At this point, SEO is a well known science. Aside from the smaller bungles that happen whenever Google rolls out a new search algorithm update, it’s pretty easy to get your SEO efforts on track and moving in the right direction with just a little help.
It’s no secret that one of the biggest factors that contributes to improved search engine rankings (and lots of website traffic) is making sure that your website has optimized and high-value content that’s updated regularly. So, what can a content marketing manager do to make small, incremental updates to current (and new) content that’s being rolled out each week? We’re glad you asked!
These 15 SEO tips will help you get the ball rolling with your content optimization and SEO efforts.
1. Know Your Audience
In other words, concentrate on your specific buyer persona. Who are you trying to bring to your website? Before you do anything, figure out your company’s key produdcts and services, and the specific pain points that your company solves for customers. Narrow down your customer focus and use that as a jumping off points to find the right keywords that will reach them. Don’t focus on casting a wide net with large, undefined audiences. Instead, focus on targeting a few niche customer segments at a time.
2. Research the Right Keywords
To focus your aim, you’re going to want to research the best possible keyword phrases and terms your audience uses. There’s a myriad number of tools available to do so, such as Google Keyword Planner. But the key (ha!) is to find keywords with large search volume and low competition. Going after the same old keywords as your rivals will just set you back a few pages in a search. Also, think about what issues your customers are trying to solve with their Google search. Pull in your sales team for help – they’ve got a pulse on what issues customers are dealing with. Then use those pain points to start your keyword research.
3. Include Keywords in Key Areas on Your Website
Those unique keywords should be all over your website, including the copy (especially in each first paragraph of your content), headings (such as H1 tags), page URLs, title tags, and all manner of meta tags such as image title text and ALT text. That’s right, search engines like Google pick up ALT tags in images to see the relevant content surrounding around it. This may not sound all that “quick”, but it is actionable.
4. Keep Contact Info Consistent
If you’re a small business (or even a medium-to-large one), you’ll want to make sure you keep accurate information such as your company name, address, email, phone number or any other identifying data consistent across all directories, listings, social media sites, or anywhere else that information may wind up. Make your contact details easy to find, for your customers and for Google.
5. Say “Yes” to Reviews
If your business is often reviewed by customers, keep encouraging them to give you reviews on multiple platforms, such as Google Places, Facebook, and Yelp. Review sites link to your website and multiple reviews boost your company’s credibility – not only from an SEO standpoint, but from a word of mount standpoint as well.
6. Add Your Physical Location
Brick-and-mortar businesses or companies that operate in a specific physical area will want to make their specific borough, city, neighborhood, or town an important keyword. This sounds simple enough, but Google typically includes geographic data in their algorithms and it will make things easier for users looking for local results.
7. Create Content
Entertaining and interesting content on your site will help you build a stronger brand and give more value to potential customers. And it doesn’t have to be soley written content either, though you’ll definitely want some copy on there. Content can be anything from photos and memes to video and infographics—if it’s related to your brand and its keywords, Google will pick it up. Just make sure it’s high quality.
8. Leverage Social Media
Notice a lot of sites have icons for Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter? You’re going to want to sign up for those too, then link those social media icons on your site so Google can make the connection between them and your main company website. It also helps users gain trust in your brand (remember #4—keep contact consistent). Sites without any social media footprint look a little suspicious in 2017.
9. Engage on Social Media
It’s one thing to sign up for social media, another thing entirely to engage with customers. But it can be a powerful way to show users what they can expect to experience with your company. A good sense of humor, an eagerness to reply to comments and inquiries, and a sense of authority can do a lot to strengthen your brand and drive traffic to your site. It’s also a no-brainer method for distributing all of that great content that you’re creating. Engage enough and your audience will influence others for you.
10. More Copy is Better Than Less
Let’s get back to the site, and its copy. Should there be a lot of it? Or should things be kept short and sweet? It’s hard to say definitively, but most research points to it being long.. Try to flesh out each important page with at least 500 to 1,500 words for the best search engine chances. One way to do that, and to ensure the content is high quality, is to hire a good writer. People forget that writing is a skill and it takes a lot of practice to become great at it. Investing in a quality writer will help your content be more engaging (and thus more effective) and high-quality content ranks higher in search rankings.
11. Keep the Copy Simple
Nobody wants to read a dense novel on your website, so even if your content is long, it’s still important to keep it as clear and concise as possible. That basically boils down to “write well”, but here a few specific tips to employ: break ideas up into bullet points and lists, keep sentences short and sweet, break things up with images, and try to avoid large paragraphs. Oh, and include those keywords, of course.
12. Invest in Evergreen Content
Like the Blue spruce or Scots pine, some of your content should be evergreen. Basically, that means crafting a post or video that will remain relevant no matter what and guarantee long-term organic traffic. If it’s something you can update over time, then even better. That way, Google will keep picking it up and you can keep sharing it repeatedly across social channels. For more info on how to create great evergreen content, check out Moz’s great guide.
13. Stay Speedy
Page speed will help you rank high on search engines. Think about it: if your site is faster than the competition, more people will visit it, and it will potentially rank higher. That means more clicks and more sales. That also means removing or resizing huge images, which can slow down load times, nixing any unnecessary content or elements, or simply moving to a quicker hosting provider.
14. Go Mobile
Google primarily uses the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages. But don’t panic. Most people browse the Web on their phones these days, so it’s a good idea to have a mobile version of your site ready anyway. Thankfully, Google can tell you if your site is mobile-friendly. If it’s not, you should look into developing a responsive site, or consider using CMS such as WordPress which can easily and quickly create mobile versions of websites.
15. Finally, Be Consistent and Patient.
SEO is a long-term strategy, and will take a while to kick in, so you can’t expect results immediately. But, you can follow these tips and remain consistent in your strategy: Know your audience, research keywords, know how to use those search terms on your site and your site’s content, and you have every tool you need to help the searchers.