SEO Tactics to Drive Traffic to Your Website
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SEO, or “search engine optimization”, refers to a set of practices designed to improve the visibility and positioning of a website.
So, what exactly does that mean?
Well, when you search for something inside a search engine, like Google or Bing, you receive a series of both paid and organic search results. Organic search results are unpaid listings that appear on a search engine result page (SERP). These results differ from the ones that appear because of paid, or pay-per-click (PPC), advertisements.
PPC advertisements appear because a company has paid the search engine to highlight its site. An organic search result, on the other hand, appears because the search engine has determined (using a specific algorithm) that this website has the most relevant and useful information for the question that you asked.
How do they know that a website provides relevant and useful information? Search engines use a team of robots, also known as “crawlers” or “spiders”, to gather information about new and updated content on the Internet before placing that content into an index.
Then, when you perform a search, that search engine scours their index for any relevant content, ordering the results from most to least relevant in the hopes of answering your question. Therefore, when a website appears at the top of a SERP as an organic search result, you can rest assured that that site is ranked highly by the search engine.
If you’re a website owner, how do you ensure that your website will rank highly, generating website traffic and improving your site’s conversion rate?
Keyword Research and The Importance of SEO
Keyword research is a practice used by SEO professionals to determine which search terms users are entering into search engines when looking for an answer to a question. As a website owner, you generally want to know three things about this type of search data:
- What are users searching for?
- How many users are searching for it?
- In what format would these users like to receive the information?
You’ll notice that these questions revolve around the user’s preferences and habits, not yours or your site’s. That’s because the most effective keyword research will always focus on the wants and needs of your target audience. That way, rather than focusing on personal or arbitrary keywords, you will be focusing on the keywords that your potential customers have already expressed an interest in learning more about.
As you find these keywords, you will be able to build on that interest, incorporating your company’s goals and values along the way, to create a community of like-minded users, while also answering user questions. By incorporating SEO into your site, you are not only expanding your network of users and interested parties but also establishing trust and credibility for your brand. Your knowledge of consumer preferences and interests will highlight your brand as an authority within your field, while also promoting a better user experience for your customers.
Finally, keyword research and SEO tactics are proven to increase the number of users that visit, engage, and (or) purchase products and services from your site. Now, more than ever, we rely on search engines to answer our questions. So, rather than waiting, and hoping that your site will be here for the long run, take the time and invest in SEO now. Keep reading and find more SEO tactics to drive traffic to your website!
How to Drive Clients and Customers to Your Website?
As mentioned above, keyword research is one of the most powerful tools in your SEO catalog. To begin your research, start with a few keywords that relate to your company. For example, if you are a pet trainer who specializes in dog training, you might enter keywords like “pet trainer” and “dog”.
You can enter those keywords into a keyword research SEO tool (such as Moz Pro, AHREFs, or SEMRush) to determine search volume, how often that keyword is searched, and to find similar keywords or common questions. You also want to note the keyword difficulty of your results, so that you can gauge the level of competitiveness around each keyword.
While you want to focus on the terms that your audience is searching for, you might also want to target keywords that have low search volume, as they will also be the ones with less competition. Both low- and high-competition keywords can be advantageous, so keep an open mind and choose whichever keywords best fit your company’s content and audience!
While keyword research is extremely important, you also want to make sure that you are creating original, comprehensive, long-term, quality content. Remember, the primary goal of each piece of content is not to rank highly on search engines, but to answer user questions and introduce users to your site’s purpose.
Original content: Your site should include great content that exhibits your unique perspective and knowledge of your field. You should also consistently update your site with new content. Ask yourself: How does my approach differ from my competitors’ approach?
Comprehensive content: Your site and blog content should answer as many questions about your site, product/service, and (or) field as possible. Comprehensive content shows search engines and users that you are an authority on the subject.
Long-term content: Your content should have long-term significance, meaning that it maintains relevance and generates organic traffic to your site over a long period. Avoid types of content that are related to time-specific information or that need to be updated frequently.
Link-building refers to the process of obtaining external links from another website to your own (these links are also referred to as “backlinks” or “inbound links”). So, when a blog post mentions your website and includes a link, your website is now connected, or “linked” to that webpage and/or website. Think of it like the other website providing a referral to your website. The goal of link-building is to establish several, high-quality links to your site, which will encourage engagement and demonstrate the authority of your content.
