There’s this joke that’s been shared quite a lot on social media and SEO Facebook groups. It goes something like this:
“You know you are desperate for an answer when you look at the second page of Google.”
All jokes aside, research shows that 75% of internet users never go past the first page of search results. If the answer they are looking for is not among the top 10 results, then they are more likely to rephrase their search query than to hit Next and continue scrolling through the second page.
By now, you probably know already that search engine optimisation (SEO) is the best way to put your business at the top of search engine results and drive traffic to your website. But with so many tips and updates out there, it can be difficult to sort through all the information and get to the core principles of a good SEO strategy.
So, here are the techniques you need to focus on if you want your site to rank high in Google and other search engines.
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First Thing First, You Need a Plan
Before you begin implementing any of the techniques below, you need to create a thorough SEO strategy that outlines your goals and the basic SEO elements that will help you achieve them.
Simply saying that you want to increase your traffic won’t suffice as it won’t give you a clear action plan. Instead, you could say something like this: “I want to increase my website traffic by 10% in the next six months. I will do it by using tactics a), b), and c).
It’s also important to understand how SEO has evolved and which tactics can help you achieve your goals. For example, simply targeting keywords to boost your search rank doesn’t work anymore. You need to research your audience, understand their searching habits and needs, and use keywords that are relevant to their intent. And for that, you need to plan for every step of the SEO process, from keyword research to writing your content and optimising your title tags and.
Make Sure Your Website Loads Fast
Page speed is one of the most important ranking factors. And, it makes perfect sense. Nobody wants to wait for a web page to load. It’s frustrating, it discourages people from browsing and converting, and it ultimately translates into a poor user experience. And, as we all know, Google and other search engines are committed to delivering the best answers to their users both in terms of the relevancy of the information as well as the user experience.
So, how can you ensure that your site’s page speed is up to Google’s (and your audience’s) standard?
First, go to PageSpeed Insights, enter your site’s URL, and analyse your website’s performance. Based on what you see there, you can take various corrective actions, such as:
- Compress your images: Images can slow down a site quite a lot. By compressing them, you reduce the image file size without compromising on the quality.
- Switch to a CDN: If your site is hosted on a server across the world, then it has to travel quite a lot before it can appear in the SERPs for relevant queries. A CDN (Content Delivery Network) can minimise delays by reducing the physical distance between the server and the users.
- Declutter: Deactivate the plugins and widgets you don’t really need or use.
Proper Keyword Research
We mentioned earlier the importance of aligning your keyword research to the intent of your target audience. Let’s extrapolate a bit.
User intent refers to the goal of a searcher entering a search term into a search engine bar. There are four types of user intent:
- Informational: The user is looking for specific information, such as ” what does a good SEO strategy consist of?”
- Navigational: The user is looking for a specific website or app, such as aiad.com.au or Facebook.
- Commercial: The user is looking for information on a specific product, such as “best family cars.”
- Transactional: The user has a clear intent to buy and uses keywords such as “buy new iPhone 12.”
Always keep user intent in mind when researching your keywords and creating your content. You can use tools like Ahrefs Keywords Explorer and use modifiers to filter for keywords with specific intent.
Another thing that you need to keep in mind when it comes to keyword research is that you need to review your target keywords list periodically and update it whenever necessary.
Write Content for Your Target Audience, Not for the Search Engines
What most people get wrong about SEO is that they focus excessively on the technical part of search engine optimisation and forget or ignore the human component. They get stuck on optimising their content for a singular keyword thinking that is the best way to get at the top of the search engine results. But, here’s the thing: while aggressive SEO might help your website rank higher it won’t necessarily translate into conversions. Because, in the end, people are the ones reading your content, engaging with your brand, and buying your products. And, if your content sounds forced, too technical, and not very helpful, then they will look for the information they need somewhere else.
The goal is to write content for humans and then optimise it for the search engines:
- Create compelling pieces of content that explore topics your audience is interested in;
- Instead of focusing on a single keyword, target long-tail keywords as search engines understand contextual information and will show your content for relevant queries;
- Enhance your content’s readability by breaking down the text into short paragraphs, bullet points, headings, and so on.
- Optimise your title tags and write unique meta descriptions. While the meta description won’t necessarily boost your ranking, it’s the first section people see. A compelling and creative meta description that also includes your target keywords will persuade them to click on your article and read it.
Don’t Forget to Optimise Your Images Too
You know what’s weird? There’s an entire section dedicated to image search, but people rarely optimise their images properly.
Think about it this way: how do you search for images? You enter your keywords and scroll through the results until you find what you need.
For this reason, you need to optimise your images too. If you created an article about “best summer destinations for 2021” and included a photo of Santorini, Greece, don’t save it as “DSN45692.jpeg” but use relevant keywords, such as “best-summer-destinations-2021-santorini-greece.jpeg.” Make sure to use your keywords in your alt tags too.
Most business owners focus on external link building but don’t pay that much attention to their internal links. But, here’s the thing: not only that internal links help Google understand the structure of your site, but they can also make it easier for users to navigate your site and find the information they are looking for.
As a rule of thumb, you should add internal links from your top-ranking pages to the ones that need a bit more “SEO juice.”
Link building is one of the major ranking factors Google uses to decide which web pages to display at the top of the search engine results page. That’s because backlinks show Google and other search engines that your content has authority, it’s relevant and useful. Simply put, when other websites point to one of your web pages, it tells Google that you are a worthy source of information.
How do you get other sites to link to your web pages? Well, we could write an entire guide with all the tips and strategies that you could use to boost your link building efforts, but here are a few quick ideas:
- Create high-quality content that people will want to link back to and promote;
- Put your content on platforms or sites that influencers in your niche usually follow or read;
- Reach out to thought leaders in your niche and build a relationship with them.
Is Your Site Mobile-Friendly?
With nearly half of searches coming from mobile devices, it goes without saying that your site needs to be optimised for the mobile experience.
Make sure that your website is mobile responsive, meaning that the size of the screen will automatically adapt to the type of device your visitors are using. Avoid Flash as it can slow down your site and affect the user experience. Make sure that the buttons are visible and easy to click on and that the content is readable regardless of the screen size.
Keep an Eye on Your Website’s Performance
How will you be able to tell if your SEO strategy is paying off or if there are any changes that you need to make to reach your goals?
Tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Other SEO tools can help you track your performance and determine if your strategy was a success or if it needs a bit of tweaking.
Can We Help?
There’s a myriad of SEO tactics out there, from basic ones to the most advanced. It can be difficult to navigate through all this information and determine the best solutions for your needs and goals.
At Australian Internet Advertising, we can make your SEO journey a bit easier.
Get in touch now to request a free SEO consultation that is worth $500 and that can help you understand what your website needs to rank at the top of the search engines.