This post addresses a spat of questions that I was asked in a seminar last week. The aim of this blog post is to help you understand as to how you can get enhanced exposure in Google search results ethically. It’s about the best strategies to boost your search engine optimization efforts.
1) Forget search engines
From a toddler Archie in 1990 to this gigantic athlete Google in 2013, search engines have really come a long way. Through this journey of over two decades, search engines have loved many things about a website. There have been many significant cameos in the tale, namely – keywords, links, HTML tags, keyword density, page titles, meta tags, page speed, internal links, inbound links, links quality, contents, domain authority, social signals, and many many other things. But, what’s for now? Is it all, none, or some of them? How to rank higher in a search engine today?
The answer is – forget search engines and focus on your target audience.
Yes, this is how it is. Be practical and take some time and act yourself as a potential customer for your own products and services. Try to find out how would you react on a website as yours. What you would look for and how would you get convinced with? Take note of everything that you find acting as a customer and incorporate these things intelligently in your website. This is the first and decisive strategy for guaranteed SEO results.
Today, the best way to SEEK the attention of search engines is to PAY attention to the usability, user experience, and contents of your website. So, what are the important traits of a good website?
Why this approach?
This is because search engines are constantly striving to improve their performance by providing the best possible results to their users. It becomes more relevant when we talk about Google. With around 67% market share (Source: ComScore), Google rules the roost. Let’s take a look at what it states in its philosophy –
“Focus on the user and all else will follow.”
It holds true and fits exactly in the present scenario of search engine optimization. Today, it’s more about the overall experience you are giving to your website visitors.
Ask yourself a few simple questions –
- Are your giving your visitors what they came looking for?
- Is your website’s usability and interface tuned to make users stay on it?
- Would you get convinced on a similar website if you needed the same information/product/services?
Now answer honestly, do you get a ‘yes’ to all questions above? If yes, you are there. If not, work on it.
The crux is that if your website visitors are loving you, search engines will come looking more for you and eventually you will be gaining more and more enhanced exposure in organic searches.
Okay, so if it should be the approach to gaining search engine’s attention, then what about On-page SEO? Is it dead?
NO, your answer lies in the next step, read on…
2) Make your On-page SEO invisible
Wait! Do not give wings to your spammy instincts. I am not going to talk about hiding your keywords on the page or doing something similar. It’s very much old school and a spammy behaviour adopted by black-hat freaks. When I say “make your On-page SEO invisible”, I mean to optimize your landing pages in a way that your visitors do not sense that you’ve optimized your page for certain keywords.
It should be natural and should appear genuine to search engines as well. To understand it better, take a look at the example below:
What did you notice? Is the use of keywords and links natural?
No, it’s a bad behaviour. Search engines hate it as much as the website visitors do.
Now take a look at this infographic below:
In the above infograpic all the keywords used appear natural to search engines and to users as well. It’s an intelligent and the most advised way of doing on-page optimization today.
3) Make sure your website is breathing
Keep your website active by adding/editing/updating contents on it, do not let it die. But, it can sometimes be very much arduous work to update website every other day when you have a website that does not require frequent updates on its pages.
What is the way out then?
The best method to keep your website breathing is to have a dedicated blog section hosted right on your website. Something like website.com/blog or blog.website.com etc.
Search engines love fresh contents and it is known to almost everyone today. But don’t just know it, starting working on it for your business. Get a blog set up and post at least 3 blog posts per week. Make sure you are linking your main website pages wherever you find a keyword in the blog related to it. Don’t go for exactly the same keywords all the time. You can different phrases from the same group for a page. It will not only make your website appear alive in the eyes of search engines, but your visitors will also be easier to get convinced. There’s a common phenomenon, if your website is having updates, there’s an active team behind it, if not, it’s just there. Even your customers would visit your blog section and if they find updates, they get a positive signal about your brand.
One more thing, post less but post quality blogs. Maintain the frequency to start getting benefits fast.
4) Be generous
It’s the call of the day. With the growing importance of inbound marketing, it has become necessary for a business to offer and distribute something useful to its potential customers without changing a fee. For instance, if you sell clothing online, talk about latest fashion in your blog. Educate your readers how they can dress up for different occasions, how to match colour to look fabulous etc.
Doing this creates engagement with the brand and eventually adds much to the sales. Secondly, this approach gives you something to talk and share of different social platforms as well. Doing this comprehensively, you start generating social signals to your website which eventually help you in your SEO efforts.
5) Track, analyze, and formulate strategies
Make use of webmasters and analytic tools. Google Webmasters and Google Analytics are one of the best free website traffic analytic tools available online. If not already integrated, get it integrated on your website and start tracking your visitors.
Spend some times on analyzing the data that Google presents you with. Research, analyze, and compare different parameters to understand your best and the worst efforts. Analyze what works and what does not. Formulate new strategies according to the available data.
Yes, maintaining consistency with all the steps discussed above may not be an easy task. It takes time, efforts, and patience. But, if you continue with it all, any search engine will definitely love your website. After all, they love good websites as much as we all do.