Furthermore, in addition to increasing your site’s authority and brand awareness, link-building will also raise your chances of ranking highly within a search engine. Search engine crawlers use these links to crawl between your website and other sites, adding content to their indexes and determining how well that content will rank. Search engine algorithms will consider how many links are pointing to your website and how strong those links are and use this as a key metric and ranking factor. So, if your website has been linked to multiple, high-quality sites, you are more likely to rank on the first page of Google and other search engines.
Featured snippets are highlighted answer boxes that appear at the top of SERPS for certain questions. They are highly sought after, appearing before numbered results and allowing a user to view an answer to their question without having to leave the page. To target these snippets and increase website traffic, you must first choose the content on your site that you wish to optimize.
Once you have made your choice, search for your desired keyword and note what question it answers and how it is formatted. Research has shown that you are more likely to win a snippet when asking, rather than just answering, a question. So, consider using question-based words, such as why, how, and are, in your long-tail keywords. Also, pay attention to how your content is formatted: bullet points, numbered lists, headings, and subheadings, as well as short, precise sentences, will make it easier to search and understand your page.
Removing Slow-Loading Content
A slow page-load time makes for a negative user experience and can cripple your search traffic. After all, if your pagespeed is slow, users will simply leave, rather than engaging with your site and viewing multiple pages. To improve site speed, get rid of page elements that may be slowing down your website. These elements may include old or unnecessary plugins, cumbersome visuals or image files, background data, etc.
There are several ways to optimize individual pages on your website:
Title and Meta Descriptions
Title and meta description are often the first thing users see, so make sure to leave a good first impression. Your title and meta descriptions should be short and to the point. You want to have a unique title and description for each page, while still including your target keyword and conveying the purpose of the landing page.
Great titles and meta descriptions are key to optimizing your click-through rate (CTR). The more enticing your title and description, the more likely users are to click on your site in the SERPs.
URL structure should be short and descriptive and include a primary keyword if possible. URLs are also shown in the SERPs. A clean URL will help search engines understand your page and increase the user experience of your site.
Internal and External Links
Internal links direct users to other pages within your website. External links direct users to another website. Internal links encourage users to stay longer, never having to leave your site to find out more information about a topic. External links, when linked to relevant and authoritative content, can increase your credibility, while low-quality can lower it (be careful about which content you choose to link to).
Both types of links will help with the crawl ability of your site and improve user accessibility and experience. It’s important to use a combination of external and internal links to ensure the best flow for crawlers.
Images, Videos, and Infographics
Images, videos, and infographics are a great and simple way to draw attention to a page and explain/enhance content. Make sure that each image or graphic is sized and formatted correctly–you don’t want users leaving a page because your image or graphic is loading too slowly or not loading at all.
Provide context to the user by placing your graphics near the text that they refer to, or the most important graphics at the top of the page. Include descriptive alt text for each image. Not only does this text increase the accessibility of your site, allowing screen readers to read and understand the content, but it also allows you to include more keywords. Images and graphics should also include descriptive names and URLs so that you can share them (potentially gaining backlinks) and so that they appear more easily in organic searches.
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How to Maintain SEO for Your Website
Now that you have begun utilizing and profiting from your various SEO strategies, how do you maintain your results? Well, like search engines, SEO is always changing and works best when its tools are frequently updated. You should be conducting regular site audits and updating your content to avoid things like broken links, slow load times, outdated material, and abandoned pages.
Additionally, paying attention to what your competitors are doing in their online marketing can give you a better understanding of what your target content and audience might look like, and help you generate new ideas for your website. Run regular competitive analyses to see who your competitors are, what SEO tactics they are using, and how you can close or take advantage of the gaps in their search landscape.
Lastly, improving or optimizing existing content, which has performed highly in the past, can double your website traffic and ensure that your content retains long-term value. The best content marketing strategy is one that never rests!
Now, that might sound like a lot of tasks and not a lot of time to do them. After all, SEO is a big field and growing bigger by the minute–how can you possibly keep up? If you are new to SEO and (or) looking to expand your current efforts, partnering with a digital marketing team who understands your goals and values should be your first step.