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If you’ve realized by now, if your website appears on page 2 when you search for your keywords, then you are not getting the relevant traffic you deserve. Most marketers consider this page a dead zone. Therefore, for you to even come close to being at the topmost spot, you really need to know what you are doing or at a bare minimum have a general understanding of what it takes to be successful.
SEO is a marketing discipline that is majorly focussed on growing your visibility in terms of organic search engine results. It involves both creative and technical skills to improve your rank, increase awareness and drive traffic to your website.
More importantly, SEO is not only about making your website search engine friendly, but it’s also about making it better for people too. This makes SEO a very vital necessity. Here are top 10 non-technical things you need to do to optimize your website.
1. Make a Plan and write it down
It sounds silly to tell you that making a plan is important to the success of your website and goals especially if you have a goal of something like, “Get More Website Traffic”, or “Increase Leads.” When we’re working with our clients we constantly suggest setting goals using the SMART goal method. What the SMART goal method gets us is actionable, realistic, and time-bound goals that you can actually achieve. So instead of having a goal of “Get more website traffic” you’d have a goal of “In the next 3 months, I want to increase my website traffic to an average of 500 unique visits a day.” This type of goal setting not only gives you a timeline to achieve your goal, sets up a specific expectation of what your goal actually it. For comparison’s sake, if you increase your website traffic on average by any number then you’ve achieved the first goal, whereas if you set a goal that is specific then you can know how much effort you put into achieving that goal and how close you actually were to being successful or if you blew the goal out of the water than you know that you can either scale back the budget for that or set your next goal at a higher level.
Here’s the important part now that you’ve set a goal… write it down and post it somewhere you will see on a daily basis. Keep focused on your goals by asking yourself if what you’re going right now relates to achieving that goal. If it doesn’t, then ask yourself why you’re doing it.
2. Niche Down
This may sound like a no-brainer but before you start any campaign to build traffic you really want to know who you want to come to your website. Niching down allows you to place focus on your campaign and build value to a specific group. The value you provide is what is going to keep people coming back. Spend most of your planning time here. Identifying the correct niche for you and your business will take you further than anything else in this list.
Niching down also helps you write targetted content and promotions that will resonate with the people you want to work with. Once you select your ideal niche, the rest of the steps become significantly easier too.
3. Get to know your competition
Now that you’ve picked your niche, your competition may have changed significantly. Get to know your competition in your niche. Once you’ve identified your niche competition, get to know how they operate. Do they have a large social media following? Do they write blog or news posts? Do they have a newsletter (if so join it)? Do they have online reviews?
Basically, figure out everything that they do well, write it down then figure out everything they don’t do well, write it down. The areas they aren’t doing so hot in are your low hanging fruit. It’s an area that you can come into swinging and if done correctly you’ll end up gaining on your existing competition. Spend more of a focus in the areas that they are slipping and take advantage of it. If it’s areas that require more funds or customers that you don’t have (reviews for example) then just be sure to circle back to that with each new customer. Make sure you shine where others aren’t.
4. Keyword Research
Next, make sure you understand keywords that people are using to find you and your competitors. Before you write any content or work on your website, make sure you understand how people will find that content. With that in mind, keywords help to gauge the demand for certain necessities.
Therefore if your website is SEO optimized, then you are sure of getting customers sooner than expected. There are different tools that will help you search for the appropriate keywords in your niche. Google Keyword Planner is one of the best keyword search tools in the business. Other keyword search tools include SEMrush and Yoast.
5. High-Quality Content (Quality over Quantity)
Here’s where most people find the most difficulty. Content is everything to your website and it’s growth. What’s more is that relevant content will get you that ranking you deserve. If you’ve never touched your website since you launched it, then you really don’t have a good base to start with.
To get the best ranking on Google, you need to give visitors a reason to come to your website. In addition, your content needs to be high quality, relevant and definitely recent. The other thing that might also affect your ranking is something known as dwell-time. This is simply the amount of time people spend on your website.
Therefore you need to have content that’s fresh, exciting and makes your visitors stick around for more. If you have great content then your dwell-time will also be great. Also, make sure you produce regular content. We recommend posting a high-quality article at least once a week. That said, quality over quantity is key. Don’t just put anything out there just because you need to get something out there. It’s better to not post anything until you have something people will want to read. Posting lots of low-quality content will negatively affect your rankings, and worse waste your time AND money. Essentially, do it right or don’t do it at all.
Determining the content that you want to write about is easier than you think. Start with answering questions that you are frequently asked. “How do I increase traffic to my website?” for example. Once you’ve written articles that will accurately answer those questions, take a moment to find questions on sites like Quora that are related to your industry. Write an article and then share a link to that article as a reply. This not only gets new eyes on your website from that site, but it also provides true value to the person asking the question. Another added benefit it if your answer is selected as the correct answer for the question you’ll not only get your reply highlighted and get more visibility for your reply, but your link will stay there pretty much forever. Which brings me to backlinks.
