Since the advent of Google just over 20 years ago, there has been a lot written about SEO and getting your website to rank. The problem is, a lot of them have been about trying to game the system, which is against the whole purpose of using Google in the first place.
Here is how to do SEO the way Google wants you to:
- Content is king
- Get your titles, descriptions, and tags right
- Genuine content isn’t all rich content
- Not all links are created equal
- Keep your content up to date
- Include related links
- Bounce rates tell you if your content is relevant
- Fix your errors
- SEO is the long game
- Don’t be afraid to ask people to share your content
Content is king
There are two elements on this list which have always remained constant as the foundation of your SEO. Your content is the first. The content on your page has to be relevant to the users, be engaging, and be optimised so that the search engines can index it.
Make sure to write what you know about, because if you are making it up then your content will appear less genuine, and being specific will on your topic will make it easier for you to rank on specific keywords.
Having content that is useful to your users is also important as it encourages users and affiliates to link to and share your content, which shows search engines that your page is of value to others.
Lastly, will your content work in different formats? Can it be used in an infographic, video, podcast or blog? Some formats resonate with users better than others, so an omnichannel approach allows you to reach a larger audience.
Get your titles, descriptions, and tags right
The title for your content needs to capture the user’s attention right away. Write creative, witty titles that are on point with the topic of your content (having titles that aren’t relevant to your content leads to high bounce rates, which are bad).
While the title gets the users attention, a solid page description should reinforce your topic and will increase your click-through rates.
Don’t try and cram the whole article into your description, but rather a taster that makes the user want to read more. Oh, and make sure it includes the keyword for the topic.
Genuine SEO content isn’t just rich content
The old days of writing the name of your product 50 times in the first paragraph of content doesn’t work. If your anchor text is ‘over rich’, then it isn’t going to help your ranking.
Rich content is content that is heavy in keywords related to the topic you are writing or talking about. When writing content, if you are doing it naturally then the keywords will naturally appear in your text and your content tends to be more genuine and engaging.
Not all links are created equal
We all know that when someone links to your content that this is generally a good thing. But are the links relevant?
Everyone can buy links, but if they aren’t relevant to the content they are linking to then you probably aren’t getting value from them. Having a website about dog grooming link through to your website selling hydraulic fittings is not in context and is unlikely to add value to your SEO.
If you have bad links, try and disavow them. Here is how to disavow links in Google.
Keep your content up to date
Think that your website is like Wikipedia for your industry. It needs to be reviewed and updated to make sure content is still accurate and relevant.
To do this you should review your content at least once every 3 to 4 months and make updates. Don’t go overboard with your changes as you don’t want to completely lose your position, but just make tweaks so that the search engines can see that you are keeping your content up to date.
Include related links
It is a good idea to include a ‘most popular’ or ‘related pages’ section on our content as this helps cross-pollinate traffic across your site. Search engines also like to see that users go deeper into your sites and this helps increase your rank. But be careful:
- Place your links in context – not in the sidebar or the footer
- Don’t overuse your keywords
- Make sure that your links aren’t broken after you make updates or changes
Bounce rates tell you if your content is relevant
Keep an eye on your bounce rates in analytics. High bounce rates can mean a few different things, including that the content on your page is not relevant to the user. If your bounce rates are high, then check the page and content to make sure it is all working as it should, and then check your page title and description to make sure they are relevant.
Fix your errors
You should be using the Google search console to improve your search performance. If you are, then fix any coverage errors as soon as possible. Not only does this fix your broken links but it lets the search engines know that you are monitoring your site.
SEO is the long game
We’ve all received those emails from overseas promising to get your website on the first page of Google in a short time. The problem is on the first page of Google for what? Getting your website on the first page isn’t as hard as you think, but it may not be for a keyword that is relevant to your industry, or that gets any searches.
This is the second item on this list that has been constant since the beginning, if not always a step followed by webmasters.
Good SEO doesn’t happen overnight, and if you have found a way to get great ranking quickly, then it is likely that you have somehow ‘gamed the system’.
The whole purpose of a search engine is to provide relevant information to the user when they search for it, so if your content is the most relevant and engaging on your topic then it will begin to rank naturally. Where it ranks will depend on the quality of your content and on your competition.
For those that do try to game the system, you are just one algorithm change away from losing that rank overnight and having to start again from scratch. There is also the chance of getting your website blacklisted, and then having to grovel on your hands and knees the to search engine gods to let you back in.
You can get short-term results by taking shortcuts, but it won’t last which means wasted time and money.
Ask people to share your content
Lastly, if you have great content and you think others want to read, watch or hear about it, then don’t be afraid to ask others in your industry to share it. Chances are if you are right then they will want to digest the content themselves and if it truly is great then they will naturally link to it or share it.
One way to do this is by email blasts. Make sure you are sharing the content with people that it is relevant to, and don’t be too pushy as you don’t want to be blocked the next time.
NewyMedia is a digital marketing company based in Australia. If you need help with your website’s SEO, then we are here to help. You can contact us here, or sign up below to join our mailing list for more great tips and advice.