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.
2016 is ending… will you survive in 2017?
“Complacency will easily destroy your rankings… this will be dangerous for any business interested in surviving…”
– Jim Yu, Search Engine Watch
You might know all about SEO basics like keywords, tags, social media marketing, and linkbuilding – but search engines’ algorithms are always changing, and intrepid SEO marketers are always coming up with new techniques for search engine optimization. Here are 3 of the newest, most actionable lesser-known SEO tips out there today – to keep you and your site relevant throughout 2017 and beyond.
1. Use an SEO plugin for all your WordPress sites.
WordPress has some amazing, easy to use features by default that will allow you to manipulate features search engines look for to your benefit – however, installing one of their SEO plugins (such as Yoast, a free and highly functional SEO-focused plugin available direct from WordPress) can put your SEO management capabilities through the roof.
The folks blogging over at Kinsta.com know a thing or two about blogging, and just put out a highly useful list of tips for SEO in 2017 themselves. One of their first and best tips was to use Yoast or a similar SEO plugin if your site is WordPress based – this can have a huge impact for little to no financial investment, and might actually save you time as it brings you traffic!
The Kinsta article is also great in that it details some of the best features of Yoast and shows you how to use them – so if Yoast is the way you’re going, be sure to check them out!
2. If you’re not already using Schema markup, you need to start.
No one speaks the language of search engines better than Schema.org, and if you’re not already using their markup codes on your website, you could be missing out not only on page rankings, but also a better, “rich” display of key information from your site (instead of the normal search result, using just the first few lines of text from your site).
Google and other search engine industry leaders are using this “rich” display method more often every time they update their algorithms to make their results pages more attractive and informative. If you want your page to fit in, you need to familiarize yourself with Schema or find a marketer who can work it into your site code for you.
There’s a great article on Search Engine Watch that introduces readers to the basics of Schema, and we may post on Schema here in the future – it may just be the next big thing in SEO, setting itself up to change SEO big time in 2017.
3. If you can, make your website or your posts smaller.
Why would you want less content on your website? It makes pages load faster, especially on mobile – and there will be more mobile users than ever in 2017.
To downsize your site, use smaller and less complex images, minimize cookie usage, and compress your site if possible. This will certainly make it load faster (which in turn makes it rank higher!) and may enable it for Google’s new AMP feature – something we’ll definitely be delving into on this blog before the new year.
Most of the hard work for SEO marketers seems to be on your website – but what a lot of business owners and SEO marketers miss is how important other sites can be to your online visibility and reputation – sites like Yelp and Google Maps especially, as these often appear at the very top of search results and can easily be the only sites customers actually look at when searching on a smartphone (which, as you know, is more common than ever).
There was a great article on exactly this subject on SearchEngineLand back at the end of 2014 – let’s see what the SearchEngineLand staff got right and whether anything has changed in the past two years.
The main thrust of the old SearchEngineLand article is this: you need to set up a Google business account and claim your business on Yelp now. This is as true as ever going into 2017 – so if you haven’t done it yet, you’re already behind.
The SearchEngineLand article also details the importance of reaching out to your customers and keeping your accounts on Google and Yelp updated with the latest and most appealing information. That is also even more true now than it was back at the end of 2014. SEO is a long-term investment, not a one-off thing. That’s the big difficulty of SEO, but it’s also what makes SEO more viable than any other marketing form available today.
So it’s definitely important to follow the advice of the SearchEngineLand article – but there are also a few things they missed.
In addition to Maps and Yelp, Google also prioritizes news information. In fact, in one of the pictures going along with the SearchEngineLand article, a news article is right below Yelp and Google Maps, and above the main site of the business in question.
This brings up an additional important point – press releases still matter going into 2017. They were huge several years ago, seemed to dwindle by 2014, and are now coming back stronger than ever. Press releases can get your business noticed by news outlets, and often boost your search results faster than anything else.
Writing a press release and having it used to write a story is no easy feat, though. Press release writing is so specifically formatted, in fact, that there are several marketers out there on the web that specialize only in press release writing – and we have done a lot of work here at SERP Ability to make sure we can write great press releases too.
Press releases, Yelp, and Google Maps aside, it’s important to remember the fundamentals of SEO. In other words, your site and your social media profiles will still matter in 2017, and on top of that we never know when the next big change from Google is coming.
What this means is that you have to brush up external properties that mention you on the internet while also maintaining your own site to the highest degree of professionalism.
It seems that as time goes on and the search engines get more advanced, SEO gets harder – but it’s important to remember that as it becomes more difficult, it also becomes more rewarding.