What you learned about SEO years ago probably won’t help you much today.
Google and other search engines are constantly making adjustments to their ranking algorithms in an effort to improve the quality of the results they serve to their users.
Because traffic is the key to growth for any online business, ranking on the first page is critical to success… and that number one spot has long been the Holy Grail of SEO.
No matter whether your website has been up for months or years, there’s always room for some kind of improvement to your SEO approach.
Before you can identify areas for improvement, you must first evaluate your current status.
Evaluating Your SEO Strategy
Start with a Link Audit
Where are the links to your site coming from?
Are they all good quality? If not, it could be hurting your ranking.
You can disavow links with Google, so they no longer count against you.
Look at the Technical Side
After you finish the link audit, look at the technical aspects of the website.
- Can the search engines crawl your website?
- Does it load quickly?
- Is the content well organized?
- Are you prepared for the mobile-first index? Making mistakes in preparing your site for mobile-first can harm your ranking.
- Are crawl errors showing in the Google Search Console?
- Do you have title tags and meta descriptions on all of your pages?
- Do all images have appropriate alt tags?
Dive Deep into Your Content & Social Media Strategies
Revamping your content strategy is about more than writing a bunch of new content and scheduling it for publishing.
While adding new content can certainly be helpful, it’s important to go back and look at your existing content.
Make sure that:
- Everything is written with proper spelling and grammar.
- It provides value to the intended audience – and if it doesn’t, edit it to include more value.
- The content is strategically segmented and includes appropriate internal linking.
Next, look at your social media strategy, and how you can integrate that into your overall approach.
Your social media activity should work alongside your content strategy to help you build authority, trust, inbound links, more website traffic, and brand awareness.
Make Sure You Can Answer Questions
To have a decent idea as to how well your current strategy is working, answer the following questions:
- How much traffic comes from organic search?
- How much traffic comes from referrals?
- Are there any pages that aren’t getting traffic?
- How have rankings changed over time?
- How many new links has the site earned since the last audit?
- What is my best performing content? Least performing?
- How many visitors are converting?
- How has the site grown and changed since launch?
Having the answers to these questions ensures you’re focusing on making improvements where they are most needed.
Improving Your SEO Strategy
Aim for Better Quality Content
Long gone are the days when you could write a 500-word blog post and consider it quality.
The longer your content is, the deeper you can dive into a topic to provide more value to your readers.
Remember, Google’s customer is the searcher – and if you provide the searcher with what they are looking for, then Google will love you.
Research shows long-form content ranks higher on Google, with the average word count of a first-page result coming in at 1,890 words.
Long-form content also gives you the chance to provide more related keywords, through keyword and topic modeling. This way, you’re not keyword stuffing, but you’re still able to increase the chances of improving your ranking on those core keywords.
Beyond making your content longer, you can improve overall quality by offering various kinds of content, including:
These interactive elements help keep people on your page longer, which also plays a role in your ranking, and keep things interesting for your content team, too.
Craft a Plan for Link Building Efforts
When solid content is the backbone of your strategy, link building becomes a bit easier.
Great content will typically earn more links on its own, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get the momentum going yourself.
Remember, you need high-quality links from a variety of domains.
You also want links to deeper pages on your site – not just your homepage.
You’ll also want to aim for links that contain your brand or company name, as well as links that contain your target keywords.
With this in mind, you first need to look at the type of links your competition has, and make sure you get those links and more if you want to have a shot at competing against them in the search engines.
Then, you want to make sure you have the content that those websites would be interested in linking to it. Make people care enough about the content to link to it when you’re creating it by focusing on the hook during the creation process.
Then, create a spreadsheet to track your link building progress.
Optimize Headlines to Improve Click-Through Rate
Your headline is what gives people the first impression of your content, and as such, plays a major role in whether people will click.
Spending time creating a compelling headline is crucial to getting engagement with your content.
Using a tool like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer can help. The free tool will grade your headline based on factors such as the number of words it has, the type of words it uses, and the type of headline it is. It gives you advice about how to improve it, such as adding or deleting words.
Including a call to action that asks your readers to comment and interact on your posts can help improve your rankings.
Google’s Gary Illyes has mentioned that fostering community can help boost your rankings because it shows that people aren’t just reading your content, but they’ve taken it further to interact it.
It keeps people on your website longer, which is a signal that your content is what people are looking for.
Beyond that call to action, take the time to ask open-ended questions, or give people the chance to ask you questions to start the conversation.
Schedule regular reviews of your SEO strategy. It’ll help you keep things fresh, stay ahead of any algorithm updates (and help you prepare for any that may be coming), and steer you toward consistent growth.