Any business can begin their search engine optimisation (SEO) journey right now. All it requires is access to the Internet and the ability to set up a domain and a series of free social media accounts. Sounds fairly straightforward, right?
Well unfortunately the process of making your brand viable ventures far beyond the establishment process. Traffic will not gravitate to your site and make purchases just because you have set a page up. To garner genuine success requires diligence, humility and an aptitude to tap into modern day trends that your competitors might have overlooked.
Why this topic of increasing page rankings matters more than generic SEO is an important one to note. Google’s internal algorithm changes over the past few years have placed more emphasis on the relevance, quality and content of individual pages than the entire domain.
This has forced enterprises to become much more savvy about their platform by integrating a method of categorising their information and ensuring their SEO objectives are met across the board, from the home page all the way to the contact tab.
Fortunately there is a series of hacks to transition your site from invisibility on the net to strong visibility. Do not consider this a quick fix to solve your problems inside a few hours, but rather a list of practices that will ensure steady organic growth.
Blog, Blog, Blog
A surefire method of helping search engines recognise you is to be on the front foot and proactive with your content. This can be a difficult task if your company is small, of a unique niche or is run by individuals who are not exactly confident in broadcasting views or opinions.
The bottom line is this – no one else is going to promote your site for you. Your page is your own press and search engines like Google will only end up helping those that help themselves in this respect.
The little bots that are known as crawlers continue to venture through the World Wide Web examining pages that are continuing to update their consumer base and readership on relevant topics. To tap into this process, utilise the gift of the blog.
Features that are free and available on WordPress enable users to publish news stories, op-eds, polls, questionnaires, surveys, interviews, Q&A’s and more. If you think of your website like a machine that requires refuelling, blogging establishes your credibility as an authoritative source and draws in eyeballs and clicks from multiple points of contact.
Open Up Your Channels To The Globe
In the Western world, we are so caught up in our own bubble that we can neglect other segments of the online population who might otherwise like to engage with our community. For various socio-political and cultural reasons, there is not always an open channel of communication between nations like the US and Australia with the likes of China and Russia.
That mode of thinking should be put to one side. Particularly when it comes to your domain ranking! Why should prejudice and preconceptions get in the way of progress? You have a site to run.
Google might hold all of the cards on the ranking game in a domestic sense, yet if you can utilise a software application tool like SYSTRAN for overseas users, all of a sudden a brand new marketplace of billions opens up. That translation program can allow Russia searches from Yandex or Chinese searches from Baidu to tap into your brand.
Detail in the Long-Tail Keyword
Since Google introduced their Hummingbird algorithm update back in 2013, search enquiries are now taking into account the entirety of a phrase rather than isolating one or two keywords. This has had a knock-on effect for what we now see with the results pages, often seeing rankings sorted for brands that are less recognised generically speaking, but are more relevant to the search.
To take a practical example, a search for “why Apple products are not made to last” would have essentially placed apple.com products top of the list because it carried the keywords “apple products.” Now, the rest of the phrase known as the long-tail keywords will introduce “why” and “not made to last” to detail blogs and news articles that offer an objective analysis of the company’s short-term design strategy.
Using a software application tool like Google Keyword Planner will allow users to branch out and capture visitors will greater efficiency. On the surface it might appear like more work (it is), but it will offer greater rewards because it opens up more channels for the small and savvy operators to bypass the big names who usually dominate the ranking landscape.
To truly optimise your keyword strategy, find headings, descriptions, backlinks and alt-text that comes inclusive with long-tail keywords. If you are a sportswear store is based in Sydney where customers want home delivery, use each term as part of the long-tail process.
Each word is currency in the keyword game. Cash in on it.
Google is a stickler for organisation and order. As their bots go on a crawl for data to determine what sites deserve priority on the ranking system, they first have to examine sitemaps to see where categories and sub-categories are listed and broadcast.
Some online marketers do not make this a priority and end up placing content from the “About Us” section in the “Contacts” tab and overlap keywords that should be sorted in different locations. This confusion will not only be difficult for visitors to understand, but also the search engines who you are trying to impress.
The XML Sitemap feature can eliminate this hassle to ensure that your content is streamlined in correct order. Going through this process will result in a text file to offer Google a blueprint that can be easily read.
Maximise Site Speed
Competition on the Internet is fierce. There is no one who will hold your hand or tell you that it is ok and to try again because missed opportunities are part and parcel of learning. That might be inherently true, but as you partake in an internal course of education, you are losing business.
There are ways and means of slacking off to see customers venture off to competitors. That might be false or missing information, poor reviews or a site that will not load well or quickly enough. Modern day consumers expect immediate results when they hit that URL link, wanting to glean content, pricing and contact data so they can consider their next move.
Should your page take anymore than 2 seconds to produce the goods, many users are going backwards and exploring the next option. That is the cutthroat nature of the online business space and this bounce rate will hurt your standing in the rankings.
The only way to tackle this challenge is running your site through a diagnostic such as WebPageTest to examine why the site is dragging on load time. There might be cache that needs to be cleared, an overload in multimedia content or issues with hosting. By identifying and taking action on this front, your page rank health will only improve.
There are not many methods for SEO that carry the same weight as backlinks. If you have the target of driving your page rank to the best possible state it can reach, then the search engine needs to know that you have a grounded understanding of your niche and the capacity to send visitors to other respected outlets. Such generosity will be reciprocated by search engines who have become far more savvy with this implementation.
Like with anything in the practice of optimisation – it is not volume that necessarily matters, but quality. Anyone can throw together a collection of hyperlinks that points to a similar brand or product, but it is the enterprises that garner a working relationship and integrate backlinks of relevance that will truly soar.
An organic step to generate momentum with backlinks is to become a guest blogger for a media outlet or be a regular poster on a forum within the niche. All of your opinions and postings have to be transparent and upfront about where you are coming from, but should you provide insight and value to the community at large, the traffic will derive from healthy sources.
Provide Social Media Sharing
Speaking of ways and means of crafting organic sources of traffic, social media connections are essential at delivering clicks from authentic communities of people. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube were perceived to be cheap modes of traffic some 5-7 years prior, but now they are a staple of what search engines look for when ranking pages.
By sharing your web content on your social media pages as well as the capacity to share via icon links on the site itself, a cycle of growth begins.
As a side note – If a heading or title is too detailed, shorten it so the sharing can be uncomplicated and the point of the article or video can be easily digestible.
There are other techniques in the SEO textbook that will be useful to your journey towards a higher ranking. However, understand that nothing in this digital science is ever static, meaning that a process that is highly successful today might be out of date in a matter of months.
Sift through your site and run the gamut of every source that will offer detail and analysis on strengths and weaknesses. From that point, you will have a target in mind to strive towards, all the while making little steps on the road to progress and ultimately that coveted number one Google ranking slot.
Kieran is the Social Media Manager and SEO Expert at SEO Shark. He is an expert in Social Media, link building, PPC and of course SEO. In his time off work Kieran enjoys reading and playing rugby, as well as following all kinds of sports! You can read some more of his articles here.