To increase your site’s web traffic, all you need to do is improve your SEO. You can do this today simply by taking a few simple steps.
There are both free steps and paid steps to improving your SEO. I’ve got a few of both I recommend to businesses and individuals first looking to increase their sites’ traffic.
Free Ways to Improve Your SEO
There are several aspects of SEO you can improve on your own if you have the time and know-how to do so. Of course, you can also hire a marketer to do any and all of these activities.
One aspect of your SEO that you can easily improve is your site’s use of keywords. You can do keyword research manually or with any number of free keyword research tools out there on the web – and in case you don’t know of those tools, I’ll write a blog post in the near future detailing what these tools do and where they can be found.
Use keywords on your site frequently but subtly. You don’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention from Google by keyword spamming.
Of course, there are other simple, free ways to improve your SEO (and therefore your web traffic) besides keyword research and use.
In addition to working with your site’s keywords, you can try to generate links. Of course, there are ways you can directly or indirectly pay for links, which I’ll discuss later in this article, but for right now I’m going to focus solely on free ways to get links.
There are several free ways to get links, but one of the best by far is guest posting. Guest posting is fairly easy to do and can generate a ton of links if you have the right content and the right contacts. It is also a social good – with guest posts, you share your expertise with the world, which benefits them as well as you.
Paid Ways to Improve Your Site’s SEO
There are various ways you can pay for improved SEO. Some of these are legitimate and helpful, while others are not. If you’re looking to pay for improved SEO, look out for scams that will take your money and not offer you anything in return. Beware of anything a company or individual offers that seems too good to be true.
The best way to pay for SEO improvement is to hire a professional SEO marketer like SERP Ability or one of our competitors or colleagues in the field. An SEO marketer can tackle many of your problems for you at once, and with minimal required input from you.
Another useful way to pay for improved SEO is to purchase SEO tools. However, these tools are often very advanced – they’re sometimes not worth the price for small businesses or individuals without specialized SEO knowledge. There are also many free alternatives to these tools available online.
Every time you hear, read, talk, or even think about SEO, linkbuilding is going to be a huge part of that. And most of the conversation around linkbuilding revolves around the ever-elusive external links – which we’ll be sure to post on in the near future. However, that’s not what we’re going to talk about today.
Today I’m here to let you know all about an often overlooked but extremely important aspect of SEO that I just mentioned in my last post, about the value of blogs – internal links and site organization.
Look at the picture above and imagine each of those letters is a page on your site, and the lines are paths – created by internal links (which simply means links that refer to pages within the same domain – AKA your site) – that Google’s spider (or Googlebot) can travel along.
Remember, if you want a page on your site to give you any value at all when it comes to SEO, it must be 100% discoverable by Google.
Googlebot does not use the search bar on your site or fill out forms – and, truth be told, a good number of your potential customers won’t bother to do those things either.
That is why every page on your site (except for pages like payment confirmations, which obviously have to come after the submission of a form and won’t have an impact on your SEO anyway) should be linked internally to at least one other page – and preferably more, if you want Google’s spiders to be sure they’ve indexed all your pages and your site visitors to stick around longer than a few minutes.
Wherever possible, you also want your pages to have a hierarchical structure. This obviously won’t work with blogs, where every post is equal in value to every other post, but it should work for the rest of your site – with the HOME page at the top, a few big CATEGORIES under that, and possibly SUBCATEGORIES under that.
Of course, internal links between CATEGORIES and other CATEGORIES (or SUBCATEGORIES and other SUBCATEGORIES) can only help – but make sure your site is arranged in a basic hierarchical structure first!
When thinking about the benefits of a hierarchical site organization and a plethora of internal links, you might also wonder about the benefit of including a sitemap. I’m here to tell you it’s absolutely worth it.
Like internal links and a hierarchical structure, inserting a site map is simple, free, and not time consuming. It’s something you most likely won’t need to hire an SEO marketer for, and even though it doesn’t have the biggest impact in the world when it comes to SEO, it has a big one – and if you’re not set up right in the first place, other SEO strategies likely won’t help you much.
Don’t own a site like the one in the picture – if you’ve come so far already that you’re ready for customers to see your site, you’ve worked too hard to throw it away over something as simple as good organization.
