- What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
- Write High-Quality Content to Address Customer Needs
- Boost Your Rankings on SERPs With Intentional Keyword Placement
- Clean Up Your Site For a Streamlined User Experience
- Build Relevant Links to Increase Website Authority
- Study Your Competitors to See What Ranks Well For Them
To boost your website traffic and compete in today’s market, you’ve got to build a killer SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. Why? According to Hubspot, 75 percent of people never scroll past the first page of search results. Even if your website ranks at the top of the second page, you could miss three-quarters of your prospects – scary, right?
Compared to other sources like social media, SEO drives ten times more website traffic, and 60 percent of marketers agree that SEO produces the highest quality leads. In other words, improving your rank on search engines helps bring more potential customers to your website.
Read on for our top 12 SEO tips to boost your website traffic and increase revenue.
What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
SEO is improving your website’s visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). When people search for different terms on search engines, SEO helps your website rank higher in the results for the keywords you’ve targeted.
Keywords are the words, phrases, and questions people type into search engines. Your website and blog content should reflect these keywords so search engines like Google know you’re an authority on the subject.
Now it’s time to explore our best SEO strategies.
Write High-Quality Content to Address Customer Needs
Publishing SEO-friendly content helps boost your website traffic, but its main goal is to help people. When building a blog or resources section, write with your audience’s needs in mind because that’s more likely to induce clicks and keep them on your website.
To clarify, write for people first and search engines second. Your content should serve customer needs in a conversational, human style. Make a great first impression, and you’ll convince visitors to explore your website, share your content with others, and potentially, buy from you.
1. Write Short, Engaging Headlines
Readers will skip title pages or content headlines that drag on. Make yours short and snappy. For example, would you rather read “Three Ways to Sell Your Business on Acquire.com” or “A List of Step-By-Step Methods to Sell Your Business Alone or With Help on Startup Acquisition Marketplace Acquire.com?”
When writing headlines, capture readers’ attention with keywords and a short, engaging hook. Save the meat of the story for later. Make your titles long enough to clearly describe your content, and help readers navigate your site.
2. Target Customer Search Intent With Your Content
Search intent tells you why a person is searching. They might be looking for SEO tips, reviews of top makeup brands, or the cheapest hiking boots on Amazon. Search intent is commonly split into four categories, and you can target all of them with your content strategy.
- Informational search intent means someone is trying to learn more about something.
- Example: “how to play the guitar”
- Navigational search intent is when someone looks for a specific website to answer their question.
- Example: “Guitar Center lessons”
- Commercial search intent helps users learn more about something before making a purchase.
- Example: “Reviews of Stratocaster electric guitar”
- Transactional search intent indicates a user is ready to purchase or take another action.
- Example: “affordable Stratocaster electric guitars”
How does writing for search intent improve your SEO rank?
Google’s Search Quality Rating Process employs real people to evaluate a result’s usefulness for a given search. Therefore, the more helpful your content, the higher it ranks.
The search engine also assesses page quality to determine the purpose of your webpage and whether it’s harmful. Raters calculate page quality by reviewing your content for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EAT).
If you ace scores on both usefulness and purpose, you’ll rise to the top of results pages in no time. But writing with search intent is only the first step to ranking high on SERPs.
Boost Your Rankings on SERPs With Intentional Keyword Placement
Search engine algorithms continue to evolve and change the way websites are ranked. While there’s no magic formula to earning a top spot on results pages, optimizing your website and content using keywords can significantly boost your ranking.
3. Conduct Keyword Research to Find Popular Searches
Keyword research tells you what your customers and prospects commonly search for using search engines. They vary by specificity, competition, and search volume, and choosing the right keywords involves finding a balance between all three.
- Broader, shorter keywords are classified as head terms. Think of searches like “Harvard University” or “law school.”
- Less competitive, more specific phrases like “law school tuition” are known as body keywords.
- Long-tail keywords like “what are tuition costs at Harvard Law School?” are the easiest to rank for because they’re the most specific and least competitive. Long-tail keywords boast a 64 percent higher click-through rate.
Include a mix of all keyword types in your website and blog content to show search engines you’re a relevant, authoritative source. Long-tail keywords reach niche markets and rank higher, while head terms and body keywords indicate your expertise to search engines.
How to Find the Right Keywords for Your Website
- Compile a list of topics related to your business.
