Before you had a website, there is a good chance that everyone you knew told you that you needed one.
People may have even quoted Field of Dreams – “If you build it, they will come.”
So, you went and built (or had someone build) your website, and waited for the traffic to come pouring in. And let me guess, you’re still waiting.
Since you launched your site, you’ve had only a handful of leads, and you’re not even on the first page of Google. Are you doing something wrong?
The simple answer is yes; you are probably doing something wrong. If it makes you feel any better, you are not alone. The good news is that SEO is simple – if you know what you’re doing.
If you follow our 5 insanely actionable SEO tips, you can improve your ranking, and finally get some of that traffic that everyone promised you.
SEO is always changing. 2018 alone saw Google undergo multiple changes which completely altered the SEO landscape.
Keeping up with the current best practices and techniques is a full-time job, which can make it near impossible for small business owners to get the digital visibility you deserve.
Well, what about Facebook you might be wondering. That’s still a great place to get traffic. The simple truth is, not really.
Last year, if you had a Facebook business page that you posted on regularly, you had a good chance of growing your digital presence.
The 2018 updates to the Facebook news feed makes it tougher for small businesses to get noteworthy ROI from the platform. That’s why so many Digital Marketers are now saying that organic social media traffic is dead.
So, what can you do?
Mads Holmen from Tourquemag recently wrote a piece about the decline of social media traffic, and his suggested solution is to increase your SEO efforts.
“Everyone wants traffic, and there was a time when one of the best ways to grow it was through social media. However, that particular party may be over. Twitter accounts for less than 2.5 percent of traffic to publishers, and Instagram and Pinterest barely supply 1 percent together. But the big story is Facebook. Once the single biggest source of referral traffic for many sites, it now represents just 22 percent, and that share has been falling dramatically for more than a year. [sic]”
Is Google the answer?
Yes – but only if you put in the time.
The most reliable way to drive organic traffic to your site is to ensure that your SEO is up to Google’s expectations.
Of course, that’s much easier said than done. One of the elements that makes search engine optimisation so tough is that you need to balance over 200 SEO requirements simultaneously.
Sounds scary, we know. But, if you’re organised, read all the latest requirements from Google, and spend a few hours a week working on your SEO, you’ll get it in no time.
We’re not going to cover all 200 requirements. Instead, we’re going to focus on our 5 insanely actionable SEO tips.
What does SEO entail?
Working on your SEO means having a site that is mobile friendly, loads fast, has high-quality original content, focuses on relevant keywords, has some form of rich snippet markup like Schema, and a whole lot more.
Google, however, is notoriously tight-lipped about all the factors that determine where your page will rank, and even if you tick all the boxes, it can still take up to three years to get to position one in the search results.
SEO in 2018 is not the SEO you remember: Google is always tinkering with their search algorithms and features (like AMP), and that means the best SEO tactics continuously change. Sometimes quite radically.
Our 5 Insanely Actionable SEO Tips
1) Create a Google My Business page
There are a number of ways that Google can identify where a user is. Towards the end of 2017, there was a dramatic increase in Google searches with the phrase “near me”.
Top SEO companies from around the world became obsessed with adding locations to all their posts. If you look at the current search trends, you will see that “near me” is no longer a popular phrase.
Did people stop caring about businesses near them?
No. Instead what happened was that Google updated its search algorithm to natively display businesses near where a user was searching. In other words near me became such a popular search term, that now Googles assumes that all searches imply “near me”.
By having a Google My Business account, you can let Google know what services you offer, where you are located, your website URL, and your contact information.
2) Fix Technical Issues on your website
The second of our Our 5 Insanely Actionable SEO Tips is to fix any technical issues on your website.
If you can your competitor have similar websites, with related content, Google starts to look at the technical side of your site. Google specifically looks for broken links, www resolve, blocking factors in your code, mobile frameworks like AMP, SSL encryption, and a whole lot more.
Of course, if you don’t know how to identify technical issues in your site, how will you know how to fix them?
To help you along your way, Silicon Overdrive is offering you a free technical SEO audit of your website.