Anyone who’s studied SEO for a while can tell you that a well-written, search optimized blog can have huge benefits for you or your company when it comes to marketing online – but what about writing content for other individuals’ and companies’ blogs?
This can also be a good way to hugely increase your traffic and further build your online brand. It’s called guest posting, and it’s been relevant to SEO for a while, but looks to become hugely important in 2017.
How does this help your online presence? There are quite a few ways:
- Your name and your company name are attached to the blog posts you write for others – meaning that searches for those names can turn up these well-written, informative blog posts and make your brand look good.
- You can backlink to your main site (and possibly your social media pages, Yelp page, or other external properties related to your brand as well) from the guest post – either in the byline or in the text of the article. These backlinks, especially if they come from popular, reputable blogs, are hugely effective in boosting your SEO. Many SEO gurus say (and there is significant evidence from Google supporting them) that links from other sites are the single biggest factor in determining your SERP ranking.
- Writing guest posts for others’ blogs can provide networking opportunities that often lead to business partnerships, employment, and other tangible benefits.
If you’re sold on the benefits of guest posting now, and you think you have the writing skill and industry expertise to do it, here’s how to get started:
Put yourself in contact with bloggers in need of guest posts. Many popular blogs have a submission process for guest posts that’s not unlike submitting queries or finished articles to a newspaper or magazine – and even if they don’t, you can always contact the blogger directly.
You can also consider using services like myblogguest.com, which directly links bloggers in need of guest post with writers who can provide those posts for them. This approach works best if you have quantifiable expertise in particular fields.
In addition, the opposite approach – having guest posters write for your blog – can also be beneficial to your online brand. How does this work?
Every time a guest poster writes an article for you, she or he provides a unique perspective that you might not get if you write all the posts alone or use only staff writers. This can make your site look more varied and interesting both to site visitors and to Google’s spiders – for example, the guest poster might use a lot of search terms that you hadn’t thought of yet!
This content is free, which means that you can update your blog more frequently without spending any extra money. It also means that you’ll have more free time to work on other aspects of the company, whether marketing-related or not.
Last but not least, those potential networking relationships described above run both ways – meaning you might find an expert to review your product or a great new employee through being open to guest posts.
The end of a year is usually the time when SEO professionals like our team here at SERP Ability take a breather and look at what has worked in the past year and what hasn’t, as well as where new trends in the complex world of SEO are pointing. Why? To see what will work best in the next year, of course!
Although SEO is constantly changing, it’s often at the beginning of a new year that the biggest changes become apparent. Here are three of the top methods we’ve learned will still work in 2017 from studying trends and looking back on our own activities in 2016.
1. Link Building
Link building is probably the most controversial entry on this list, because Google has changed its policy on the importance of links every time it has released a major algorithm update.
The fact is, though, that their deepest, most fundamental stance on links hasn’t changed. Quality links will always boost your site’s traffic and SERP standing. What has changed over the years is how much low-quality or spam links can help – and those aren’t the type of links real SEO professionals use anymore anyway.
Quality links from established, authoritative sites that are relevant to yours are one of the single most important factors in determining where your site lands on a SERP.
2. Quality Content
Yes, it’s easy to keyword-stuff and use other gray hat, black hat, or spamming techniques to get to the top – but no site without quality content ever stays there. While it’s true that “no one stays at the top forever,” you’ll be there a great deal longer if you prioritize well-written, meaningful, and relevant content, no matter what field you’re in.
With Google’s algorithm becoming more advanced and focused every single day, and the rise in importance of semantic search, the quality and relevance of your content are going to be more important than ever when it comes to your SERP standings.
Don’t forget that quality content is also historically proven to be the best way to get customers to stick around after they’ve clicked on your site.
3. Keywords, keywords, keywords.
This is another one that might be controversial, but shouldn’t be.
It seems that every new year some SEO “guru” predicts “20XX is the YEAR THE KEYWORD DIES!” or something just as dramatic.
However, the importance of keywords to Google and other search engines has never changed. Remember the early AOL days? Keywords were important then, and they’re important now. The only things that have changed are how much better the search engines have gotten to understand keywords in context.
This means that keyword stuffing probably isn’t a viable option anymore, or at least won’t be for long. However, keywords still have a huge role as part of a site’s high quality content – and the rise of semantic search may make them more important than ever, even as it totally changes the way search engine algorithms look at them.