In a recent article by seoClarity, an average website traffic is 30% organic and effectively delivers as much as 25% conversion. This explains why marketers acknowledge the need to improve their company website’s organic presence. For smaller businesses, this means having to compete with larger companies for ranking in the search pages, but it doesn’t necessarily mean having to spend more. We asked experts to share with us their top SEO tips and tricks to improve your website’s online visibility.
Here are the top 25 SEO strategies, tips and tricks from the pros.
1. Start With a Thorough Understanding of Your Persona
Lloyd Silver, CEO and Growth Evangelist, Crush My Market
It’s important that you have a concrete vision of your ideal best customer. What problems are they trying to solve or questions are they trying to get answered? What are they trying to accomplish that your product or service can help fulfill? Then, go write some great content that answers these questions in detail. These are the questions they’re typing in Google, and by creating content that answers them — you not only have an opportunity to rank higher in search results but you’re also delivering great information to potential customers, making them more likely to convert into leads.
2. Put Users First and Search Engines Second
Deepak Chauhan, CEO & Digital Marketer, VOCSO
Quite often, webmasters are more concerned with keywords that will rank higher in search engines and not give much importance to the quality of content. That has been a traditional approach since it has worked well in the past. However, new updates in search engine algorithms want users to get what they are looking for. If a lot of website visits bounce back, it can impact the site’s ranking negatively.
On the other hand, if you focus instead on improving user experience by improving overall page speed, producing easy to read and helpful content and adding trust-building elements, chances are they will stay longer and follow the call to action.
Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console tools to learn important statistics such as bounce rates, exit pages, average time spent, and popular search terms and make the required changes. The more engaged visitors are with your website, the more trust you earn with search engines, which will eventually improve your rankings.
3. Make Sure You Can Be Found on Voice Search
Jennifer Wing, Marketing Director, Zenventory
Estimated to reach 50% of total searches by 2020, voice search has spoken. Most voice searches have a clear intent behind them. For example, “Where’s the nearest drug store?” or “Where can I get an oil change on Sunday?” By answering questions that your potential customers may want to know about your business, you increase your chances of showing up for a voice search in a position commonly referred to as 0. The quickest way to do this is by adding an FAQ page to your website, which provides multiple benefits to your SEO, including showing up in voice search. Start optimizing your site now for prime page position when voice search takes a big slice of the search pie at a time when it’s critical to be heard.
4. Show Off Your 5-star Reviews
Paul Schmidt, Marketing Strategist, SmartBug Media
Want to make your search listing stand out from the crowd? Implement review schema markup on your website to show prospects the number of five-star reviews your business has earned. This helpful article will show you the exact code you need to add in the head section on specific pages on your website. This markup can be done for e-commerce, service-based businesses and brick-and-mortar businesses.
5. Concentrate Your Efforts Within Your Niche
Aurora Meyer, Director, J & A Creative Group
SEO is measured by several things. In particular: word count, relevance to given search terms, use of keywords and references from trusted websites. You should also make sure that your SEO targeting isn’t too widespread. SEO is an opportunity to hone your niche, especially in your local area. Consider working with local institutes (and vice versa) who can cite your business and whose business you can cite in return. This is an excellent opportunity for guest posting.
6. Avoid Duplicate Content on Your Website
Leslie Handmaker, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist, Paycor
Clean up duplicate content that can be inadvertently generated by your content management system (CMS). Some content platforms will append URLs with parameters, and the end result is multiple URLs with the exact same content. This can confuse search engines. The fix is to use self-referencing canonical tags. The self-referencing canonicals let search engines know which URL is your preferred version. An added benefit is that they can give you a bit of a safety net if your site gets scraped by bots and your content is used without your authorization on third-party sites.
7. Invite Contributors to Write for Your Blog
Matthew Schexnayder, SEO Expert, SpareFoot
My best advice is to always reach out to content contributors to increase exposure. When a blog post goes live, send an email to any business or source mentioned in the post. Not everyone monitors their mentions, and they will feel validated by your congratulatory email. You may even want to consider creating your own badge and pitching to previous contributors. Don’t forget to tag individuals and brands in your social queues as well.
8. Don’t Forget to Add Internal Links on Your Website
Rebecca Bertoldi, Account Director, Meehan Digital Marketing Agency
One thing small businesses often forget to do is internal linking on their posts and pages. When you post new content, be sure to link back to your existing, related content. Additionally, you want to link to your new post on the old ones. For example, we published a piece on how to choose a digital marketing agency. Within the post, we linked to our other page that had more information and services. Aim to have three internal links on each page. This helps search bots to see the flow through your page and determine if it’s easy to navigate.
