Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a multi-faceted, complex process in addition to being a growing, multibillion dollar industry in itself. Newcomers to SEO can often seek a surefire way of quickly rising to the first Search Engine Results Page (SERP). While there isn’t just one, perfect way of doing this—there are several simple tactics digital marketers can employ to quickly impact organic traffic performance.
1. Create Longer Form Content
Search engines want authoritative pieces of content to rank highest, so it’s important to aim for a higher word count when developing web content. Long posts show Google that you’re providing in-depth information for your visitors. Just how long should your content be? A study by Backlinko last year indicated the average Google first page result contains 1,890 words. While the study indicates longer content performs better, it’s important to note that the copy should be relevant and not just overstuffed for the sake of length.
While it is already common practice for long-form content to appear among blog posts, it’s similarly important to carry over this notion to your landing pages as well. Use this as an opportunity to show your visitors that you’re a market leader in your particular niche.
2. Cut Down on Low-Quality / Low-Traffic Pages
Google is only going to crawl a finite number of pages of your website, so it’s important that search engines are able to crawl your most valuable content. In order to help direct the spiders to your top-notch content, cut down on the number of pages that are either of low quality or receive little to no organic traffic.
Pages that fit into this category could be those that are no longer relevant to your business, like a product or service offering that has been discontinued. Perhaps you have multiple pages that could be merged into one in order to create the longer content Google prefers. Look for any thin content less than 500 words that might be able to be repurposed, if not, it might be a good candidate for removal.
It’s important to note these low quality pages should not be deleted, as you’ll lose any link equity you’ve been able to gain. Rather, set up a 301 redirect to a page that is more relevant for your visitors. The redirect will not only help from a UX perspective, but it will also point Google toward the content you’d rather have them crawl.
3. Build Internal Links
The quality and number of links coming into a page are used as a ranking signal for Google to determine the relative importance of the page. Internal links are instrumental to SEO for two reasons—the first is technical and relates to how internal links help search engines find more pages within your website. The second reason relates to UX as internal links allow visitors to find more related content and remain on your site longer.
As a caveat, it’s important not to overdo internal links—too many can bog down search engine crawlers and also annoy human visitors. If there is a particular page on your site dedicated to targeting a high-traffic keyword, pointing internal links at that page will help it rank higher for the targeted keyword.
There’s no magic number of links per page, but Kissmetrics recommends about three to four depending on the length of the post. The most important thing to keep in mind is how the links can help the visitor and enable them to discover useful content.
4. Leverage Existing Relationships for High-Quality Inbound Links
As mentioned above, the quality of links coming into a page impacts how Google interprets the importance of the page. Having a number of links coming from external sources, particularly influential sources, in your particular niche will have a profound impact on your SEO.
Developing quality links can take time and effort, but Jeremy Knauff for Search Engine Land suggests taking a look at your personal network to see if someone you know might be able to provide a helpful inbound link.
It’s important to note that these links should be relevant, as Google will penalize your page ranking if it determines you’re trying to cheat the system.
If your personal network comes up short, there are a couple things you can do to begin an attempt at acquiring inbound links. Brian Dean at Backlinko recommends using All Top to find link opportunities. AllTop is a directory that curates the top blogs in every industry. Use the directory to identify the top players in your particular niche and begin building relationships with these bloggers.
A quicker way you might be able to gain some inbound links is by reclaiming unlinked brand mentions. If your brand has been around for a while, you might have some mentions on various websites that aren’t linking to your website. By using search operators to find these mentions, simply reach out to the source and ask for a link back to your site.
5. Improve Page Speed
The last tactic is an important aspect of SEO and is relatively easy and cost-effective to execute. Page speed, like your link profile, is a ranking factor Google uses to determine your page rank. Like other factors, it isn’t known what specific speed Google prefers, but faster loading pages are more favorable to Google’s algorithm.
The first step you can take is to avoid using commoditized discount web hosting in favor of more reputable web hosts that offer SSL, caching, and CDN at costs that aren’t much higher than the aforementioned shared hosting accounts.
The last item related to page speed is ensuring that your media is optimized for web. Images and video can have a detrimental effect on page speed if they are not resized to optimal dimensions for web. This is particularly impactful for mobile devices, on which, a slow loading page speed will most definitely negatively impact your SEO.
Start incorporating some of these tactics into your SEO strategy to start driving more organic traffic to your website. If you want more tips on getting started, subscribe to the Digital Download.