6. Use backlinks
This is one of the most important parts of SEO. Unfortunately, most people tend to overlook this aspect, more so than any other factors. Before you decide to go all the way and purchase links to your website, remember that it’s about quality and not quantity. Also just don’t purchase backlinks, it’s against the rules, and rarely gets you any real traffic.
The main goal when it comes to backlinks is showing Google that your website is trustworthy. This will make Google place more trust in your content, which will, in turn, increase your ranking for keywords related to your top rated content. A little tip: Each page of your website is ranked differently, which is why high-quality content with backlinks will show up more in Google searches than low-quality content (which might not show up at all).
Going about getting backlinks isn’t as complicated as you might imagine and sometimes it only takes you asking the website owner to get one. Building a backlink campaign takes time and knowledge of the industry. But you should have both of those if you’re reading this article. 😉
Start by finding places that your competition has links from, most of these are probably links to their homepage and doesn’t really offer up any real value to the person visiting. Take a look at the context of the page the link is on then if you have a similar article written then contact the website and see if they’d be willing to not only link to your article but to swap out the link pointing to the content you’ve written and don’t forget to ask for their feedback on your article.
Once you’ve identified all of your competitor’s links and attempted to get them to swap out their links for yours, you can start to build up your backlinks through Q&A sites like Quora, Alignable, or any other industry related blogs/forums/etc.
Depending on your niche and target demographic, you can even just comment as yourself (not your business) on related industry blogs talking about content that you’ve written. Be the first commenter and your comment is more likely to be seen by others. Again, don’t forget to ask for the writer’s feedback on your own article and don’t be afraid to link out to other places that help align your point as you’ve seen in this article. If you do this consistently enough and avoid too many self-promotion posts, you might even find that the people your posting comments on will start writing about you and your business.
7. Social Media
Social media can be tricky for some folks to wrap their heads around so if you aren’t particularly savvy on Facebook or with computers you might want to look at hiring this work out or dive in head first to make the best use of the power of social. When you join social media platforms use your name to join. This will not only build trust with the people shopping but it’ll add a personal flair to your business that so many businesses are lacking these days. The more personal you are typically the better your social campaigns will be in the long run.
Now when I say personal, I don’t mean to post loads of selfies or photos of what you’re eating for dinner but display real people using the product or service you provide. This will resonate with your niche and build trust. Utilizing social media to build trust is a great thing to do and will typically have long-lasting positive results. There are so many options when it comes to social media that we recommend chatting with someone to help identify your goals and how you can best use the power of social media. We offer a free consultation if you’re interested.
8. Google Analytics and other reporting tools
So you’re on the path to greatness and you’re beginning to implement all this great advice. That’s awesome! But how do you even know if it’s working? Adding a simple tracking software like Google Analytics to your website will allow you to view so much information about your campaigns. You can see things like where your visitors came from, how long they stayed on your site, and even which articles/pages of your website are the most popular. This is extremely important because you’ll need to know what works so you can tweak things to make the best use of your new traffic. If you write three articles and one if outshining the rest, you can gain a better understanding of why that might be using Analytics.
Another tool to consider would be Hotjar. Hotjar is a neat tool that allows you to build something called a heatmap of your page. What they do is track the clicks and screen view of your site viewers so that you can see where people are clicking or viewing. This is useful for you in a few ways. First, you’ll know if a bunch of people are clicking on something that isn’t a link or button you should probably look at why they’re clicking there. Is it an image that looks like a button or does the context imply that by clicking on it you’ll view a new page? Both things are simple fixes and increase your overall user experience and time people will spend on your article.
Basically, you won’t be able to optimize something that you are not able to quantify. Having a basic understanding of what Google Analytics and other tools can do for you and how it will help you quantify your traffic will help you not only achieve your goals but also set you up for future success.
9. Know what’s happening
Almost every week, Google’s SEO algorithms are updated and implemented. Google keeps these updates pretty shielded because they don’t want bad people to abuse the changes and truly want the search results to benefit the people searching. Take a moment when you start a new campaign to review any changes that have taken place between when you started the last campaign and now. Typically the updates are a quick read and give a general understanding of how to maximize your effectiveness.
10. Of course, it’s not all about SEO
Don’t get me wrong, SEO is vital to your website. However, this strategy also has its own fair share of shortcomings. Don’t forget your users when you optimize your website. Your user’s experience and SEO are what will determine your ranking. Building your website for real people, the very people who you want to be your customers will be your best solution. Don’t get caught up in optimizing your website for Google, make sure everything you do on your website is for your customers. In the end Google isn’t going to be buying your product or service, people are.
Oh man, I promised you the top 10 things that you can do today to get more traffic. Well here’s number eleven. If you ever feel like you don’t understand something, need help getting to the next level, or really anything just ask. We offer free one on one chat sessions to anyone looking for some advice to better their business. We also offer free daily chats via Facebook where we’ll answer questions and get you the help you need without any expectation or charge.