- Choose words and phrases that represent those topics.
- Research the SERPs for those words and phrases to see what’s ranking now.
- Plug your list into tools like Google Search Console and Ahrefs Keyword Explorer.
- Select keywords by search volume, competition, and ranking difficulty. Strike a balance rather than compete for the most popular keywords. Higher authority websites will usually beat you. For example, Google will prioritize “business taxes” content from the IRS over anything you publish on your company blog.
4. Position Keywords Throughout Your Website With Intention
Now that you’ve found the best keywords, where should you put them on your website? Here are a few key areas to target.
- Page titles. When search engines rank your website, the page title is the first thing a reader sees. Put your keyword at the start of the title to help it rank better and indicate what that web page is about.
A screenshot of Google search results featuring the page title for Acquire.com’s seller page.
- URLs. Like page titles, URLs give readers a glimpse of the page they’re visiting. A random string of letters and numbers tells readers nothing, but your keyphrase conveys more detailed information about that page.
A screenshot of an Acquire.com blog article shows how to use keywords in your URL.
- Meta descriptions. Underneath your page title on search engines is your meta description. This is your chance to be creative and hook readers with more than just a few words. Include your keyword here to show sites like Google that you’re an authority on the subject and to snag interested readers.
A screenshot of Google search results featuring a meta description for Acquire.com’s seller page.
- Social media. While your social media sites are NOT direct search ranking factors, customer engagement does play a role in ranking. According to a study by Cognitive SEO, the more likes, shares, and comments on your posts, the closer you rank toward the top of SERPs. To engage more customers, include keywords and hashtags in your bio and posts to attract your target audience.
- Subheadings. Including keywords and SEO-friendly phrases in your subheadings helps readers know what to expect from reading your content. Subheadings can direct readers to the sections that answer their questions, so they don’t have to read the whole article. Plus, Google uses subheadings to determine if your article should become a featured snippet (see below).
A screenshot of an Acquire.com blog article shows how to use keywords in your subheadings.
- Images. Keywords in images? Yes, you read that right. By including your keyword in the image’s file name, title, and alt text, your image helps boost your SEO rank.
- Content. Let’s not forget the king. This is your chance to use multiple keywords and related terms that capture both readers and search engines. Your introductory and concluding paragraphs should all include keywords, if possible, to help Google recognize your authority on the subject. But don’t stuff your content with keywords at the expense of clear, relevant, and helpful writing.
Place your keywords carefully and intentionally to see a major boost in your website traffic.
5. Aim For a Featured Snippet Spot
Once you’ve completed your keyword research, pick a specific keyword to turn into a featured snippet.
Featured snippets answer people’s questions right on the SERP. If the customer’s question isn’t fully answered within the snippet, it might tempt them to click on your site and learn more. Featured snippets account for over 35 percent of millions of website clicks.
A screenshot of a featured snippet on Google shows where you’ll see it on a SERP.
To aim for a featured snippet spot, follow these steps:
- Identify the keywords (common questions) you want to target through keyword research.
- Research that keyword on search engines to see how the top results are formatted and what kind of content they include (listicles, how-tos, explainers, etcetera).
- Edit your content to answer that question or address that issue clearly and concisely.
- Organize the rest of your article into headers and subheadings, and make sure one of those headings addresses the issue you want to be featured for.
- Ensure the snippet flows with the rest of your copy so the whole article creates a seamless reading experience.
If you land a featured snippet, you’ve won a huge victory in the SEO game and stand a much better chance of driving more website traffic.
Clean Up Your Site For a Streamlined User Experience
Still seeing low website traffic despite optimizing your content? Inspect your website’s front and back-end architecture for problems that impact SEO.
Slow internet speeds, disorganized webpages, and no mobile site will tank your chances of ranking high because Google prefers content that’s easy to navigate. Don’t let a system glitch or broken link send you tumbling down the search results.
6. Eliminate Obstacles That Slow Down Your Website
Slow website speeds frustrate search engines and potential customers. The search engine wants to recommend helpful and easy-to-navigate resources, so it’ll never rank websites with glacial internet speeds.
To speed up your website, delete dead links and defunct plug-ins. Dead links clutter your website, reduce its speed, and discourage customers from exploring further.
