These days, it seems every time you turn around there’s another new insight or best practice for improving your site’s Google ranking.
But does any of it actually work?
The truth is, while ranking factors can change regularly, you generally want to stick with SEO tactics that are proven.
So, whether you’re a blogger, brand or business, you can improve your SEO strategy and drive organic traffic to your site. Keep reading to find out how.
1. Choose Your Keywords Wisely
You’re interested in writing a blog post about the health benefits of sparkling water. Unfortunately, you’re not entirely sure how to get your content to show up on Google.
You’ve heard about head terms, but you don’t have a clear grasp of what they are or how to use them. Thankfully, head terms are easy to understand. Think of them as carefully chosen keywords that make it easy for search engines like Google and Bing to define your content…based on what it’s about.
For head terms to work, however, they must be relevant, focused and timely.
So a blog post about sparkling water might contain one or more of the following head terms:
- Carbonated water
- Mineral water
- Club soda
- Soda water
- Seltzer water
- Fizzy water
To take your content to the next level of optimization, though, you’ll need to add a healthy mix of long-tail keywords as well.
Long-tail keywords are phrases that consist of three or more words.
Moreover, they signal to search engines that your content offers value to people searching for information on that topic.
Think of head terms and long-tail keywords like this: Head terms are general and long-tail keywords are specific (aka targeted).
So a blog post about sparkling water might contain the following long-tail keywords:
- Sparking Water Good for You
- Club Soda Versus Sparking Water
- Sparking Water Nutrition
Not sure where to find head terms and long-tail keywords?
Try Google Keyword Planner and Word Tracker. These must-have SEO tools let you plug in any topic and find relevant head terms and long-tail keywords.
2. Bolster Your Content with Links
Another great way to drive traffic to your site is through link building.
There are two general approaches to link-building.
Strategy # 1 – Link back to content that you’ve already posted.
Here are a few examples of content that’s easily shareable online:
- Blog posts
- Social media content
- Videos and podcasts
The reason link building works so well is because it lets you establish trust among your readers. Simply put, Google and other search engines want to know that online users can trust your content.
The more you create content that online users want to read and share, the higher Google and online users in general will rank your site’s trustworthiness.
Think of it this way.
The more activity (i.e. clicks and shares) that your content garners, the more likely it is to be perceived as “valuable” and “trustworthy.”
As a byproduct of this, you will also have an opportunity to introduce older content to newer audience.
Strategy # 2 – Link to authority sites that have posted research or original content about your topic
The key here is to choose links that establish a valuable connection between your content and the content that you’ve linked to.
Be sure to encourage others to link to your content, as well.
One of the easiest ways to do that is by creating content that adds to the conversation as well as offers something of benefit to others.
3. Create Valuable Content
If you think SEO is just about adding a splatter of keywords and a splashy title to a piece of content, dumping it online, and then expecting troves of online users to magically show up and share it, then you’d better think again.
SEO is not entirely about clicks, shares and mentions.
It’s about creating amazing content that gives value to others as well as instills a sense of truth and authority.
You want visitors to your site to consume your content and share it because it has significance. Just getting people to click through your site could backfire if those people only stay for a short while and then head elsewhere for the same (but better) content.
In summary, the best way to boost your Google ranking is by creating amazing content and inspiring people to share it!
As you create more and more content, keep in mind that keywords are supposed to feel natural – not forced.
When keywords feel forced, they take away from the overall readability of the work, making fewer people want to stick around to consume it.
Therefore, make it your mission to create content with a high level of readability. Do this (and the rest of the points listed above) and you’re sure to see a marked improvement in your search engine rankings!