driving more traffic to your site, it is essential to take a step back and analyze the current traffic sources bringing people to your site. Setting up website analytics can help you measure your current and future efforts in search engine optimization. Many marketers (including myself) are big fans of using Google Analytics for this type of tracking. Not only is it free to set up and use on your site, but the analytics it provides are deep and full of insights for your team.
The best place for tracking website referral traffic is using the UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) variables in Google Analytics to drill down exactly where your traffic is coming from. UTM variables are bits of text added to the end of URL tracking purposes. These variables help you track where your traffic is coming from based on specific pieces of text related to the campaign, source, and medium (the platform on which the URL was shared, like social media or email marketing). Developing a detailed UTM strategy can help you accurately track the various traffic sources back to your website.
Not too savvy with UTM codes? No problem – there are plenty of resources out there to help you out.
#2. Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly
A big part of SEO's beautiful world focuses on capturing as much traffic to your site as possible, no matter what device an individual uses. Since 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide comes from mobile phones, it is imperative to ensure that your site is optimized to be mobile-friendly.
A quick checklist to measure the mobile-friendliness of your site could include things like:
- Website contact forms quickly scale for smaller devices
- Utilize responsive website design on web pages for a great user experience
- Navigation is simple for a touch screen user
- Site loads quickly when used off wi-fi
- Page layout and animations render well for mobile
If your site is not mobile-friendly, you run the risk of Google not indexing it for mobile search, which can cause it to be pushed down further in search results (or not appear at all). Not sure how mobile-friendly your site is? Google has developed a handy tool to help you find out.
#3. Create Great Content And Update it Frequently
No matter the industry you are in or the product you sell, you and your team can create great content that demonstrates your knowledge. Creating, publishing, and sharing content on a blog on your site is a great way to improve your site's ranking and traffic. With every new blog post, case study, or other resource you publish, you are giving your site another chance to be indexed by Google, and if that content performs well, it can appear in search results! Think of your website as a place to share helpful information about your product or service, answer the questions your customers have, share customer success stories and testimonials, and position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
Get a few quick tips to keep in mind when creating content.
Starting a company blog/developing content requires a certain level of commitment. Spend some time creating a posting schedule and stick to it. Google tends to favor blogs that are more active than those that are not.
Think about your audience
Who will be reading your content? Get familiar with who your audience will be before you start writing to tailor your content to that specific group. Be sure to use terms, phrases, and examples to resonate with whoever you will be sharing your content with.
Use outbound links in posts
Like I have done in this post, use outbound links to provide relevant statistics and outside research. Using outbound links can boost your reputation and helps search engines recognize related content.
Include a variety of voices
You have a diverse set of voices in your organization – include them all on your blog! Blogs are a great place to let the unique voices at your company shine. Appoint somebody to take the lead on the organization and edit posts, but do not limit your authors' set to just marketers. Utilize the variety of experience within your organization to reach all areas of your target market.
Refresh your old content
You do not have to reinvent the wheel each time you write content. Check your older content and see if you're able to update it to be relevant for your audience again. Maybe you're in an industry where content is relevant at different points of the year or have mentioned statistics that have been updated since you published a blog post. These are both great opportunities for you to update your content.
Creating great content takes time to accomplish. Don't get discouraged if you write one blog post, and it doesn't become a viral success overnight – it often takes years to build a strong presence online. Keep at it, though; hard work will pay off!
#4. Share Your Content Across Social Media
Now that you've created great content, you'll need to share it to gain visibility. Blog posts, brochures, case studies, web pages, and videos are a great source of content for your company's social media accounts. Try to provide solutions for your customer's problems and mind provoking tips as to why they should partner with your company. If you haven't already, create social media profiles for your company on platforms where your customers are likely to spend most of their time.
Be sure to share content that will resonate best with each audience on every platform – there isn't a one size fits all approach to posting on social media. Content that is shared on LinkedIn will likely differ from what is shared on Instagram. Sharing links to your content across social media can help build your online presence and drive traffic back to your website. Great social media content is always relevant and engaging to your followers.
