Even though people spend a lot of their online time on social network, search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo are still the primary drivers of traffic to websites. Approximately 80% of traffic on the internet is due to search engines. Therefore, you can never forget SEO as part of your business strategy.
How does it work?
Search engines have existed for about 2 decades now, and many people know how they work. Up until a few years ago, SEO used to be a simple case of finding a few keywords and then building links based on them. This resulted in a lot of spam and low quality search results on Google.
Search engines have updated their algorithms to detect unethical SEO tactics. Most websites that used shady methods to increase their ranks on search engines were severely penalized. Here are some SEO techniques that used to work but do not anymore:
- Building links through link farms
- Building links through content farms
- Stuffing articles and web pages with keywords
- Building an excessive number of links in a short period of time
- Using various article marketing techniques and ignoring all other legitimate techniques
If you or your SEO Company adopted any of the above techniques, you might have seen a severe drop in rankings. Fortunately, there are better ways to optimize your website and make them more popular on search engines. Here are some techniques that do work.
This is a very recent trend and it has grown very popular over the last 3-4 years. Guest posts are published on websites and blogs other than yours. They have interesting content for readers of the website. Here is why guest posting can help improve your site’s rankings and increase your incoming traffic:
- The guest post contains links to your website that readers can follow
- Your website is exposed to a wider audience, which can drive further traffic
- Guest posts are usually of higher quality, which search engines like very much
Quality is the operating word here. Your guest posts need to be of high quality and the content itself needs to be genuine.
Even though social network has supplemented blogging to a large extent, it is still the best way to increase readership. Social network posts are very casual and they are great for conversations. However, when you post blogs that have genuine and interesting content, people are more interested in reading them.
Here is what you should do with your blog:
- Find interesting content about your business niche to talk about
- Attract more readers with creative (outrageous?) titles
- Give readers some behind the scenes peak about how you work
- Offer advice to your customers about how best to use your product or service
Writing personal blogs shows readers that you genuinely care about them and in turn, they are more about you. It generates more interest in your website and naturally drives more traffic. Search engines like organic traffic and they will rank your blog higher than the other sites.
Facebook is a constant in people’s lives. They use the network to find out what’s going on around the world. They use it to find interesting news and you can use this to promote your products as well. Posting regular discounts and offers on Facebook will garner more attention and drive traffic to your website.
To make the most of Facebook:
- Create a custom Facebook page that has similarities with your website in theme
- Upload videos and podcasts regularly, so people know you are active
- Respond to other people’s posts about your website and business
- Analyze how much traffic you get through Facebook
Many websites have found that their website traffic has doubled even tripled as a result of active Facebook optimization. As it happens, search engines are also interested in which websites are more active on Facebook, and try to increase their ratings if the content is of high quality.
Twitter is probably the most impactful SEO tool in the last 3 years. It started as a small status update network, but it has turned into a big tool for businesses to reach out to their customers. Tweets are short and they are more easily digestible for customers.
If you have interesting content for them, they won’t mind following your account at all. Here is what you can do:
- Create a custom Twitter page that reflects your logo and values (a design firm can help you with that)
- Use tweets to respond to user requests and comments
- Put out regular promos on tweets
- Upload images on Twitter that may be of interest to users
- Launch a marketing campaign on Twitter
People are looking for a consistent theme across various social networks. If you coordinate your social networking efforts through various services, you will be able to create a very strong brand, something that search engines will notice.
You will notice that modern SEO involves a lot of strategies that revolve around social media optimization (SMO). This is why you find so many SEO firms join these two aspects together when they offer their services.
Along with proper keyword research, link building forms one of the pillars of search engine optimization. The basic principle used by all search engines to gauge your popularity is still counting the number of links that point to your website. However, the rules have changed considerably over the last 3 years.
Here is what search engines want from your website:
- Backlinks to your website must be organic (and not part of an excessive strategy)
- Links should appear on quality websites (as determined by their PageRank)
- If many links are found on your website on link farms and content farms, Google and Bing will downgrade your rankings severely
High quality link building will lead your web pages to appear in the top 10 or 20 search results on search engines.
Using niche long tail keywords
People increasingly search on mobile devices. Earlier, people used to only look for information about certain topics on the internet. Today, they use it to look for:
- Products and services
- Nearby restaurants, movies and other places
Search is becoming increasingly localized. Therefore, if your business is based on Melbourne, you need to include those locations in your keyword research as well. Examples include:
- Red running shows in Melbourne (rather than simply “red running shows”)
- Sushi restaurants in Austin, TX
You need to use generic keywords as well as long tail niche keywords as mentioned above. This will help your website appear on top when people are looking for local places and businesses.
Upgrade your website
The last 3 years have seen modern web standards including HTML5 and CSS3 emerge. These technologies make it easier for search engines to parse your website content and index information. Upgrading our website is the single best thing you can to do increase your visibility on search engines.
Google is more interested in websites that are current and those who care about their customers being able to load websites. Flash-based websites are not accessible on smartphones and tablets. Your website will not rank as high as you want, if you don’t update it.
Maintain your links
As time goes on, many websites are simply not updated. Some websites go down. Even in existing websites, some pages are deleted. However, the links to these pages are not always taken down. These are called dead links and the resulting state is called link rot.
You need to ensure that all the links on your websites are active and that dead links are removed. You do not need to go hunt for individual links because there are many tools that can help you automate this process. Running through this process every week will help ensure that search engines always find your website to be high quality.
Update your website
Lastly, search engines want websites to be active. If your site is not regularly updated with new content, it is considered to be inactive and therefore of little value to search engine users. Keep your website fresh with new posts and design, so Google and other engines will index your website on a daily basis.
This way, users will also get the latest content on your website from search engines. SEO has indeed become a very time consuming job, but that is because there are so many factors in play. You might want to hire a reliable SEO company to help you form a concrete strategy.