Large images also slow down your website, so compress your images to about 2500 pixels in width. If you can, only upload JPEGs, the most website-friendly file format.
Finally, use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to measure your website speeds over time. The free software analyzes lab data about your website from controlled environments, plus field data from real-life user experiences. You receive a metric that rates your website speeds as good, poor, or needing improvement to help you see where your website slows down.
7. Organize Your Site Structure to Improve User Experience [UX]
Organizing your content helps search engine bots crawl your website and rank you better on SERPs. A navigation bar with different categories and subfolders is a must, especially if you’re writing content, which helps bots and users easily find what they’re looking for.
Your website should feel intuitive to users. Structure your web pages logically rather than dump everything on a couple of pages. Visitors don’t want to wade through lines and lines of disorganized text. Poor UX will repel visitors and drive down your rank.
8. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices
Nearly 59% of all web traffic came from mobile devices in 2022. You can’t just run a desktop site anymore and expect to improve your SEO. To truly compete, you must optimize your web page for mobile devices.
What does that mean? For starters, mobile sites should load just as fast, if not faster, than desktop sites. People search on their mobile devices because they want answers right at their fingertips. Slow website speeds only encourage them to exit your site and pick another. To increase your mobile speeds, eliminate clutter and remove excess plug-ins.
You’ll also want to restructure your site for easier customer engagement. Make sure your pop-ups include an easy-to-find exit button, for example. And build large, concise icons for users to tap like the “hamburger style” icon for navigation bars.
Above all, test your site for both desktop and mobile. Most website builders like WordPress allow you to preview a web page in both formats before it goes live. Thoroughly check the ease and accessibility of your mobile site before publishing.
Build Relevant Links to Increase Website Authority
Improving your SEO doesn’t have to rest all on your shoulders. Instead, build connections with fellow websites and incorporate the following three links into your content to boost traffic.
9. Generate Backlinks From Reputable Websites
Backlinks are hyperlinks from another website back to yours, usually to reference your content. Getting a reputable or well-established website to backlink you shows search engines that these sites find your content authoritative and relevant.
According to Backlinko, Google views every link as a “vote” for your page as a trusted, reliable source. The more votes you have, the higher your ranking. It’s another cog in the complex algorithm that determines where you land on results pages.
You don’t want just any site to backlink you, though. While fellow blogs and small creators can be a good place to start, earning one backlink from a major publication or high-authority website can greatly increase your credibility and website traffic.
How do you persuade these websites to backlink you? Cold emailing is one place to start. Reach out to fellow bloggers or website owners and try one of the following hooks to persuade them to include a link to your site.
- Ask to be included in a link roundup. These blog posts link to other relevant content daily, weekly, or monthly. To participate in one, search “link roundup” and one of your keywords to find related sites to work with. Email them and suggest a specific article, video, or other types of content to include in the roundup.
- Recommend your content in place of outdated links. When major websites shut down due to lack of funding or intense competition, fill the void. Take Nupedia, an online encyclopedia that lasted only four years before Wikipedia took over. Any blogs or websites referencing Nupedia suddenly had tons of dead links scattered throughout their articles. If you see a website still using outdated or dead links like Nupedia, contact the site owners and suggest one of your own articles or images replaces the outdated one.
- Offer to guest post about a relevant industry topic. Guest posting is one of the best ways to build relationships with fellow website owners and prove your expertise in the field. If you’re unsure where to guest post, look for non-competing companies whose content overlaps with yours. Connect with those sites and build a mutually beneficial relationship for both businesses.
If you’re nervous about contacting fellow founders, try backlinking other sites in your SEO content. You might just receive a reciprocal link.
10. Earn Reciprocity From External Links
External links are hyperlinks that target a domain page other than yours. Most of the time, you’ll include external links to back up your facts and figures, showing that you’ve verified your sources.
But you can also use external links to promote other websites and potentially gain a reciprocity backlink. If you’re contributing a “vote” to another site’s authority in your field, they might take note and reciprocate for you. The external link is just as valuable to them, and reciprocity is one way website owners can show their gratitude.
External links also don’t go unnoticed by Google. To the search engine, including external links proves that you’re committed to providing the best resources for your readers – even if it takes them away from your site.
11. Link As Much Internal Content as Possible
Linking to your content is another important measure to improve your SEO. While you want votes of confidence from third parties, internal links boost your topic authority in Google’s eyes.