9. Be Competitive in Google’s Mobile-first Indexing
Betty Gabbaie, Founder and CEO, Lets Get Disruptive
Google has now started rolling out mobile-first indexing, so if your site is not mobile responsive, this will hurt your SEO rankings soon. If your site doesn’t have a mobile-friendly version, the desktop site will be included in the index but the lack of a mobile-responsive site can negatively affect your rankings. If you do have a mobile-responsive site, make sure that page speed and load time are prioritized, images are optimized for the best mobile experience, and that some content is created specifically with mobile optimization in mind. Last, but not the least, make sure you are measuring your efforts to see what needs to be improved and what’s working well.
10. Create Video Content and Post It on YouTube
Kellen Kautzman, SEO Expert and Owner, Send It Rising Internet Marketing
Many people don’t realize that every English word spoken on YouTube is understood and measured by Google’s artificial intelligence platform, RankBrain. If you want to expand your SEO capabilities, creating video content and posting on YouTube can be a substantial resource. Here are a few key points for utilizing YouTube videos to increase your rankings. Always include annotations that link back to your website, edit the closed captions, include a link to your website in the description, embed the video into a blog on your website and share it on social media, share the blog with your email lists and always ask viewers to subscribe and like your videos. Follow these steps and you will be ahead of 95% of local business owners who are intimidated by the price of video and the time commitment.
11. Revive Old Content on Your Website
Lee Wilson, CEO, Ace Local SEO and Internet Marketing
The best tip I have that that I go back to again and again is to revive old content on your website.
What I mean by that is that you don’t just put content up on your website. Instead, you should always nurture your content by promoting it on social media and by requesting links to it from people with websites who link to content in your industry. Especially when your website has been online for a few years, it’s important to go back to older content and promote it online. Because Google still seems to reward age, at least in small part, the older pages will usually be easier to rank and will increase ranking faster as you add links to them.
12. Be Consistent With Your Company Details Online
Kristan Bauer, Founder and SEO Specialist, KristanBauer.com
One of the biggest mistakes local or small business owners can make is with their phone, address and business name (permanent account number or PAN) listing. Maintaining consistency across all locations where your PAN is listed can contribute to better local rankings, specifically in the local map pack. This could be as little as abbreviating a street address versus spelling it out fully (for example, “Ave.” vs. “Avenue”). A business’s PAN should be 100% consistent across all owned channels, including website, social media profiles, Google My Business (GMB) and Yelp. This will not only help customers find your business correctly but it will also ensure your business citations are consistent across the web.
13. Optimize the Use of Title Tags
Kirk Bates, Owner, Market 248
Start with the one on-page item that will give you the most impact for your effort. One of the most powerful SEO elements on the page is the title tag. Title tags are a huge indicator to search engines of what your page is all about. Your title tag should include the top keywords relevant to the page you’re working on, and those keywords should be placed at the beginning of your title tag. For example, for a local business that sells the most delicious, freshly made donuts in the city, the title tag could be structured like this:
Fresh Hot Delicious Donuts | Donut Heaven | Chattanooga TN
The structure that I used is main keywords – brand – location. Your title tag should be a clear description of what is on the page or site and should be between 55 and 65 characters long, including spaces. My example above is 58 characters.
14. Don’t Forget About Your Website Images
Iskra Evtimova, SEO Specialist, Iskra-Evtimova.com
People usually think images are only for the visual effect, but this is not true. You are missing if you don’t optimize your images so remember to use a keyword in the file name before uploading the image, and then add image title and alt tag attribute with a keyword. You should also check the size of the file before you upload it to your website. Be careful to compress the image. The bigger files make the website load slower, and the loading speed is an SEO ranking factor.
15. Add Local Schema
Ibro Palic, Founder, Spokane SEO Services
Add a local business schema. This helps to identify you and place you in the correct product or service categories. In a few years, nobody will type or search the way we do now — 10 years ago nobody searched for “restaurants around me.” Today, nearly everybody does. Add schema markup and make it easy for Google to find and return your business for localized searches. Make sure that the information on your website reflects your information on the Internet.
16. Remember That Link Building is Still Important
Nedelina Payaneva, Digital Marketing Specialist, Asian Absolute
If you don’t ask, you don’t get. It’s still one of the simplest ways to start out with link building. Think about the network of contacts that you have who own or manage their own website — suppliers, colleagues and even friends and family — and consider whether linking with their site would have a positive impact on your rankings. If you don’t have the right contacts yet, then researching and building relationships with other webmasters could be time well spent. Whoever you are considering a link with, always make sure that the link enhances the experience for users. Stuffing a piece of content with irrelevant links is not only negatively impacting your Google ranking but is also potentially a turn off for your users.
