This article describes the step by step process by which you can rank higher on Google, improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and gain more organic traffic to your website.
Step #1 – Set up essential SEO tools and plugins.
The first step forms the foundation of any SEO campaign and will set your website up to move forward. The below-mentioned tools are all free and are the starting points.
Google Search Console
Formally known as Webmaster Tools, this is a powerful solution to understanding how your website is performing. Get key insights straight from Google and submit your sitemap.
- You can track site performance in Google such as total clicks, impressions, average Click Through Rate (CTR) and average position
- Identify technical SEO problems that might be holding you back. You will receive data for any errors on your site which are prohibiting Google from correctly crawling your site. Like pages with 404 error code, or determine any pages that cannot be crawled
- Determine exact keywords that your website ranks for, average position clicks and impressions for each keyword
- Unlike third-party programs, this data comes straight from Google, so you know it’s legitimate
I am always telling my team and clients that ‘Data is King’. It’s impossible to develop improved online marketing strategies if you don’t know how your website is performing or how your audience interacts with your pages.
- Analytics is the best way to learn how people find and use your website
- You can do cool stuff like find pages on your site that bring you traffic
- It allows you to identify other websites that send you traffic
- Get valuable data – bounce rate, page views and average time on site
Yoast SEO plugin (if on WordPress)
If you’re using WordPress for your website, you should be using the Yoast SEO plugin. It’s by far the best on the market and is simple to use right out of the box.
- It’s currently the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress with well over 5 million active installations and is constantly being updated.
- Yoast SEO plugin makes it easy to make your WordPress website SEO friendly. Editing Meta Descriptions, Title tags, Social share images and much more
Created by Neil Patel, one of the world’s best online marketing experts. Ubersuggest is another great free tool that provides plenty of useful data. It will help you to get better search results for your website.
Ubersuggest can be used to not only analyse your website but can also be used for competitive research.
- Find backlinks to your site and your competitors
- Get data on best-performing webpages, traffic and which keywords are delivering results
- Its site audit functionality is impressive, providing information on how to avoid errors on your website
There are lots of other tools that can be used to improve your SEO, some of which are paid solutions. But these tools are the best place to start.
Step #2 – Find keywords that customers search for
Keyword research is extremely important – but how do you find keywords that your customers use to search?
Find long-tail keywords with Google suggest
- Long-tail keywords are terms or phrases made up of three or more words that describe what the user is searching for.
- Just start typing a keyword into Google, but don’t press enter or the search button. Instead, you look at the keywords that Google shows you.
- Google only suggests keywords that people are searching for. So know people are searching for these terms.
Use Google keyword planner
- Found in Google AdWords, this can be a powerful tool for keyword research.
- The tool is mainly used by advertisers, but you can open an account for free just for the keyword planner.
- To use it, just type in a seed keyword and it will come up with lots of relevant suggestions, along with search volume and other useful stats.
Search through online communities
- See what people are talking about online
- Read threads on places like Reddit, Quora and other online forums
- Find questions in your niche that are asked often. These questions would make excellent keywords because people are talking about them
Step #3 – Keyword Optimize your website
- Use your main keyword in the first 100 words on your page
Google puts more weight for terms that appear at the top of your page
- Use your keyword at the beginning of your title tag
- Try to use the main keyword in your URL
- Use target keywords in H1, H2, H3 etc. H tags may not contribute as much weight as they used to. If you have clear headings that contain your main keywords, Google gets a better idea about your page topic and ranks it accordingly
Step #4 – Find and Fix SEO Technical Issues
- Make sure your site is mobile friendly. Google now works on a mobile-first index. This means if your site is not optimised for mobile devices, it won’t rank in search. To help, use the Google mobile-friendly test
- Check for crawl errors in search console. As mentioned above, Google Search Console will provide valuable data on any technical errors.
- Test your page speed – Page speed is a confirmed ranking factor in Google. The faster the better – Use Google’s Page Speed Insights. It will show you recommendations on how to improve your website’s page loading times.
Step #5 – Create killer content
- Content is King, you need great content to rank well in Google.
- One of the best methods to know what sort of content you should produce is to use the skyscraper technique.
- Identify content that ranks well in your niche – simply search on google for relevant keywords. Click on the top results and see what type of content gets good search results in your industry.
- Now you know what ranks well, take inspiration from it and create something better, or add something they may have missed.
- As soon as you have published your content, promote it. Traffic doesn’t come from thin air, so you need to share it as much as possible.
- Promote content through all available channels, social media, email to your client database and any subscriber lists you may have.
- Make sure the content is easy to read. Try to break it down into manageable bite-size chunks so it’s not huge lumps of text.
- Try to make sure you cover everything possible about the topic. Users generally search for something because they want an answer to a question. So you should be sure to cover all the bases and provide as much value as possible.
- Use visual content on the page; images, videos, polls, infographics, charts etc.
Step #6 – Build backlinks to your content.
Are backlinks still important? In short, yes. Backlinks are how Google finds other relevant webpages.
A study by Perficient Digital shows just how important backlinks are providing excellent results and improving Google rankings and traffic.
Guest post on other websites
Guest posting is relevant and can be a powerful strategy when building links to your website.
However, you should follow these simple Dos and Don’ts to ensure you avoid any pitfalls.
- Do guest post on relevant websites in your niche
- Do guest post on websites that are likely to send your targeted traffic
- Don’t guest post on any website
- Don’t guest post on spammy websites
- Only guest post on websites that are relevant and are high quality
Link out to influential bloggers and websites in your post
When you need to reference something or link out to the source in your post. Contact the source, let them know you mentioned their post and kindly ask them to share if they liked it.
According to Google, links should be built up naturally and they should always be from relevant and quality websites.
Step #7 – Delete Zombie pages
Zombie pages are essentially dead pages. Pages that do not get any traffic or have really thin content.
- Websites that have fewer, but higher-quality pages rank better than sites with large amounts of low-quality pages. Google looks for pages that provide value to users. If a page doesn’t provide any value, it won’t rank.
- Go through your Google Analytics and see which pages are not driving any traffic. These should either be deleted or redirected to an alternative relevant page
- Take your time to identify pages that are not performing and delete a few at a time. Then check the results after a week or so.
Step #8 – Optimise title and description
Type your target keywords into Google. Imagine you are the customer, which titles would you click on. Your title and description should entice the user to click.
Step #9 – Keep your content updated
And finally, make sure your content is up-to-date. Is prime content created a year or more ago still relevant or does it need updating? Have there been recent developments that have superseded it?
Update the content, and promote it again. Let your audience know you have updated it.
Savvy Marcom provides Internet Marketing Services to help brands and companies get better results, more targeted traffic and better return on investment.