Use a social media scheduling tool to make the process of posting on social media easier for your team.
#5. Choose Google My Business and Bing Places to List Business
Be sure to create a Google My Business and Bing Places account to build your business listing. If you've already done so, be sure your profile is up to date and accurate with your business' hours, address, phone number, and link to your website. Your business profile can rank higher in search results than your website and provides a quick summary of your business. This is also a great place to collect online reviews, which we'll discuss later in this piece.
Now, it's not enough to just set up your Google My Business profile – you'll want to spend some time optimizing it for maximum impact in search results. Take full advantage of every section in your business profile that Google has to offer.
Some of the areas for optimization are:
- Select primary and secondary categories
- Mark off applicable attributes
- Write a complete "from the business" description
- Publish Google posts weekly
- Upload new photos weekly
- Answer questions
- Add your products and services
- Set up messaging
Ultimately, search engines want to connect individuals with the most accurate, up-to-date information about your business, so your Google My Business and Bing places must be maintained on (at least) a weekly basis.
#6. Conduct Keyword Research And Optimize Web Pages For Those Keywords
Do you know which keywords are your potential customers searching for? Usetools like Google Trends or Moz Keyword Explorer to do keyword research and learn what search terms your customers are looking for or what keywords are relevant to your industry. This will help you understand what words you should optimize your website for. Once you've identified which keywords you'd like to target, spend some time optimizing your site's relevant pages for these keywords.
Be intentional about where you add these keywords to website copy, and don't stuff them into every sentence. You can add in keywords without sacrificing the quality of your overall site. Do not lower your user experience rate in the name of stuffing as many keywords as possible onto the page. If your website content does not provide enough clear and concise information for the user, they will likely leave your site and look for services elsewhere. See where you can add mentions of these keywords into your site's primary content, title tags, meta descriptions, or page descriptions.
Consider optimizing pages of your site for different sets of keywords. For example, suppose you're a software consulting company in San Francisco, California. In that case, you might optimize one page of your site for the term "San Francisco Software Developer" and another for the word "Bay Area Software Developer." Both phrases are what your potential customers could be searching for but demonstrate the importance of targeting many similar keywords and phrases across web pages. You can explore more information about keyword research and optimization and the role of SEO tools to boost your online presence.
#7. Update Website Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are a valuable place to optimize your site for keywords (even though they're not always visible on a web page). Meta descriptions can be featured as targeted snippets (or SERPS) in Google searches, so it's essential to make sure they're accurate for the page they represent. Meta description serves advertising copy that lures a reader to click on your website from search results.
Be sure to include keywords in these descriptions to have a better ranking and keep them short between 50–160 characters. Also, it's important to note that meta descriptions should be unique to the page they appear on, so they have a better chance of ranking higher for specific keywords. You can easily edit your web pages' meta descriptions in most content managers or content management systems (no web developer needed!).
#8. Create a Link Building Strategy to Promote Your Site
Backlinks are a crucial element of ranking on search engines. Backlinks help search engines recognize that you're providing value to individuals in your industry. Gaining links back to your site from others increases buyer trust and ultimately helps search engines discover and rank pages of your site.
While you're creating content for your site, think about how others might want to link to it. Are you citing original research that might be relevant to more companies than just yours? Do you have a great quote from one of your executives on a topic that others may want to cite? These are great ideas to keep in mind when brainstorming how to gain links back to your site or its content.
Here are the best ways to increase links to your site:
- Reciprocal linking: asking partners that you work with frequently to add a link to your site on theirs, usually on a partner page.
- Article marketing or guest posting: Producing great content and guest posting on other websites is a great way to build links (we will talk more about guest posting in the next point).
- Web directory links: Buildings links on directory sites that are relevant to your industry and customers.
