A lot has changed in the world of search engine optimization – and there’s a lot of SEO tips out there.
However, certain fundamental principles remain unchanged.
For example, targeting keywords with the sole intent of improving organic rankings no longer works with search engines but choosing the right keywords is still an important piece to the puzzle.
Beyond getting SEO juice, keywords reveal a lot more about users and what they’re struggling with.
With so many SEO techniques, it’s become almost impossible to determine which ones to stick to and which you can safely ignore.
Is link building a thing of the past? Should you devote your time and energy to on-page SEO? How can you write a title tag to drive your rankings with search engines? Where do SEO and social media intersect?
And, seriously, what are the truly best SEO tips that’ll lead to results?
Brian Dean did a fabulous job when he created a post showcasing 200 Google ranking factors. The post went on to become extremely popular and generated thousands of new leads from organic search for Brian.
This article may not be as in-depth as Brian’s, nor will I be answering all of the questions raised above. Instead, I want to show you the 10 most important SEO tips you need to know to help your site rank right now.
This means that if your pages are slow, you’re fighting a losing battle for top organic listings, regardless of the quality of your content or your professional website design.
Get rid of non-essential elements that slow down your site. If you’re a WordPress user, consider deactivating plugins you don’t actually need.
Also, declutter your sidebar and put only essential widgets there.
To learn how to get more out of search engines by improving your page speed, visit Ubersuggest.
Step #1: Enter Your Domain and Click Search
Step #2: Click Site Audit in the Left Sidebar
Step #3: Scroll Down to Site Speed
This shows how quickly your site loads and how quickly key elements become available to users.
My desktop loading time is one second and my mobile loading time is two seconds. Both of these fall within the “excellent” range. As a general rule of thumb, if your site speed doesn’t score as “excellent”, you should make changes to improve it.
Review the advanced breakdown for additional guidance. For example, “speed index” shows how quickly the content of a page is visibly populated. If your website is lagging behind here, there’s a good chance visitors are leaving because they don’t want to wait for your content to load.
Every additional 0.5s it takes to load your site drastically increases the number of visitors that will leave your site. So, even an improvement of 0.5 seconds will increase traffic to your website.
Linking out sends trackable traffic, it makes your site a more valuable and scalable resource.
If you’ve been reading my blogs, you’ll notice that I regularly link out to different sites. Whenever I write a new post, I reference other trustworthy sites, where appropriate.
You can’t expect to get from others if you’re unwilling to give first. For example, if you’re looking to get inbound links from authoritative blogs, one of the easiest ways to do that is to show your willingness to link out to those blogs from your own content.
Of course, you should only link out to content pages that offer tremendous value. It’s a good SEO practice.
More important, you can notify an influencer when you link out to them, and, if your post is valuable, they can link back to you, share the post, or even email it to their huge email subscriber list.
Link building is also all about quality, not quantity. You’ll build more trust in your niche if you have a few authoritative links rather than a dozen poor quality links.
3. Write for Humans First, Search Engines Second
Lately, I’ve noticed that more and more bloggers and content creators are going back to the old method of SEO, where keywords meant to drive search results surpassed the real qualities of engaging, valuable content. If that’s you, it’s absolutely time to change your mindset.
Many people still aren’t capitalizing on long-tail keywords, preferring instead to attempt to manipulate search engines.
That’s the wrong approach.
Don’t prioritize search engines over the actual humans reading your work. Instead, write content for the user, people who have eyes to read and credit cards to purchase your product.
Search spiders are just scripts — they don’t buy products, they don’t engage with you on social media, and they won’t become a loyal customer.
Copyblogger is my #1 go-to site when it comes to putting readers first. No wonder Brian Clark is so successful at content marketing. He’s even turned Copyblogger into a multi-million dollar digital marketing company.
It all happened because a marketer like you was passionate about helping people. That’s what drives me, too — and maybe you, as well.
So, what does it mean to write for users first, before search engines?
Funny enough, when you put users first, you’ll actually write helpful content that search engines reward because search engines follow users. It’s not the other way round. At the same time, you’ll be enhancing the user experience and building trust with your audience.
4. Encourage Other Trustworthy Sites to Link to You
To a large extent, inbound links are still the lifeblood of search engine rankings.
This wasn’t a post we threw together in an hour — it took several hours over several days to create this content.
When you’re at the forefront of your industry, creating useful content and linking to authoritative blogs, you’ll find that more people will link to you naturally. This is the essence of effective link building.
5. Have Web Analytics in Place at the Start
After defining your search engine optimization goals clearly, you need software to track what’s working and what’s not.
Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and other private web analytics software solutions can help you track your success.
Tools like Crazy Egg also show you where your site visitors are clicking and how they navigate away from your site.
You should have these web analytics in place, even before you send the first visitor to your site or landing page.
6. Write Unique and Relevant Meta Descriptions for Every Page
One of the most important SEO tips that most people neglect is the well-crafted meta description.
The meta description is the first section that people see when Google serves up your page to search users.
Generally, the search engine giant doesn’t like duplicate content. Yes, there are times when there is a need to cite a paragraph or sentence from another site (and link back to the source), but if publishing duplicate content becomes your way of life, you will find it nearly impossible to become a long-term success.
In the same vein, duplicate meta descriptions could get you into trouble. But, even if you don’t get penalized straight away, you’re still not providing a great user experience.
You can’t have the same meta description for a page that talks about email marketing and a page on making sales. There’s a big difference in those topics and your meta descriptions should communicate that fact.
Well, several case studies have proven the impact of social shares, likes, tweets, and pins on search engine rankings.
As an example, Moz started to rank on Google for “Beginner’s Guide” after Smashing Magazine tweeted out the guide. Shrushti’s search rankings improved from page 400 to page one of Google due to social media.
If you want to get more social signals, the rules haven’t changed. Here’s the summary:
Create useful content that’s share-worthy across your social media platforms.
Add share buttons to your post and make them visible.
Encourage people to share, by asking them to.
Host a social media contest to get more shares.
Mention and link to social media influencers/power users in your post and notify them.
Social media is at your disposal. Use it, and use it well.
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer, you need to be disciplined, when it comes to content creation.
It’s even more important than you might think, due to something called the “fresh factor.”
Unique content is one of the factors that affect this freshness score, and, consequently, the search engine rankings for that specific page.
If you’re not Brian Dean, who’s mastered the art of content promotion and can regularly get tens of thousands of users to read a new post and share it with others on social media, the easiest way to optimize your freshness score is by creating content consistently.
Bonus SEO Tip: Don’t Change Your Domain Name Regularly
The age of a domain or web page is also one of the top SEO tips you should keep in mind. Indeed, it’s crucial for your success.
For this reason, don’t constantly change your domain name. Pick one and stick with it, unless there’s a very good reason to change.
That does happen — just don’t make it a regular practice.
I hope you’ve found these SEO tips helpful. If you follow the tips above, you’ll be on your way to higher rankings and more traffic.
Here’s a few final tips to help you reach your target audience:
If you’ve published a post in the past that’s no longer relevant to users, especially due to the recent Google changes, work to update that page. Or worst-case scenario, 301 redirect it to a newer, fresher piece of content on your site.