3) Stop Keyword Stuffing.
Anyone who knows anything about SEO knows it’s all about the keywords and how many times you use them. So, what you should do is have a site where every second word is one of your keywords.
Well, maybe that worked 10 years ago, but if you try that now, Google will punish you. Search engines like Google and Bing now understand what your content is about. That takes us nicely to the next point.
4) Use Semantic Keywords
In the olden days of SEO, it was imperative that you used the specific keyword or phrase you wanted to rank for. That meant that if you wanted to rank well for the term “running shoes”, you had to use the exact phrase, and you had to use it often.
Fast forward to today, and that is no longer the case. Google’s algorithm is now so advanced that it can understand the meaning of your article, and no longer places as much emphasis on specific keywords.
You can test this yourself if you don’t believe us – type “Nike Trainers” into Google, and you will find a handful of links using the phrase “Nike Shoes”. That is because Google knows that in the context of your search, “trainer” is the same as “shoe”.
Why does Google do this? The simple answer is that Google hates spam.
To ensure that people find what they are looking for, Google tries to put the best quality content at the top of its search results. One of the ranking factors Google uses to determine quality is how authoritative a site is.
One of the things that shows Google that you are an authority is using semantic keywords. If you write about shoes, try to include variations of the term in your piece. Write about running shoes, trainers, gym shoes, you name it.
The more related terms you use, the higher your chances of ranking well. When Google sees a post that uses a variety of similar key phrases, the search algorithm assumes you know what you are talking about.
5) Increase On-Site Engagement
Since on-site engagement is a significant SEO ranking factor, it’s important to keep visitors on your site for as long as possible. But you don’t only want them to stay on the page; you want them to perform an action.
So, what types of actions can you get your users to perform?
People are more likely to engage with high-quality content.
One of the best ways to ensure that your “traffic” converts to an “audience” is to be an authoritative voice in your industry. Sounds easy, right?
To create an authoritative voice, you should create (or hire someone to create) industry-specific, thought-provoking content.
Embed a YouTube video
If you look at YouTube’s growth, you can see that people love video content. IN 2015 YouTube had over 300 hours of video uploaded EVERY MINUTE!
Add a video to your site, and people will click on it. The more people engage with your site, the more authority Google assigns you, which in turn means more traffic.
After that, you are going to want to ensure that you’re using internal linking.
Google loves internal linking. If you write a number of articles on a single topic, Google starts to think that you know what you’re talking about. Internal linking can be done in a number of ways, but the most common use is to use links on the post itself and to have a “related posts” section in your blog.
Search visitors can be fickle if they’ve come looking for a particular piece of content and often leave as soon as they’ve consumed it.
You give yourself the best chance of converting them into a loyal audience member by providing other high-quality related posts that are relevant to their interests.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Neglect Your Social Media
Is Facebook (and other social media channels) worth the effort?This Tourquemag article might have you believe that Facebook is a waste of time, but like so many things the truth is a bit more nuanced.
Sure, small businesses relied too much on Facebook. It was, after all, one the easiest ways to drive traffic to a website. So when Facebook updated its algorithm, and people started seeing less traffic from the site, panic set it.
The mantra for 2018 seemed to be “Social is dead. Organic traffic is dead”. But the truth is that if you spend a minimum of 30min a day on your Facebook page, you can still grow your audience. Sure, it’s a little slower nowadays, but slow and dead are not the same thing – just ask any zombie from an old school horror movie.
While Facebook is no longer the most prominent source of referral traffic, it is still essential for an effective SEO strategy because one of Google’s ranking factors is social engagement.
That creates an interesting duality; on the one hand it’s becoming increasingly difficult and expensive for small business owners to get traffic from Facebook, but on the other hand, you need people to engage with your content on Facebook to get the Google rankings you deserve.
There you have it – our 5 Insanely Actionable SEO Tips. Do you have any easy SEO tips that helped you increase your rankings? Have any SEO related questions? We would love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Do you want to increase your search engine ranking, but don’t have the time or the inclination to do your own search engine optimisation? Then get in touch and let our SEO Team do the heavy lifting for you.