Internal links are hyperlinks from one of your web pages to another web page on your site. Linking content helps search engines identify topic clusters and keywords you want to be known for.
Acquire.com, for example, could link their recent articles “What is Churn and How Does It Affect Your Business” and “6 Ways to Reduce Customer Churn in Your SaaS Business” to show their authority on customer churn.
The internal links help Google establish a connection between those two articles. The search engine’s bots can follow a trail of internal links to other content across your site, increasing your domain authority and helping you rank higher for those keywords and topic clusters.
And search engines aren’t the only ones who can discover more of your content through internal links. Potential customers can stay on your site longer and learn more about your business by following internal links to more content and resources.
Study Your Competitors to See What Ranks Well For Them
Boosting your website traffic via SEO doesn’t just depend on your actions – your competitors’ behavior plays a huge role too. They could be outbidding you on keywords or targeting a new audience you haven’t marketed to yet. But you won’t see how you measure up against your competitors unless you start researching their data.
12. Wield Competitor Research Tools
You can use dozens of competitor research tools to gather the data you need to improve your SEO strategy. These tools can show your competitors’ website traffic, their top-performing web pages, the channels that drive their traffic, and the keywords they rank for that you don’t.
All of this info will help you understand where your website might be lacking and how you can use better SEO practices. Maybe you need to try a new keyword that your competition earns a lot of traffic from, or you need to be more intentional about keywords in your title pages.
Either way, explore tools like Semrush to help you pinpoint your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. You can learn from their mistakes and draw inspiration from their successes to drive your own success.
What Are the 4 Pillars of SEO?
To please both search engines and real-life customers, SEO strategists recommend you optimize your website to incorporate the four “pillars” of SEO. Each pillar includes specific actions to help you boost website traffic organically.
- Technical SEO is optimizing your website for search engines and their crawling bots. Creating a seamless page experience will improve your technical SEO, especially if you reduce speeds, make it mobile-friendly, and build an intuitive website structure.
- On-page SEO means improving the elements on the front end of your website. Think high-quality meta descriptions, internal links, and keywords in your URLs, image alt text, and page titles.
- Content is exactly what it sounds like – creating in-depth content that satisfies customer needs through relevant copy, audio, or video. Ensure your content addresses Google’s EAT phenomenon and focuses on expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
- Off-page SEO refers to the actions you take outside of your website. Backlinks, for instance, come from other websites. Your social media presence can also contribute to off-page SEO, especially when you link back to your website.
Improve all four SEO pillars, and you’re one step closer to a higher ranking on SERPs.
What Is the “Golden Rule” of SEO?
The “golden rule” of SEO is that content is king. By creating consistent, high-quality content, you can boost your website traffic by impressing Google and potential customers. Thoughtfully place keywords throughout your content, and you can improve your results page ranking. Address key customer needs, and you invite curiosity and interest in your website. The key to great content is balancing both tasks.
What Should Be Avoided in SEO?
The SEO landscape evolves so quickly and frequently that you must keep up with current trends and behaviors. For example, keyword stuffing is a thing of the past. Search engines and internet users want engaging content that doesn’t sound forced or awkward.
Also, don’t forget to create different kinds of content. Blogs might be your first instinct, but you can also rank high for videos and podcasts on search engines. Remember that not every customer wants to read a lengthy article and can glean just as much information from a two-minute video.
Finally, make sure you build a cohesive SEO strategy. You won’t see the boost in website traffic you want if you don’t conduct keyword research, study competitors, and make a game plan for your SEO content.
How Many SEO Keywords Should I Use Per Page?
Ideally, your website landing pages should address a single topic, so you should only need between one and three primary keywords per page. Use one as your focus keyphrase and include one or two more related keywords throughout your website copy or page titles.
Content-wise, WordStream reports that a keyword or related phrase should appear only once every 200 words. Search engines’ updated systems will pick out overstuffed content and flag it, so space out your keywords to make for a more seamless user experience.
What Is Keyword Cannibalization?
Keyword cannibalization occurs when your website features multiple web pages using the exact same keyword. Whether you write several blogs about the same topic or overuse a keyword across your website, you force Google to pick which webpage is most relevant for that search term. You compete against yourself for higher rankings, causing the search engine to lower your rankings for all the web pages it didn’t select for that keyword.
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