- Forum and blog comments: Active participation in discussions related to your industry by linking back to relevant content on your site demonstrates your expertise and positions you as a leader in your industry.
Monitor your link building efforts in a spreadsheet and share with other members of your team. As you research sites you'd like to receive a link from, add them into your sheet for easy tracking and maintenance of this list.
#9. Create Guest Posts For Blogs That Are Relevant in Your Industry
While you are creating content for your website, think about where else you could share your expertise. Guest writing for a popular blog, news site, or another website in your industry can help your company gain exposure and recognition, and ultimately, drive traffic back to your site. Guest posts are an excellent opportunity to share your expertise on potentially a larger platform than your website.
Looking to write your first guest post for a site? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
It can be easy to want to be featured on every website known to man, but that's unrealistic and may not pay dividends in the way you think it would. Do some research on the sites you want to be featured on. Do your customers browse and read content on this site? Does this site have a lot of traffic? Is the topic you'll be writing on relevant and targeted to your customers? Be sure to mull over these questions before beginning to write your guest post. Having a targeted and deliberate approach to guest posting will only benefit you.
Review writing guidelines and avoid duplicate content
Before writing, spend some time reviewing the site's writing guidelines. Do they want you to include a certain number of links in the post? Is there a word requirement? Do they discourage you from making the post too salesy? These are essential factors to consider before you begin writing. While it is tempting to submit a blog post you have already registered and published on your site, you will likely be penalized for doing so. Most guest posting opportunities require plagiarism-free content that hasn't been published anywhere previously. Search engines also penalize you for posting the same piece of content across multiple sites.
Strive to produce well-written content
After you've finished writing your post, please spend some time editing and re-reading it. Is it helpful for the person reading it? Strive to write good content for the site you are publishing on. If you are submitting a fluffy, light post that is only intended to drive the reader to your site, you're missing the entire point of guest posting. Keep in mind that guest posts are a reflection of your writing (and your company). First impressions are everything!
#10. Collect Online Reviews Through Directory Sites
Are there online directory sites in your industry (like GoodFirms) that your customers look for partners? Consider creating a profile on these sites to increase traffic to your site and increase your online presence. Look through your website analytics to see if your site has referral traffic from specific sources and work on updating your online directory profiles.
Or, if you are just getting started, conduct some research by looking up phrases like "[Competitor name] review" or "[service you offer] in [your area]" and look at the results. Merely creating an online profile on directory or review sites is a great way to get in front of your customers as they look for your services.
After your profiles are created on directory and review sites, you can consider asking previous customers to leave reviews of their experience. Great reviews can help boost your ranking in search engines and help you be featured higher in search results. Keep your thoughts honest – they help to build trust with your customers. If you have a suspicious number of excellent reviews, your customers will notice. Also, be sure to time the ask your customer for a review correctly. You want to ask a customer for a review when they are happiest – not when they have had a bad experience or are working through a customer service issue.
Once you have gathered those positive reviews, please share them! Post links to them on your website, share testimonial quotes in marketing emails and share them across social media. When your customers see positive reviews about your business, it helps to build your credibility. And if you have received a less-than-positive review, be sure to respond to the reviewer to see if you can resolve their issue. More often than not, if a negative review is responded to and handled so that the reviewer finds satisfactory, they are likely to revise their negative review.
To recap, the ten SEO hacks to improve your site's ranking and traffic are:
- Understand your current website traffic through analytics and SEO Software
- Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
- Create great content and update it frequently
- Share your content across social media
- Choose Google My Business and Bing Places to list business
- Conduct keyword research and optimize web pages for those keywords
- Update website meta descriptions
- Create a link building strategy to promote your site
- Create guest posts for blogs that are relevant to your industry
- Collect online reviews through directory sites
With some careful thought and dedication, you can make simple, impactful changes to your website to increase your traffic and ranking through search engine optimization. In addition to all this, you can also find out the best free and open source SEO Software such as SEO Panel, OpenSEO, Pipulate, and more.