Your target audience needs to first come in contact with your newly-launched website before they can benefit from what it has to offer. This is the reason why search engine optimization (SEO) has been a prevalent topic for over 20 years amongst site owners. Earning organic traffic could, therefore, be said to be the lifeblood of websites.
SEO needs to be a permanent and consistent part of your ongoing marketing. It cannot be a one-time deal. This post is meant to serve as a guide to effective SEO tactics and tips. Staying dedicated to these tips will help your site to sustainably stay ahead of the competition. There is always an opportunity to improve your site.
How to set up for SEO
The first step toward earning traffic for your new website is getting it set up for SEO. There are more than a few SEO tools available for achieving any campaign, whether for your first website ever or for your 100th.
Know how much traffic you get with Google Analytics:
A necessary SEO tip that you need to apply is to install analytics software. Google Analytics is free, powerful and flexible, and allows you to keep an eye on the number of people that are making use of your website and their activities on the site.
It enables you to track sales, the content that gains more user interest, and how your visitors come across your site. The use of Google Analytics, however, requires some technical know-how. Regardless, there is a lot of in-depth advice and tools that will help to make things easier for you, if you happen to be using one of the most popular content management systems (CMS), like WordPress.
Google Analytics is a broad topic that deserves a guide of its own. You could get started here and check out this small business guide that collects a lot of helpful articles.
Use search console to see what Google makes of your site:
Google provides a varied collection of tools (for free) that let you know the number of times they crawl your site, the perception they have of it, and also suggestions on areas they find unfavorable. Google Search Console is a free service meant to help you monitor and optimize the performance of your site in search engine results.
To get started, you simply need to verify the ownership of your site by adding a Meta tag to the HTML code of your homepage, upload a file to a server or through Google Tag Manager Setup, or Google Analytics.
It will take a few days for it to gather some data and provide you with options. Make use of Search Console to ensure your content is clear to Google, see the queries that drive traffic (and how often people click on your site when it comes up in search results), see who is linking to you, monitor spam issues associated with your site, and a whole lot more.
Get more information with Bing Webmaster Tools:
Google is by far the most popular player in the search engine market in the UK. Regardless, there are still millions of searches every day on Microsoft’s search engine. Having an understanding of their perceptions of your site is a sure way of improving your SEO efforts. They have a great tool, just like Google, known as Bing Webmaster Tools, with free information.
Since it gives different data to Search Console, it provides you with the opportunity to obtain different ideas on how your website can be improved. It also comes with an SEO Analyzer and SEO reports to help get you started with actionable recommendations. There are different options to verify your site, just like Search Console, to register and get started.
How to research keywords:
Keyword research is a part of SEO that many people have heard of. Keywords may comprise more than one word. Many SEO campaigns begin with keywords because they provide a powerful advantage when you know what the audience in your niche searches for.
There are a couple of tools used to research the actual words people type when making use of search engines. After you have obtained a couple of keyword ideas, you can then use them for on-page SEO, the building of helpful pages, improving your content, and finding relevant sites in your niche.
Give your website a home for all topics:
You can begin with a practical approach – consider all the topics that your website is based on. You don’t need to come up with all variations of the keywords, but your ideas can be grouped into topic buckets, where each bucket will cover a page or closely-related set of pages.
If you are a blogger, there should be a bucket for each major theme you cover. If you have a business site, each product or service you offer should have a bucket.
The topics should then be expanded into a keyword list. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and think of the variety of ways that they might make a search on each topic.
Be sure that your major topics have a suitable home. This will indicate that you have at the back of your mind how visitors can find your products, services, or content.
See what keywords your site is visible for:
Seeing what you already rank for is a smart way of finding fresh keyword ideas. Google or Bing might see you as a relevant source on those topics. It will indicate whether they are yet to find you, where your site has succeeded in making progress, or some topics you will be surprised by.
You can get a snapshot of the keywords your site is visible for by making use of third-party tools such as Serpstat or SEMrush.
See which keywords send traffic to your site:
You can get some free keyword ideas if you use Bing Webmaster Tools or Google Search Console. They provide the search terms your site has shown up for and the number of people that have clicked on your result.
For instance, Search Analytics data details your page’s average ranking position, queries you have appeared for, and the number of people that have decided to click on your result.
Expand your keyword targets with related searches:
The data Google gives for each search is a free way of getting new keyword ideas in your niche. You will find related searches at the bottom after you do any search in Google. You might be able to use any of them to improve your content.
There are terms that appear when you type in a search bar from Google’s Suggest functionality. They appear based on how frequently Google sees them used. These can provide you with useful keyword ideas.
Tools such as Ubersuggest and Keyword Tool allow you to find many variants of your seed keyword based on real searches.
You can also do the same thing for Amazon, Wikipedia, YouTube, and more, with the use of these tools to obtain other search types such as video or retail terms.
Check out your competition:
Enter the domain name of your competitors in one of the tools for checking your own ranking to find out what your competitors are ranking for. You can find out what terms drive their traffic and take the best for yourself.
Take a look at the sites that rank consistently well by searching for some of your most important keyword targets if you don’t have an idea of who your competitors are.
It is important to target the competition that uses keywords relevant to your site and audience.
Choose suitable keyword targets:
You will have a large list of potential keywords at a certain stage. This then means that you will need to pick the ones to focus on, constituting a mix of head and long-tail terms. Head terms have fewer words, are often a lot more generic and competitive and are searched more frequently. Long-tail terms are longer phrases and more specific. Though long-tail keywords tend to be less popular, they provide an idea of what exactly the searcher is after.
Tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and WordStream can be used to find keyword volume data. Use them to remove keyword ideas that have too much, or too little, volume and generate a good mix of long-tail and head targets, observe the competition and also find new ideas.
On-page SEO principles
Create better title tags:
One of the first things a searcher finds on your site is not visible on the page itself. You can optimize this in two ways. Firstly, put your main keyword subject target(s) for search engines to see what the page is about. Secondly, build very interesting titles that grab attention.
Use more interesting meta descriptions:
Meta descriptions are designed to be concise descriptions of what is on the page. They influence click-through rate and make a result stand out.
Have sensible URLs:
A simple way to make the most of URLs is to make them keyword subject rich, short, and readable.
Make the most of your images:
Reduce the size of the images on your site to make them load fast. Help search engines understand what the image is by using alt tags and a descriptive filename.
Have clear headings:
Make sure that your main headings match the expectations of your visitors. Use natural language and variations to describe your content and avoid repeating keywords through your subheadings.
Improve your content:
Make your page as good as possible every time because search engines love quality content. Create resources that are better than those of your competition.
This involves improving the parts of your website that are not content related. The following points will be helpful:
- Do a monthly SEO health check
- Make sure that your site is mobile friendly
- Make your site really fast
- See how your site looks to Google with BROWSEO or the Fetch and Render tool
- Fix broken links with Search Console or hunt them down yourself with crawler
- Upload an XML sitemap to give Bing and Google a list of the pages you would like them to notice
- Fix any duplicate content issues
- Check for robots.txt file
Steps to earning links
- Find out who is linking to your site
- Look at the backlinks of your competitors
- Compile your assets
- Design a link-earning strategy
How to optimize for local SEO
- Get your NAP (name, address, and phone number) accurate and consistent
- Claim your Google My Business Spot
- Build citations
- Encourage your customers to become advocates and leave reviews
- Target the community with content to earn local links