17. Ensure Your Campaigns Are Carefully Timed
Steve Pritchard, SEO Consultant, Cuuver
The timing of your outreach campaigns is vital but outreach campaign planners often don’t put enough thought into it. If you send out your campaign at the same time as a major event or milestone in the industry, journalists will likely be preoccupied with reporting on that event, so they will probably overlook your campaign. If you don’t do your research properly, you risk a lot of your hard work going to waste. When looking at when you are going to launch your campaign, make sure you check what is going on at the same time. There will always be something else happening in the industry, but journalists will likely be inundated with stories when major events, anniversaries and milestones are going on, so you need to ensure that you avoid these if possible, unless your campaign relates to these events.
18. Create a Recurring Calendar Event for Technical SEO
Martin Woods, SEO Consultant, Martinwoods.me.uk
Google search is significantly more technical than it was, even just a few years ago. Not only is the algorithm now mobile-first but, soon, search engines will be taking speed into consideration. Technical SEO has never been so important. However, it can get forgotten amidst the plethora of activities a small business does day-to-day. Setting up a repeating calendar event with dedicated time to look at technical SEO issues will ensure you make the time to check the foundations to maximize the impact of marketing and content activities.
19. Pay Attention to Your Site Speed
Maggie Barr, SEO Marketing Manager, AmTrust Financial
Speed matters. With the move to mobile-first indexing, Google has stated that starting this summer page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches. While there will be many actionable items, often compressing your images is an easy win to make your site speed faster. Work with your IT department to understand what can be done and the level of effort involved. HTTP/2 is also a great way to see improvements for site security, speed and efficiency. If your site is already secure, depending on your hosting provider or content delivery network, it may be fairly simple to enable.
20. Focus on ‘Topics’ Instead of Keywords
Jeff Sullivan, Content Marketing Operations Lead, Workamajig
You don’t have to create content for every keyword on your list. You’ll get better results by grouping relevant keywords under a single broad topic and creating in-depth content for it. For example, you can group “project management resources,” “project management definition,” and “project management tools” under a single topic — “project management.”
Alex Schenker, Founder, We Rock Your Web
22. Narrow Your Content Marketing Focus
Stephen Hart, CEO, Cardswitcher
Content marketing has exploded in popularity during the past few years. Unfortunately, many business owners and marketing execs see it as a silver bullet to their problems. It’s not. For content marketing to drive real results, your content has to be better than everything already out there and, unless you have Microsoft’s marketing budget, it’s difficult to maintain that quality across a load of disparate topics. I recommend you narrow your focus with laser precision and produce in-depth, industry-leading content about a super-specific niche. It’s better to be the master of one small niche than a journeyman in 10.
23. Become a Content Contributor to Bigger Brands
Neil Sheth, Digital Marketing Strategist, Only Way Online
When businesses usually think about getting more organic traffic, the goal tends to be about getting their own website in front of people searching for a particular search term. However, there is another strategy, which is especially powerful when it comes to competitive search terms — and that is to write content for other bigger brands online which may have more chances of ranking for your ideal search term. We saw this work last week when we appeared at the top of Google News for the term “Digital Marketing Strategy.”
The best thing about taking this approach is the fact that people who are looking for your help are now finding you via a featured piece of content on another well-trusted website, which improves their overall trust in you.
24. Use Long-tail Keywords
Ross Davies, Managing Director, StrafeCreative
With new search engine technology emerging, such as Siri and Alexa, small businesses can top search rankings in a new and innovative way. Rather than searching for keywords, people ask Siri and Alexa full questions in a conversational manner. Therefore, we should take this long-tail approach by adding value-driven questions and full sentences into our headings, titles and meta information, rather than just short keywords. That way, smaller businesses can appear higher in search rankings.
25. Find Low-competition Keywords
Tom Casano, SEO Expert and Consultant, Sure Oak
If you wanted to rank for “buy computer,” you’d have to compete against the likes of Best Buy and Amazon. But, if you instead sought to rank for “best Dell laptops in 2018,” you would have much less competition and you would stand a fighting chance to rank. By targeting long-tail keywords, you will have a higher likelihood of ranking, and acquiring cumulative search volume from multiple, less competitive keywords. These are keywords that you are more likely to rank for as an underdog.
Over to You
SEO is one of the most effective strategies to get your company website in front of high-target customers. Try these tips from the pros to help you get the most out of your marketing budget.