Every website owner wants to be rank at the top, right? After all, that’s where all the action is.
In fact, research shows that over the course of billions of Google searches, people clicked on the first organic result more than 28% of the time.
Drop down to the tenth search result, however, and the number looks pretty bleak. On average, the tenth position only yields a 2.5% click-through rate. That’s a pretty disheartening number, especially when you consider that’s still on the first page of search results.
So, of course, the goal is clear: to rank as high as possible, show up in your audience’s search, and get those leads!
Not exactly ground-breaking news, we know, but you always need to keep it in mind when creating your site and posting your content.
And, although it’s not as fast and easy as just flipping a switch or buying an ad, there are a variety of ways you can strengthen and optimize your SEO strategy.
Building SEO with Blogs
Developing strong SEO means you need to generate content. After all, without it, there wouldn’t be much for web crawlers to rank your site for.
Web crawlers are search engine bots that “crawl” the web, scanning pages to determine what’s on them and what they’re about. Then, they index them in a database, ranking your page on a wide variety of factors.
The better your content is and the easier it is for crawlers to categorize your material, the better chance your pages will rank higher in search results.
To boost your SEO, blogs are a great place to start, for a number of reasons.
If you’ve ever had a question you couldn’t immediately answer, you probably went right to Google or Bing to find out. And, there’s a good chance your question was answered in a blog.
Maybe even this very article!
Blogs are perfect for educating your audience, sure, but they benefit your website as well. They provide you with credibility, help keep viewers on your site longer, and offer searchable keyword opportunities.
These are all the sort of items web crawlers look for when scanning the web.
True, there are over 200 factors that Google uses when creating their website ranks, and it’s nearly impossible to hit them all, but you need to give yourself every chance possible to climb your way to the top.
When you consider the four biggest ranking factors are direct website visits, time spent on your site, pages per viewing session, and bounce rate, blogs are a great choice.
They give people a reason to visit your site, keep them on your site while they’re reading, keep your bounce rate lower, and (if you have a variety of articles) keep them clicking from article to article.
Regular posts keep your information current and your website relevant, while older posts serve their purpose as well. For example, Hubspot conducted research on past articles updated with newer information and found their organic traffic rose 106%.
Use a tool like Google Trends to decide which keywords or phrases are trending in your industry, and be sure to include them throughout your article. Be sure to include them in your titles and subheadings as well, since those are easy for web crawlers to identify and hold a bit more weight than keywords in the body of your text.
*Image from Google Trends
As a final thought, avoid the practice of keyword stuffing, a tactic where people try to load up a page with a particular keyword in an effort to manipulate search engine algorithms.
This was a practice used in the earlier days of the internet, when search engines weren’t nearly as complex or intelligent as they are today. Today, keyword stuffing only makes your content difficult to read and look like spam.
Visual Elements Boost SEO
Blogs aren’t the only way to build clout and boost your SEO. Search engines love pictures and videos as well.
In Google searches, images appear in results up to 27.9% of the time, while videos are 50 times more likely to generate organic rankings over simple text.
Add in the fact that over 20% of searches are through Google’s Image Search, and it’s well worth your time and effort.
The reason is pretty simple. People love visuals.
It’s one of the easiest ways to consume content, and provides viewers with information far quicker than the written word alone.
Web crawlers respect this, and as a result, tend to rank these forms of media higher than others.
It’s not just as simple as popping a picture or video into place and calling it a day, however. You’ll need to make sure your file name has an appropriate description before uploading it to your site.
It’s one of those little things that your audience probably won’t pick up on, but web crawlers do. Instead of “Screenshot 11-24-21,” be sure to name it something that describes the photo, like “SEO Marketing Statistics for Blogs.” The same would be true for video files as well.
In addition to naming the file appropriately, be sure to use alt text as well. Alt text is a simple text description of the picture provided to people who can’t view the image.
Search engines love them.
It’s just another way that it makes your page easier to crawl and categorize.
Using the Right Title Tags
Title tags are the clickable links that show up in a search result. Think of them as the headline of your page, aimed at catching a viewer’s eye and inviting them to click.
They’re also important for SEO. Title tags are one of the easiest ways for web crawlers to determine how relevant a page is to a search term.
More importantly, it clarifies to real human beings what your page is about. You always need to remember that SEO is nice, but web crawlers aren’t your paying customers. Always keep the user experience at the forefront of what you do.
Use appropriate keywords so people can find you, and make sure your title tag matches what your content provides. If it’s misleading in any way, viewers will exit your page in a hurry – and that’s no good for boosting SEO either.
With that in mind, know that search engines will only display around 55-60 characters of your title tag, so keep it short, simple, and direct.
*Example of how title tags show up in Google searches
In this example, I searched for “How to cook a Thanksgiving turkey.”
You’ll notice the title tag on the top result fits everything onto the result, while the one below cuts off before finishing.
Is that the reason it didn’t rank higher?
Maybe, maybe not, but the point is to give yourself every chance. When you’re competing against hundreds or even thousands of competing pages, you need to take advantage of every opportunity you can.
Beware of Common Title Tag Problems
Title tags seem simple enough, but surprisingly, they’re also one of the most common SEO problems businesses face. In fact, in a study conducted by SEMrush regarding on-page SEO issues, the third most common problem related to title tags.
Some were too short, which meant web crawlers couldn’t gather enough information to determine what the page was about. Others were too long, and just didn’t display all of the information in the results.
The third major issue? Duplicate tags.
You might think that duplicate tags provide twice the chance to rank for a search term, but you’d be mistaken. In reality, duplicates tend to confuse web crawlers, reducing your chances for either one of the pages to rank appropriately.
You might be wondering, “When would I ever use the same tag twice?” And, you probably wouldn’t, at least not intentionally. But, if you’re generating content over a long period of time, you’re going to end up with very similar pieces.
For instance, a marketing company could easily generate a dozen articles on how to improve an email campaign. Although the content could talk about vastly different items (email segmentation, crafting headlines, building subscriber lists, etc.), you might be tempted to use “How to Improve Your Email Campaign” as a title tag more than once.
Don’t do it.
In a search result, a meta description is the sentence or so of text right below your title tags.
Your title tag is your headline, your meta description builds on it with a brief description.
Like title tags, you have limited space to get your information out there – so make it count. You have about 160 characters to convey your message, so be concise.
Similar to title tags, you’ll want to include searchable keywords and phrases. But because they display more letters, you have a chance to explain your page a bit.
In the turkey example above, you’ll notice that the meta descriptions include snippets of the recipe, giving viewers a chance to see what they’re dealing with.
If you were posting an article on how to build a shed, it might read, “Building a shed isn’t complex, as long as you know what you’re doing. We break it down step-by-step right here, including pictures.”
Your primary goal is to let people know exactly what to expect, while giving search engines a chance to figure it out as well.
There’s no magic bullet to make your business rank number-one in search results, and it certainly won’t happen overnight.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time and effort to use every tool available.
To help increase your SEO, regularly add fresh content to your website. Not only does it offer your audience a reason to check out your pages, it provides web crawlers with opportunities to rank your pages.
If you’re adding videos or images, remember to rename the files something appropriate, other than “Stock Image 102,” so that search engines have an easier time figuring out what they are.
And finally, make sure you pay close attention to title tags and meta descriptions. They need to give viewers a preview of what your page is about, sure, but search engines need them too.
It can be frustrating to see your website on page-six of search results, but by investing the time into your site, you’ll enjoy a steady rise up the ranks.
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