April 2020 statistics show that Google is netting a total of 87% of search engine traffic, and Bing being second with just about 5% of the market share. In this guide, we will stick to Google’s SEO rankings and disregard other, lower-performing search engines.
The first rule of SEO: You can’t teleport to the top
Nothing will give you an organic #1 position on Google instantly. Think of your SEO rankings as your pets. You need to groom them, feed them and bathe them. The same is true for your SEO, except here we nurture it by:
- Driving traffic to your website – Traffic can come in all shapes and sizes. The most important thing to remember here is that direct traffic is usually the result of visitors directly inputting the URL of your website into the URL bar, and organic and paid traffic, which comes from search engines. There are also other categories such as social and email traffic.
The second rule of SEO: If you can’t teleport, gradually move towards it
Aim for organic – This is the thing search engines love the most. Your visitors find the site on Google, and then visit it by clicking on the link. Although, you can’t expect to appear on the search engine instantly. You will still need to rank! That is why:
- Social media – The holy grail of marketing. I would argue that paid advertising on social media is better than the paid advertising on Google. Why? Because it cannot be misled, and generally has a lower bounce rate – which will mean more of your sites will get visited!
- Keywords – keywords, keywords, keywords. There are more conspiracy theories about SEO in general than about the cold war, and keywords are the biggest of them. Simply put: keywords can directly refer to search engine quote. You can read more about it here.
- Alt tags – Alt tags are alternative text that appear when an object cannot load or is blocked to load. The same happens when your email client strips the mail from signature images, and you are left wondering what was there! By attributing alt descriptions to objects like images and videos, you can completely avoid that! This is also the secret to ranking on Google images.
- Meta descriptions – Avoid duplicate meta descriptions on posts and pages. After the page title, they are the second thing the human eye sees whilst searching for a website on Google.
The third rule of SEO: Sharing is caring
Google loves traffic. The more inbound traffic your website is going to have, the merrier. Google will quickly recognize the importance of it in its competing market. You should share it with everyone, and let everyone see it. Other benefits of this, of course, include that more and more people will get to know about you, and how good you presented yourself or your business on the new website.
The fourth rule of SEO: Backlinking
Backlinking is closely related to sharing, but the main definition of it would be that it represents the variety of incoming traffic. Think of your website as a room. It’s going to be much more accessible if doors are leading to and from multiple places.
This is why nowadays there are even “backlink farm” businesses that offer you a site listing in their not-so-much-organic websites and portals. We have gotten a lot of those offers. Same as the “click-farms”, the only situation when services like this may be of worth is when you are trying to mask or artificially enhance your metrics. There was an awesome scene in the HBO’s Silicon Valley where they had to quickly inflate their website visitors to get another series of funding. You can read more about the funny business here.
Keep in mind that there are also low-quality and high-quality backlinks to be considered. The low-quality backlinks would be the ones that come from phishing sites, as described before. High-quality backlinks will come from sites that have high domain authority and themselves rank high on Google.
To get back on the backlink track, they can be seen as Moz.com said, “votes of confidence”.
So what can you do to increase your SEO score via backlinks?
- Partner up with other online businesses
- Guest blogging
- Be featured in interviews, podcasts, or news
The fifth rule of SEO: Keep the content when updating
Updating a website has one major factor to consider. It’s SEO. When you are updating your website it’s smart to consider leaving the content and URL’s the same. This is because you don’t want the hard-earned SEO score to just disappear. The next rule will cover an interesting way of improving the SEO ranking of a post/page similarly.
The sixth rule of SEO: Refresh your content
Google loves fresh content and simply by updating the date and adding some new content to your post may improve your SEO ratings. Click-through rate (CTR) of new VS old posts can differ by up to 55%. This is because Google’s algorithm is much like our own behaviour regarding this point.
We are much likely to trust, read, and click on a post that has a recent date listed on the search engine results. If you are looking for some information on the web, you are rather to trust a source with dana from 2020, than from 2017 (no matter how recent it may seem).
The world and the Internet are changing fast and information can become invalid pretty fast. If an old post is still relevant, be sure to revisit it, update it and your SEO rating will go up.
Some content may need to be updated more frequently than the other. If you have a blog post that covers “best gaming GPU’s”, you will need to update it once monthly and cover the specifications of the new GPU’s in the new post, maintaining your base or knowledge to the website user.
The seventh rule of SEO: Readable URL’s
Depending on your Content Management System (CMS), it may automatically set up permalinks to posts like this:
This is no good! It’s because the URL is not:
- Memorable to the user
- Search Engine friendly
- Easy to type
A better alternative to the aforementioned URL is:
The eigth rule of SEO: Publish continuously
If you don’t plan to have a digital and social media marketing strategy set up, don’t plan to use a blog as a resource to increase your SEO. This is because by maintaining a continuous influx of traffic to your site is much more respected by your visitors and search engines that spikes in traffic.
Create and publish helpful, fresh and unique content that will add real-time value to your site and business consistently. Do not copy-paste other content, since Google will know it has already been posted and you will be awarded negative points for doing so!
This means that you will need to stay disciplined in your publishing and sharing role, update old posts, maybe share them and give the new pieces of content some love as well.
Ninth rule of SEO: Google Search Console
One of the best things you can do to ensure your website stays SEO-healthy is to make a Google Search Console admission. Here you will have a good overview of multiple features, including a lot of usage metrics and control how often google re-crawls your site for new content.
Sites that are updated frequently will usually get higher priority in crawling and will be updated in Google’s registry more often than others.
This is also why creating new content matters. The rate of new link growth on your domain is an indicator of your content freshness and therefore favoured by Google.
You can also track the progress of your content’s keywords. It will allow you to adjust your content to fully grasp your SEO potential.
The tenth rule of SEO: Google Analytics
As marketers, Google Analytics is one of the most widely used tools we use to report and track every website’s performance. It is also one of the most popular analytics software worldwide.
It gives insights to your visitor’s behaviour, marketing effectiveness, visitor geolocation, and much, much more. It’s free and pretty straightforward to set up and use the numerous insights that will matter a lot when creating, maintaining and updating your digital marketing strategy.
Eleventh, and the final rule of SEO: Keep going!
As many tend to mistake it, SEO is not a one-time thing you will once set up and it will work indefinitely for you. SEO is not a means to an end!
If you are not tech-savvy but would like to be present online, it’s a good idea to find a dedicated person or agency who will take care of your online operations, marketing and PR.
As this article nears its end, it would be wise to define SEO as: “A set of digital marketing techniques deployed throughout the time that increase the quality, reach and market value of your website.”
Having the best SEO practices on your mind, you can create a resourceful marketing strategy that will ultimately make your business more robust and resilient in today’s market, which is increasingly turning towards digital.
Having a scalable SEO strategy that’s a part of your online dealings is also important because your website, social media and advertisements need to be set up correctly for the foreseeable future.
By implementing some of the best practices covered in this post, you will do just that! As your network grows, so will your SEO.
Thank you for the extensive read!